Metro map of the revised network covering areas near Northgate and Roosevelt
The areas arguably worst affected by Metro’s latest changes. Map by Metro.

In January, we reported with some excitement on Metro’s initial plans to restructure bus service around the three new Link stations opening in fall 2021. Since then, a combination of COVID-19-driven resource constraints and some mixed public feedback has dampened Metro’s ambitions. The agency’s latest restructure proposal largely maintains the first proposal’s approach of replacing downtown bus commutes with more frequent Link connections, but cancels many of the proposed changes to the all-day network that we praised in January. The resulting network is a missed opportunity for non-commuter trips.

The largest change is the elimination of the proposed route 61, which would have created a slew of new east-west connections to Northgate. Other headline changes include the retention of current, slower routing on routes 45 and 62 that will slow Link connections to Greenwood and Wallingford; the retention of a truncated version of today’s route 26; and retention of current routing on route 67 that will prevent easy transfers at U-District Station.

If voters approve the planned measure to partially renew Seattle Transportation Benefit District funding, it is conceivable that the City of Seattle will be able to fund a restoration of the proposed route 61, although neither Metro nor the city is yet in a position to address how STBD funding would be used in that level of detail.

Metro is still accepting public input through a survey. While some of the changes in this proposal are driven by resource constraints, others were driven by public feedback. If you have feedback of your own, please provide it.

Details about the changes around each of the three stations are after the jump. (UPDATE: Metro reached out to correct an error in the original post on Route 44 routing in the U-District and to clarify a couple of other items. See corrections/clarifications below.)

The Northgate Downgrade

Of the three stations, it is Northgate that comes out the worst loser, at least in terms of the all-day network. The damage does not end with the route 61 cancellation, which eliminates what would have been useful frequent connections to Crown Hill and Greenwood.

Users in Meadowbrook and Victory Heights will actually lose the frequent connection to Northgate they have today. Route 75, which serves that connection today, changes routing between Northgate and Lake City to replace deleted route 41. Metro originally planned to replace 75 service to these areas with the new route 61, but that is cancelled without even an infrequent replacement. The only service for this connection will be on the new route 361, a peak-direction, peak-hour commuter route. The area affected includes the Idris Mosque, one of the city’s largest and a major transit destination. I had a difficult enough time believing this outcome that I reached out to Metro for confirmation, and Metro’s Jeff Switzer confirmed it. Users in the affected area will be able to get downtown using more-frequent route 522 or route 73, but it will get much harder for them to get to Northgate or the rest of North Seattle without a long walk.

Other all-day connections to areas near Northgate on routes 26, 40, 67, and the 340 series will remain essentially the same as they are today.

The proposals for peak-hour service are mostly unchanged from those in the first proposal, but there is one significant loss: the originally proposed route 68, which would have provided new peak-hour service between Northgate and Uptown, is replaced by a connection to South Lake Union (on route 361) that is largely the same as today’s route 63. Notwithstanding that loss, the peak-hour proposals should be convenient for many peak-hour commuters, as they will replace infrequent express buses with more frequent connections that users will not have to schedule as carefully.

Roosevelt: One Big Change

Metro implied in a press briefing that customer feedback was not positive about some of the proposed network changes near Roosevelt. The result is that three of the four frequent all-day routes serving Roosevelt in the proposal—the 45, 62, and 67—will all remain exactly the same as they are today. This eliminates routing changes that were intended to allow faster connections between Link and Wallingford (62) or Link and Greenwood (45). Instead, both routes will continue to spend time getting through pain points. For the 62, that means an indirect route through tiny streets in East Green Lake. For the 45, it means continuing to navigate the traffic-choked sections of Wallingford Ave N and N 85th St near Blanchet High School. It is also worth noting that route 45 is now planned to be through-routed with route 75, likely reducing reliability. (UPDATE: Metro believes that the 45/75 through route will be at least as reliable as existing 45 service, because using Stevens Way through campus is more reliable than using Pacific St. Metro also believes that eliminating Fremont Bridge openings will improve reliability for 75 riders.) The overall result will be to make Link connections less attractive for users in north Wallingford and Greenwood, despite the slow speed of one-seat bus alternatives to downtown.

The good news is that most of the new all-day connections to Roosevelt survive. Sound Transit continues to plan a diversion of route 522 to Roosevelt, which will restore a long-dormant connection between Roosevelt and south Lake City. Metro will also replace route 312 with a new route 322, which will provide additional frequency in peak hours. The new local route 79 connection to Wedgwood, View Ridge, and Bryant also survives.

The peak network from Roosevelt is very similar to that in the first proposal. In addition to Link, commuters can connect to a more-frequent route 64, serving both SLU and First Hill, as well as Sound Transit express service to Redmond.

University District: Some Longer Walks

U-District Station has perhaps the fewest changes to the proposed all-day network, but there are a few, some of which will result in longer walks between the station and bus transfers. Those changes, affecting routes 44, 48, 65, and 67, are largely driven by pavement maintenance concerns on NE 43 St, where Metro and SDOT appear to have determined that there was no funding to reinforce the street to deal with the very high volume of buses Metro originally planned. (CORRECTION: I was wrong about Route 44. Routes that will move to NE 43 St are 44, 49, 70, and 372.) Other changes, including the retention of route 73’s tail to UW Medical Center, appear to have been driven by customer feedback. But the U-District network is notable for what remained in the proposal, more than what changed.

First, the major change to route 31 and 32 routing mostly survived. They will continue to use NE 45th St east of U-District Station, providing a much faster and more direct connection to U-Village and Children’s Hospital than exists today. They will lose their through-route with route 75 (which will be through-routed with route 45 instead) and lay over at the upper Children’s Hospital bus turnaround on NE 45 St, providing a partial replacement for deleted route 78 service to Laurelhurst.

Second, while Metro’s original route 23 local service proposal was a casualty of the decision to keep today’s route 62 routing, there does remain a local connection between U-District Station and north Wallingford. Route 26 remains in place as an all-day route, but only north of NE 50th St; from NE 50th, it is routed to U-District Station. Based on planned frequencies, it seems possible to me that Metro could realize further efficiencies (and potentially restore some service frequency elsewhere) by through-routing routes 26 and 74 in the U-District.

