Aerial view of West Seattle (2016)

The double crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic and the West Seattle Bridge’s closure has left tens of thousands of people stuck in commuting limbo. As demand for commuter capacity begins rising again, Metro is preparing several scenarios based on bridge availability, bus capacity, and funding impacts related to the pandemic. The West Seattle Bridge Closure Transit Action Plan lays out two scenarios for transit service to the peninsula beyond September 2020, when the first set of service changes can take place.

Scenario 1 would be used in the event that the Spokane Street Bridge (also known as the “low bridge”) remains open to transit. Scenario 2 would be used if the low bridge is closed, with two sub-options based on whether the bridge is closed for short-term maintenance or malfunctions (Tier 1) or for long-term evacuation in case the “high bridge” becomes critically unstable (Tier 2). The presented scenarios would cover a “horizon period” until the September 2021 service change, when service would need to be re-evaluated to fit different commuting trends.

With the high bridge closed until at least 2022 (and likely for longer if a full replacement is deemed necessary), some 900 weekday bus trips carrying 19,000 daily passengers have been displaced. A large portion of these trips were oriented towards downtown workers, a demographic with a slower rise in demand, leaving essential workers working through the pandemic as the main users of transit through these near-term changes.

Table of vehicle capacities with social distancing requirements (King County Metro)

Until the September 2020 service change, Metro plans to maintain its current level of pandemic-reduced service with adjustments to allow for social distancing. As of writing, King County only permits 12 total passengers on 35/40-foot coaches and 18 on 60-foot coaches (compared to the usual heavy load of 83 passengers on the latter). Suspensions remain in place on most peak-only commuter routes and other lower-priority services in favor of eventually providing near-normal service levels on core routes like the C Line and Route 21.

The West Seattle Bridge Closure Transit Action Plan (or WSBCTAP?) is a “living document”, which is intended to be updated and changed as new developments arise. One of these developments would be the status of the Seattle Transportation Benefit District (STBD), which is headed to the November ballot as a sales tax to replace the existing sales-and-MVET combo. The updated STBD could be used to offset farebox losses and other revenue hits that Metro is anticipating over the next few years, which would otherwise limit the options available to transit planners to work around the bridge closure.

Scenario 1

Route 21 and the C Line, heading westbound on Spokane Street near new bus stops

Under Scenario 1, with transit-prioritized use of the Spokane Street Bridge during daytime hours, Metro anticipates that it can begin restoring some services. Due to potential reductions in STBD funding, however, the restorations will likely be nowhere near normal levels.

Peak period routes 55, 56, and 57 would return to service, relieving capacity crunches for Admiral, Alaska Junction, Genesee Hills, and Alki. Additional supplemental service would be available to deploy on crowded trips by providing trailing buses. Metro anticipates that under Scenario 1, they can provide capacity 13,300 daily passengers (2,300 during AM peak towards downtown), a slight boost from current service levels but far short of the normal 64,200 (11,900 in AM peak).

The Water Taxi would also remain on its Winter sailing schedule and would be able to carry up to 86 passengers per run. With 6 round trips, the water taxi would have capacity for 546 passengers in the peak direction during a 3-hour commuting window at 33 percent capacity. A full schedule with a second boat could carry 796 passengers at 33 percent capacity, while having three boats would raise this to 1,046 passengers.

Metro also plans to open a new pair of bus stops on Spokane Street at Manning Street to serve Harbor Island at the request of the Port of Seattle and Northwest Seaport Alliance. The stops would open in September 2021 as part of that month’s service change, but could open sooner if there is demand.

During the September 2020 to September 2021 horizon period, Metro anticipates to make the following changes:

  • RapidRide C Line: Maintain current reroute
  • Routes 21/21X: Maintain current reroute
  • Route 22: Remain suspended
  • Route 37: Remain suspended in favor of Route 775 water taxi shuttle
  • Route 50: Maintain current reroute with modifications for Lander Street Bridge opening
  • Route 55: Restore and reroute
  • Route 56: Restore and reroute
  • Route 57: Restore and reroute
  • Route 60: Monitor for transit priority need
  • Route 113: Remain suspended
  • Route 116: Remain suspended in favor of C Line service from Fauntleroy
  • Routes 118X/119X: Remain suspended in favor of C Line service from Fauntleroy
  • Route 120: Maintain current reroute
  • Routes 121/122/123: Remain suspended
  • Route 125: Maintain current reroute
  • Route 131/132: Monitor for transit priority need
  • Route 773 Alaska Jct Shuttle: Increase frequency to meet demand if funding allows
  • Route 775 Alki Shuttle: Increase frequency to meet demand if funding allows

