‘Interim RapidRide network (image: KC Metro, click to enlarge)

Metro Connects, the long-range plan for King County Metro, is being updated. The revised plan will describe an ‘interim network’ in place of the 2025 map and extends the 2040 horizon of the current plan through 2050. Perhaps the most notable change from the existing plan is the less extensive RapidRide network. Priorities for investment shift too as service is redirected to address equity gaps with a correspondingly reduced emphasis on productivity and geographic values.

Metro’s key policy documents will be updated together. Metro Connects is the long-term vision, first adopted in 2017. The Service Guidelines define the path for nearer term adjustments in services. Both need to align with each other and with the Strategic Plan that outlines Metro’s goals and performance measures.

After the jump, we’ll delve into the new Metro Connects map, with a future post examining updates to the service guidelines.

The interim network, to be completed about the time West Seattle Link comes online in 2030-2035, includes fewer RapidRide routes than the previous plan, replacing many with frequent service routes. The 2016 plan ambitiously envisioned 13 lines for 2025, and that target has been reduced progressively so that only three lines are now funded (a fourth, RapidRide J, will be built in abbreviated form by the City of Seattle without Metro funds).

The new plan identifies 11 candidate lines for the interim network with three to five future projects expected to be completed. The K (Kirkland-Bellevue) and R (Rainier Valley) lines are first in line to be implemented, with further projects to be drawn from the pool of candidate routes. Another 7 to 11 lines may be added in the 2050 network. That’s a pace of about 1 new RapidRide route every 2-3 years, reducing by half the goals in the 2017 plan.

The new plan also envisions smaller projects such as modifications to existing lines.

Some RapidRide options from the Metro Connects map are deleted in the new draft maps. These include: 1025, Kenmore to Overlake; 1026, Kirkland-Redmond; 1075, Renton Highlands to Rainier Beach; and 1515, Kent to Federal Way. All of these are replaced frequent service on the new 2050 map.

There is a new RapidRide candidate in the interim network connecting Kent to Seattle via Tukwila. There’s also an interesting proposal on the Eastside to split RapidRide B. The Redmond-Crossroads leg would extend to Factoria & South Bellevue, and the Crossroads-Bellevue leg would continue to UW.

2050 RapidRide network (image: KC Metro, click to enlarge)

MC 1064, Beacon Hill to UW via Capitol Hill, formerly on the 2040 map, is promoted to the interim map.

Several other routes on the Metro Connects 2025 map appear only on the revised 2050 map, reflecting the general slowing of planned expansions and that they had already been deprioritized for early construction.

The new Metro Connects, like its predecessor, is an unfunded plan, and appears to look toward a future countywide taxing measure for most of the extended network to be viable. The Metro Connects interim network significantly extends the estimated overall need for future service. As staff highlight, “a regional solution to funding Metro Connects would help ensure more investment in routes further down the priority list”. With a 2-3 year window for prioritization plan development, work on a post-2024 network could begin as early as next year.

94 Replies to “Updating Metro Connects”

  1. Taking a lot at my part of town, Kirkland, I’m noticing that the 225 (Kenmore->Totem Lake->Microsoft) is marked as a frequent route in 2050, but downtown Kirkland to Juanita isn’t. This seems very strange – the 225 is meandering through low-density houses in Finn Hill, whereas Juanita and downtown Kirkland both have significant residential and commerical density and are connected by frequent bus service today.

    Either I’m completely misreading the map or Metro’s priorities in the area seem completely backward.

      1. Actually, no I didn’t misread the map. I got the 2025 and 2050 maps confused the second time. Metro’s 2025 removes frequent service between downtown Kirkland and Juanita in favor of frequent service between Kenmore and Totem Lake via Finn Hill. The 2050 map restores frequent Kirkland->Juanita service, but this change still seems nuts.

      2. The current Metro Connects map also removes the 255 north of Central (though that was in the context of RapidRide K going up Market St). Between 255, Stride, and RapidRide K, there are a lot of ways one might theoretically get from Downtown Kirkland to Totem Lake by bus when these are built out. But it’s an awfully steep climb politically to truncate the 255.

