8 Replies to “Podcast #98: Donut hole”

  1. Metro’s plan for 125th/130th focuses on the 75. The last Northgate Link proposal has it going west on 125th and south on 5th to Northgate (skipping the Roosevelt Way diagonal that the 41 now serves).

    Metro’s 2025 plan restores the diagonal but otherwise keeps that route. A second frequent route goes from the Lake City Fred Meyer on 125th/130th to Greenwood Ave and Shoreline CC.

    Metro’s 2040 plan consolidates those two routes into one, so that the 75 would go west on 125th/130th and north on Greenwood Ave to Shoreline CC. The 5th Avenue segment would be replaced by a coverage route from N 100th Street to Meridian Ave and Aurora Village.

    I’ve always thought the 75 is a natural fit for 125th/130th.

    1. I like the 2025 bus from Lake City to Bitter Lake and Shoreline (the 1997). The problem with relying on the 75 is that it is very long, and becomes unreliable. At rush hour, there will be a ton of people trying to get from Lake City to the 130th station. That means running lots of buses. For a bus route that long, that is a recipe for bus bunching. That isn’t the end of the world (there are worse things) but it isn’t ideal.

      There is also a frequency/demand disconnect. Bitter Lake to Lake City should see plenty of demand. But almost every trip requires a transfer (either to Link, or another bus, like the E). Thus it is very important that frequency by high. In contrast, Sand Point Way is a low density area. If you are going from Lake City to the UW, then the 75 is not special. You have the 65, the 372 and quite possibly a bus that goes along Lake City Way (and either ends at Roosevelt Station or goes all the way to the UW). Therefore, running the 75 really frequently means spending a bunch of money on a less important section (Lake City/Sand Point Way/UW).

      In contrast, the Lake City/Bitter Lake/Shoreline College route is shorter, and thus could be a lot more frequent. Personally, I would make it even shorter. The Shoreline College piece has merit. There is some density along the way. This would provide an additional way to get from Lake City to the college (along with an extended 65). But riders who just miss the 65 could still take the bus to Bitter Lake, and then the 5 to the college. If you truncated at 130th, the bus could be very frequent (similar to Link). With a decent amount of funding, I could see running the bus every 6 minutes in the middle of the day. Overkill, perhaps, but ridership (on both Link and the bus) would be high enough to get additional riders as a result.

      You would have to find layover space, but that is being worked out now. The Northgate plans (which you referenced) include a new 16, replacing the 5X. It would end at 130th and Greenwood, presumably by the library (https://goo.gl/maps/PKYf1ASQqRY1SZ8U9). There is plenty of space there for a bus from the east to layover (after looping around, like so: https://goo.gl/maps/pweTGghNLnU91VUeA). For that matter, the trip is so short that it could do a live loop — perhaps pausing there to keep on schedule.

      The other alternative would be to send the bus south, and layover where the D lays over. That would enable a fast connection for Lake City riders to all of greater Ballard (40, D, 28). But given the new proposed 61 (Lake City/Northgate/Greenwood) I’m not sure how necessary that is. It would certainly add value, but I think I would rather have better frequency for the core section.

      Another alternative would be to send the D to Northgate, and have the 40 keep going on 85th, then go north on Greenwood to 130th, then east to Lake City (https://goo.gl/maps/wmarquZmLHmhCnV3A). At that point, sending the Lake City to Bitter Lake bus up to Shoreline is just fine. Or, for that matter, simply extending the 75 all the way around. That’s because you would double up service between Lake City and Bitter Lake. It wouldn’t be as reliable, but if the buses ran every ten minutes, you would be likely to catch a bus without much delay. There would be more doubling up along areas that have good density — much of 85th, as well as Greenwood north of 85th. You would also have nice pairing — from Lake City to Greenwood and Crown Hill you would have two buses, even if they took largely different paths. It would be difficult to try and match all these combinations up, but it would likely result in a very good system (assuming ten minute frequency or better on these routes). That being said, it probably wouldn’t be as efficient as simply running a bus from Lake City to Bitter lake, and running it often.

  2. Mike, would your plan switch the 75’s Link connection from Northgate to 130th? Think I remember driving a Tunnel route that went from Northgate to Sand Point, but forget the number. Might have been 41.