Scenario 2, Tier 1: Short-Term Closure

During a short-term closure of the Spokane Street Bridge, Metro will reroute buses from the Chelan 5-way intersection down West Marginal Way to the 1st Avenue South Bridge, then north onto SR 509 / SR 99 or 1st Avenue South. The reroute essentially follows the permanent detour for non-bus/freight traffic during daytime hours, which adds 5 miles to each trip.

Scenario 2, Tier 2: Long-Term Closure

The high bridge (left) and low bridge (center) as seen from the west approach

The doomsday scenario as described in Tier 2 would be activated as soon as the low bridge is closed by SDOT and traffic within the “fall zone” under the high bridge is cleared. A long-term reroute would be in place for most routes, while others would be replaced by temporary new routes to connect passengers with other services. Tier 2 would also be used specifically if West Marginal Way is closed, especially where it crosses under the high bridge near the Chelan 5-way intersection.

The following are the preliminary reroutes proposed by Metro, which are subject to change and would only be used until West Marginal Way is reopened:

  • RapidRide C Line: Rerouted to Admiral Way and California Avenue to terminate at Seacrest Park with transfer to water taxi.
  • Route 21/21X: Layover near 35th Avenue & Alaska Street, with service towards downtown via 35th Avenue, Westwood Village, and Roxbury Street. Buses would continue onto the 1st Avenue South Bridge to resume normal routing.
  • Routes 37/55: Normal routing within West Seattle, using the 1st Avenue South Bridge to reach downtown.
  • Routes 56/57: Normal routing within West Seattle, using the 1st Avenue South Bridge to reach downtown. Outbound trips (to Admiral) would use Delridge Way.
  • Route 50: Normal routing until Delridge Way, where it turns south to follow the 1st Avenue South Bridge pathway.
  • Route 116: Live-looped service from the Fauntleroy ferry terminal to Seacrest Park via Fauntleory Way and Admiral Way (southbound) or Harbor Avenue (northbound).
  • Routes 118X/119X: From the Fauntleroy ferry terminal, buses would travel east via Roxbury Street to the 1st Avenue South Bridge and onward to downtown.
  • Route 120: Normal northbound routing to Delridge & Spokane, turning around to return to Roxbury Street and join the 1st Avenue South Bridge pathway. Southbound trips from downtown would skip Delridge Way entirely, proceeding from Roxbury Street directly to 15th Avenue in White Center.
  • Route 125: Shuttle loop from Westwood Village to Delridge & Spokane via Delridge Way (southbound) and 16th Avenue (northbound).

Note: Routes 116, 118X, and 119X will remain suspended through the September 2020 service change, but may return at a later time.

Metro has also drawn up an alternative Tier 2 plan that would rely more heavily on the water taxi in lieu of overloading the 1st Avenue South Bridge pathway. With additional funds, the water taxi would be restored to two-boat service with a maximum of 3 trips per hour unless capital improvements are made at Seacrest Park.

This alternative calls for the following changes:

  • RapidRide C Line: Rerouted to 1st Avenue South Bridge, with turnaround at 35th & Avalon.
  • Route 21: Extended to Seacrest Dock and uses 1st Avenue South Bridge. If extension is not viable, then layover at Alaska Junction.
  • Route 21X: Suspended to boost Route 21 service
  • Route 22: Remain suspended
  • Route 37: Remain suspended in favor of Route 775 water taxi shuttle
  • Route 50: Eliminate route west of SODO Station, with potential extension to Alaskan Way waterfront instead.
  • Route 55: Expanded to all-day service, routed via East Marginal Way to 1st Avenue South Bridge. Would largely replace Route 50.
  • Route 56: Terminates at SODO Station with trips using East Marginal Way to 1st Avenue South Bridge.
  • Route 57: Suspended in favor of a new peak-only shuttle (Route 757) that serves Seacrest Dock.
  • Route 60: Transit speed and reliability improvements if South Park Bridge volumes are impacted by additional traffic.
  • Routes 113/121/122/123: Remain suspended
  • Routes 116/118X/119X: Remain suspended in favor of C Line service from Fauntleroy
  • Route 120: Rerouted to 1st Avenue South Bridge via Orchard Street/Dumas Way. All service on Delridge Way north of Orchard would be suspended, affecting 20 percent of riders.
  • Route 125: Suspended and replaced by shuttle (Route 725), which would also serve the suspended section of Route 120 in North Delridge.
  • Routes 128/131/132: Monitor for transit priority need
  • Route 725: All-day, bi-directional shuttle from North Delridge to Seacrest Park via South Seattle College, 16th Avenue, and Delridge Way.
  • Route 757: Peak-only shuttle from Seacrest Park to Admiral District via Route 57 stops.
  • Route 773: Increased frequency if funding allows, especially if Route 21 is unable to layover at Seacrest Park.
  • Route 775: Increased frequency if funding allows.

