After almost four months of consideration, Community Transit announced that it has picked the route to extend the Swift Blue Line to intersect with Link. It will maintain a stop at Aurora Village Transit Center, as shown above. Alternatives would have continued on Aurora, skipping the transit center.
Meridian is a residential street less likely to experience traffic. Survey respondents prioritized “maintaining bus-to-bus connections at Aurora Village Transit Center.” However, most, but not all, routes that serve the Transit Center would still have had easy transfer points had Swift continued on Aurora. It’s ultimately hard to gauge the transfer opportunities until Metro chooses a service plan after Lynnwood Link.
Moreover, an Aurora Avenue/185th routing would have been more direct, used existing and planned BAT lanes, served a wider variety of land uses, and conveniently connected them to the Link station. Some of these benefits assume that CT would place relatively expensive Swift stations to serve riders to which it is not accountable.
While the relative travel times with 2024 traffic patterns are uncertain, it appears the speed advantages of an Aurora alignment are more likely to be more important for future CT riders than the transfer opportunities, despite the survey conclusion. While by no means a catastrophe for anyone, most future riders are likely to regret this decision.
98 Replies to “Swift picks a Link extension”
Meridian is a residential street less likely to experience traffic.
That is simply not true. It is an arterial that experiences traffic. Furthermore, there are no bus lanes there; it is unlikely there will ever be bus lanes there. In contrast, Aurora has bus lanes, and 185th will have bus lanes. This is the slower route in the middle of the day, and the slower route during rush hour (if you are on a bus).
Also, as a residential street, it seems very pleasant with lovely trees. Are the local residential really going to be down with those large Swift buses rumbling through all day and all the tree trimming that will take place? Is the pavement going to be able to handle all that impact? Sounds a bit nimby-ish, but there’s a reason we run major routes on arterials.
Though the point about bus lanes on Aurora is the most important.
It is an interesting combination. It is an arterial, and a straight shot paralleling SR 99 from Lynnwood to Haller Lake. Thus it is an obvious alternative to Aurora when Aurora is congested. At the same time, for much of the way, it is a pleasant street. That is why it makes sense as a bike lane (e. g. https://goo.gl/maps/rA3CY3NYhQSDoAM56). I think it is quite likely that Shoreline will extend the bike lane south, especially since it is part of their long range plan. The section between 195th and 185 is fairly flat, and would connect a couple other paths.
I am a resident. There are buses on that route already for Metro. It’s not a problem.
In fact, Meridian is wider and easier to drive than 185th. I would never drive Aurora to get from that shopping center to 185th and 5th; I always take Meridian.
This alignment makes perfect sense to me.
Your point makes sense if you’re coming from the Costco parking lot. In that case, going back to Aurora means two additional left turns. The issue is what you would do if you are already on SR-99 driving South. Would you cut over to Meridian at 200th St. or just stay on Aurora until 185th?
Thanks Scot that’s helpful context.
The only buses that follow that route are the 346 and 303. I’m pretty sure the 346 is never an articulated bus. I don’t know about the 303. I don’t think it is a huge issue, but it could mean that a bus will be even slower than expected.
Keep in mind, that route is clearly slower, even in a car. It is the way Google suggests going: https://goo.gl/maps/nTuAgt7Z2BTpzkBn8. Of course it is. Why would you make two extra turns AND go on slower streets. Keep in mind, Google has no idea that a bus can drive in bus lanes, making Aurora even faster. Nor does Google have any idea that eventually 185th will have bus lanes, making it even faster. This is the slow way, even before you consider a detour into the transit center.
It is a big slower for those that are transferring to Link and a lot slower for those transferring to RapidRide E.
“It is an arterial, and a straight shot paralleling SR 99 from Lynnwood to Haller Lake.”
Technically, Meridian Ave N becomes 76th Ave W at 244th SW (SR 104). 76th W then continues north thru Edmonds before skirting the western edge of Lynnwood. I think folks frequently forget that Edmonds extends east of SR 99 in this area.
Neither Metro’s 2025 nor 2040 plans have a Meridian route in Shoreline. The 346’s successor turns east to Shoreline South Station and north on 5th-175th-15th to Mountlake Terrace Station. The north-south routes in Shoreline are on Aurora, 5th, and 15th. Only the Aurora route serves Aurora Village. (That may create an access problem to Aurora Village from the southeast, or maybe there’s little ridership potential there.)
Also interesting, E in Metro’s 2040 plan doesn’t go into the Aurora Village loop; instead it goes straight on 200th to a terminus at 200th & Meridian. So maybe the loop itself will be closed. (!!) I could see the P&R closing because it’s mainly for the 301 and 303. That would open up a significant amount of land for housing and retail.
@Tlsgwm — Yeah, I didn’t want to get into the particulars of the street. Meridian starts as a minor residential street down at Gas Works, then comes and goes all the way until the Meadowdale neighborhood of Edmonds. In Seattle the arterial is sometimes Wallingford and sometimes nonexistent (as it disappears under lakes). In Snohomish County it becomes 96th, and crosses SR 99 (as 99 angles northeast) until it finally loops around as Meadowdale road.
But in this area — in North King County — it is a straight shot road that parallels SR 99. It is an obvious, sensible alternative to taking Aurora, which is why traffic is balanced between the two streets.
It is not like, say, 155th, which lacks the traffic of 145th, simply because you can’t easily get between Shoreline and Kenmore. If you go up to 155th, you have to come back down (e. g. https://goo.gl/maps/CofonnJHpFZmFDjG8). In contrast, Meridian is a sensible alternative for folks who want to avoid traffic (https://goo.gl/maps/fw3yRw7QuJQv6fmB9). If you are driving, it is a reasonable way to go. But if you can drive in an HOV lane, Aurora is clearly faster.
Neither Metro’s 2025 nor 2040 plans have a Meridian route in Shoreline.
Yeah they do. Turn on the “local” checkbox. It is the 3007 that goes down Meridian from 200th to Haller Lake, then goes by the 130th Station, then on 5th to Northgate. It is marked “local”, and is clearly a coverage route. This says something. It is neither especially fast, nor full of potential riders. I realize Swift doesn’t care about the latter in this case, but Metro planners are OK with routes that are fast, even if they don’t carry that many riders. For example they plan on running a bus from Richmond Beach past the 185th station and over to 15th before going to the U-District. Most of 15th has very low ridership — but it is fast. That is why that bus is marked as “frequent”.
The 346’s successor turns east to Shoreline South Station and north on 5th-175th-15th to Mountlake Terrace Station.
OK, I assume you are referring to the 1998. I don’t see that as the successor to the 346, but a different beast. It is a bit like the 347 up north, and a bit like the 345/346 down south. There are a lot of possibilities for redoing the 345/346/347/348, but I don’t think they change the basic equation: It is unlikely that many buses will go to Aurora Village without crossing Aurora and 200th.
Also interesting, E in Metro’s 2040 plan doesn’t go into the Aurora Village loop; instead it goes straight on 200th to a terminus at 200th & Meridian. So maybe the loop itself will be closed. (!!)
Yeah, that is a possibility. I think it is telling that the 3006 goes from Shoreline College to Aurora Village … and then keeps going. Aurora Village is a perfectly good terminus. But instead, it goes all the way to Mountlake Terrace. Beyond Aurora Village almost all of the time is spent in Snohomish County. This suggests some level of cooperation — or back scratching — between the counties. It is a reasonable thing to do, and yes, it could easily lead to simply abandoning the base.
The main reason the base exists is because it is at the edge of the county. This is a classic jurisdictional problem. If you look at a transit map of the area (north King and south Snohomish) it doesn’t make much sense until you are told that there are two different agencies (at which point you can easily guess the border). It isn’t that one is much bigger, either — it is that they have separate goals. The more they cooperate — the more one scratches the other’s back — the better the overall system will be.
To be clear — this preliminary decision has nothing to do with Snohomish County helping King. This has everything to do with making a misguided decision because of a poorly worded survey.
“Yeah they do. Turn on the “local” checkbox.”
I missed that. I tried to remember which checkboxes I usually check and I missed that one.
“it goes all the way to Mountlake Terrace. Beyond Aurora Village almost all of the time is spent in Snohomish County. This suggests some level of cooperation — or back scratching — between the counties.”
It’s simply that the Link station is in Snohomish County. And Mountlake Terrace is a moderately-sized city that people in Shoreline and northeast Seattle will want to go to. The alternative would be to terminate at Shoreline North. It’s no different from PT routes going to Federal Way or Swift going to Aurora Village or the 105 going to UW Bothell. If it benefits the constituent taxpayers, they do.
I hope everyone would remember that the Blue Line is a bus. If Aurora Village TC is closed it will probably be rerouted to Aurora and 185th. There are no plans for stations in King County other than AVTC and Shoreline North are there? It’s just going to Shoreline North to connect to Link. Then the transfer between the E and Blue Line can be made at the 192nd Street station.
I would bet that Aurora Village would be willing to make a contribution for a pedestrian bridge from a southbound station between 200th and 205th.
I believe that the 303 buses are mostly artics.
OP: “Meridian is a residential street less likely to experience traffic.”
RossB: “That is simply not true. It is an arterial that experiences traffic.”
RossB is spot on. Shoreline classifies Meridian as a minor arterial in its master street plan. Additionally, here is what they wrote in their 2011 report*:
“All arterial streets in Shoreline are forecast to experience some level of growth. The highest levels of growth will be on the Principal and Minor Arterials, including N/NE 155th Street, N/NE 175th Street, N/NE 185th Street, Dayton Avenue N, Westminster Way N and 15th Avenue NE. Most Collector Arterials will experience a moderate amount of growth.
