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Metro is in Phase 3 of the North Link Connections Mobility Project.  Their proposed network is disappointing, but understandable. Instead of increased frequency, there are cuts (due to funding issues). This is my proposal based on their ideas.

About the Map

You can see a full size map by clicking in the corner. The map is interactive — the check boxes will display or hide different routes. I’ve tried to be as detailed as possible on the map, although buses on one-way streets are shown only in one direction.

Summary

Most of the buses follow Metro’s proposed routing, and most of those are unchanged. The 301 is the only two-way peak bus route. Every other “Peak Only” bus is peak direction.

There are four basic themes with my proposal:

  1. Consolidate routes as a way to increase frequency on corridors.
  2. Worry less about transfers, and more about frequency and speed.
  3. Trips — including those involving transfers — should be in the same basic direction.
  4. Express buses are truncated at Link stations to increase frequency.

New or Modified Routes

Peak Only:

64 — This will be truncated at the Roosevelt Park and Ride. This provides riders with a fast connection to Link. It is more cost effective than increasing frequency on the 65.

302 — This gives Richmond Beach riders a faster trip to Northgate, where it ends.

303 — Like Metro’s routing, except truncated at Northgate.

304 — This replaces the Shoreline Park and Ride section with the deleted part of the 302. As with all of the Shoreline changes, riders have faster alternatives to get to Northgate, and other ways of getting to Aurora Village.

312 — Truncated at Green Lake Park and Ride (like the 522). Side Note: I wish the 312 and 522 were reversed. The 312 (with more stops) should run all day, while the 522 (limited stop express) should only run during rush hour. But that is unlikely to happen without greater cooperation between the two agencies.

All Day Routes:

61 — This is a new bus, based on Metro’s previous proposal. I extend it all the way to 32nd Avenue NW. Crown Hill has plenty of density (and existing ridership) and this would connect to all of the north-south Ballard buses (the D, 28 and 40). Although the section between 15th and 32nd is pretty cheap, I would expect ridership to go down there. If layover space could be found at 15th, that would be ideal. If push comes to shove, then I could live with the layover in Greenwood. That would preserve the core of the 61 — a fast bus connecting Lake City, Northgate and Greenwood (with a connection to the E).

62 — This is a fairly simple change that allows for faster travel between Roosevelt and Wallingford/Fremont, the core of the route. If for some reason the bus can’t turn on 55th/56th, at the very least it should stay on 65th to Woodlawn. Even though there is only one bus through there, no one will have to walk far to catch it (and for many, it will be a lot more frequent). 

65 — This would run through campus both directions. I don’t have a strong preference for running through campus or by the Montlake triangle. If it is faster to run by the triangle, then do that. I just want the 65 and 75 (and to a lesser extent the 372) to serve the same stops whenever possible. That way someone trying to get to the U-Village, Children’s Hospital or Lake City can use the same bus stop, and have double the frequency.

67 — This combines the 67 and 73 for a faster, straighter, more frequent bus. As with any change, there is a trade-off. A small number of riders on 15th will have to walk a bit farther. It is harder to catch a bus from Maple Leaf to Northgate. But with the existing 67, very few people did that. This is understandable, since it is often faster to just walk, even if you are standing by the bus stop, and the bus is right there. Those that don’t want to walk can always make a transfer (to Link or a frequent set of buses).

In exchange, this would give a lot of people (north of Northgate Way) a  more frequent, fast, one seat-ride to Maple Leaf, Roosevelt and the UW. Combined with the 347/348, it gives a lot of those riders a more frequent, fast connection to Link. Most riders, of course, won’t notice the difference, but will appreciate better frequency on this, or other buses that come from combining these routes. 

The other change to the 67 is to combine service with the 45, between 45th and 65th. As much as I hate to abandon that part of the Roosevelt/12th corridor, we need more frequency on The Ave. It is a short walk (three or four minutes) from Roosevelt/12th to University Way. If the bus ran on Roosevelt/12th, those that are trying to connect to Link would have to walk most of those blocks anyway.

Deleted Routes:

26 — The existing 26 does not perform well through the preserved section. It carries fewer riders north of 45th than south of it. Nor is it essential for coverage. North of 65th, the 26 is never far from the 45 or 61. South of 65th, the new 62 covers most of the route. There is no reason to save what would be a low ridership, poor coverage route.