Some changes, including those to Route 21, are dependent on layover availability and other factors. Metro would also temporarily add new park and ride lots to supplement the current 158 spaces, mostly through leasing additional capacity. Their initial analysis estimates that up to 3,000 spaces could be added within walking distance of major bus stops all across West Seattle, including 1,200 near Westwood Village and 550 near Seacrest Park.

To help visualize these changes, I’ve sketched out an interactive map based on the descriptions of both alternatives. This is completely unofficial and will likely need corrections based on my midnight reading of the reroutes.

In addition to routing changes under both scenarios, SDOT would assist in installing transit priority improvements, including the following:

  • Allowing transit to use the 1st Avenue South ramps on Spokane Street Viaduct, bypassing railroad tracks on the lower street.
  • Re-channelization and re-timing of Chelan 5-way intersection
  • Addition of eastbound transit-only lane on west side of Spokane Street Bridge at Chelan 5-way intersection
  • Re-channelization of Delridge Way to extend transit-only lane from Andover Street to near Chelan 5-way intersection.
  • Hiring of uniformed traffic police to direct vehicles during peak periods and ticket enforcement from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

39 Replies to “Metro draws up service scenarios for West Seattle”

  1. “As of writing, King County is still under a modified phase 1 ”

    King County has been in phase 2 since June 19th.

  2. At least personally the main thing keeping me off of transit right now is Link. After a recent 25 minute wait for a train I decided that that transfer from the C-line is no longer viable and I need to drive if I’m going to the U-District.

    I’m kind of disappointed that Metro does not have plans to experiment with some one-seat rides to other population centers in Seattle such as the U-District and Ballard. Why not run a bus that duplicates the future West Seattle-Ballard light rail, except bypassing downtown through the tunnel? This plan calls for sending a TON of buses downtown, which is where transit demand used to be, but who knows how much of that demand will return. In the interim it would have been nice to try and build demand for some more creative routes. The slow bus transfer downtown is a major limiting factor in getting places on transit from West Seattle.

    1. In general, we should not be creating special one seat rides to workaround Link not running often enough. That money would be better spent to just run Link more frequently.

      There is a second issue here, in that all these direct connections don’t really scale all that well, since if a city has n activity centers, you’d need O(n^2) bus routes to directly connect every one to every other one. When n gets large, this quickly becomes cost-prohibitive, at least if you want buses to run all day at reasonable frequency.

      Long term, the way to get from West Seattle to the broader city quickly, without running separate routes to every neighborhood is to serve downtown, but get through quickly and continue onward. In other words, exactly what Sound Transit is planning for Link in 2035.

      1. I agree. It is silly to pick out West Seattle for special treatment, and run an express that skips downtown. Using that logic, we should have buses from Ballard to Rainier Valley. If the train isn’t running often enough, you can always take a bus from downtown to the UW.

    2. Did you consider taking a 49, or 70? Both are fairly frequent, and both run on 3rd, which means the transfer is much easier and the combined frequency is excellent. Neither is super fast, but I would probably do that until they fix Link.

    3. Link won’t reach Ballard for at least sixteeen years, and maybe not for twenty-five or thirty years. So taking Link is viable for a West Seattle to UW trip but not viable for a West Seattle to Ballard trip or a West Seattle to Wallingford trip. When Northgate Link opens, then Link will be viable to north-central Seattle (Wallingford, Greenlake, Northgate), but still not very much to Ballard.