Finally, there are no major changes proposed to other frequent corridors serving other essential connections to U-District Station, including routes 44, 45, 48, 49, and 70. Unlike at Northgate or Roosevelt, no current or planned frequent connections from U-District Station are lost in this revision of Metro’s plans.

59 Replies to “Metro scales back North Link plans”

  1. It makes sense that the all-day network doesn’t change much here, since Link will not be all-day frequent. If Sound Transit restores midday and evening frequency on Link, then it will make sense to do another restructure.

    In fact, I’m sorry Metro has gone as far as they have – their current proposal represents a frequency downgrade for evening Northgate-downtown service. They need to restore the 41 for evening service, timed opposite Link’s half-hourly trains.

    1. 1) Speaking as a resident of the area impacted, Wallingford, the current all-day network isn’t all that great and has a lot of room for improvement. It’s a mix of legacy routing, maintaining old habits, and lack of political will to create change. I’m disappointed to see KCM largely keeping a historic network to make a few incumbent riders happy while ignoring troves of data related to today’s travel patterns, addressing more modern rider needs, and fully leveraging Link to keep more resources at the surface.

      2) Link’s half-hour service is temporary and may change once NLink opens. Let’s also remember the frequency downgrade is thanks to a substantial loss of funding due to Covid and reduction in scope of Seattle’s Transit District.

      1. I can’t speak for Mike, but I would just go with this in Wallingford (north of 45th): https://kingcounty.gov/~/media/depts/transportation/metro/programs-projects/link-connections/north-link/route-info/en/route062.pdf. I’ve suggested as much with my latest proposal. This speeds up the 62, and makes for better coverage. No one is that far away from the frequent 62, making the infrequent 26 unnecessary.

        South of 45th it gets trickier. Metro kills off the 26 south of 45th. This is odd, considering ridership for that section is better than north of 45th. The simplest thing to do is just get ride of the 26 and increase frequency on the 31/32 and 62 (more or less what Metro is suggesting). I think there is a case for a bi-directional rush hour bus like so: https://goo.gl/maps/PpyqV89xtvVsCUmH7. For those who live along Stone Way, it gives them a much faster trip to downtown. Since it would be bidirectional, it also gives them a one-seat ride to the UW. That would reduce some of the likely crowding that would occur on 45th, especially as you get close to the station. It is basically cherry picking the highest density areas of the 62 in Wallingford, and giving them a faster ride to the UW or downtown.

    2. It makes sense that the all-day network doesn’t change much here, since Link will not be all-day frequent.

      You are missing the point. The all-day network *does* change. It is worse. A lot worse (https://seattletransitblog.com/2020/09/01/two-axes-to-swing-for-metro-in-september/).

      But at the same time, peak direction travel is much better! Low performing buses, like the 63, 64, 303 and 309 are not only kept, but they will run more often. The numbers have changed, but it is the same basic, flawed approach. This, at a time when those very riders have an alternative which is fast and frequent (during the time they will run those buses) — Link.

      In other words, all those savings that go into truncating the 41 — most of which occur outside peak — are going into running poorly performing, peak-only routes right next to Link stations.

      People who use transit in the middle of the day are being screwed twice — once by Sound Transit, and once by Metro.

      1. I do, yes. Even if we get a vaccine was found and distributed today, you’re not going to be able to hand out millions of doses to every metropolitan area in the country. At best you’d be able to cover the most vulnerable and high risk, but in a year and a half COVID is still going to be a killer and still in general circulation.

      2. Ross, given the CDC’s record right now, I wouldn’t put too much faith in that report.

        Fauchi’s latest prediction was by the end of 2021… which is over a year away.

        A Joy is probably right: in September of 2021 things might be a bit better but we are no where near guaranteed to be out of the Covid woods.

        On a related note: I remember a comment from back in slay where someone proclaimed that we had “flattened the curve” and relaxing restrictions was appropriate. Yeah, that didn’t work out so well.

      3. Scottie: I remember when at first “flatten the curve” meant the curve of ACCUMULATED cases, e.g., having very few new cases each day. It quickly came to mean a downward trend in new daily cases — any kind of downward trend! And now a “fat plateau” in new daily cases is considered “flattening the curve,” a great time to reopen things, LOL. Goes to show how much data and terminology can be spun!

        I do have at least some optimism that the vaccine widespread availability time frame is somewhere between “before election day” and “end of 2021.” For one thing, there are A LOT of people’s careers and money at stake! The biggest unknown is perhaps how much of the public will trust the vaccine when it comes out. Anti-vaxxers are going to be a real factor.

        Back to Link service: The most painful aspects of the reduced Covid service are ending *today*, no? https://www.soundtransit.org/ride-with-us/changes-affect-my-ride/service-changes

      1. Thanks, E-line. When I both lived and drove trolleybuses in Ballard, would’ve loved to see 32nd NW wired to 85th, and the Route 48 wired south through Wallingford to Rainier Valley.

        Proposed 61 would’ve fit right into the plan. When both these things finaly do happen- right now shortage of Time-related material makes -Frames really hard to assemble- buses will just raise contacts to battery-charging plug-ins.

        Would be good if Ballard could keep some machining, especially if it starts orienting transit-wise. And yesterday’s boat-yards should have no trouble with tomorrow’s “Ground-Effect” hydrofoils.

        Bet somebody reading this already has a third-grader inventing one on their computer as we speak.

        Mark Dublin

  2. The resulting network is a missed opportunity for non-commuter trips.

    I think you mean it is missed opportunity for non-9-to-5-commuter trips. There are lots of people who commute to Northgate, Greenwood or Lake City. There are also people who commute to places along Aurora, or Phinney Ridge. All those riders are screwed. They will continue to endure horrible commutes like this: https://goo.gl/maps/hmfLH5PqHwdpZBxM6. That is almost an hour, for a trip that takes around 10 minutes by car.