73 — The 67 replaces it.

322, 361 — Not needed. The 312 replaces service on SR 522 (to complement the 522) while the all-day 61 replaces the 361.

Service Levels

To get a rough idea of service levels, we can compare costs and savings versus Metro’s proposal. My proposal truncates 144 trips that would otherwise go to First Hill or South Lake Union. The 26 and 73 are gone. These service savings are put into the addition of the 61 . At worse the 61 would run only to Greenwood, but still have 15 minute all-day frequency. The 62 is a bit faster, while the 67 is a bit longer. Other changes are revenue neutral.

Ultimately it would lead to the type of network that Metro originally proposed, even if it doesn’t have the big increase in frequency we all want. If and when the funding situation improves, we will already have the buses in place to take full advantage of it.

21 Replies to “Phase 3 Northgate Link Bus Network Proposal”

  1. A few things that stand out to me:

    * While the 31 is losing all weekend service in this weekend’s shuffle, it is gaining both Saturday /and/ Sunday service next in this proposal, so there is finally an all-day 15-minute corridor from lower Fremont to the U-District.

    * The 44 is going from 10-minute to 15-minute mid-weekday service, and the 45 is going from 7-12 peak service to 10-15 minute peak service. Is the thinking that there’s already plenty of bus service in the U-District, or is that Metro actually thinks that people will ride Link from the Stadium to Brooklyn despite the inconvenience?

    * Losing weekend service on the 26X is disappointing, but I think it’s more important to keep the frequent all-day service on the 62 and improving the 31. While I can see the appeal of running the 62 on Latona, its walkshed is impaired by the steep hill and I-5 to the east. The 62 hits Tangletown which, while not a major destination, always has a few riders when I’ve been on the bus, and Roosevelt needs frequent service a lot more than Northgate.

    All in all, I’m really glad that Metro listened to the feedback asking for a comprehensive all-day network rather than a spaghetti of weekday- and peak-only routes.

    1. The cutbacks in service to the 44 and 45 are no different to the cuts everywhere else. They are due to lack of funds. Nothing more, nothing less. Otherwise, these are bus routes that would get more service due to the extension of Link, not less.

      The move of the 62 to Latona is designed to save time. By doing so, riders trying to get from Sand Point or the Roosevelt neighborhood to Wallingford/Fremont save time, while frequency on the system improves. There are very few riders who are inconvenienced. Those on Ravenna can take the 45. Between Ravenna and Tangletown (56th) there are very few riders — roughly as many riders on the Latona (on a bus that runs a lot less often).

      As I wrote in this post, if we can’t do this routing, I would send the 62 on 65th. That saves a considerable amount of time, while losing very few (if any) riders. Doubling up service on Ravenna is nice, but it isn’t worth the cost, and may be made up for riders who are closer to 65th and don’t want to walk that far.

    2. All in all, I’m really glad that Metro listened to the feedback asking for a comprehensive all-day network rather than a spaghetti of weekday- and peak-only routes.

      This is my proposal, not Metro’s. Metro’s proposal (https://publicinput.com/B1882) is still a spaghetti of weekday- and peak-only routes. I think it is better than what we have, but I think we can do better. A trip from Lake City to Greenwood — any time of day — should not take an hour, and look like this: https://goo.gl/maps/J4ZVgV1SgE8vWT4Z6. Not when there are expensive express routes that save very little time for only a handful riders.

    3. While I can see the appeal of running the 62 on Latona, its walkshed is impaired by the steep hill and I-5 to the east. The 62 hits Tangletown which, while not a major destination, always has a few riders when I’ve been on the bus…

      The Latona routing would still have the 62 serve the mixed-use area in Tangletown. Where it goes after that is the question. The current routing along Kirkwood/Woodlawn also has a natural barrier (Green Lake) inhibiting much of its walkshed.

      Either way (current routing or Latona routing) it’s traversing a sea of mostly single-family homes on the way from Tangletown to 65th. Advantages of the Latona routing include running along a wider arterial street for a faster trip to Roosevelt, and also serving the businesses at 65th and Latona. Disadvantages include removing service from the Hearthstone retirement home.