      Additional one-seat rides would run into the ceiling of limited revenue. You’d have to take the service hours from other routes, and all other routes are needed. The only questionable ones like the 71, 74, and 78 are so few service hours that it wouldn’t make a difference. If you deleted all of them then maybe you could have a few runs from West Seattle to Ballard, but not from West Seattle to everywhere else, and not every half hour. And people in northeast Seattle would rightly demand to know why they should lose service so that West Seattle can have one-seat rides to everywhere.

      West Seattle’s trips are heavily oriented toward downtown, more so than north Seattle or southeast Seattle. That’s ultimately because the hills make it an archipelago of small north-south oriented neighborhoods. The easiest way to travel is north-south toward downtown, and the neighborhoods are too small and isolated to generate the amount of retail and four-direction trips that North Seattle has. Buses can help connect the islands, but buses alone can’t create more retail or apartments that would generate more crosstown ridership between the islands. That’s a decision for the zoning board, and it would still run into the physical barriers of the cliffs.

      Transit fans have long debated the merits of a route in the 99 tunnel. The closest stops to downtown it could have is Pioneer Square and SLU. There is demand for a bypass route to SLU, and theoretically to transfer from there to further north. But there’s large disagreement on how much demand there is. Metro’s 2025 plan has no 99-tunnel route. Metro’s 2040 plan has one 99-tunnel route, a Fauntleroy-WSJ-SLU express. It’s in the category of a 30-minute express route until 7pm.

      If you look at the ridership north of SLU, you run into the problem that only a few people are going from West Seattle to those areas, and they’re scattered across all of them rather than going to a few places a few routes could serve. The largest number is to UW. And the largest number of those is in the “college peak” (i.e., for classes starting at 8:30 or 9:30am and ending at 2-5pm). That would suggest a college-peak route rather than a full-time route. And Link takes only six minutes from Westlake to UW, which a bus can never match. Especially since a bus would have to travel on I-5 and get caught in the I-5 traffic and 45th-exit bottlenecks. (It can’t use the express lanes because it’s going the wrong direction.) Going to other destinations like Ballard, Greenlake, Northgate, Greenwood, Lake City, etc, you’d run into the problem of only a few people per hour from West Seattle going to each of these. Not enough for a full-time bus or even a peak-only bus. What they really need is what the rest of North Seattle needs: faster routes to the downtown transfer hub. That will happen with Northgate Link in 2001, and Seattle/Metro should focus on improving north-south bus service to the areas left out of Link or waiting for ST3. But that again requires a lot of money for more express routes and street improvements, or a willingness to convert GP lanes and parking lanes to transit-priority lanes, which Seattle has shown little ability to do. (Cough, Aurora, 23rd, Jackson, Rainier, Eastlake, 15th/Elliott NW/W, 35th NE, NE/N 45th Street, NE 65th Street, Delridge.)

      1. A couple of points…

        First, not sure what current Rt. 71 usage is, but when I was taking it regularly, it was generally pretty well used through the U district and Ravenna corridors. It does empty out past 35th but the tail is just coverage, no different from other coverage routes in that regard. In addition, at “rush hour” it was often actually very busy because of the school trips (partly Roosevelt High, partly the elementary school weekly volunteering trips, etc., partly UW) – by “very busy” I mean “leaving people behind by the time it got to Ravenna”. I know it has a bad rep in this crowd because it was kept while Rt. 72 was canceled (and I was upset about Rt. 72 being canceled too) but at least anecdotal evidence puts it more in line with the 73 than with the 78, IMHO.

        Second, I am not sure where one could fit transit-priority lanes on NE 65th st., at least not until past 25th Ave NE. Current configuration has a bike lane and a general purpose lane with turn pockets. Going up the hill from Ravenna towards 15th Ave the lanes shift because of the 20th Ave turn pocket and it’s actually kind of dangerous to drive there carelessly/in the dark. At best you could maybe add a proper turn lane and remove the bike lanes altogether (bad for bikes, marginally better for drivers) or you could add one bus lane in one direction but not the other. The road used to be configured with two lanes on each side, one parking, one driving (similar to 25th Ave NE) but it was too narrow to do this, and definitely too narrow for a proper bus lane on each side in addition to driving lanes. I could see an argument for turning it into transit-and-bike-only traffic (no cars) – I wish the best of luck to everyone making this argument without getting lynched by the residents, though :D

        The same could be said of 35th Ave NE, which is also too narrow to have four lanes. The 65 barely fits on that road as it is.