“Without any improvements or modifications, several arterial streets in Shoreline are expected
to experience high levels of congestion by 2030. Meridian Avenue N is forecast to operate at or above capacity from N 155th Street to N 200th Street, as is 15th Avenue NE from NE 150th Street to NE 175th Street. Small segments of Greenwood Avenue N, 8th Avenue NW, Dayton Avenue N, Fremont Avenue N, NE 175th Street, NE 185th Street, and 5th Avenue NE are forecast to operate at or above capacity. More detail on the impacts and projects proposed to mitigate these impacts are addressed in Chapter 10.”
I haven’t seen a more recent concurrency/LOS report on the corridor, but I imagine that it has only deteriorated since this 2011 report was finalized.
With that said, let’s also be honest about 185th. Shoreline has now completed its study for that corridor and has come up with some plans to address the deficiencies, but with one big caveat:
“There is no designated City Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) funding for improvements to the corridor. Changes to the 185th Street Corridor will happen incrementally over time as redevelopment occurs….The 185th MCS will serve as the basis of design for a future design development phase when the City is able to advance any part of this study into a CIP project.”
One clarification in regard to my earlier comment is needed. When I stated,
“I haven’t seen a more recent concurrency/LOS report on the corridor…”,
I was referring to the Meridian corridor.
Yeah, so basically they have five years to find some paint for 185th between Midvale and 5th Avenue NE. That would fulfill that part of the recommendations (that has been adopted by the council) which would essentially mean BAT lanes from the station to Aurora. I think they can do it, especially if the county plans on making (some version) of the 348 frequent. This seems highly likely, and it would be one of the key buses running through Shoreline.
Shoreline is focusing heavily on 185th in its urban plan, so it will likely get some upgrades even if it takes a while. Shoreline has been pro-active for years in painting BAT lanes on Aurora, planning urban villages around all RapidRide stations, redeveloping the community center near the Link station, making sure there’s good transit access along 185th between Aurora and the station and southward to the library, upgrading its side of 145th, considering buying the middle and south sides of 145th, upzoning the area between the two stations, and a multiuse trail along 5th. It even had a plan o possibly move the Aurora Village Transit Center to the Shoreline P&R at 192nd & Aurora, although that was dropped when Link chose the I-5 alignment. Shoreline’s forward-thinking and follow-ups are an example to Seattle, Edmonds, and Mountlake Terrace.
[Copying what I wrote on a different post]
The bus should stay on Aurora to 185th, then turn there. The bus stops should be just south of 200th (where existing RapidRide E bus stops exist). This would be better for two big reasons:
1) Those continuing on Aurora would have a faster, better transfer. The preferred alternative is bad both directions. Northbound, riders would first stop at 200th (on the E) then wait for the bus to turn and enter the transit center before getting off. They would then walk across the transit center and pick up Swift. Then they would wait for Swift to get back to Aurora, and make that right turn, back essentially where they started (on Aurora, right next to 200th). Southbound riders have it bad as well. First they wait for Swift to leave the bus lanes and make a left turn. Then the bus makes a stop next to the transit center and the rider walks across 200th and into the transit center and onto the E Line. Then the bus leaves the transit center and heads to Aurora, making yet another left turn. So, northbound that is a bit of extra walking, an extra stop, two additional right turns and a little time in the transit center. Southbound it is a bit of extra walking, extra time in the transit center, and two additional *left* turns. Not only does this mean extra time spent on the bus, it increases the chances of a mixed connection. The other route is better.
2) It would be faster to get to the Link Station. The CT preferred path has two extra turns (three turns instead of just one). Furthermore, much of that route will be spent on Meridian, which has no HOV lanes, which means that the bus will be stuck in traffic. Meridian also has a regular bus (that lacks off board payment). Thus it is quite likely that the Swift bus will be stuck behind another bus in an area where passing is difficult or illegal (https://goo.gl/maps/D7E8iTRMYyziv8j17). It is also worth noting that Shoreline also wants to extend lanes on Meridian, which would likely eliminate the opportunities for a bus to pass a bus (bus drivers don’t like crossing the double yellow). In contrast, using Aurora and 185th would mean the bus would be in BAT lanes the entire way.
There is little to be gained by using 200th. With the exception of the 346 — a minor bus with half hour frequency — all the buses that go to the station would have an easy transfer at 200th and Aurora. Even the 346 wouldn’t be a horrible transfer (about a five minute walk). Those riders that don’t want to walk five minutes could always take the 101.
From a cost perspective, this would require adding ORCA readers on 200th (currently there are no readers there, even though Rapid Ride E stops there). This would be an enhancement that would benefit both agencies. It wouldn’t cost Snohomish County any more than their preferred routing, assuming they plan on adding them on 200th (instead of inside the transit center). If the plan is for Swift to make a loop inside the transit center before continuing, this would further delay those trying to get to Link. A combined Link/Swift Station on Aurora, south of 200th would have all the amenities of both (reader board, nice seats, etc.) which would be befitting the importance as a transfer point.
To be fair, there are some riders who would come out ahead with a stop close to, or in the transit center. On the west side of Aurora — next to Costco — there is a wall between the sidewalk and the supposed “village” that lies to east. This means that the largest retailer in the area is inaccessible by foot unless you want to hop the little fence and scamper down (https://goo.gl/maps/5K2fbrh5sNAGjNb47). But that does not mean that we should favor Costco shoppers above all else. As it turns out, they have an alternative specifically designed for just such an occasion: the 101.
The 101 stops at all secondary stops (and then some) and this is clearly a secondary stop. Forcing people to walk a little bit farther to shop at Costco is unfortunate, but severely degrading the flagship route in Snohomish County is worse. I hope that Community Transit takes the better approach and uses the faster route.
Having read this post several times now (lol) … I agree. Not much to add. Really seems like CT has mixed up the Swift and 101 alignments approaching the Link station.
Yeah, sorry about writing this again. I almost held off yesterday, thinking that someone was going to write a post (nice job Martin). I think it would be nice to have a “future posts” listing somewhere.
Don’t you mean “A combined
LinkRapidRide/Swift Station on Aurora”?
Yes, I do (oops).
Martin and Ross, by the tape measure and the stop-watch you may be right, but this could be a really good example of the reason for citizen input:
The people favoring Meridian have a “feel” for their neighborhood. Which after the Revolution in Education I’m advocating takes hold, no planner will get out of grade school without knowing in their bones. But in any case, I can’t think of a routing more easily remedied if it’s found to be flawed.
For the foreseeable future, SWIFT will be run with buses. Only expense to convert and correct, probably a couple of paint stripes and some traffic signal adjustment. Call it an ongoing test and keep us briefed.
The proposed routing is actually even slower than what the map indicates. Don’t forget the turns on and off 200th St., plus the 5 mph crawl, squeezing by other buses in layover, to serve the Aurora Village Transit Center bus bays.
Another spot to watch is the right turn from 200th to Meridian. It looks a bit tight, and the 346 is operated with a much smaller bus than the SWIFT buses. Even if the buses are physically capable of making the turn, it will be much slower than a car making the same turn. Buses will likely have to straddle both lanes, which means no right turn on red, plus waiting for the left-turn lane to clear in order to turn right.
IF you have ideas how to make the Aurora Village Transit Center stop go faster, please by all means speak up. It’s a critical stop to a smart CT route.
Yes, stop on Aurora, just south of 200th instead. Much faster (no turning, never leaves the HOV lanes, etc.).
It’s ultimately hard to gauge the transfer opportunities until Metro chooses a service plan after Lynnwood Link.
Sure, but we can make some assumptions based on past history and future plans. If a Metro bus is coming from the south (Aurora) or the west and is headed towards the Aurora Village Transit Center, it will cross at 200th and Aurora. The only reason a bus would go to the station but not Aurora is if it serves someplace to the east. There are only two buses to the east: the 331 and 346. The 331 serves north King County, and crosses Aurora at the only logical place: 200th. Both the Northgate plan* as well as the long range plan** have a similar bus route. That leaves the 346. The 346 runs up Meridian to 200th, then turns and lays over at the transit center. It could potentially be extended, but probably won’t.
Thus at worse you have one bus — a bus serving Meridian — where the transfer would require a bit of walking (around five minutes). It seems silly for Swift — a bus that routinely skips potential transfers in the name of speed — to spend extra time focusing on a transfer to the 346, when the 101 can do that job just fine. If serving Meridian riders is really a concern, then they could simply go the fast way, and put a stop at Meridian and 185th. That stop would also reduce the backtracking that Richmond Beach riders will experience if they are heading north. It is likely that even with the additional bus stop, that route would be faster (fewer turns, less traffic).
That is the irony of this proposal. It will be *worse* overall for transfers. The most common transfer (staying on Aurora) will be much worse. At the same time, it adds nothing for Richmond Beach riders, while saving Meridian riders five minutes of walking (at best). But the biggest transfer — the whole reason this is being added in the first place — (the transfer from Swift to Link) will be worse.
Question for the kind of planner I’d like to see start developing:
When the present generation of rubber tires has gone the way of the hard ones on the original buses, diesel and trolley, can Aurora go straight to mag-lev instead of that grooved rail that makes jackhammers wake so many people up after a really hard night?
Pull in your paws, Lake Washington Institute, Edmonds Community College Saw It First!
Probably need jackhammers to still mag-lev, too. Unless you mean magical levitation, not magnetic levitation?
I can see an advantage to having SWIFT stop on 200th St in front of the Aurora Village transit center. Please tell me it isn’t going to loop-de-loop into the transit center.
It isn’t clear. What is clear is that either way it will delay most of the passengers to benefit only a handful.
It’s not clear. But, reading the tea leaves, the default behavior in these types of situations is, unfortunately, to loop de loop into the transit center. The safest way to ensure that the Hyppocratic Oath of Transit is not violated is to keep every existing stop exactly where it is today, and just add more stops. It’s also the solution that avoids the need to build new bus shelters and Orca readers.