    Meanwhile, Metro is sinking a ton of money so that a handful of riders don’t have to make a transfer at Capitol Hill or South Lake Union — but again, only if you work 9-5. So the suburban doctor who works at Swedish might just let his Lexus sit in the garage, and take the bus to work. But the nurse who works the night shift is screwed.

    This is a proposal full of elite projection (https://humantransit.org/2017/07/the-dangers-of-elite-projection.html). It is full of wasteful, low-ridership routes through low-density areas. It’s basic approach is that the riders that matter — the ones that have the wherewithal to alter public policy — will love these changes. But the ones that have no alternative — who can’t afford to buy a car — will just endure commutes that take way too long.

    The most frustrating part is that it wouldn’t be that hard to fix. Most of the changes (like breaking off the 31/32 and sending it to Children’s Hospital) are nice little fixes to long standing problems (such as reliability). But there is still way too much money spent on poor routes, while essential pieces get left behind. My solution is this (https://seattletransitblog.com/2020/09/15/phase-3-northgate-link-bus-network-proposal/) and it boils down to a few simple changes:

    1) Kill off the express routes to First Hill or South Lake Union.
    2) Kill off the 26 and 73.
    3) Run the 61 to Greenwood, if not further.
    4) Have the 62 run on 65th to Woodlawn if it can’t follow the previously proposed routing.
    5) Have the 67 go to 145th (via Pinehurst and 15th).

    Even if Metro rejects that last couple of ideas, the top three would create a much better system. Ridership would be higher, and way more people would be better off.

  3. My initial feeling was that the more direct routing of the 62 between Wallingford and Roosevelt was better for a faster connection to Link. But after thinking about it some more, I now think that the current routing is superior, for the main reason that it maintains the connection to Green Lake (with apartments, the park, pool, library, grocery stores, etc). That really opens up a lot of North-South trip pairs in the Green Lake/Wallingford/Fremont area that would be cut off with the more direct routing.

    The biggest downside to the current routing is that some people end up with a slightly longer trip to Link, by a couple minutes probably. But it’s very few people for which taking the 62 northbound to Link makes sense – really just the area around Tangletown. Everywhere else has better options to reach Link already: upper Wallingford has the 44, and lower Wallingford/Fremont have the 31/32. And people around Tangletown have a < 10 min ride to Link anyways, so shaving off a couple minutes isn't a huge difference.

    In this case, maintaining connections between several urban villages is worth the slight inconvenience of a longer trip to Link for a small number of people.

    1. It is a detour, plain and simple. By my estimate it is around five minutes. Sure, some riders take a shorter walk. But the vast majority of riders come out worse. It isn’t just Link riders who suffer. If you are trying to get from Roosevelt to Fremont or Dexter, you have to take that detour. Those riders greatly outnumber the riders of the riders who use those stops.

      It takes longer for the bus to finish its route, which means it takes longer to run. That hurts frequency for that bus, or some other route.

      There are riders who have a shorter walk, but there are riders who have a longer one. If you are on 65th, you have to walk north to Woodlawn. There are just about as many people who get a shorter walk, as those that have to walk further.

      Meanwhile, 26 runs infrequently. It should be killed, and replaced with better service (on the 62 or somewhere else). With the new routing, a lot of those riders are better off.

      Yes, this means that people have to walk further if they visit Green Lake. It turns out, lost of people who visit Green Lake walk a lot further (many walk all the way around it). Having a faster route is a lot more important.

    2. I agree, qwerty. My experience with the 26 on Latona has been that it only has good ridership at peak. Outside of peak, very few people get on our off along Latona, some of which maybe a product of the lack of frequency, but a lot of it is that there aren’t many destinations, and the combination of a big hill and I-5 to the east seriously limits the walkshed. I’d much rather have the 62 hit Tangletown (there aren’t many destinations there, but far more than Latona) and Green Lake (as you note, lots of destinations and people) than go on an arterial with that really just exists to get people to somewhere else.

      1. I’d much rather have the 62 hit Tangletown (there aren’t many destinations there, but far more than Latona) and Green Lake (as you note, lots of destinations and people) than go on an arterial with that really just exists to get people to somewhere else.

        The reroute Metro originally proposed for the 62 would not divert the bus away from the mixed-use area of Tangletown. It would still serve that area and then continue on 56th St before turning north on Latona instead of turning north on the much narrower Kirkwood Pl.

        Riders wanting to walk around Green Lake would have to first walk five minutes (from 65th/Latona) to get there, and riders wanting to get to the Green Lake commercial area would need to walk seven minutes from the park-and-ride. This isn’t that far to walk, and the tradeoff is it speeds up service by a similar amount of time for everyone who doesn’t want to go there.

        Seems like if there are more people on the bus not going to Green Lake than who are going to Green Lake, that’s the right trade-off to make.

      2. Eric, I’ll admit I haven’t ridden transit as much lately (for easy-to-guess reasons), but the 62 stops at Woodlawn and Ravenna were always pretty popular even off-peak, even more so than any of the 26 stops along Latona except during peak times. If there’s per-stop data, though, I’d be happy for my anecdotes to be disproved.

      3. I live near there and you’re right that the Woodlawn/Ravenna stops are pretty well-used.

        Are they well-used enough to justify a five-minute detour for everyone not stopping there? I doubt it, and especially doubt it once Link opens and the 62 gains riders looking for a frequent connection to light rail.

  4. Unfortunately, bus routing changes often get pushback. Riders can be vocal creatures of habit. We witnessed that with the U-Link restructure a few years ago too.

    In this case, I see two major changes after 2021 which may compel Metro to revisit things. The first is the 2023 opening of Line 2 for East Link, which doubles frequency. The second is opening of Lynnwood Link, which sets up a longer spine.

    I often suggest that once extended or more frequent rail service operations begins , the fussing about routing declines. Metro and ST don’t really develop ad campaigns to make riders look forward to the new rail stations either, usually only developing an opening day/ week party and considering that sufficient. If Metro and ST had spent the last year developing a visible marketing campaign after finalizing a new service plan a year ago, the pushback would probably be much less.