      2. The Ave/15th segment is well used because it’s an Ave bus and the urban village extends to 65th. Instead of the 71 we could double the 73’s frequency. if peak-hour ridership is high and the 65, 73, and 372 are not sufficient alternatives, then have a peak-only route.

        The current configuration on 65th was built just last year; it was the result of the decision on what to do about bike/ped/bus mobility on 65th and looking forward to Roosevelt Station. Better transit mobility was an explicit goal of the decision to upgrade these corridors, but transit was deprioritized in the middle of the process because neighbors argued for other things and the city didn’t stick up for transit. We’ll never get transit-priority lanes throughout the city at this rate, and so the only corridors that will have anything faster than the existing buses are those that are lucky enough to be along Link. That’s what’s underlying the pressure for Link expansion to everywhere including Ballard and 45th and Aurora and West Seattle, because Seattle is so incapable of speeding up bus routes even when we pass levies to do so.

      3. I understand the desire to have better transit speed along NE 65th St, having lived in the area for about a decade. I am just not sure how to build dedicated transit lanes given the road width. I do think that they could have done away with more of the street parking than they did, that could have helped a little. But the road was just not wide enough to have four lanes, is my understanding (I did not go to the meetings discussing the project, just followed along with the information provided).

        As I mentioned before, the 71 bus regularly passed passengers at rush hour along the 65th segment, so yes, a rush hour version could at least be provided. I cannot speak for the usage otherwise. But I guess I would wonder why Maple Leaf deserves more frequent service mid-day and East Wedgwood does not? The Northgate side would be covered by 67 and Link, and beyond Northgate area the 73 didn’t seem to get that much usage to me, either. If anything I would keep the 71 and cut the 62 tail (which really gets no usage until Ravenna) mid-day. And I say this as one of the literally about two people who occasionally did ride the 62 all the way to SLU from that area at mid-day (for medical appointments and the like).

      4. “why Maple Leaf deserves more frequent service mid-day and East Wedgwood does not?”

        It’s not because it’s Maple Leaf; it’s because it’s a straight grid route. There have been some proposals for a route straight north to Mountlake Terrace, which would serve all the neighborhoods in between. Why should a bus turn right on 65th and not left? Why should it turn right on 65th rather than 75th or 125th? That’s what you get into when you decide that one neighborhood should have an L-shaped route to the U-District.

        The same things happens with the 43. Why should there be a route going east-north on John-23rd from Broadway to the U-District, but not one going east-south from Broadway to the Central District? When the 43rd was all-day, a significant number of people got on at the 23rd & John stop from east and south of there.

      5. AM, by the way, I took your suggestion to order masks from Starks in Portland. I’ll let you know how good they are when I get them.

      6. “why Maple Leaf deserves more frequent service mid-day and East Wedgwood does not?”

        65th already has frequent service on the 62. Once it leaves 65th, it follows the 45, which is also frequent. This, the entire purpose of the 71 is to 1) prevent people from going around the “L” at 15th/65th from having to transfer, 2) Save a few people at the tail a few blocks of walking. Neither use case is really justified.

      7. I will continue to argue in favor of the 71 since I was a frequent user :)

        I understand the argument for the grid, but there is also value in making buses go where people need to go, as opposed to where the grid says they should go. My observation from the 2007-2019 period was that the 71 was well used throughout, both to get downtown (until the University Link segment opened) and to get to UW and to Link (afterwards). The 76 duplicates it to downtown even now, and even with that duplication, both of them were very busy during rush hour; on the other hand, the 62 got almost no takers, except for whatever high schoolers happened to miss the 71.

        Now, if we were to remove the 71 altogether, I guess a bunch of people would catch the 62 to get to Link at Roosevelt instead, and yeah, that will probably work (except for the shitty connection to the 271). Or they could get the two seat ride to the top of the 271 at NE 43rd, except the 45 is _also_ overcrowded in the morning, so there’s no guarantee they would actually be able to time their connection well. But it’s probably a small enough crowd that it doesn’t matter.

        I will point out also that the grid argument is not broken just by the 71, but also by the 372 and 65 and 75, all of which end up on campus in at least one direction. So people at various places along the 71 route will potentially get a much worse deal out of this. Remains to be seen though, I guess. From what I saw, the 71 just served the needs of its riders very well, so it would be a bit of a shame to remove it, but I certainly can imagine how the restructure could help others, so it’s a trade-off.