  2. Just by being there, Metro Connects and STB both are serving their purpose for the duration. And for [Topic] service here, the choice of routes, perfect. Many thanks, Dan.

    (K)Kirkland-Bellevue, I’ve twice checked out on foot. History’s been generous. Grades, curves, and all, a long-existing railroad from Totem lake to South Kirkland Park and Ride, lacks only rails and wire for streetcars.

    Which would be perfect rolling benches for tired hikers and bikers. Trailers full of racks, no sweat. Where the Trail arrives above the P&R, same straight clean incline-slope down to grade as served construction trains at Ross Dam. Grooved-rail to Bellevue Transit Center, Kirkland Way can surely spare a pre-signalled lane.

    Meantime, of course, trailing-in from Lake Washington Blvd. Kirkland Way is flat, straight, and busy enough to make those lanes and pre-empts do the job with any bus handy. Since trolley-wire itself is now Historic-call it optional. Just put the buses out there, mark the zones, and let them Brand themselves. Starting next week.

    R-(Rainier Valley), also ALL-(Ready There). Its trolley-wire too, though a couple turnback loops and some passing-wire might be restored. And until the final four miles of trolley wire along the Lake for a scenic ride to Renton can be added, only needed provenance is signage. Two recent visits show me a reborn Columbia City that Renton will be proud to be united with.

    Less than no rush about it. For the time-being, time-frame is in COVIDIA’s evil little paws. Though was also glad note that somebody’s Supreme Court Appointees told him yesterday “Thanks, now Game’s Up.”

    But considering the negativity to which every single action plan is currently being greeted in these pages, just fair warning. No reason that a “K” or “R” sign can’t be markered and taped on. And I don’t need a key to steal a bus.

    Mark Dublin

  3. One thing I liked from (I think) the original RR+ plan was the combined 7 and 48 RapidRide lines. Aside from making an east Seattle north/south grid line, it would cost a lot less than upgrading the 7 and 48 separately. The forced transfer at Judkins Park would have been quick and convenient, and only one stop away from IDS (and probably faster for most trips than a RapidRide route running all the way downtown). It’s a shame to not see the idea revived when it would really help a financially constrained Metro bring RapidRide to more places (and offload more downtown travel to Link, which is far more fast and efficient).

    1. Yeah, as eddie implied, one big advantage of doing that is that the 7 and 70 can then be paired. They could be paired now, but it would be much longer. The 48 is relatively short (now that it ends in the U-District). Thus the combination of 7-MountBaker/70 and 48 to Rainier Beach mean each route is about the right length. You force a transfer for folks headed to Jackson or downtown. But the former uses Link, while the latter is outnumbered by those that don’t have to transfer between the 7 and 48.

      1. When I lived in Ballard, I often thought the 48 should terminate in either Ballard or Shilshole, and be wired up either 32nd Avenue NW or winding uphill to 85th from the north end of the beach.

        At SR99, the wire angling down through Green Lake, East Greenlake Drive to Ravenna to 15th to Montlake Blvd., and running electric up the long scenic hill via 23rd and south at least to Mt. Baker Station. Trailing in, or not, into the Route 7 the rest of the way south.

        From my driving days, terminated a block north of the Broadway District, the Route 9 always worked just fine. Could now turn as easily turn at either Rainier Beach Station or even Prentice as at Rose. Whatever’s natural.

        Mark Dublin

    2. That concept appeared in Seattle’s 2013 transit master plan and was incorporated into the first versions of Metro Connects, but there was a lot of public controversy about it, and both Metro and Seattle dropped it in later plans. I had reservations, because it disconnects south Rainier from north Rainier and Jackson, when it’s a robust urban corridor with many overlapping trips along it. And in return all you get is 23rd, which is almost completely residential and has hardly any destinations, and it bypasses Broadway and 15th where more people would be going. The current 7 preserves this proven-strong urban corridor, and the current 48 gives appropriate transit to the more-residential corridor.

      I also don’t see how it would lower costs. It would still be the same miles of RapidRide. The only advantage might be if 23rd-South Rainier is built before North Rainier-Jackson, then there would temporarily be more coverage in a crosstown corridor. But that difference would disappear when both lines are fully built out, which would be 5-10 years later at most.