    1. Aach. Yes, you are right. I originally used “Roosevelt” to mean the neighborhood and station, but then realized I should be more precise, and put down the park and ride. But I didn’t word it correctly — it should read “Green Lake Park and Ride”. I would edit this, but I don’t know how.

  2. In working through this, do you find the Northgate TC will be becoming an much less important transit transfer hub once a Lynnwood Link opens? Should we even have a North Seattle transit hub if bus frequencies are better, and instead have each route cross Link at the most logical station as a through route? Should bus layover/ driver break locations be at the end of a route as opposed to a Link station?

    Of all the stations north of the Ship Canal, it appears to have the least direct east-west connectivity to me and the advantage of I-5 direct access ramps seem to go away upon Lynnwood Link’s opening. Finally, Northgate Mall has become a less important retail destination.

    This seems to be a basic eventual outcome of the restructure to me. I’m curious if you think this too.

    1. What does not having a north Seattle transit hub look like? The 345, 346, 347, and 348 have to terminate somewhere. There will still be demand between Lake City and Northgate, and between Roosevelt and Northgate, and Ballard/Greenwood and Northgate.

      Northgate is one of three designated Urban Centers in Seattle, after Center City and the U-District. That means it will have the most density, retail, and apartments, regardless of what happens to Northgate Mall and its boutiques. There will be significant demand to Northgate from all directions, and the Northgate Link station will not move even if it’s not in the best place. The pedestrian bridge will make things significantly better for the west side of Northgate, and that will increase their desire to go to Northgate and the Northgate Link station.

      1. Mike Orr: NTC will be the main North Seattle transit hub, as it has been for decades. Routes 345, 346, 347, and 348 may continue to operate as they have since fall 2003. The Metro planners are proposing that they run more often in the peak periods. At NTC, Route 345 changes its number to 348 and Route 346 changes its number to 347. The Metro, ST, and CT proposals will significantly increase the service at Northgate. NTC will continue to be connected to Licton Springs by routes 26, 40, 345, and 346 under the current proposed network. The NTC is shifting one block west to minimize the walk for bus-Link transfers.

    2. In working through this, do you find the Northgate TC will be becoming an much less important transit transfer hub once a Lynnwood Link opens?

      I wouldn’t say that. I would just say that other hubs will catch up. Right now, the future Roosevelt Station is a minor hub. The only really frequent bus is the 67 (which also serves Northgate). Even the obvious corridor (to Lake City) has only half hour frequency. In the middle of the day, getting to downtown is a slow trip, requiring a transfer. That will change once Link gets there.

      Should we even have a North Seattle transit hub if bus frequencies are better, and instead have each route cross Link at the most logical station as a through route? Should bus layover/ driver break locations be at the end of a route as opposed to a Link station?

      Sometimes a bus should layover at Northgate, sometimes is shouldn’t. From a ridership perspective, there is value in having good ridership at the terminus (I can’t find the Jarrett Walker link, but he writes about this). Normally the end of a line has poor ridership, because there is only one direction to go. Ending at Northgate solves that problem.

      It also gives Metro flexibility. You could extend the 40 all the way to Lake City, and many would find that wonderful. But the bus would be extremely long, which means it would be unreliable. There would be more bus bunching, and you might run into rider fatigue. In an ideal world the Link station would be up on Northgate Way, but since the buses will deviate to serve Link, having a transit center there is useful.

      Of all the stations north of the Ship Canal, it appears to have the least direct east-west connectivity to me and the advantage of I-5 direct access ramps seem to go away upon Lynnwood Link’s opening.

      Yes, absolutely. That is a major weakness of the station, and it is why I believe the Roosevelt Station will steal some of its thunder.

      Finally, Northgate Mall has become a less important retail destination.

      If anything, the transition of the mall should increase transit ridership. Malls are overrated as transit destinations. They don’t employ that many people per square foot, and shoppers who are attracted to malls are more likely to drive there. In any event, ridership will be driven by the college, the medical offices in the area, as well as apartments. Many of the apartments are too far away to walk to the station. So a hub and spoke system (that exists now) is very good, and will save a lot of people time. But that can be overdone, which is why I changed the 67.