        One minor point re: the 45 and how the 71 follows its route once it turns. Technically the 45 is the one which follows it, as the 71 was there first ;) I was actually pretty sad when they restructured the 48 and the new 45 moved to the Ave and then left (West) towards 12th Ave instead of running along 15th – I would often walk in the morning to 15th and catch any of the buses running down 15th at 15th and 65th. So to Mike Orr’s point about why the 71 should go East instead of West at that point – well, we did have both options, it’s just that one of them went away in 2016. Technically some of the 73s also short turned there but that also went away in the restructure.

      8. @Mike Orr I am glad my suggestion seems to have been useful. I look forward to hearing how you find the masks when you receive them, and thank you for letting me know.

    1. There are a lot of similarities. If you look at a satellite view without labels of the area ( the first thing you can pick out is Puget Sound and the Straight of Juan De Fuca (the Salish Sea, or Wulge, as some call it). As you zoom in, it is pretty easy to find Lake Washington, and thus Seattle. The two points that stick out to the west (into Puget Sound) are West Point (in Magnolia) and Alki (in West Seattle). What a lot of people don’t know (and is obvious from a map like this) is that West Point is really well named — it is very far west.

      There are other similarities. Both are fairly isolated from the rest of the city — in part because of the natural geography, but also because of the railroad tracks and industry that surrounds it. As a result, very few people walk from a neighborhood in West Seattle or Magnolia to a neighborhood outside it. In contrast, Ballard/Fremont/Phinney Ridge/UW are all connected — there are no big boundaries, other than maybe those caused by the freeway (which in many areas are still crossed over and under). Likewise, the Central Area blurs into Capitol Hill, First Hill and Rainier Valley. Magnolia and West Seattle are unusually isolated, which contributes to their suburban flavor.

      To be clear, more of West Seattle is urban than Magnolia — but there is the same dynamic.

  3. My heart goes out to all West Seattle commuters. This has got to be a nightmare. Even before all this happened it was always a trek going out there, I can’t imagine how bad it is now.

    1. Is it really that bad? I mean how much extra time do you spend on a bus getting from there to downtown? My guess is if the C leaves West Seattle at the same time the D leaves Ballard, the C still gets to downtown a lot faster.

      To be clear, driving sucks. But I think the people that suffer most are on the north end of the peninsula. If you are at High Point, it takes a little bit longer, but even with the traffic, it isn’t that bad (at least that is what I’ve heard).

      1. I live in Admiral. With my buses canceled (56/57) I get a ride to the junction to catch the c. As long as the buses are able to take the low bridge, my commute is about the same as before.
        If they close the low bridge, however, I won’t even attempt the bus. I had a c line take 1st Ave S bridge a few weeks ago because the driver missed the turn to the low bridge. It was bad, and that was with covid traffic. I can’t imagine trying to commute that way regularly. I’ll be taking the water taxi in that scenario.

    2. That’s with the bridge open or Phase 2-depressed traffic. If car traffic returns to near normal and the low bridge is closed or SDOT fails to keep cars off the low bridge, it could add an hour to travel time. I recall five-hour commutes between West Seattle and downtown; i don’t remember whether they were during the snowstorm or just after the Viaduct closed, but I recall both times had at least 1-2 hour commutes.

      1. Yeah, if the low bridge is closed, then it would be terrible. But you could say that about almost any bridge. If the Ballard Bridge breaks down, then the Fremont Bridge will be a mess, and folks from Ballard are looking at a very long trip anywhere south. If the Montlake Bridge breaks, then things go the other direction. If the 520 bridge sinks, then I-90 doesn’t move.

        None of that is likely to happen, at least for a while. Once traffic picks up, then drivers will have to spend a lot of time driving from West Seattle to anywhere else. Somehow I think they will live.

  4. asdf2, you’re right about Link. Its fully-reserved right-of-way spares if from the fate of the most point-to-point bus in the world: the number of “Points” along its route where it’ll be stuck between something else both wheeled and motionless.

    Which sits up, wags its tail, whimpers, and begs the question about what’s holding Link up? Track construction? Lack of drivers? Lack of training for drivers it does have? Is there some signal preemption on MLK that it should be getting and isn’t? Or anything removable that’s now in its way? Fifteen minute headway max just “feels” natural, comprehensible, and achievable.