    1. There is a fairly large cognitive load in having to change a major, well established routine such as knowing what transit choices to make daily. Even for office workers commuting 9-5, this is still a major issue – I saw a lot of this riding the 271 where people would be very upset when the 271 “randomly” canceled peak routes when UW was not in session. People plan their days around these connections, and that involves knowing when to leave home to get to their first meetings, dealing with child drop-off/pick-up, scheduling gym sessions, etc. Yes, these are first-world problems, but they are real to _these_ people, and the fact that others have bigger problems doesn’t mean they are not real to them.

      Should this keep us from proposing changes that help more people? No, of course not. But it is, I think, important to understand why there is opposition to major changes to existing routes, and it is probably worth considering how to mitigate them, either through messaging or through explicit new route design choices that minimize the impacts. To be fair, I think that Metro did a pretty good job with the North Eastside restructure in exactly this way, pointing out the options (good or bad) for many common trip patterns that were changing. But it’s something we should probably do more of here, too, if nothing else at least as a thought exercise. (Again, not saying we do not do it at all – just that it probably deserves being done even more than it already is, and by more of us. Including myself :) )

      1. But again, the problem is not inertia. Lots of these routes are changing. Many new routes are being created, while others are being deleted. Just about everyone in the area will have to learn a new way of getting around. That’s not the problem.

        The problem is the focus. Service is shifting from riders who use transit all day, to those who ride it peak direction. A handful of riders will get a brand new, very expensive, one-seat ride from South Lake Union to First Hill (peak direction) at the same time that service throughout the network is being cut. It isn’t a matter of resistance to change, it is a matter of poor priorities.

        It is also the type of change that gets people to reject everything. For example, let’s say I live in Victory Heights. Right now, I have a fast connection to the two big neighborhoods that surround me (Lake City and Northgate). The bus also gets me to Sand Point and the UW. The trip to Northgate connects me to a fast, frequent bus to downtown Seattle. That bus runs every 15 minutes throughout the day, and performs reasonable well.

        Now, right when the Northgate connection would enable fast and frequent service to the UW, Capitol Hill and downtown, it all goes away. It has been replaced by buses like the 309, which performs worse during rush hour than my bus did in the middle of the day.

        This isn’t a change — it is a clear degradation. I’m being forced to walk a long ways to any transit, and a very long ways to frequent transit.

        I’m not alone. Let’s say I live on Stone Way, in the large cluster of apartments that now dominate the area. Right now I can get downtown in a hurry, via the 26. Instead, I will be asked to take the 62, and slog my way downtown. The 26, keep in mind, performs quite well during rush hour — it gets 42 riders per service hour. In contrast, the 303 gets 28. In the peak direction, the stop at Stone Way and 40th is the most popular. The second most popular is the one at on the SR 99 ramp and 38th. In other words, what drives ridership on that route (during rush hour) are folks who want a fast ride to downtown and are pretty close to Aurora. Yet that is all going away, along with the rest of the route. All so that riders to South Lake Union and First Hill get an express that doesn’t involve using Link.

        Oh, and as a bonus, Northgate gets a much slower ride to Lake City, all-day long.

        This represents an outdated philosophy that needs to change. It ain’t the 50s anymore. We can’t assume that the only people who ride buses are the desperate and those commuting to their 9-5 office jobs. We are a big city, with lots of people willing to use transit if we just give them something decent.

        It is great to be optimistic, Al, and think that when East Link or Lynnwood Link gets here, things will be better. But holy cow, this is by far the biggest change to these neighborhoods, and they *still* can’t create a decent cross-town bus north of 45th! We’ve waited forever for a decent grid — and now, when that is finally a possibility — when it makes more sense than ever — Metro instead thinks we should put all of our money into express buses from Link stations to First Hill and South Lake Union! Its outrageous.

        If we are going to get rid of buses like the 26, then we should get of buses like the 303. If we are going to truncate the 41 at Northgate, than the money should go into a bus like the 61.

      2. @RossB

        Fair point about the network changing significantly, though my interpretation from the original post was that there were a lot of reversals on those changes. To quote two paragraphs from David’s post:

        “The result is that three of the four frequent all-day routes serving Roosevelt in the proposal—the 45, 62, and 67—will all remain exactly the same as they are today.”

        “Other all-day connections to areas near Northgate on routes 26, 40, 67, and the 340 series will remain essentially the same as they are today.”

        Your overall point about the strength of the all-day network is well taken otherwise, and fair. It would be great to see some study showing the likely outcome of ridership given those potential routes that are now canceled – i.e. how many riders are we losing that we would have gained, and how many riders are being retained that would have been lost, had we made those changes? I know that it is a hard study to do, and with difficulty of evaluating the confidence of the results, also. I just think it would be very interesting as well. :)

      3. Fair point about the network changing significantly, though my interpretation from the original post was that there were a lot of reversals on those changes.

        Yeah, but for the most part, the reversals seemed due more to technical problems, rather than inertia. It is quite possible that SDOT is to blame as much, if not more than Metro. For example, the change to the 62 won’t happen, because, and I quote:

        To reduce pavement maintenance costs in the coming years, Metro will not be pursuing operations along Latonta Avenue NE and NE 56thStreet in the East Green Lake and Tangletown neighborhoods as part of this project.

        The same is true of the 67. So basically those routes won’t change because SDOT doesn’t want to pay for the pavement. This really deserves a followup article — I would query Metro and SDOT about this.

        As for the 45, the reversal is a good thing. It really was a bad idea. It was based on spreading out service in the area (having the 61 run on 85th, while the 45 ran on 80th). Lots of people — who have no skin in the game — objected to the change because it violated general concepts around bus routing. It is a good thing Metro reversed course. Oh, and it turns out the 45 really is changing. This plan through-routes with the 75. If you were used to being let off right next to UW hospital, or the clinic at Husky Stadium, you will be worse off. If you were headed to U-Village or Children’s Hospital, things are better.