      I’ve thought about it a lot. I’ve considered going from one extreme to the other (lots of buses to Northgate, or very few). I’ve come to the conclusion that we should have something in between, which is why I put together this proposal. What Metro proposed earlier was very close to what should exist in the long term, even when Link adds a 130th station (which steals even more of Northgate’s thunder). We should have buses on each major corridor, connecting them. We should just avoid looping detours, like the 67. There should be service to Northgate, but it should be as direct as possible.

      That is why the 61 is so strong. It connects Greenwood to Lake City. That itself is a very worthy goal, especially since there are secondary transfer that are also dramatically faster (e. g. Lake City to Phinney Ridge, Lake City to Licton Springs). Along the way you have the college, the apartments and the clinics that make up greater Northgate. For folks in Lake City, the 61 is faster than the 41 (or new 75). For folks in Greenwood, it is much faster. The station is just a bonus, but a worthy one for those in Greenwood. Not only is it the fastest way to get to Link, but it doubles up frequency to Link (riders can take the 61 or 45, whichever comes first).

      Even after Lynnwood Link I expect Northgate to be a major hub, with more than one bus terminating there. But I expect most of the stations to be hubs, even if many (like 130th) don’t have buses ending there.

    3. This is getting into what is a transit hub. To me it’s a stop where riders transFER to a lot of other routes, and hopefully it’s at a neighborhood center so you can walk to a variety of destinations. Forget about bus layovers; that’s an internal operations issue, not something important to passengers. The layovers can be there or elsewhere.

      Park & Rides should ideally be outside transit hubs or neighborhood, even if that requires an additional station for them, because of their negative impacts on neighborhood centers. Only express routes or Link need to stop there. Nobody would drive to a P&R to take a local route, and walk-on passengers don’t particularly want to go to a P&R.

      1. This is getting into what is a transit hub. To me it’s a stop where riders transFER to a lot of other routes, and hopefully it’s at a neighborhood center so you can walk to a variety of destinations.

        I agree.

        I also think most transfer hubs are also destinations. Most destinations are also transfer hubs. For years downtown was *the* transfer hub for the region, but it was also the biggest destination. It remains so, while downtown Bellevue and the UW are both like that.

        With Link, there will be more places that are primarily transfer hubs. 130th and 145th will not be destinations. But they will be major transfer hubs, even if they are served by one bus and Link.

        As the system gets built out, I think Northgate becomes a bigger destination, and a smaller transfer hub. It becomes more like CHS. It is still a big transfer hub, but it is a bigger destination.

        Unlike other hubs, it is hard to serve. That is what Al is getting at. That is the main issue. At best it involves twists and turns to get there. At worst, the bus is forced from the easiest route in an attempt to both serve the station and cover the area. The 40, for example, not only has to backtrack to serve the station but it also goes along the side of the college. This means someone from Crown Hill, at 85th, has to go north, south, then north again to get to Northgate (https://goo.gl/maps/WXscMNhLVXbn4ZQT9). Instead of going 15 blocks north, they go a total of 33 blocks north, and 18 blocks south — almost two miles out of their way. Meanwhile, some of the more straightforward ways to serve the station doesn’t have any service. There is no bus on First Avenue, north of the station. Even 5th/Weedin, from the south, has no all-day service, and will soon have no service at all. I’m not saying I would do anything different with those routes — I’m just saying that Northgate’s location is awkward.

        This is why I find the removal of the 61 so frustrating. This is by far the strongest, most straightforward connection to Northgate. Lake City and Greenwood are high density and close to Northgate. Density plus proximity equals high ridership. The 61 is also the fastest way to get from Lake City to Northgate. It is by far the fastest way to get from Greenwood to Northgate. It is also the fastest way to get from Crown Hill to Northgate — those almost two miles of extra travel would be eliminated.

        There is a strong case to have buses serve Northgate, even though it is hard to serve. This makes it different than just about every north end station. Serving those other stations is much easier, even if there is less there.

        But at the very least we should serve Northgate with a bus that has the greatest potential — the one that has the most people, and is the fastest route. That is the 61.