    And while I’ve got no illusions about blanket time-frame, I think it’s useful that we constantly keep in mind how valuable every facet of transit can be to our greatest need of all when finally COVIDIA lets us get vaccinated. A major source of employment with nothing undeservedly “Free” to anybody about it.

    Mark Dublin

  5. I find the treatment of the C Line in the Carmageddon scenario odd. Dumping the passenger load from the trunk West Seattle line into the Water Taxi seems risky to say the least. Why not run it reverse direction and just continue acroo Roxbury to the First Ave South bridge like proposed for the 21? Sure, extend it to the ferry terminal for folks north of The Junction, but that’s a lot of people for those little boats.

    Metro needs to start negotiations to move the HIV lanes to the outside now, in case the permanent closure of the low bridge becomes necessary. They’ll need an eastbound bus lane down the hill on Olson also.

    1. There’s limited capacity on the few roads around the south end of West Seattle. There’s a lot of people coming from south of Seattle too. I was surprised the water taxis can fit so many people. They cost a lot to operate, but we do need something that can accommodate hundreds of people.

  6. Thanks for sketching out the map! Something so simple yet effective (as well as easy to produce) that Metro refuses to do for a 40+ page Action Plan that is supposedly not a draft.

    It just show how it as an organization doesn’t give a xxxx about providing easy to digest information to the public, just like their impossible to figure out reduced schedule (other transit agencies in our region have published full reduced schedule on their websites). In a no-longer-temporary pandemic, bus routeㄋ that are cancelled or significantly reduced appears as normally run on their website, except with the tiny red alert symbol in the corner.

    1. This is an unexpected, fast-changing, and uncertain situation, and Metro’s revenue is far below normal. So outreach will inevitably be worse than usual. And this is not the only outreach. It’s the first bit for public officials and transit wonks to help inform their wider planning. Afterward, in a normal situation, Metro would have open houses and send reps to community groups to explain it more extensively in layman-speak. With that tactic blocked, I don’t know how well Metro will do alternative outreach. In any case, it’s a similar situation to the 2008 recession: Metro stopped spending on everything else to keep the buses running.

    2. I think Metro is hesitant to put out a map because it would need to be revised as this living document is updated. Letting an outdated map circulate would be bad for riders who may not question its accuracy.

  7. per Joe Z: where is ST Link? Could ST step up and run Link more often to reduce waits. If the low level bridge is available, West Seattle routes could reach Link at the SODO station, before and after the South Lander Street overcrossing. If the low level bridge is not available (now that is a double disaster), service via the 1st Avenue South bridge could still reach Link at SODO; SDOT could attempt to prioritize transit on 1st Avenue South. It seems like the bridge issue may outlast the Covid issue.

    Genoa replaced its fallen bridge.

    1. I don’t think we will see increases to link service until after 2025. Even when a vaccine is released, social distancing/mask requirement will be needed for years to follow. The long term effective as of a vaccine remains to be seen. Reinfection remains a possibility. COViD has permanently changed the world. Zillow just announced permanent work for home for 90 percent of their Seattle employees. Many companies have started to devise plans to sell as much office space in downtown as possible. Link will remain at 20 minute headways even after the small north gate link extension.

    2. The only thing keeping Link from restoring full frequency is the ST Board. It has inexplicably kept Link’s frequency at a sparse coverage level when Metro and ST Express are running near full service on core all-day routes. It’s not being driven by cost. ST said it has enough money to operate the trains, and it reduced service because of the security costs of heading off the additional vandalism and biohazards that occurred when Link was fare-free. Since then Link has returned to full fare and ST has given no explanation for continuing extremely-low frequency. You can say it’s due to low ridership, but I’m sure it must be reaching its capacity cap peak hours, and truncations like the 255 are predicated on frequent Link (and 44, 65, 67, 73, 75, and 372 — all northeast Seattle routes). And the half-hour weekend/evening frequency is actively driving riders away who would be there if it returned to its 10-minute frequency or even 15 minutes.) Metro and Seattle have no control over Link’s frequency so they have to plan based on what it’s actually doing rather than what it should do. Although Mayor Durkan and Councilmember Deborah Juarez are on the ST Board so they should be raising this issue. A good question to ask them is, “Do you think Link’s current frequency of 20 minutes daytime, 30 minutes evenings/weekends is appropriate for the current situation and into next year? Why? Have you communicated to the other boardmembers about the need to increase frequency, and the impact the current frequency is having on mobility and the city?”