This is why the 26 does a strange jog around the block at Green Lake – it used to be a turnaround loop, then, when the route was extended to Northgate, they couldn’t move the stop over 50 feet, due to the Hyppocratic Oath. It would not surprise me the least is this is the reason for the #8’s detour at Yesler. Once upon a time, that may have been the turnaround loop. Then, the route was extended to My. Baker, but the old turnaround loop remained so that nobody getting off on 23rd would have to walk an extra couple blocks. Etc.
If I were making the call, the bus would absolutely stay on the street. But, if I were betting money on the eventual outcome, I’d bet on the loop de loop into the transit center.
The 8’s detour is because there are hardly any other commercial or shopping destinations on MLK north of Mt Baker. A residential-only route is a low-ridership route because it doesn’t attract anybody except residents and a few visitors, and it’s not very useful for residents’ shopping or business-customer trips, which are a significant portion of their total trips.
In other words, the problem is the zoning on MLK. There shouldn’t be residential-only arterials. It should be more mixed use, and a supermarket more than just one Grocery Outlet.
The 8 is not a residential only route, even without the detour. It serves Capitol Hill, for example. Adding the detour simply substitutes 5 minutes big walking for those headed to one particular shopping center (which is not really even all that big) with 5 minutes extra on the bus for everyone trying to ride through. Not is it necessary for coverage. The 48 already serves the same shopping center, runs north/south just like 8 does, and run more frequently than the 8 does. The 48 also serves the same Mt. Baker transit center and Madison Valley that the 8 does.
What’s left is people in a few single family home areas east of MLK riding the bus to one particular shopping center, who are unwilling to walk an extra two blocks so the bus can go in a straight line. This is not enough to justify a deviation.
It’s almost completely residential between Mt Baker Station and Madison Street. And that part of Madison doesn’t exactly have much either. I think the detour was due to local demand. The 60 got routed to 9th for that reason, and Metro was more willing to do that in years past. In any case, the 2025 plan eliminates half of it (going on 23rd-Jackson-MLK). It has to go on 23rd south of Jackson anyway for Judkins Park Station.
I’m concerned about the future northern terminus at Madison & MLK. That seems like dumping people off in the middle of nowhere, on a route that has few commercial areas already. It basically means that if you live in the northern half or the route, don’t take it northward unless you really want to go to Madison Valley or transfer to the G or 8.
“The 48 already serves the same shopping center,”
That doesn’t help people living on MLK or east of it, who are the primary reason that that part of the 8 exists.
“That doesn’t help people living on MLK or east of it, who are the primary reason that that part of the 8 exists.”
Of course, it does. Not having the detour gets them to either Capitol Hill or Mt. Baker faster. Those going to that particular shopping center can get out and walk two blocks. It’s fairly flat and takes about 5 minutes.
The 60 going to 9th is a bit of a different case, with Harborview being a much larger destination than the shopping center at 23rd and Jackson. Plus, the streetcar exists as a bypass, at least for some riders.
As to the 60, if I were calling the shots, I’d have it stay on Boren all the way to SLU, and not serve Capitol Hill at all. The Capitol Hill tail is mostly redundant with either the First Hill Streetcar or Link, depending on where you’re coming from, while the lack of a bus between First Hill and South Lake Union is very real and inexcusable.
A straight shot down Boren would be best, but if it’s too traffic clogged and transit priority too difficult to implement, I would accept an alternative solution that cuts over to 8th. As a bonus, that option would allow the 60 to leave its stops on 9th unchanged, helping to obey to Hyppocratic Oath of Transit. The main thing is that sending the 60 to Capitol Hill make have made since in 1990, but in 2020, I think SLU would have more value, and there are other options to get to Capitol Hill.
AJ, to get Lake Washington to call off this morning’s screaming tweet-barrage- for the record I am not and never have been at least knowingly, either a homeless Nazi or an infectious-essentiality-hating looter-lover- I’m agreeing to the following:
Not only does is LWIT Funeral Services program have the coveted “First Dibs” association with Evergreen Washelli for classic funeral-streetcar service, which may or may not become part of the South Lake Union, First Avenue Connector, and First Hill electric railroad consortium.
But Seattle’s approaching post-COVID Historic Living Self-Supporting Waterfront Industrial District will use the high-speed groundwater diversion program that dealt with the Century Square prehistoric flood under Third Avenue and got the Mighty Mole running in a couple of shifts….
To liquify however many miles under Aurora are necessary to head the subsoil silently wherever it’s needed. Anybody in range of Aurora, your air conditioner will be louder with the power off, let alone the garden hose.
But most Essentially and Self-Diversity-Responsible of all, not only do certain cultures like, or so I’ve read, Haiti have funeral ceremonies involving the Goddess of the Sea, but the enterprising Irish have just announced environmentally-friendly Water Based Cremations!
If Marshall Foster’s in California, in return for his efforts to leave the Waterfront at least a few work-shifts more friendly to light rail, he really should get first-refusal rights on reviving the streetcar funerals for which his state used to be famous.
Which nowhere in any code I can find is it decreed that a funeral streetcar needs rails and wheels any more than it does horses. If that’s in an RCW, got a quote from the Horses Union we’re going same route as drivers and police.
So the decision has been made and it’s unlikely we can persuade them to change their mind. We’ll have to pressure them to at least eliminate the loop. That was mostly for layover, which no longer applies. The added distance to the mall is insignificant; it’s within the typical distance of Swift stations from any particular point. Swift+Link will replace most uses of Swift+348 and Swift+101 (to Northgate and downtown).
The demand for this alignment is also coming from people going Aurora Village businesses. I wouldn’t think there were many from Swift-land, but earlier news reports suggest there are more than I thought. So it will at least have that: access to Costco and all the current and future businesses.
Still, I think the Aurora alternative would have been better. There are surely more people going up and down Aurora and 99 than going to Aurora Village or parking in the P&R for Swift. (Maybe the P&R will become a shadow lot for Link, with Swift as the connector.) As for CT not being willing to build and maintain a Swift station on Aurora, if that’s true it should have mentioned it when the alternatives were being considered. The capital cost is minimal; a detail in the Swift extension. What would concern us more is most Swift stations are separate from other bus routes, so if this were applied to the E people would have to walk from one stop to another.
There are surely more people going up and down Aurora and 99 than going to Aurora Village or parking in the P&R for Swift.
Yes, and don’t forget the folks headed to Link on Swift (the whole point of this exercise). They will have a slower, less reliable connection.
It won’t be significantly slower as long as the loop-de-loop is eliminated. A turn from Aurora is in all alternatives. Meridian is a low-traffic street so won’t have congestion. 200th & Meridian is trivial, and 185th & Meridian has only local traffic (no freeway entrance, no long-distance traffic like Aurora). I’m more concerned about the out-of-the-way station stops at Shoreline South and TIB than I am about Swift on 200th/Meridian.
“It won’t be significantly slower as long as the loop-de-loop is eliminated.”
Agreed. As several others have already pointed out, as long as this loop can be avoided, I don’t think the route selected is the end of the world. Plus, as AL S. has expounded upon in his comment below, changing the routing in the future once Lynnwood Link opens in 2024/25 is doable, even it comes with some additional capital expense.
Speaking of which, I can’t help but wonder if perhaps the Aurora/185th routing would have prevailed had KCM offered some funding assistance.
Meridian is a low-traffic street so won’t have congestion.
No! Why do you get that idea? Of course there is congestion there. Just look at a map. It parallels Aurora, and goes to the same places! I don’t know why you get the idea that it doesn’t work for long distance travel. It is a straight shot for miles and miles, with a relatively high speed limit.
People aren’t idiots. Let’s say someone is making a trip that involves any part of SR 99, between 130th and 228th (https://goo.gl/maps/GKRrpEJAscrjK4r37). But let’s say they encounter heavy traffic on Aurora. Of course they consider cutting over to Meridian. It is a fast street, and absent traffic, about as fast as Aurora. So of course people cut over, the same way they leave the freeway to get on Aurora, or leave Lake City Way to get on 15th NE. It is an obvious route, and if they ask their phone, it will recommend it, *if traffic is lighter*. But that recommendation (as well as drivers making random attempts at a faster route) ends up spreading the traffic and it balances out. Just look at the Google data. The time estimates are almost identical, all day long, for any segment. Of course they are.
As I wrote up above, things would be different is this was not a through street. But it is! It is a straight shot for a very long distance. It works for pretty much all the exact same trips. It has traffic that parallels Aurora, just as the street parallels Aurora.
Things would also be different if there weren’t any bus lanes. But there are! There are bus lanes for every part of Aurora, and, eventually, every part of 185th (for this route). That is why I’ve written this several times, and I keep writing it: Every time of day, the proposes routing is slower for a bus.
When traffic is light, the additional turns (including one left turn each direction) make the trip slower. When traffic is heavy, traffic is also heavy on Meridian, which make the HOV lanes by far the fastest alternative.
Compared to the turns, the loop-de-loop is no big deal. Do you really think that this turn (https://goo.gl/maps/EZ7Kmbm2gmKbk38B9) or this turn (https://goo.gl/maps/KsydDnaekXtmKbPy8) is going to be really quick all the time? The first turn lacks a turn arrow, which means that it will be hell during rush hour. The second does have a turn arrow, which means that at random times, the driver is going to have to wait a full cycle. Keep in mind, the bus *still* has to make a left turn off of Aurora — they aren’t avoiding anything by turning earlier. These are both *additional* turns, that will slow the bus down (along with traffic during rush hour).
Consider Community Transit’s press release. It is all about Aurora Village (“We heard that maintaining bus-to-bus connections at Aurora Village Transit Center was a key priority”). Nowhere in there do they say it is faster or more reliable. Because it isn’t.
Argg. I thought for sure I closed that bold tag. Sorry about that. It was supposed to be:
Every time of day, the proposes routing is slower for a bus.
With the rest of the text normal.