      2. Yes this is what I am getting at.

        A classic transit transfer hub has the ability for many bus routes to both converge and lay over. Overlake, Renton and Mt Baker are examples. In areas with infrequent buses, timed transfer hubs (a sometimes added feature) are very important. By having driver restrooms and more places to park buses, they often double as layover points.

        These are great bus system ideas — particularly where there aren’t nearby places to also easily transfer.

        The opening of frequent light rail changes things. New stations are not spaced miles from each other. The light rail offers frequent and reliable service at any station. Trains won’t be laying over unless the line ends at the station.

        It suggests to me that bus transfers at stations thus need to be thought of differently like being optimized for through routing. Driver break spots may also need to move out of a station to the non-station end of the route where possible.

        To be clear, I’m not viewing Northgate to go away as a transfer point. I’m simply observing that the advantage of routing many bus routes to Northgate a mile or two away and laying over a bus there seems to become less important and could be a huge time waste for both riders and driver salaries. It may also be valuable to have it serve as a hub in low-use times like at 9 pm on a Sunday evening.

        Since I don’t live in North Seattle, I can’t comment on the specifics as much as I can make general observations. That’s why my comment is somewhat in the form of a question about Northgate specifically.

  3. I recommend that any Northgate Link restructure, off-peak, retain the 41 and reintroduce the offpeak-only 71-72-73 downtown express buses. If Sound Transit insists on keeping Link infrequent, then Metro cannot expect riders to transfer there and must compensate.

    If other buses need to be made less frequent to pay for it, so be it. Metro should publicly advertise two schedules – one for the present, and one to be introduced as soon as Sound Transit makes Link more frequent. In the meantime, riders should direct their complaints to Sound Transit.

    1. Keeping the 41 and reinstating the 71/72/73X would take so many service hours it would detract from north Seattle’s bus network. Telling people to blame Sound Transit is not a solution:. People need to get around and they can’t wait until ST restores Link’s 2019 frequency someday. What is somebody from Lake City going to Ballard supposed to do? Or somebody who lives in NE 75th Street? Or who is glad the 65/67 has such robust service? Or who is glad for the remaining frequency increases since 2015 even if some of them will be rolled bacK?

      Oh, and there’s congestion downtown and the DSTT is closed to buses. The 71/72/73X used to get caught in a significant traffic jam at least once a week, and a couple times a month the UDist-downtown segment stretched to 45 minutes or an hour due to traffic on I-5, the Stewart-Denny exit, and downtown. I used to ride through that every day. You might not notice it in the express lanes, but it was a lot worse in the reverse-peak direction.

      The 41 also gets caught in traffic southbound between 2 and 7 pm a lot. The difference between 10-minute vs 15-minute Link is less than that. And evenings, well, the streets are clear and the local buses reach a reasonable speed. If you don’t want to wait for Link Northgate-downtown maybe you can take the 40 or E. Or if you’re further south, the 62.

    2. From a political standpoint, I don’t think that will work. If you don’t truncate the buses, then riders will simply shrug. Their world hasn’t changed. If you truncate the 41, and people are sitting around a long time, they will blame Sound Transit. Even if they don’t — even if they blame Metro for the truncation — Metro can tell folks that only Sound Transit can improve the frequency of their trains.

      1. As a beginner’s question, in Seattle how far is a transit rider expected to walk to begin their transit journey, either on a bus or train, during the day and night? One block, a mile, half a mile?

        Second how many different forms of transit will a typical rider take to reach their ultimate destination? When Bellevue hosted a seminar on driverless shuttle technology the presenters stated most commuters will not take three forms of transportation to get anywhere, and that it is critical to understand that the first form of transit is from doorstep to first form of transit.

        I ask these questions because in many areas the only real first mile access is a park and ride, which is the first mile access, which means the bus or train that will take them to their ultimate destination needs to be there, not a bus to a train or another bus.

        So if park and rides are not part of transfer hubs then everyone’s final bus or train needs to originate there if they took a bus to get there.

        Otherwise the time commitment is too great.