        As for the 26, it is undergoing a major change. Most of it is gone. If you used to ride the bus to downtown (from, say, Stone Way) you are out of luck. You will ride the 62 now. Tell your boss you will be late (for the foreseeable future).

        Which gets me to my main point. This is neither here not there. This is not a “no-change”, or even a “minimal change” proposal. I wouldn’t mind that as much. It is pretty easy to imagine. Make the sort of little changes (like pairing the 45 with the 75) that Metro was probably itching to make. Then just truncate the various express buses at the station. That means all of those express buses end at the station. Not just the ones that go downtown, but the ones that go to South Lake Union and First Hill. Then put the money into increased service — or (at worse) less of a decrease in service.

        But this is not that plan. This is much worse. The southern end of the 26 is gone, even though it has more riders than the northern end. Northgate Way in Victory heights not only loses their frequent service — they lose all service. Getting from Lake City to Northgate takes a lot longer. Most bus service gets worse — much worse.

        The only improvement in this plan are poorly performing routes that I would just kill (https://seattletransitblog.com/2020/09/15/phase-3-northgate-link-bus-network-proposal/). That is why it is so frustrating. It is ludicrous, really. We are making major, dramatic, life changing cuts throughout the system (https://seattletransitblog.com/2020/09/01/two-axes-to-swing-for-metro-in-september/). In the middle of the day, many of these cuts are brutal. The 3/4, one of the backbones our system, goes from 15 minutes to 30 minutes. During rush hour — when it has eye-popping ridership per hour numbers (exceeding the RapidRide A, B, C and F), frequency will drop from 15 minutes to 8. Why? So that we can run express buses from Link Stations to South Lake Union and First Hill. It defies all logic. It is neither aimed at ridership, nor coverage, nor the status quo. It is a bad idea, and should be rejected.

  5. Let’s say U District Station is open. How deep into Wallingford will it draw riders? In other words, will someone in Wallingford who lives a couple of blocks from a downtown-bound bus, be more likely to travel twice that distance or more to the east so they can take Link downtown? I wonder where the cutoff point is in Wallingford where it’s just not worth the effort trying to get to the UD Station.

    1. Hard to say. It depends on where they are going. If they are headed to Capitol Hill, Roosevelt or Northgate, it will draw from very far away (just about everywhere east of Ballard). If you are going to downtown, then it depends on what north-south options are available. If you are close to Aurora, most people will just take the E. The 62 is slow, and you can encounter congestion (during rush hour) or be delayed by the bridge (outside of rush hour). It may come down to which bus comes first. The tough part is, the buses run in opposite directions. Assuming the 44 is more frequent than the 62, I would expect more riders to ride the 44 and transfer than ride the 62 all the way to downtown. The only folks that might be better off with the 62 are the people on the western end (and many of those would be better off walking to the E).

      1. If you’re going from Wallingford to anywhere south of downtown, or even to Northgate, transferring to the train at U District is a no brainer (Google Maps transit gives me a bus transfer and a 42 minute trip time Wallingford to Northgate !). Also in a few more years if you’re going to Lynnwood for whatever reason. Meanwhile, demand to go in to downtown itself may well be diminished for many years or permanently. IMHO, Metro is missing a huge opportunity to improve the “breadth” of the transit system. Network effect.

    2. I think one big question is how pleasant the walk/bike ride from Wallingford to Brooklyn Station ends up being, considering that I-5 is a huge barrier, and the three streets that cross it in Wallingford are truly car sewers (50th being the worst, and 45th now far behind). Sure, people could hop on the 31/32 or 44 but, as people have noted, the Fremont bridge seriously affects 31/32 reliability, and congestion on 45th (to a large extent from the lack of traffic enforcement at the I-5 ramps) impairs 44 reliability to the point where it’s not even competitive with walking aside from the option to sit down.

      At one point there was talk of either adding a pedestrian bridge at 47th, or expanding the sidewalks on the existing 45th bridge, but I haven’t heard anything about that for a while so suspect the idea is now defunct.

  6. well the survay is not accessible work with screen readerstext to speach programs on widnows JAWS and or NVDA . The survay just lots of buttons for every choice not check boxes or radio ccircles to select one option in the question. This is big issue for blind people that want to take part in this process. I have told metro lots of times to make sure and test to check that their survays and matterials are accesible to the blind. The survay platforms that are accesible work with screen readers are survay mucky, Google forms, and microsoft forms. Also nother issue in this transit area is that is on street parking on lots of the streets that should and needs to be for transit bbusses. Also the Bike lane onNE 65 st mmade it so not transit lane so the bus is inis cslow buecbecause of trafic aalso you have to ccross bike lanbike cycle track to get on the bus which is not safe. This is the same issue on Roosevelt way also with cycletrack that you ahve to cross to get on the buss when the cycle track is whereshould and needs to be transit buss lane. One way streets the cycle track should and needs to be on the other side of the stree not on the same side of the street that the buss runs on. Need more transit busses in the neighborhoods local and express conecting to the light rail stations. The other thing isbig fact is that light rail sound transit does not run from 1:00AM to 5:00Am so what are people post to do then ? LOts of people eeither leaving or going to work at this times. Seattle work and events are run at all hours of the day. Also need more east west transit .

  7. I’m also surprised about the deletion of midday service along Northgate Way between Northgate TC and Lake City. But this could be easily solved by extending Routes 40 or 26, or making a new route and having it through-route with Routes 345/346.

    I feel like this is a missed opportunity to increase frequency on routes like the 346 and 347. If frequencies are increased on these all-day routes, it might be possible to discontinue some of the express routes that enter I-5 at 65th St, and although that would disadvantage some peak riders, it would make a better all-day network. A few years ago I posted a restructure proposal on Page 2, and I think some of those ideas might work well for this restructure: https://seattletransitblog.com/2017/08/24/north-seattle-restructure-after-lynnwood-link/

    I don’t see how linking the 75 with the 45 makes the routes less reliable. If anything, they might be more reliable, as the 75 would no longer be linked with a route that crosses the Fremont Bridge.