Here’s the complete quote from the CT press release:
” ‘We appreciate the valuable feedback we received from this process,’ said Community Transit Director of Planning and Development Roland Behee. ‘We heard that maintaining bus-to-bus connections at Aurora Village Transit Center was a key priority, and also gained insight into rider preferences for future transit upgrades along the Highway 99 corridor.’ ”
In all fairness to CT, the planning director also said this:
” ‘We will continue analyzing the survey results and work with the public and local jurisdictions as we move the Swift Blue Line Expansion toward project development,’ Behee said.”
Moving on. In regard to this comment…
“Meridian is a low-traffic street so won’t have congestion.”
I thought I dispelled that notion earlier when I quoted the City of Shoreline’s own report from 2011. To reiterate the key assertion contained therein:
“Without any improvements or modifications, several arterial streets in Shoreline are expected
to experience high levels of congestion by 2030. Meridian Avenue N is forecast to operate at or above capacity from N 155th Street to N 200th Street,…”
I tend to agree with Mike and Tlsgwm. The Meridian congestion is metered at 175th and SR 104. In between it’s residential so there isn’t much driveway traffic. I don’t see congestion as that compelling of an argument.
However, as a bus rider, I really detest multiple turns. It’s my biggest beef with transit centers. It makes me somewhat nauseous. Turning also can add bus delay when pedestrians are around because buses may have to wait for pedestrians at one of two crosswalks where buses turn.
Rather than get too thick into the issues, I’d suggest that the dimension of time will arbitrate the ultimate bus routing here. Until changes are warranted, an incremental routing approach has some merit. It’s easier to make a change once the actual demands are understood In the real world.
It’s hard to estimate how many Snohomish riders going to Link will choose Shoreline North Station or prefer to go to Mountlake Terrace or Lynnwood City Center Stations, for example. That’s particularly true southbound where boarding Link earlier may guarantee getting a seat in the mornings.
Plus, this is bus routing. It’s not as if the change can’t be made a year or two after Link opens. The decision doesn’t have to have permanence of rail tracks.
To CT’s credit, they are way ahead of thinking about Link opening than Metro and ST appear to be. I’m rather surprised that this decision is made now, when Link probably won’t open until 2024 or 2025.
I even find it revealing that CT is discussing connecting their Rapid service from Aurora Village when Metro doesn’t with RapidRide. The service design map here even implies that Swift will be the way for RapidRide riders to also get to Link (which seems terribly out-of-direction and time-coqbsuming). I even have to ponder if there is an inter-operator concept to do the “mirror” bus service to this one: a RapidRide extension to the Mountlake Terrace Station.
I think that’s fair. I agree with all Ross’s points, but while it might be a major decision for Swift, it is also a relatively minor commitment.
I agree, they could always change it later. But what worries me is that it is harder to do it later. Any change is hard, and it makes sense to make a big change when everything is changing. Link is coming to the neighborhood. Dozens of Snohomish County bus routes will change. A bunch of Metro routes are changing, especially those up north. That is the time when everyone pays attention to the changes. That is why Metro tends to sneak in a few changes that have nothing to do with the new station, but are good changes that happen to be in the neighborhood. The 308 for example, could easily be truncated at Northgate, or Roosevelt with Northgate Link. It would suddenly make the route a lot more cost effective. But instead it is being killed, simply because Metro wants to kill it (for good reason, it performs poorly).
The same thing is true here. Making changes is tough. The time to make it in this case is with Lynnwood Link, not a few months later, when it is obvious the preferred routing was a mistake.
Agencies don’t reverse themselves often, especially not with Swift/RapidRide lines. CT is calculating it will want this routing for at least 10-20 years. Otherwise it would have more reservations or announce that this alignment is provisional. The Aurora advocates are competing against the Aurora Village shopping center advocates, status quo advocates, and P&R enthusiasts. If the Aurora advocates can’t prevail over the shopping center advocates now, why should they be more likely in the future?
” If the Aurora advocates can’t prevail over the shopping center advocates now, why should they be more likely in the future?” – if there are suddenly a lot more Aurora advocates trying to get to Link are are tired of sitting on the bus through the loop. Edmonds has solid growth plans along the 99 corridor, so drop 2K apartments in a dozen developments over the next decade and there’s a much larger interest group for the Aurora alignment.
if there are suddenly a lot more Aurora advocates trying to get to Link are are tired of sitting on the bus through the loop.
There is a tendency to just assume that is the way things have to be. Imagine the first time you take this bus south, towards 185th. When the bus turns on 200th, I’m sure someone will be thinking, or even saying “Why is the bus turning now?”.
At that point, someone will reply (or they will say to themselves) “I think to serve the transit center”.
At that point, it will just be a given, as if it is self evident — you go to the transit center to make a transfer. This is precisely what this press release states. It is important to make a bus-to-bus transfer. Yet there was nothing in the survey about the fact that the most popular bus-to-bus-transfer (a continuation along Aurora) would be much, much better than the detour to the transit center. Or that a trip to Link would be faster if the bus stays on Aurora longer. I don’t blame people for making the choices they made — there was nothing in there suggesting anything better. It is quite likely that people will continue to endure this, without knowing there is a simple and easy alternative.
“It’s hard to estimate how many Snohomish riders going to Link will choose Shoreline North Station or prefer to go to Mountlake Terrace or Lynnwood City Center Stations”
It depends on how well the Community Transit routes get from various parts of 99 to those stations. That’s under CT’s control. If they come every ten minutes and are reasonably fast and have little meandering, then people will take them to Link otherwise they’ll take Swift. I assume most Swift+Link transfers will be from south of Edmonds Community College.
The decision to stick to the Aurora Village P&R looks similar to Sound Transit’s decision to put the Northgate and Shoreline South stations where existing P&Rs and freeway entrances were. That was common thinking in the 1990s, and ST never grew out of it. It’s odd that CT would do essentially the same thing in 2020.
Metro will have RapidRide E continuing to go to Aurora Village. That makes sense because it’s a significant destination for King County, and having the E turn at 185th would cut off Aurora Avenue from Aurora Village and everything north of 185th, including the apartments across from the transit center. I looked at several routing possibilities in the mid 2000s and concluded that the E should keep its current routing and extend it to the station, and Swift should continue south on Aurora and turn on 185th. That gives a same-stop transfer continuing north or south; the other alternatives require crossing the street. For instance, if both Swift and the E turned east on 185th, then continuing north or south you’d have to cross the street to the other bus stop.
I also debated how important is it for the E to connect to Link, and my conclusion was not very much. Most people south of 200th can take an east-west bus to another Link station; they don’t need to loop around to Shoreline North Station. The E mainly serves the large number of trips along Aurora. When you have a seven mile long highway with businesses all along it including big-box stores, there are always people going from one part of Aurora to another, or from other parts of Seattle to somewhere on Aurora. Shoreline North Station is irrelevant to them. It’s hard to find an example where taking the E around is better than taking an east-west bus on 185th, 175th, 155th, 145th, 130th, 105th, or 85th to their Link stations.
I think this is a rather smart move by CT Planning. You know, the same planning department that has made me cringe most of the time.
This route will open up a lot of connections for Link riders, Swift Blue Line riders and RapidBus riders. Especially as there is a Krispy Kreme on the RapidBus, Paine Field is on the Swift Blue Line and Link light rail well… is Link. Just the way yours truly looks at this.
I do agree with asdf that if there is any cost-effective way to make the SWIFT stop at Aurora faster that needs doing. Clearly that transit center needs an update – complete with a public restroom.
If it’s [Off Topic] to design an educational system that’ll turn out officials who can run an agency that’s not predictably lame, so am [I.]
But fair warning I’m going to [GET] [TOGETHER] [WITH] [OTHERS] [AND][DO] [IT] [ANYHOW!] Whole school-less graduating class to start with.
CC to TRU.
This is what happens when you stick mass transit next to the freeway. At first it seems easier, cheaper and less complicated to build. But then you have to offset the savings with parking garages and poorly run bus routes to get people there. I like Capitol Hill and eventually Roosevelt. It serves a neighborhood. It isn’t there to compete with freeway driving speeds. There are more, but you all know.
Yeah, Link should have gone up Aurora. Or Lake City Way. There are no good solutions for connecting Swift to Link.
Link should have gone up Aurora or Lake City Way, but there really is a good way to connect Swift to Link. Just keep going on Aurora, make a turn on 185th and you are there. That would require exactly as many turns as it does now (1). The bus would stay in BAT lanes the whole way. Same direction transfers on Aurora would be fast and easy. Credit Community Transit for having the good sense to go down to 185th; let’s hope they correct this mistake and go the right way.
I agree with Martin and RossB, Aurora Avenue North seems best. the transfer point between Swift and the E Line would have been on Aurora at North 192nd Street; the Swift need not visit the AVTC. perhaps CT will reconsider. I had heard that CT would shift their local routes to focus on the MT Link station. note the Metro Connects network is not binding; Metro will have a round of public outreach and will be subject to a budget constraint. no one can know what that is. I think Meridian Avenue North draws traffic oriented to the I-5 interchanges at NE 145th and 175th streets. Aurora has BAT lanes; transit will flow. NE 185th Street does not feed an interchange.
The bus should go on Aurora, but at a minimum you need a stop on 200th (specifically just south of 200th each direction, where existing Rapid Ride E stops currently are). This would allow transfers to crossing buses (like the 331) and Snohomish County buses that head south on Aurora, then turn on 200th (101, 115, 130). It also means a fairly short walk for people transferring to the 346 as well as to the shops at Aurora Village. That should be the baseline proposal, and replace this one, since it is better in every respects.
192nd would be an additional stop. Otherwise the 331 would have to detour on Aurora quite a ways, and the Snohomish County buses would have to terminate at 192nd (effectively making it a new transit center). The main problem is that 192nd does not work as a cross street, so a bus like the 331 would be forced to do without a transfer point, or have an awkward routing.