      2. Average Americans will walk ten minutes to transit before they start thinking it’s a long walk and what other alternatives are there. If the line is high-quality like Link or a good RapidRide they’ll walk further, fifteen minutes or sometimes twenty. Beyond those you start losing people, and get only dedicated transit riders or poor riders who must make a trip and have no alternative. Ten minutes is a half mile or ten blocks (depending on the block size). It’s longer in other countries. A friend from Ireland who lived near NE 62nd Street thought nothing of walking to UW south of 45th Street. He said people in Ireland walk more and think nothing of a 30- or 45-minute walk. But if you try that with Americans, they’ll shun your lousy transit system.

        Likewise, the average transit or car commute is 20-25 minutes, and people start to think it long the more it goes over 30 minutes.

        You can combine these into walk circles and transit circles, looking at how many destinations and routes one can get from any point in 5, 10, or 20 minutes; or what they can get to on transit in 15, 30, 45, and 60 minutes.

        “how many different forms of transit will a typical rider take to reach their ultimate destination?”

        Do you mean modes (bus, trolleybus, light rail, streetcar, etc) or seats (a two-seat ride has one transfer). Americans prefer one-seat rides but will somtimes take two- or three-seat rides. If we had higher frequency transit and more transit-priority lanes like Europe, people would be happier with multi-seat rides. As for modes, some Pugetopolans will only take Sounder and Link, others will take those and express buses, others will take all those and feeders. Link is predicated on having a lot of frequent feeders and hoping people will use them. If their overall trip quality is high, and total travel time is not too long, and they don’t have to wait more than 10-15 minutes, then the maximum number of people will be satisfied.

        Demand-response transit (Uber, taxis) is much less efficient than fixed-route buses. Even low-performing coverage routes like the 27, 50, 226, the eastern half of the 62, and the Southcenter-Fairwood van get ten riders per service hour or close to it. When I took it halfway from Southcenter to Ikea one Saturday afternoon, I counted eight people during that time, and the entire route’s length is about an hour. The 62 is also an hour, so the western half can subsidize the eastern half. Demand-response transit gets only 1-2 riders per hour. There’s the time driving back to the starting point or to the next pickup or waiting for one, and the meandering on custom streets. Via, a pilot shuttle in Rainier Valley from Link stations, got an impressive 3-4 people per hour. That’s twice as much as average but still less than half of a fixed-route bus.

        The upshot is we should have a lot more fixed-route lines. Mercer Island is a good example. I don’t know Mercer Island’s hills, but I could see a few all-day routes to the Link station, and I think Metro is planning that. (The site is kcmetrovision.org but it’s down right now.) That will require funding, and the future countywide Metro levy, or Mercer Island stepping up with funding. I don’t know how many riders the previous Mercer Island local routes got. Judging from averages, if they were especially bad they might have gotten 5 per hour. But that’s just a guess. The ultimate reason they were deleted was the 550 and predecessors were not as frequent or reliable as Link, the local routes were infrequent, King County had a low threshold of investment for transit routes, and many islanders’ rejection of transit. But other cities have shown consistently that if you offer good transit, riders will come, even in the US.

        Regarding park & rides, what people need to understand is they’re very expensive. Cars and parking are subsidized much more heavily than transit, but we’ve arranged society so the cost is invisible to drivers, and everybody except the driver pays for the parking. Donald Shoup details this in “The High Cost of Free Parking”. Fifteen years ago surface lots cost $40K per parking space, and structured garages maybe 50% higher. Now we’re hearing quotes of P&Rs costing $80K or $130K per parking space. That’s where a lot of subareas’ money is going to.

        The ultimate culprit is the land-use policies that lock in low-density housing in single-use neighborhoods with cul-de-sac barriers. That’s what’s making it hard to serve everyone by transit. Mercer Island will need to have subsidized local routes, P&Rs, or changes in land use to reach a solution. I’m not opposed to Mercer Island buying the P&R and making it island-only. But the alternatives need to be considered based on the real cost of those parking spaces, not an imaginary token cost. Likewise, I’m not opposed to getting all Eastside feeders to go to South Bellevue, and pressuring Bellevue to not stand in the way if it is.

        If Link is running every 10 minutes to Redmond and Lynnwood as planned, then some islanders will find their way to it somehow. Good local routes would bring even more. Parking spaces can do that too, but there’s a tension between the number of spaces,the number of islanders, and the number of off-island drivers that I’m not going to get into because it’s outside my experience.