    1. I am also surprised that in the proposal that there will be no service between Lake City Way and Northgate currently serviced by the # 75. I have ridden the # 75 and I see people getting on and off along the way. The same when I drive on NE Northgate Way and I see people waiting at the stops for the # 75.

      I think your suggestion of extending either the # 26 or # 40 to Lake City using the routing of the # 75 is a good one. It could use the terminal on 35th Ave NE currently used by the # 41.

  8. Re: the 26 and 62 plans

    I’m all for getting rid of the 26’s local segment north of 40th St. But the Aurora express segment serves a purpose–to move many hundreds of people to and from downtown without mixing and getting bogged down with the many hundreds of people along Dexter.

    The 62 is already quite crowded during rush hours. Is there a plan to decrease headways? (If up to 4 buses are bunched together when arriving in Wallingford during the PM rush, would a decrease in headway mean that, say, 6 buses will bunch together?)

    And really, to be honest, are these decisions being made without consideration of all the apartment buildings being built along Stone Way in the past 5 years?

    I really like the Google Map above of a bidirectional rush hour express Downtown-Aurora-Stone Way -45th St-U District. It’s a forward-thinking plan that might fill a lot of holes in one fell swoop.

    As for trekking from Wallingford into the U District to catch the Link to downtown, I’m just speaking for myself here, but I wouldn’t bother. Especially during rush hours. The 31/32 and 44 are overcrowded.

    Speaking of which, what about decreased headways on the 44?

    1. Speaking for myself as well, even at midday, I can walk (and have walked) faster than the 44 from Aurora all the way to Campus Parkway. I imagine that at rush hour it is even worse. So for me at least, I would be very hard pressed to want to wait for it to get downtown, even if coming from the western part of Wallingford. I would probably just suffer on the 62, or walk south and try to catch another 62 before it gets on the bridge (or catch the E or 26). But this is just speculation since I’ve never lived in Wallingford, only transited through it or gone to places there from other neighborhoods in N Seattle.

    2. But the Aurora express segment serves a purpose–to move many hundreds of people to and from downtown without mixing and getting bogged down with the many hundreds of people along Dexter.

      Exactly. It is bizarre that Metro got rid of the southern section, but kept the northern one. If nothing else, I would have kept rush-hour bidirectional service. What bothers me most is not the dramatic cut in rush-hour service, but the fact that they turn around and *increase* rush hour service elsewhere, even when the 26 dramatically outperforms that other service. It makes no sense.

    3. @Wallingfordian
      I’m in agreement with your comments regarding the section of route 26 that serves lower Wallingford, as well as your response to Sam’s question about trekking over to the U-District to catch Link to downtown. I took the 26 and the 26X for over a decade when I lived in Wallingford, catching it daily at the stop RossB mentioned, i.e., Stone Way and 40th. My commute changed over those years as my final work destination changed from Georgetown to North Delridge, but the 26 was always my closest and fastest way to get downtown before transferring to my second bus. If I still lived there today and had those same work commutes via the slow 62 or trekking up to 45th and catching the even slower 44 to try to connect with Link, adding a third (and possibly fourth) seat to my daily commute, I would either change jobs or just get a car (both employers offered free parking on their sites).

      The bus-riding folks in lower Wallingford are kind of getting the shaft here. The urbanist.com noted this in their write-up on the restructure earlier this year, and this appears to still be the case even with these latest revisions.

      https://www.theurbanist.org/2020/01/23/metros-northgate-bus-to-link-proposal-could-use-a-little-love-for-fremont/

  9. Ha. Ridiculous.

    The in-laws were planning to make an offer on a new townhouse in Victory Heights. We have a meeting with the bank on Monday. They don’t own a car and one in-law is an essential worker (nurse) who often works late shift and comes home at midnight. All the in-laws would rely on getting to Link at NG using Metro.

    Needless to say, with the deletion of service to Victory Heights, they won’t be making an offer on that particular townhouse. They will keep looking.

    I expected Metro to improve things. But, you know, “Metro”.

    Disappointing.

    1. Victory Heights is getting screwed with this proposal. It is especially bad compared to the previous proposal. Instead of a frequent bus that would connect them to Lake City, Northgate, Greenwood and Crown Hill (with connections to just about everywhere) they will have to rely on the infrequent 73. That could connect them with Link, but far less often. Getting to Northgate will require a long unpleasant walk (to Roosevelt) or a long two seat-ride. The same is true for Lake City. The connection to the two closest communities (Lake City and Northgate) is cut, despite living on the fastest corridor that connects them.

      It is terrible, just like the midday frequency on Link. In both cases we need to fight for better service, and hope that things improve in the future.

  10. The 40 is very long, so extending it would be a problem. You could extend the 26, but the 26 is infrequent. You could just run a short route (from Northgate to Lake City). But I think the best idea is to run the 61 — at which point you don’t need the 26.

    The 61 would be one of the best performing buses in our system. It provides the fastest connection between the three biggest neighborhoods north of the UW: Greenwood, Northgate and Lake City. The time savings for these trips would be huge — instead of a three seat ride that takes about an hour (any time of day — https://goo.gl/maps/hmfLH5PqHwdpZBxM6 ) you would have a bus that takes less than a half hour. Not only would it connect these three neighborhoods, but it would make two seat connections to places like Phinney Ridge and Licton Springs a lot faster. Right now those trips require a very time consuming back and forth on the 40, whether from Northgate (https://goo.gl/maps/2jsCwPTTeQENLVbG9) or Lake City (https://goo.gl/maps/nQXH6tyGcXKZWw5U8). That assumes that the 61 stops at Greenwood.

    I think we can afford to send it to 32nd NW. That requires a tad more service hours, but would lead to a big improvements for a lot more trips. Riders from Lake City and Northgate would be able to quickly get to Ballard, via the two main corridors (24th and 15th) but also 8th.

    I have no doubt that the 61 would be one of the highest performing routes in the region. Abandoning what is a solid route for poorly performing peak-only routes is a bad mistake.

    1. The 61 idea definitely makes sense, it’s just a matter of whether riders along 85th prefer a direct connection to Northgate or to Roosevelt. Truncating the 45 in Greenwood seems a bit strange, and having two frequent routes on 85th might be unnecessary. And reducing the frequency of either route would make things inconvenient for riders.