As an *additional* stop, 192nd is a good one. It would likely benefit King County more than Snohomish though. There is a YMCA and a roller derby ring, but no major attractions. There are some apartments and a big park and ride though, so there would be plenty of riders. If the bus continued on Aurora and stopped at both stops (200th and 192nd) it would still likely be as fast as the current routing. One additional stop probably takes less time than a pair of turns. There is already an ORCA card reader there, so there would be a minimum of additional branding to support a Swift bus stop. While this stop would not be essential — it would be good from a system standpoint.
It would solve one of the trickier network problems that Metro faces in the area. 192nd has a huge park and ride lot. It would make sense to run buses regularly from there to the station at 185th. But extending beyond there becomes awkward (the bus ends up looping around). But a shuttle bus just between the two points is too short. Thus it would be ideal if Swift simply stopped there, since it is going between the two points anyway (it is on the way). Getting King and Snohomish County to cooperate with this stop (and this routing) would benefit both agencies. Fare revenue for Swift would increase substantially with the stop at 192nd — it would be a clear win-win once you paid for the new bus stops.
There is one more stop I would consider: at 185th and Aurora. This would enable a faster transfer from Richmond Beach riders (eliminating about 10 minutes of redundant travel).
Just to be clear, neither of these additional stops are needed to make Aurora the better routing. For now, Community Transit should plan on running on Aurora, with only the stop in stop on 200th. They should start explaining how transfers will actually be better (and faster), even if they occur next to Aurora, instead of inside a big parking lot.
Worth noting is that RapidRide and Swift would be the only buses on Aurora between 200th and 185th. Just north of 200th, on Aurora, you would have the Community Transit regular bus stop for the 101, 115 and 130 (as you do now). This would speed up flow along the street, and make it easier for bus drivers to manage the transfer. A northbound Swift driver might see a northbound RapidRide E just a few second behind, and decided to hold up, so enable that transfer. This is easier when the other buses are out of the way.
A couple of follow-up points/questions…
1. Do you really think it’s feasible to have a combined Swift/RapidRide stop at 192nd and Aurora (where the N Shoreline P&R is located)? It seems like both agencies are really invested in their “branding”. I’m not saying I agree with all of that, but it definitely is something which both agencies have put a lot of value on (beyond the service being offered).
2. I don’t think CT puts the same weight on the additional fare revenue from an additional stop along 99 in King County, such as this one at 192nd, as it does on other factors that they feel are important to their riders and their overall mandate. Having several stops on the King County portion of any routing to the Link station at 185th is outside that mandate, particularly if there are capital costs involved (which I realize isn’t necessarily the case with 192nd). In general, I think if Metro were willing to offer financial assistance to help cover the capital costs for such additional stops then I think CT would view things differently. If the tail end of the Swift Blue Line really did become a shuttle service for lots of N Shoreline riders to get to Link, then it only seems fair for CT to be compensated in some fashion for providing this service for KCM.
Btw, what’s the deal with that little “park” area in the NE corner of the N Shoreline P&R? Does it really get used that much or is it more for aesthetics? Perhaps the intention was for riders who are dropped off there and are waiting on their bus or ride home again. None of the planting areas provide any sort of shade but I suppose they do attract a certain number of pollinators, as well as break up this concrete “park” with some greenery.
It’s not “several more stops”. The 185th/Aurora alternative requires relocating one stop from Aurora Village to 185th-192nd. The Link stop will be added anyway because it’s the reason for the extension. The only other potential stop that seem to be raised are one on Meridian (in the Meridian alternative) or perhaps 200th & Aurora (in the Aurora alternative). I don’t think these are essential or worth pushing CT on. The 185th-192nd station is for Snohomish residents to transfer to the E efficiently as much as it is for King County residents to get to Edmonds and Lynnwood. There’s a strong argument for it as a strong two-way straight corridor, that shouldn’t depend on Metro’s funding or begging for it, CT should just do it. Or give evidence about how eseential a stop near the mall is rather than falling back to the lame “bus-to-bus transfers at Aurora Village transit center” argument.
192nd is next to an existing P&R but most of the destinations are at 185th.
1. Do you really think it’s feasible to have a combined Swift/RapidRide stop at 192nd and Aurora (where the N Shoreline P&R is located)?
Absolutely. It really isn’t that hard. All you need is both colors, mixed together, side by side. Some of the RapidRide shelters are quite small (https://goo.gl/maps/WdXu9iLfAtzQjmwJ9), even though the stop is large. You could probably just keep that sign, and add in a “Swift” shelter and a big “Swift” pole (https://goo.gl/maps/Y9HY4saWfgnPtuTy9). Worse case scenario you put the stops back to back, which happens all the time with Swift (https://goo.gl/maps/E9o1PvEYMU5BdpWQA). The E Link just shares stops, even when they are “stations” (https://goo.gl/maps/uXZwZy3h7a8jxhrj8).
2. Having several stops on the King County portion of any routing to the Link station at 185th is outside that mandate. In general, I think if Metro were willing to offer financial assistance to help cover the capital costs for such additional stops then I think CT would view things differently.
I agree completely (and wrote as much). King County residents benefit a lot more if Swift stops at 192nd. There would be some benefit (just as their is some benefit to them stopping at Aurora Village) but not nearly as much as King County residents (who actually live or park there).
The main thing is, this would be a win-win situation. The capital costs for branding the existing BRT station as “Swift” would be minimal and without a doubt should be paid for by King County. It would work out really well for both agencies. Metro avoids having to run an awkward bus, essentially to serve one stop, while Swift gets the fare revenue. Running a brand new line is not cost effective, but stopping certainly is.
There is still a long time before Lynnwood Link gets here. This is a very preliminary recommendation. I have no idea if the two agencies are even discussing this. They haven’t even decided on the Northgate Link based restructure, I doubt Metro is looking ahead, even if Snohomish County is.
Btw, what’s the deal with that little “park” area in the NE corner of the N Shoreline P&R?
I think it is typical art/landscaping that is part of most big projects. I have no idea the history of the park and ride, but it is huge, and looks like it was carved out from cheap, rough, perhaps unpaved land (not that different than what is across the street right now). As part of building a huge public parking lot, they added that little parklet.
“It’s not “several more stops”. ”
Fair enough. That was poor wording on my part. I should have simply said “more than the one additional stop” in the Aurora routing plan (such as described in RossB’s comment). Btw, I actually took the survey back in Feb, or whenever it was, and advocated for the Aurora routing. I’m fine with the stop at 200th or 192nd, if CT wants to try to pick up P&R customers on the way, or a stop at 185th if that’s a better transfer point. I’m not fine with CT paying for all of the up-front capital costs for a SECOND station, particularly one that serves as a shuttle service between that stop and the Link station at 185th. That is going beyond the agency’s mandate as well as the essential point of the extension, i.e., getting these SW SnoCo riders to Link as quickly as possible.
“The 185th-192nd station is for Snohomish residents to transfer to the E efficiently as much as it is for King County residents to get to Edmonds and Lynnwood.”
What’s the market for SW SnoCo riders to get to the KCM E line once Lynnwood Link opens? I ask that sincerely. Are there lots and lots of SW SnoCo residents trying to get to destinations in North Seattle along the E’s corridor? What are those destinations anyway? I can think of one off the top of my head, that being the Woodland Park Zoo, but struggle to think of another. Are there employment centers that would attract such 3-seat ridership? (Yes, these would be 3-seat rides due to the connecting feeder route to Swift.) Do you have any numbers that illustrate this demand?
“There’s a strong argument for it as a strong two-way straight corridor, that shouldn’t depend on Metro’s funding or begging for it, CT should just do it.”
Again, the impetus is for CT’s Swift Blue Line to connect with Link, not the KCM E line. Your statement above is only true if one sees the Swift Blue line as an extension of the E, or vice versa, and that perspective ignores the original purpose for the extension.
Bottom line: If KCM wants another stop along the way to the Link station, then CT shouldn’t be the one paying for it.
“parklet”. I like it and wish I had thought of it first. Lol.
Thanks for your thoughtful reply also.
The 185th/Aurora alternative requires relocating one stop from Aurora Village to 185th-192nd.
OK, now we are introducing confusion, which is part of the reason why I didn’t even want to talk about other stops. Just to review here:
CT currently favors the buses using 200th and Meridian to get to the station (requiring several turns — https://goo.gl/maps/zE2phaQKpszhq63n6).
I favor a more direct routing: https://goo.gl/maps/CTf6weQz5Uq3hRWr7.
As to bus stops, it varies depending on routing. With CT routing, they intend to keep the stop by the Aurora Village TC (at most move it onto the street). It is highly unlikely they would add any other stops.
With the direct routing, there are several options. But at a minimum I would have a stop at 200th. That enables all the transfers that Aurora Village enables (with the exception of the 346, and that only requires a short walk). That is the fastest way for CT to get to Link. Transfers between RapidRide E and Link would be easy and fast. It would require no special cooperation with Metro.
Everything other stop is a bonus, and not essential.
192nd is valuable because it saves Metro the hassle of serving that one stop. That is the biggest benefit, although there are certainly people traveling between those two places.
185th and Aurora provides for an additional transfer, as would 185th and Meridian. Both are bonuses. The two agencies would have to cooperate to make that happen. I have no doubt that if one agency (e. g. Sound Transit) ran Swift, it would have a stop on 192nd and another one on 185th. But since it isn’t, it is reasonable for none of the “bonus” stations to be provided. It would be a mistake to skip the essential stop (at 200th) in favor of a bonus stop (like 192nd or 185th).
Does Swift even need to build a new station? Can it not use the existing Rapid-ride station? There already is an Orca reader, all that is needed is some signage, which is a de minimis investment. I don’t see the need for capital investment by either agency.
Fares from any riders picked up at 192nd heading to Link would should cover the cost of a 1 minute dwell time … seems like there is no added cost for CT to serve a shared stop with the E on Aurora … further, running on Aurora will be cheaper because of the bus lanes, relative to Meridian.
What’s the market for SW SnoCo riders to get to the KCM E line once Lynnwood Link opens?