  4. Thank you for the excellent summary.

    Your reasons Mercer Islanders didn’t take intra-Island transit are pretty good, except the frequency of the 550, and 554, was good, and it was popular until the 550 was eliminated from the transit tunnel.

    But Mercer Island is quite steep, especially along the perimeter, and it is hard for even fit residents to get up their steep drives to catch a feeder bus. Metro closed the feeder bus that travelled the perimeter of Mercer Island due to low ridership. The 204 that runs south to north has the problem there is little to no park and ride space at the south end, or other stops along the way.

    Mercer Island’s number one request during all of East Link was to control its own park and ride. The majority of citizens supported East Link originally, even though they were losing preferential access to the center roadways, but opposed the loss of SOV access at Island Crest Way, and until ST discovered post-tensioning would require the rails to be elevated across the bridge span which made the center roadway incapable of different forms of transit).

    One irony is the elimination of buses across the bridge span when East Link opens will likely convert the HOV lane into a general purpose lane since it makes no sense to segregate an entire lane on an interstate to 2+ HOV cars, so the whole fight over SOV access might have been unnecessary ( except of course if eastside cities balk at ending express buses to Seattle, and requiring their residents to take a bus to Mercer Island to catch a train which is what I think will happen).

    ST claimed it could not grant preferential treatment for park and rides based on geography, or charge for parking, then reversed course and began renting out stalls, except the combined cost of round trip bus fares and $120/month for reserved parking priced out the one person transit is suppose to serve, whereas everyone else on MI drives to work. My guess is ST will offer sole control over the park and ride on Mercer Island in exchange for a more intense bus intercept. Better than reneging on the promise to Bellevue the S. Bellevue park and ride station would not serve as an intercept for these areas outside Bellevue. ST is terrified of Bellevue, not so much MI.

    You are correct that the building boom and price increases for concrete have increased park and ride costs. ST now estimates $115,000/stall (private contractors estimate around $85,000/stall). But for transit to work in east King Co. you need park and rides. They may seem expensive except feeder buses are too in east King Co., and running rail is much less expensive on the eastside, and the eastside subarea has all the money. The difference between Seattle and most of east King Co. is citizens don’t walk. Period. Especially the women. On the way to the park and ride they drop off kids and run errands, and same on the way home. They want to drive to a park and ride to catch a bus or train, not stand outside waiting for a bus.

    One thing that will never happen in the suburbs and eastside voluntarily is changing the zoning in the single family neighborhoods, certainly for transit when most don’t use or favor transit, and think it is a huge subsidy for low income Seattleites. Single family zoning is the entire purpose the residents moved to the eastside. If there is one thing missing from this blog is any perspective from east King Co., although that subarea has all the money.

    HB 1923 attempted to mandate Seattle style zoning statewide, but the blowback from the eastside was too great, so it became voluntary. The irony is all the suburban cities decided to not change their zoning (because they knew this was just the Master Builder’s Assoc. trying to upzone the large lot suburban neighborhoods), whereas rural county councils like Snohomish Co. that had been fighting the GMA over density on rural lands for decades finally got their wish: the ability to upzone every single lot (many of which are 5 acres minimum) from one legal dwelling to three, and the local codes allow huge houses. Now Snohomish County wants the GMA amended to allow this new zoning to apply to even more rural lands. What an unintended political and environmental disaster.

    Whenever you see the Democrats in bed with Forterra and the Master Builders Assoc. like on 1923, you know something is amiss, and 99% of the time the Democrats get played.

    Having been 11 when my family moved from Seattle — despite being a third generation Seattle family — to Mercer Island for many of the same reasons today, I think Seattle’s recent changes to its residential zoning will, in the long term, be the most destructive thing Seattle has done. Already 21% to 23% of all K-12 kids are in private schools, and no one is very progressive when it comes to their kids, or there wouldn’t be an eastside. That 21% to 23% is prime to move to the eastside because private schools in Seattle, even elementary level, run $20,000/student, plus the hassle of getting the kid to school because Metro is too dangerous. Zoning in the residential neighborhoods on the eastside is the third rail of politics. The eastside subarea has the money for park and rides, except ST hates the idea since it foolishly thought light rail and transit would kill the car, because no one at ST lived in east King Co.

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