      1. Speed is what I think has been hard to communicate about this 45/61 thing. The choice isn’t just “Northgate or Roosevelt,” but also how fast. The original proposal was “Roosevelt a few minutes faster than today, or Northgate even faster than that.” Now we get neither; the Northgate connection is gone, and the Roosevelt one has the same dog-slow routing people have to put up with today.

      2. it’s just a matter of whether riders along 85th prefer a direct connection to Northgate or to Roosevelt.

        No its not. You can have both. Because people are going to both. The 45 connects Greenwood to Roosevelt, but mostly it connects them with the UW. The 61 would connect them to Northgate. Northgate has a college, a ton of medical clinics, and a lot of apartments. That is why that part of the 41 performs really well, despite the detour to get there. The 61 wouldn’t have a detour — it would be the only route from the west without a detour. Oh, and it would continue to Lake City, making it the fast trip from Northgate to Lake City.

        Oh, and fairly soon, Northgate will also have a Link station. This would be the fastest way for someone to get from Greenwood to Link, which means it would be the fastest way for them to get to Capitol Hill, and quite often, the fastest way to get downtown.

        Truncating the 45 in Greenwood seems a bit strange, and having two frequent routes on 85th might be unnecessary.

        There is nothing strange about laying over there — it is where the 5X lays over. It is not a lot different than the 41 laying over in Lake City. It is the center of activity, even if you wish the bus went a little bit further.

        As far as having two buses on 85th, that is quite reasonable. The 45 runs every 15 minutes. The 61 could run every 15 minutes — ideally opposite the 45. That means someone who just wants to go along 85th has 7.5 minute frequency. That’s hardly excessive — given the density, many would consider that appropriate, if not a bit light. It would mean that the trip from the Greenwood neighborhood to Aurora Avenue (where the E runs) would be much more frequent. It would also mean that riders would have 7.5 minute frequency to Link (instead of 15).

        And reducing the frequency of either route would make things inconvenient for riders.

        Who said anything about that? I’m talking about 15 minute frequency. Kill off all the express buses and you practically have that already. Kill off the 62 and the 73 (which provide a lot less) and you definitely have that. The 61 would perform better — much better — than any of those other buses. It would perform better than most buses in the region.

        It would also increase ridership the most. Trips like this: https://goo.gl/maps/hmfLH5PqHwdpZBxM6 are often taken just once. After that, the rider pays for Uber, or buys a car. Yet that trip is not unique. There are several variations. Anywhere on Phinney Ridge: https://goo.gl/maps/YRAM8ArNvkPy9ASh6, or Aurora: https://goo.gl/maps/DP3oKwLum4vBvLSZ8. These are not obscure trips — yet a trip from bus stop to bus stop takes forever.

        The 61 would change that.

      3. The main reason I brought up the issue of having two frequent routes is because Routes 43 and 48 used to overlap on one stretch, but then Route 43 was cut, and I was afraid something of that sort might happen with the 45 and 61. A corridor with 7.5 minute frequency would be nice.

        Did you mean cut the 26? Because the 62 is a frequent route with good ridership, while the 26 is an infrequent route that mainly acts as a coverage route, and most of it runs pretty close to the 62. About cutting the 73, I was originally advocating for a frequent route on 15th Ave NE all the way from UW to Mountlake Terrace, but if that isn’t implemented, then cutting the 73 definitely makes sense.

    2. The # 40 isn’t any longer then the # 62. They both start in the International District and both take meandering routes to get to their terminals with the # 62 at Sand Point and the # 40 at Northgate so extending the # 40 would add maybe 15 minutes to the route and at least it would continue service along Northgate Way if the proposed # 61 isn’t brought back.

      Metro has longer routes currently such as the # 24 and # 124 interlined and the # 131/132 interlined with the # 26.

      1. The # 40 isn’t any longer then the # 62.

        Yeah, but their both really long. More to the point, no one is talking about extending the 62. It isn’t just the length, it is reliability. The 40 is not reliable — it routinely gets bogged up in traffic, and the bridge. It is long enough, and frequent enough, to suffer from bus bunching. A short break at Northgate would solve that problem, but at that point, you might as well just run a stand-alone route back and forth from Northgate to Lake City.

        You gain little by extending the 40. There would be some through-riders, but not that many. The 345/346/347/348 (which are through-routed) already covers a big set of them (the folks that “round the horn”).

        It is a half-ass measure, that provides service on the weaker part of the 61. The section between Greenwood and Northgate is stronger. Extending it to Lake City (reliably, and without delay) is a huge bonus. But the main thing is that you shave a ton of time off of trips to Greenwood, Licton Springs, Phinney Ridge or the west side of Green Lake from Northgate (and Lake City). You give folks in Greenwood a faster way to get to Link, while doubling up service on 85th. If I was to cut a piece of the 61, I would cut service along Northgate Way. Yes, it sucks that folks have to walk further — but not that many. It sucks that the trip from Northgate to Lake City is slow — but not much slower.

        Again, I wouldn’t do that. Running a bus from Greenwood to Northgate to Lake City is a great combination. You would have through-riders — way more than the 40. Ridership would be high because riders — for every trip — would feel like the route is straightforward. It isn’t making detours, but following a fast, fairly straight route.

      2. Jeff is correct again. Some through routed pairs are pretty long (e.g, routes 5-21, 24-33-124, 26-28-131-132). But note they are shorter than such pairs were in the early 1990s (e.g., routes 17-130-132, Sunset Hill to HCC, or Route 340, AVTC to Burien). Routes 40 and 62 are shorter than the paired routes. Frequency also mitigates lateness. The main issue is reliability and lateness and not length per se. Before 1998, some pairs were notoriously bad: 25-27 and 16-21. But to 2021, there is probably a better option to extend to Lake City than Route 40.

  11. Just a little “polling” question here: For the actual individual official making the decision you hate worst….what are the chances they’ll still be in office when we’ve got The Covid finally tamed?