Hard to say. Before I answer that, let me ask what the market is for transfers to the other buses served by the transit center:
115 — Someone could just transfer at 238th instead.
130 — I suppose if you are going to Edmonds it could make sense, but it would probably be a lot more straightforward to take the 116 or 196. Likewise there are other ways to get to Mountlake Terrace instead of doing that much backtracking.
331 — Gets you to Shoreline CC, although very slowly. The 331 isn’t very frequent, either (every half hour).
That’s pretty much it, and it isn’t much. Yet it was the biggest concern from the survey. This isn’t obvious. I wouldn’t have been surprised if people basically wrote “Just get to Link as fast as possible”, but instead they wanted to keep those transfers, even though there aren’t any major destinations, unless you count the slow and infrequent trip to Shoreline College.
My guess is there are lots of minor destinations, and the same is true for the E. This is one of the arguments for stopping at both 192nd and 185th. There are people visiting a friend in an apartment, or going to the YMCA or visiting the skating rink. Or maybe they have a job at Fred Meyer, or are training to be a nurses aid. To a large extent the E is very popular not because it has a hugely popular destination, but because it has lots and lots of little destinations. But assuming that Shoreline Community College is the most popular destination (and driving the transfers) improving the E to Swift connection will pay big dividends in the future. As mentioned, the 331 is not frequent nor fast. If you just finish a class, you will probably have several buses that can get you out to Aurora. Most people would just take the first one, even though it means an extra transfer. The E is frequent and fast, which means the combination is likely much faster than what happens today.
I’m not talking about huge numbers of people to those other destinations, but Swift really doesn’t have huge numbers of people. It has about 5,000 riders, and many (if not most) of them are traveling between relatively minor destinations.
But assume that it is the other way around, and north King County residents benefit more. Someone in an apartment in Shoreline can take a bus (or two) to get to Swedish and Premera Blue Cross. What’s wrong with that? Most officials love it if people commute to their county, especially if they commute by bus. It is hard to see why Snohomish County officials would complain about that, given the huge amount of money they are spending to make it easier for people to work at (or around) Boeing. The same is true of travel to Edmonds College. You want to make it easy for students to get to your college — even if it is just for a class or two. Those are two of the three big destinations for Swift, and it makes a lot of sense for someone in an apartment on Aurora to take two buses to get there, rather than bus-train-bus, especially if the transfer is easy.
Does Swift even need to build a new station? Can it not use the existing Rapid-ride station?
The RapidRide E Line stops just south of 200th (both directions). These are “stops”, not “stations”, which means they don’t have all the amenities. So, at a minimum, one of the counties would have to add readers, and perhaps a reader board, along with the proper Swift branding. If it is the only stop on Aurora for Swift, then I would expect all the proper amenities.
The 101, 115 and 130 northbound stops just north of 200th would remain. Community Transit would likely add a similar stop on 200th, just east of Aurora.
That is the minimum requirement in my opinion, and that is assuming there really are significant transfers occurring between Swift and 101/115/130 at 200th. We know people like to transfer, but it isn’t clear what buses are involved. If it is all Swift/331 and Swift/E, then they wouldn’t have to add that second bus stop.
Everything after that is a bonus, and wouldn’t cost much either. 192nd is already a “station”, which means that someone would only need to invest in branding. That is likely very cheap.
Northbound 185th is already a station as well, so that would be cheap. However, a station for the southbound bus would be on 185th itself (eastbound) which means that it would be a brand new Swift stop. That would cost something, which is another reason it is the least likely to happen.
“The E is frequent and fast,…”
Just a brief aside….
I thought the E was the one RapidRide route that is failing to meet Metro’s reliability standard. I seem to recall the last system report I read (not sure if it was from 2018 or 2019), showing the E running late beyond the threshold some 25% of the time throughout the weekday. Am I thinking of the wrong RapidRide route?
You are correct. It was late 23% of the time. Another reason we should be glad it is frequent and fast :)
Seriously though, that is high for RapidRide, but not exceptional. I think the big issue is that it is very long. My guess is Swift is unreliable as well — it is just the nature of very long routes. Here is a list of some of the buses that are above the threshold: 5X, 5, 8, 17, 18, 21, 24, 26, 37, 56, 62, 63, 64, 105 – 116, 122, 123, 131, 148. The worst in the day time is the 37, which was 43% late. The worst at night was the 216, at 55% late.
Lateness is really not a measure of overall speed, but of consistency. You can always make a bus more consistent by adding in padding time — I have no idea if they did that with the E, or if the schedule is just less accurate than other buses.
“the E is very popular not because it has a hugely popular destination, but because it has lots and lots of little destinations.”
My experience confirms this. Several times I’ve watched to see if there are any stops where a lot of people get on/off but there isn’t, except from the peak commuters at 46th who treat it as an express. When I get on at Aurora Village, inevitably only two or three others are there. Then it’s one or two people getting on or off at each stop, never a crowd. Yet somehow the bus goes from only a few people on it at the Aurora Village end to a lot of people on it in the middle and then fewer people at the Pike Street end. (I rarely ride it south of Pike so i don’t know what the load is there.)
@RossB and @Mike Orr
This has been an excellent thread discussion. I think I learned a thing or two in the process. Yay!
This is actually one of the few blogs that I follow wherein I actually respond to the OP and/or the ensuing comments. I find the discussions here to be generally pretty informative as well as thought provoking. I think that’s what makes for a good blog environment, i.e., one that provides for a diversity of opinions by well-informed contributors and other participants who add to the blog’s commentary. The end result is that on any given transit (or urbanism)-related topic this blog happens to cover, one may find himself challenged on his own preconceptions and perhaps reconsider those positions as a result. I see that as a very positive experience. This blog also seems to do a good job at controlling bad behavior and trolling, the very things that will dissuade me from following a particular blog in a heartbeat.
Anyway, thanks for engaging in the preceding discussion.
That’s why I’m here too. Both for the transit information, to learn from others, and to test my ideas to see if there’s any factor I’m not considering enough. Both the articles and the comments give me valuable input. Including your corrections and assertions and your experience living in Snohomish County.
My background is from earlier internet forms in the 1990s and 2000s on free software and other topics, where everybody was constructive and positive and shared ideas. That’s the kind of discussion I prefer and promote. Many others here think similarly, and I guess high-quality discussion begets high-quality discussion, and keeps non-productive degeneration to a minimum. I’m generally highly active in only one forum at a time and right now this is it.
Likewise. I enjoy the good-natured debates quite a bit. I tend to get into the weeds too much, but mainly because it is fun to get into the weeds. Speaking of which…
If a bus is frequent (like RapidRide E) then being late opens up the possibility of bus bunching. It is easy to see how this happens. The first bus is just a little bit late (congestion perhaps, or more likely someone taking a long time getting on or off the bus). Now someone randomly catching a bus is more likely to catch that (slightly delayed) bus. More and more riders get on and off that bus. Simply getting on the bus takes a bit longer as well. People who are not that nimble find that the areas around the doors are crowded. The driver — being responsible — waits for the passenger to get a seat, or at the very least, get a good hold of things. Next thing you know, the bus gets slower and slower. This is way more likely to happen with long routes (like the E).
Meanwhile, the bus behind it is not picking up many people. Those random riders that would normally wait and catch that bus have caught the other one (the one that is late). It catches up to the other bus easily (a bus is fast if it doesn’t pick anyone up).
All that adds up to bus bunching. It is not the end of the world, but it is not ideal. If you have frequent service along a corridor (like Aurora) and you have enough frequency to ignore schedules, then the only real problem with a bus being “late” is bus bunching. Otherwise, no one really cares whether they caught the “5:32” or the “5:37”.
Bus bunching can be handled with sophisticated electronics. Drivers can detect where they are in relation to other drivers, and slow down accordingly. In a street like Aurora, my guess is drivers do their own form of pacing. A savvy driver can see the other bus from a mile away, and decide to just kick back a bit. There is nothing wrong with lingering a while at a bus stop, even if no one is coming.
It is much harder in other parts of the city. If you are a driver of the 24, you have no idea you are creeping up on your fellow driver until you are right on top of them, and then you play hopscotch. I think more than anything, that is why I’m not too concerned about lateness with the E. It happens, but I doubt it causes much of a problem. It could always be split up, but I doubt that would be cost effective until we had a much more robust system (where 5 minute all day buses were commonplace).
It will be interesting to see what happens after Link gets farther north. It is quite possible that two-seat rides replace a fair number of long distance E trips. Will the E continue to have high ridership, as a secondary “spine” — or will a bunch of riders prefer a trip like this (bus to Link)? My guess is the E will still have plenty of riders, but see a slight decrease.
Hopefully they find a way to terminate the E Line at a Link station, perhaps at Mountlake Terrace Link. Would be very helpful for people trying to transfer from the I-5 to Aurora corridor SB or the opposite NB.
Yeah, I doubt it. That is something Al mentioned up above, and it has been discussed before. Most of the E Line stops already have crossing bus routes that are likely to be reasonably convenient:
200th — CT 130 and hopefully Swift.
192nd — Discussed directly above. Either Swift covers it, or there will be a variation of the 301 providing shuttle service between it and the 185th station.
185th — Covered by the 348 (likely to get a lot more frequent).
180th — Nothing
175th — Likely to have some sort of crossing frequent service.
170th — Nothing
165th — Nothing
160th — 330
155th — 330
152nd — Nothing (although a short walk to 155th)
145th — 304
135th — Nothing
130th — Future crossing bus
125th — Nothing
115th — Nothing
105th — 40
So, as it stands, there are gaps, but not that many. Several of these (e. g. 135th) would be much faster if the rider took the crossing bus and walked. The only big hole is at 170th, and there just isn’t enough there to justify special treatment. Things are growing there, so if they do add something, then one of the bus routes could be modified slightly to dogleg on it. For example, on Metro’s long range plan (http://www.kcmetrovision.org/plan/service-map/) they have a frequent route labeled the 1215. It crosses 175th between the freeway and I-5, and is shown for 2025 and 2040. Instead of continuing on 175th all the way to Fremont, it could dogleg on Aurora. So, from the station to the college it would run like so: https://goo.gl/maps/7feQotG9tR7jwDMj6. That would be much more useful than sending the E up to Mountlake Terrace. It would be much faster for riders trying to get from Link to those parts of Aurora, and would double up service between the college and Aurora. In contrast, extending the E would cost a lot of money for relatively few passengers.