      1. MikeOrr: amen. ST is being inexplicably cheap. While ET, CT, Metro, and PT are operating agencies, ST is a capital agency. Link capital takes billions and decades; Link and bus operations takes millions. ST could probably afford to improve off-peak service levels on Link and bus and not impact Link capital delivery much. Short waits for Link and routes 512, 522, 535, 545, and 550 would help network restructures. The cheapness has been in place for many years.

      2. Mike, if half of what you say is true about ST’s deliberately damaging service to avoid dealing with social problems, another question is being begged by a dog who’s growling instead of whining for his leg-of-fresh-horse.

        Whatever polite canine English is for: “What do we need Sound Transit for?” While age 27 is only the age of death if you’re a bridge over the Duwamish, it’s not even what really needs to happen. Which is that a new governing generation recreates it in THEIR image. The 2020 model year, I REALLY like!

        Coldest calculation as to the REAL value of generous fare treatment for people presently Student Government age. Only glitch this year was that since Target ran out of orange spray paint before the Primary, I couldn’t clue in enough of them that their age lets them vote not only at the polls, but on the floor of the Capitol.

        Also can’t think of a time in memory when early-as-possible-retirement has ever had this much appeal for people who act like they think the way to deal with mental illness and poverty is to make transit so bad that nobody in either group can use it.

        And…. am I not right that one ST Board member could become a DC metro passenger in The Other Washington this November? Only thing that could go wrong there is if my vote is the one that finally gets my State rep Beth Doglio (DOE-lio) the job. Since he endorsed her, whatever happens to Link could be Bernie Sanders’ fault.

        Mark Dublin

      3. I suspect ST is keeping Link service low to be cheap, or it thinks it’s sufficient for current demand and mobility, or it believes that subways are the biggest spreaders of covid so it should keep all but the most ardent riders away. What I worry about is if this is not just a temporary tactic but ST has changed its mind and is now going in a different policy direction. Has it decided that Link service should be kept low until covid gets below a certain threshold, but not cut ST Express proportionally? Has it stopped committing to off-peak frequency? Is it just saving money until Northgate Link opens? What is the criteria for restoring frequency?

      4. I’d expect more link cuts before service is restored. This winter ridership will likely be very low. I know of many that are leaving the area.

        This is what I think Link will look like this fall.

        Weekdays service every 20 minutes from 10am to 4pm. Service every 30 minutes all other times. Service will end at 10pm nightly.

        Weekends service every 40 minutes with service ending at 8pm on Sundays

      5. ALEX:

        lmao no they won’t. You couldn’t come up with a more nonsensical service pattern if you tried. 10a-4p? Yeah dude, let’s plan the highest frequency part of the schedule specifically to miss the commute peak. You are very smart.

  8. Can/ should the Lander St overpass open to buses-only now? The project photos show vehicles are already using the bridge. It may allow for some routes to connect with Link or maybe use the SODO busway.

    Of course, it would be an added motivation for Link to restore 10 or 12 or 15 minute service.

  9. I wish somebody who really knows, especially if they drive trains, would tell us why Link cannot at least run 15 minute headways? This isn’t about mode-competition.

    If overlong waits for trains make Link increasingly impossible to use, a literal fortune’s worth of capital and operating time is being wasted, through no fault of the trains or anyone operating them. Which is unforgivable.

    Has Link lost signal-priority? Among the users, the importance of those trains to our whole transit system, which is really transit’s equivalent of freeways, entitles them to be the ones that never have to “beg”.

    Have also heard tell of lower MLK Link speed limits in the name of safety. Is this true? If so, with better enforcement of rules on competing traffic, since those trains are driven by professionals on their own right of way, might problem still be solved without damage to Link’s ability to retain passengers?

    For present stressed conditions, it’s cruel and counterproductive to demand the impossible. But to waste such an expensive and critical investment because it’s nobody’s job who feels like fixing it, the two c-words above apply full strength. Fighting agencies? Everbody involved should get fired. This is an emergency.

    Can someone write in and tell us the truth?

    Mark Dublin

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