    And special follow-up: How about Sound Transit’s own existence? Legislative election eligibility at age eighteen could finally be there for a REASON! Could somebody who knows how please send this viral for me? Fortunately, they’ll never find a vaccine for this one!

    Mark Dublin

    1. Ruth Bader Ginsburg died today, so likely we will not tame the outbreak before we are all dead, and the individual in question will still be in office.

  12. Sorry, AM, I was talking about somebody locally elected for the express purpose of making decisions about transit. For the one you’ve most likely got in mind, as long as you’re younger than age 74, with a physique not generally connected with longevity, and Russian business associates who aren’t connected with it either, my guess is that the transit voting odds are still with you. See you in the Ruth Fisher Boardroom when the time comes.

    Mark Dublin

    1. Thank you for the clarification :) And yes, you are likely right, I had just read the news so it was… particularly raw, as it were.

  13. On the first 2 survey questions, you can see the responses. Some tidbits so far. There’s roughly 900 responses so far – is this representative of the broader community?

    What routes do you ride? Routes that more than 15% of people selected: Link/40/5/41/62/26/44/522

    When do you ride?
    84% weekday PM peak
    76% weekday AM peak
    38% weekday daytime off-peak
    19-33% Saturday daytime
    15-27% Sunday daytime
    21% weekday evening/night
    8-12% weekend evening/night

    The survey asks people to think about their travel pre-Covid, so it strongly favors peak commute patterns, which is likely influencing how Metro is refining their plan.

    1. If Metro is being heavily influenced by the survey in that manner, then it is elite projection. We know, for a fact, that the bulk of the ridership comes in the middle of the day (mainly because there are more hours in the middle of the day). But the survey is dominated by 9 to 5 workers. That is a failure of the survey — they need to reach out to folks who use transit in the middle of the day.

      Furthermore, many routes have great frequency during rush hour, and poor frequency outside of it. There are also many routes that don’t exist outside of rush hour. No wonder folks use more transit during peak hours — for many it is the only time there is decent service.

      It is true that ridership is higher during peak, and as a result ridership per hour is as well. But the difference for many of these routes is minor. The 45 gets 36.9 riders per hour during peak, but 36.8 off-peak. In contrast, the 64 (which only runs peak) gets 26.2, well below routes like the *off-peak* numbers for routes like the 65, 67, 75 (and of course, the 45).

      Running rush-hour routes is also more expensive (https://humantransit.org/2017/08/basics-the-high-cost-of-peak-only-transit.html). Thus Metro is spending extra money on poorly performing routes — routes that don’t even provide extra coverage.

  14. A friendly reminder: Metro service and future plans are getting worse because of austerity. Metro’s finances are in tatters because of reduced ridership, lack of fare collection (which will change on October 1), the end of the Seattle Transportation Benefit District funding source, and the collapse of sales tax revenue.

    You know what is causing all of the above. You know what we have to do to bring an end to this nightmare. It involves the individual responsibility of every denizen of our state, our nation, and really, the planet. Can we stop this bleeding?

    1. I agree. But that doesn’t excuse the shift from all-day service to poorly performing express routes like the 64. Metro is cutting essential routes, but proposing to *increase* service on those routes, right when those riders have a fast, frequent alternative (a transfer to Link).

      If the Seattle levy passes, and Seattle has a bit more money, my guess is it will go into restoring frequency on some of the old routes (which is a good thing). But those express routes will still be there, while the far more productive, vital 61 won’t.

  15. For the 45, it means continuing to navigate the traffic-choked sections of Wallingford Ave N and N 85th St near Blanchet High School.

    If that was the goal, the previous proposal threw the baby out with the bathwater. The previous proposal involved running on 80th east of Greenwood (https://kingcounty.gov/~/media/depts/transportation/metro/programs-projects/link-connections/north-link/route-info/en/route045.pdf). This meant moving further away from the apartments in the area*, and leaving no chance for doubling frequency along 85th with the 61. A much better routing would be to make a dogleg at Aurora: https://goo.gl/maps/uA64E4VKWfdTXQjG6. You would have to move the westbound bus stop from east of Aurora to west of Aurora (next to the gas station). Both the 61 and 45 could use that stop. Eastbound, both buses could use the existing stop (west of Aurora). There would be no stop for that bus on Aurora. That would give the bus five blocks to move into the left lane, and turn onto 80th (where there is already a pocket and turn arrow — https://goo.gl/maps/CWuZTfqTY59j46Fo8).

    That is still less than ideal. Ideally, both buses continue on 85th until Wallingford Avenue, but in bus lanes. I would run bus lanes from Wallingford to 15th NW. This would push traffic onto 80th, where there are no buses. Congested urban streets should have bus lanes. Buses shouldn’t have to go on the side streets to avoid congestion.

    I’m not convinced that staying on 80th and using 1st is faster, but if that is why they proposed the change, I’m OK with it. You move a little further away from the apartments next to the lake, but closer to apartments on Woodlawn.

    It is easy to criticize Metro (I’ve certainly done it) but reversing direction with this, and many other small changes is a good thing. It may not be ideal, but it doesn’t go backwards. My biggest complaint, by far, is that nothing is added with these changes, even though the 61 would have been a major, affordable improvement in the transit network for the area.

    * This is a nice map that lists apartments in Seattle: https://jeffreylinn.carto.com/viz/681ff218-0a5d-11e6-8f50-0ea31932ec1d/embed_map. This is an aerial view: https://goo.gl/maps/71gd631QMnC41Fx57. Almost all of the apartments are on 85th, not 80th.

  16. David answered his own statement of “The resulting network is a missed opportunity for non-commuter trips.” With what preceded it. Metro simply doesn’t have the money, it’s as simple as that. It’s no different than if David wanted to double the size of his present home. My guess is that he couldn’t afford it, setting aside that an opportunistic lender(s) may be willing to loan him the $$$. We must stop expecting free-flowing taxpayer’s money for Cadillac pet projects and demand judicious use of said monies, which Metro is setting a great example for all of the other agencies in the region to follow!

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