If you think the Link+E connection is important and you would ride it often, by all means tell Metro, both now and when the Lynnwood Link reorg gets underway two years before Link opens. King County residents don’t have much clout with Community Transit but we do with Metro. If enough feedback comes around that the E should be extended to either Shoreline North or Mountlake Terrace, it might happen. I don’t think the E should abandon Aurora Village so it would have to be an extension.
However, first think about whether you really need the E or whether an east-west route to a Link station would be just as good or at least good enough. There will be east-west routes, and they’ll be at the major Aurora intersections and destinations. So it really boils down to, are you going to a part of Aurora that’s in between those arterials and an inconvenient distance from them? If so, where are the worst spots, and which of those would generate a significant number of riders?
I definitely understand the tradeoffs. I am aware of all the cross street frequent bus lines planned. I am just also aware that the frequency of those perpendicular lines will be worse than either Link or E Line at any given time.
If someone lives along the Aurora corridor, not near a good cross street, and works in Downtown Lynnwood perhaps, it would be way easier for them to take the E all the way to Link. Also, if someone lives up near Alderwood and works somewhere along Aurora at a lower income job, then it also really makes life easier for them. For many people, living and working on parallel corridors (Aurora and I-5) means a three seat ride, with relatively weak frequency on the middle segment. I would feel differently if more of the cross lines were being considered for Rapid Ride themselves or something like Stride on 145th being extended to Aurora or Greenwood.
I do wonder how many additional transit riders there would be if E terminated at Mountlake, rather than compelling people to maybe backtrack on Swift for 6 min at AVTC to 185th Link. I think that’s an open question. And I think that there might be more riders per service hour on the section of E from AVTC to Link than on those perpendicular cross street lines during more hours of the day. I think it very much merits discussion when the Lynnwood Link restructure planning process happens in 2023. It would be a very legible network adjustment.
Ha, it just occurred to me that if Metro did that, they would probably layover at Mountlake Terrace, which means they would skip the Transit Center entirely. Ha, that would be funny. Anyway …
I still don’t think it is worth it. Another problem is consistency, which is an issue Tlsgwm brought up. The E is often late, meaning that it has an inconsistent schedule. This is largely because it is so long. If it is made longer, it would be even more inconsistent.
I am just also aware that the frequency of those perpendicular lines will be worse than either Link or E Line at any given time.
Yeah, sure. But extending the E costs money, and that money could be used to improve the frequency of those other lines. As it is, those crossing lines are all slated to be “frequent”, which typically means 15 minutes or better. Given the extra driving distance, it is at best a wash. Every crossing bus is slated for similar treatment (at least 15 minute service). It might be a bit faster, but I just don’t think it is worth it. I just don’t see that many riders who would benefit that much.
It is a different dynamic in Snohomish County. To begin with, there are just a lot more people headed to the Seattle destinations. Lots of people from Snohomish County are going to Northgate, the UW, Capitol Hill and downtown. Not as many are headed to 192nd and Aurora, or 185th and Aurora. Likewise, not that many people on Aurora are going in the reverse direction (to Mountlake Terrace or Lynnwood).
Time will tell, but I’m not as confident that CT connecting routes will be as frequent or fast as those in King County. For 238th/84th, I don’t see any alternative but to take Swift if you want to get to a Link Station. The 119 is a bit awkward and slow as well. It could be fixed, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it remains that way. That means someone from Premera or Swedish Edmonds is better off taking Swift. With Swift committed to 185th, and money relatively short, CT probably can’t afford to fully fund lots of alternatives.
In contrast, Metro really expects to improve all of those corridors, and not just for the stops on Aurora.
The east-west routes will probably run every 15 minutes. Maybe less evenings/Sundays; we’ll have to watch for that in the reorg and see if Metro skimps. The E runs weekdays every 10 minutes until 10pm, Saturdays every 12 minutes until 5pm, and Sundays every 15 minutes until 11pm; then its frequency drops. So the E is more frequent than the other theoretical routes weekdays, slightly more frequent Saturdays, and the same frequency Sundays.
The biggest issue is avoiding three-seat rides because they suck. That’s what I was trying to get at: how many places along Aurora would require Link + an east-west route + the E, and how common are trips to those places. For instance, can we say that trips to 200th, 170th, 120th, etc are so few that we don’t need to worry about them? Or are they so important that we should extend the E to Link mainly for them?
I also wonder what the marginal cost of extending the E 2.5 miles is compared to extending the span of 15 min service on some of the perpendicular routes. Many of the perpendicular routes do not serve as large intermediate urban hubs and have less all day demand that Aurora.
North to South:
1002 – Rich Beach / 185th / 15th / UW Med – Inbound morning, outbound evening, light otherwise.
1215 – 175th / Kenmore – Mostly a Link feeder.
1019 – SCC / 155th / 145th / 35th / UW – Upper segment a Link feeder, lower – UW.
1512 – 145th / 3rd / 8th / Magnolia / Interbay – Upper segment, N Seattle Link feeder, lower Ballard-Magnolia line.
1998 – MLT / 5th / Meridian / Northgate – N-S neighborhood Link feeder.
1007 – SCC / Greenwood / 130th / Lake City / Sand Point / UW – The best service route – SCC, Bitter Lake, Lake City, and then UW.
South of there, the perpendicular routes are more RR, which are better than the neighborhood Link feeders for the purpose I envision.
In general, the urban villages those feeder lines serve sound like good lines for all day frequent use, but probably not later night or weekend frequent service.
If you get late enough at night, the only lines that are going to be 15 min will be Link and RapidRide. If that’s the case, then might as well connect the E Line to Link, while most of the cross routes go to 20-30 min. Many folks can’t be bothered with infrequent double transfers, yet may need transit outside of 9-5 work patterns.
It also helps people develop a mental shorthand for the system – knowing that if they want to head north on Link, that the E will take them there eventually, if they are not near a favorable, all day frequent feeder line. Board one bus and be done with it. If someone from points north of MLT needs to get on the Aurora corridor, many will opt to just transfer early to the E and not have to deal with a less robust feeder line. The E Line connection will serve the people in between the perpendicular lines, as well as people who don’t want to deal with trying to figure out whether their feeder line is frequent at that given time or not. The E will be frequent at the vast majority of times they would need it, so just stick with that, as a few mishaps with
I can see plenty of people eventually living along the I-5 vector of Lynnwood and working various service industry or eventually office, on Aurora, some of those 2-3 people who get one and off at each little E Line stop. Cooks and clerks in AV, Fred Meyer, light industry, and whatever replaces Aurora Square. Conversely, I can see people living in lower rent apartments on Aurora just hopping on the E at their neighborhood stop and riding it up to Link for a quick ride to the plethora of retail and office jobs in the eventual urban center Alderwood area.
Of course it’s important to model out how many people would use that transfer, but I have a strong feeling that more people per service hour will use that connection over the course of a day than additional span of 15 min service on the perpendicular feeders that mainly serve residential areas and smaller urban villages, whose demand will be very 9-7 ish.
*a few mishaps with having to endure a surprise infrequent transfer will turn many people off from using that particular set of transit segments and perhaps transit altogether.
So the E is more frequent than the other theoretical routes weekdays
Yes, but the difference is small (15 minutes compared to 10). The speed difference will likely more than make up for that for most trips.
How many places along Aurora would require Link + an east-west route + the E, and how common are trips to those places?
It depends on how the buses are restructured of course. But I think it is reasonable to assume something similar to the 2025 long range plan, along with the dogleg I suggested earlier. That would leave: 180th, 152nd, 145th, 135th, 125th, 115th, 100th, 95th, 90th, 75th, 65th, 45th, and a couple on the side of Queen Anne. That looks like a lot, but many of these are so far south that a three seat ride is reasonable and likely a lot faster (because you would stay on Link longer). Realistically, the ones that matter are north of Northgate. So that is six stops: 180th, 152nd, 145th, 135th, 125th, 115th. This also assumes no additional east-west bus service (I could easily see a bus across 145th). All but 115th are within a five minute walk of another stop. There really isn’t much at 115th. There are some apartments, and it is a five minute walk to Northwest Hospital. But if you are on Link and that is your destination, you are better off getting off at Northgate and taking a 347/348 (or taking some sort of bus from 130th). So basically, you have half a dozen stops that would require extra walking (just as people walk extra distances to Swift). That just doesn’t seem worth it, when all you are giving those riders is a faster trip (maybe) to Mountlake Terrace and Lynnwood.
There is no question that extending the E would add value. But it would be very costly, and make it even less reliable. It isn’t special, either. There are similar north-south parallel streets with way more riders. For example, if I want to get from 65th and Phinney to 65th and 24th NW, I have to take three buses. Fixing that would serve way more riders. Meanwhile, the Greenwood/Phinney corridor is in the same boat as the E. Should the 5 be extended all the way to a Link Station as well? It is an awkward situation, but there are far more important situations that we should spend our money on.
Many of the perpendicular routes do not serve as large intermediate urban hubs and have less all day demand that Aurora.
Nonsense. First of all, the long range plans are meant as a rough suggestion, not a detailed plan. But they do give an idea of the value added by creating good east-west routes. I’m looking at the 2025 plan, for example:
1002 – Richmond Beach and North City are every bit as worthy destinations as most of the spots on Aurora. They are quite similar, really (this looks a lot like Aurora — https://goo.gl/maps/c3inHsXwfVA3EkiG6).