    But Martin, exactly like my health-care provider’s messaging system today: One, it’s not your fault, and two, whatever we really need to know, there’s somebody really nice with a lot of computer skill in both Kingston Jamaica and eastern Pennsylvania who can not only tell us what we need to know, but get us our Comcast back.

    You and Frank did great!

    Mark Dublin

    1. There have been many different combinations of routes in Sand Point. In the 1980s before the DSTT the 74 local went on 3rd Ave, Fairview, Eastlake, U Way, 50th, 55th, Sand Point Way to Magnuson Park. The 74 express did the same but was express south of 50th. The 307 went on 3rd Ave, Northgate, Lake City, Bothell, Woodinville.

      When the DSTT opened in 1990, the 74 local was truncated in the U District. The 75 ran from Campus Parkway to U Village, Sand Point, Lake City, Northgate, NW 85th St, and 24th Ave NW. Somebody told me the 41 had done that or part of it earlier but I never saw it. In that case the 41 would have gone between Northgate and Sand Point but not downtown. The 74 express continued its same route.

      I don’t remember what happened in Northgate and Lake City between the DSTT opening and the 522 starting. Maybe the 307 moved to the tunnel. Maybe the 41 went from the DSTT to Northgate and Lake City, but then I don’t know what served between Lake City and Woodinville. Maybe the 41 did your DSTT, Northgate, Sand Point thing but I don’t remember it.

      I’ve been drawing Lynnwood Link bus networks for years before Metro did, and I always had the 75 going straight west on 125th/130th, disconnecting it from Northgate. I figured people from Sand Point could transfer to the 41’s successor to Northgate. Metro seems to want to keep Sand Point connected to Northgate until 130th Station opens.

      1. The 307 went into the DSTT when it opened, and it basically served the DTSEA-Northgate-Lake City-Woodinville market. During this period, the 41 was only running during rush hours. With the I-695 restructure, the 41 became an all day route, consolidating the I-5 legs of the other 30x routes (now 34x and 67), and was a short turn version of the 307. With the 522 restructure, the savings were plowed into still more 41 service. At least this has been what I’ve gleaned from my own memories, and Metro’s old maps online.

  3. You know, Mike, I’ve got a very strong feeling that not only was the 307 the route you’re describing. More precisely, on a sunny July day in 1995, it was the morning half of the combo out of North Base which, upon return to base, turned out to be the last transit-driving of my life.

    Upon arrival back at base, on my Base Chief’s subsequent order, I drove a base car back to a clinic a few blocks from Northgate. As I’d told everyone including the Metro Council I would do, I took a breath test, and requested permission to substitute a blood test for the degrading one the law required.

    Clinic staff called Metro, and I repeated my statement to a woman whom Metro had just hired for the exact duty of telling my chief the results of my decision and me that submission was my only choice.

    Since I was now forbidden to drive the base car, my chief drove another car down and drove me back to base. Who drove the base car I brought down? Shadow Knows. Maybe secretly Automated.

    My union was ready with the blood test appointment I got at Swedish Hospital before the day was out. Verdict- I was disobedient, but not lying. Management gave me the chance to reconsider my resignation. I spent a night at home doing just that, with conclusion I started with.

    Seriously, Mike: Thanks.

    Mark Dublin

    1. To be clear, you failed a breathalyzer test and resigned your Metro position? At that time was the law for CDL .04% (twice as strict as the general requirement)? I still have a CDL endorsement on my license and even though I no longer drive professionally or any vehicle that would require a CDL I’m still subject to that standard for any vehicle I’m driving. Zero alcohol but after a really hard bike ride I could fail a breath test just because of the ketones in my breath.

      When I was driving I was randomly selected twice for a pee test. That was pretty sweet. You got paid 4 hours for going and pissing in a cup that took less than an hour. The first time I was driving full time and it was just a pee test. The second time a breath test was required in addition to the pee test. The strange thing is, the second time I was working part time and had a choice when called to say if I was available or not. So I say yes (after a couple of days of saying no since I was in school), report to work, get sent straight to the supervisors office who tells me I was selected for random testing. That time I had to do a blow test even though I hadn’t driven a bus for over a week. Good thing I hadn’t worked out that morning!

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