1215 – One of the weaker routes, but still reasonably strong. Any bus that connects to Shoreline College performs well and there are plenty of places along the way.
1019 – This is an extension of the 65, which runs every ten minutes. The extension would connect riders to Link, Aurora and Shoreline College. Of course it would run frequently.
1997 — Connects Shoreline College, Bitter Lake, Aurora, Link and Lake City. It would be one of the most cost effective (and thus frequent) buses in the system.
Other than 1215, all of them are rock solid. The main thing though is that they serve way more trips. For example, the 1002 connects Richmond Beach to Aurora and Link. Thus Richmond Beach is connected to all of the places on Aurora, as well as Northgate, UW, Capitol Hill and Downtown. What is true of Richmond Beach is true of North City.
In contrast, your proposal doesn’t do that much. It connects parts of Aurora with Mountlake Terrace, which in turn connects them with Lynnwood (both minor destinations). They can take other buses from Mountlake Terrace, but they aren’t likely to be very frequent, nor go to that many places. Most of the places in Snohomish County are already served by Swift.
Put it this way: Assume you extend the E to Mountlake Terrace. Now imagine you are at 185th and Aurora. The only reason to take the E to Mountlake Terrace is if you are headed to Mountlake Terrace or Lynnwood. No one will ride the bus all the way up to Mountlake Terrace, and then down. Yet you might do just as well to take the 348 to 185th, then take Link north. Meanwhile, you also take the 348 if you want to get to Northgate, the U-District, Capitol Hill or Downtown Seattle. In terms of ridership, it isn’t even close. Only a small handful will ride to Mountlake Terrace from that spot, while lots and lots of people will ride to 185th.
What is true of 185th is true of the other places as well, even 200th. Way more people will take Swift down to 185th, then the bus up to Mountlake Terrace. This if the northern terminus. As you move south, it becomes even more clear.
The great value in enhancing the grid is that it improves lots and lots of additional trips. Extending the E Line up to Mountlake Terrace does not.
Re 145th, I think people assume it has a greater role in people’s trips than it does. It’s not a neighborhood concentration; it’s in the periphery of three neighborhoods (Bitter Lake, Northgate, and Lake City). On the Shoreline side the concentrations are on Aurora at 155th, 175th, and 185th, and the community center at 185th Station. 145th goes through the outer fringe of all those. It could have been different but that’s how the cities evolved.
Currently there’s hardly any all-day transit on 145th, just the 65 between 35th and 15th NE and the 30-60 minute 347 between 15th and 5th. That creates a gap around the 512 stop that makes it practically unusable to get to from anywhere in north Seattle.
In the 2025 plan the 65 is extended west to the station and north to 155th and Shoreline CC. That will be a strong route and will connect Aurora to the station, not at 145th but 155th. That’s where the concentration of people will be coming from, both from the shopping center and the college and Shoreline’s planned urban village. West of the station a reconfigured 347 goes west to Meridian, but there’s nothing between Meridian and Aurora. I think that’s due to budget limitations: Metro would like to have full 145th service but there are too many higher priorities in North Seattle to fit it in that round.
In the 2040 plan a new route runs west of the station to 3rd Ave NW and south to the Ballard Fred Meyer. That with the 65 and 522 Stride will give frequent access to the station from both west and east, but nothing all the way across from Bitter Lake to Lake City. But yet there is, just not on 145th! The extended 65 (called 1019 on the map) will run from 155th & Aurora past the station to 125th & Lake City Way and beyond, connecting most of the urban villages in the area. (The remaining one at 130th & Aurora is handled by another route to 130th Station whenever it opens, and has no direct access to Link if that station is delayed.)
So that will give full service on 145th west and east of the station but nothing going all the way through from Aurora to Lake City. We’ve debated several times how important that gap is. My opinion is that 155th & Aurora is close enough. And maybe something should go from 145th Station to 130th & Aurora.
Well, after doing some searching online last night without any success, I concluded that Shoreline must not do annual concurrency/LOS reports for their arterials and other corridors (like Snohomish County produces for instance*). This analysis is a necessity of the transportation element of each jurisdiction’s required Comprehensive Plan update. The frequency of the analysis is left to the jurisdiction however, as long as the minimum requirements of the Comp Plan update are adhered to.
Nevertheless, Shoreline does put out an annual traffic volume report**, as well as traffic speed and speed differential reports, which are interesting to review in the context of this post’s topic. For example, looking at the most recent report (2018 data), I was a bit surprised to see that the volume on the Meridian corridor in question here is a little more than a third of the volume seen on the comparable section of Aurora (~11,000 ADV and ~29,000 ADV respectively). I’ve travelled along both corridors from Snohomish County down into Shoreline multiple times to visit a relative in Shoreline and, just anecdotally, traffic never seemed that heavy on the Meridian corridor. This leads me to believe that the traffic on Meridian is being bumped up mostly at peak hours by travelers seeking to avoid Aurora congestion, traffic light cycles, etc. Admittedly, that could certainly be a faulty conclusion on my part as other factors may be at play and I dont travel on this corridor frequently enough (i.e., SSS issue). Still, one has to at least recognize the traffic volume difference between these two corridor options for what it is and I’m sure that CT took this into consideration in their analysis. This in turn leads to the whole discussion on BAT lane implementation and whether Shoreline can meet this goal.
*Snohomish County Annual Concurrency Report (pdf d/l):
**Shoreline Annual Traffic Report:
I know people who have used Meridian when both I-5 and Aurora are congested and they’ve never said Meridian is congested. When I’ve been on Meridian I’ve never seen it congested. Shoreline may be right that it will get congested in the future, or it may be one of those pre-covid analyses that doesn’t take into account the apparent reduction in commuting trends. In that case the congestion may appear later, outside a reasonable window for current Swift planning.
“When I’ve been on Meridian I’ve never seen it congested.”
Yeah, Mike, that’s been my experience as well. As I stated above, I was actually a little surprised at the volume figure of some 11,000 daily vehicles (on the relevant section) tbh.
Anyway, I hope CT reconsiders this preliminary routing decision to use Meridian instead of Aurora. Furthermore, let’s hope that Shoreline can somehow move forward with their plans for the 185th corridor improvements, which essentially boils down to finding the needed funding.
It is all relative. When Aurora is barely moving, Meridian is just moderately slow. It is common for people to take secondary streets when the main road is moving really slowly. The other street is usually moving a bit faster, but still slower than normal.
The slowness shows up in Google Maps data as well: https://goo.gl/maps/6D4Uzb1EC6eLmAPY7. At 5:30, it takes 4-8 minutes. Interestingly enough, it takes 3-6 minutes via Aurora and 185th (https://goo.gl/maps/9Wnuq4DzBfHrBc75A). But that misses the point. Those times are for cars. With buses, the trip is much closer to 3 minutes, each and every time, since the bus can run in a bus lane.
Good on Community Transit for following my advice on this route selection! I moved to Snohomish County a few years ago, and I’m an occasional bus rider, often via the AV transit center. Great to maximize those AVTC connections.
Roger, the transit connections will be different in 2023 with Link than they are today. Link is a game changer.
I support the route as it’s proposed. Aurora is well served by buses and making turns to/from is time consuming. I’ve regularly waited on 185th to get to Aurora and it takes forever. Transit needs between 185th and AVTC should primarily be addressed by KCM. If Swift makes any stops between the TC and Link, they should be few in number, consistent with their existing Swift service. It’s a great thing to have the proposed type of service that can quickly take you between a Link and a nearby transit center. Does Comm Trans have a policy regarding service investments outside its taxing district?
It’s not transit needs between 185th and AVTC we’re concerned about; it’s trips with one end further south along Aurora and the other end in Snohomish County.
Aurora is well served by buses and making turns to/from is time consuming.
Either way you make one turn from Aurora. Really it comes down to which is faster, this: https://goo.gl/maps/N1C678ej7UmZBjMy9 or this: https://goo.gl/maps/QmTT84m26jwr5Bkw7.
The first is faster, every, single time. Yes, I know, as a *driver* you might think that the second way is sometimes faster. That is because as a *driver*, you don’t get to drive for miles in the HOV lane. When there is congestion on Aurora, there is (some) congestion on Meridian. But Aurora has bus lanes, while Meridian does not. So, again, the first route is faster every single time, because it avoids two turns.
When originally envisioned, the idea was to not serve King County destinations. In fact, that point was reiterated in this process. For over 20 years, the City of Shoreline has been trying to get BRT to extend south into Shoreline, for Snohomish County riders to have potentially a one-seat ride to Shoreline (Community) College (160th & Greenwood) or to Shoreline Park & Ride (192nd & Aurora), where there’s a natural turnaround. Further, city officials have wanted to dramatically scale back Aurora Village Transit Center and replace the interior with commercial activity. This selection seems to indicate that they’re continuing to lose that argument, or they’ve given up.
There were many alternatives to this routing. The cleanest was to stay on Aurora, stop at 200th and 192nd, then head east on 185th, which used to be four lanes and was narrowed to two. Another was 175th (and circle back to Link on 10th NE, which would’ve allowed for a stop at Shoreline City Hall, but that would be taboo. Another was to use 205th Street, either from Aurora or, to avoid that traffic light, using the loop onto SR-104, then turn south on 1st NE, which is much lighter traveled than Meridian, a gentler slope, has room for layover, doesn’t enter the single-family neighborhood until 195th, and has a traffic light at 185th. However, this rules out all connections to RapidRide, though transfers go to other routes at Aurora Village as well, most notably the 331 and 342 to the eastside, the 331 to Shoreline Community College, the 373 to the U District, the 346 to Northgate, the 303 to First Hill. However, most of those routes will truncate or be replaced. If Aurora Village is being kept “as is,” another option would be, heading east from Aurora Village, to head north on Meridian, east on 205th, and then south on 1st NE to avoid some of the predictable congestion due to bus bunching at 185th & Meridian.
It will be interesting to see how this routing works/doesn’t.
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