      1. I was thinking more along the lines of sending the 7 to First Hill, like the 9, but with all the local stops. Then, change the tail to SLU instead of Capital Hill. It would fill in multiple glaring gaps in the transit network very close to the city center, while also leaving more of the 7’s existing corridor intact. For instance, you could still ride the 7 from Mt. Baker to 12th/Jackson.

        To go downtown, you’d have two options to switch over to Link, depending on how far south you’re coming from.

      2. In a way part of this has to do with the 9 not being very good (and, for now, nonexistent). I have the opinion that a route like the 9 should exist and be at least as frequent as the 48 all day (especially since, like you said, more people are going to Broadway). I think this is a hard sell because Broadway has 1) the FHSC, which is pretty mediocre if you’re riding along one of the straight parts, and quite bad if you’re riding it from First/Capitol Hill to downtown through the 14th Ave detour. And 2) route 60 exists, which goes to Broadway but meanders to 9th, slowing it down. It also runs to Beacon Hill and not Rainier, so it doesn’t really serve the purpose that a 9 would. But together these are two frequent routes to Broadway from the south that makes the 9 look unnecessary on paper and its usefulness potentially undersold. It’s also worth noting that if converting the 48 to RapidRide makes it significantly faster or more reliable, then it can zoom by the residential parts pretty quick and be a faster connection to UW, which is a very important use of the 48.

        I think this would be the selling point of a 7-48 RR. It would be a fast way to get to UW, and a fast connection to Judkins Park Station at the better entrance on 23rd. I think it would be much more reliable than the 7 to downtown, and in this way it may be a better option for riders and cheaper to operate despite having the same miles of RapidRide miles (assuming the short 7 gets converted to RR at all).

        Another configuration would be to run the Rainier RR to Boren continuing to Broadway (like the 9) and change the 60 to run on Boren to SLU. I think this would probably be better actually. It would preserve the N Rainier-S Rainier connection, the Broadway connection, and still de-emphasize direct service downtown in favor of a better network with a fast East Link connection.

      3. all you get is 23rd, which is almost completely residential

        It is high density residential, and not all residential. Around Jackson and Yesler you have plenty of small businesses and community centers. There is also Garfield High School, as well the businesses around it (the original Ezell’s). Nearby you have the big cluster of businesses on Union. Up the street there is Madison (Safeway, etc.). Even the largely residential neighborhood of Montlake has a cluster of restaurants close to the library.

        I think you are also forgetting about MLK in the Central Area. That’s the thing about the 48. In the C. D., it runs very close to the 8 (overlapping at times). They split the service and split the ridership. If you are trying to get from Franklin to Garfield (and obvious cultural connection) you will take whatever bus comes first. Up the street they use the same bus stop, and you even have the 4 as well.

        Metro, for good reason, is trying to get rid of that. The plan is to get rid of the eastern tail of the 8, and send it to Madison Park instead. You also get rid of the (outdated) tail of the 4. That means that the 48 becomes the route for connecting Rainier Valley to the Central Area. It should run a lot more frequently and have the sort of improvements that typically come from RapidRide.

        I also don’t see how it would lower costs.

        The savings come from pairing the 70 with the 7 (as they both become RapidRide). You avoid the downtown overlap, as eddie pointed out. You could do that with the current 7 routing, but the combination of buses is much longer. So in that sense it isn’t about savings, it is about making the bus routes the right length.

        The time to do all this is when East Link and Madison BRT are complete. At that point, the 8 should be sent to Madison Park, the 48 a lot more frequent, and a coverage route added for MLK (in Metro’s LRP they have a bus coming from Beacon Hill and ending at Madison, which sounds good to me).

      4. First Hill is a mess. Partly this is due to the streetcar (which can’t be fixed). But the 60 doesn’t help.

        There should be a bus on Boren. It should start in South Lake Union, and either go to Beacon Hill or Mount Baker Station. There should also be a bus on Broadway, starting where the 9 or 60 starts. It should go to Beacon Hill or Mount Baker Station. These should replace the 60 (which has too much zig-zag) and the 9.

        At that point, you can connect one of those two to the southern end of the 7. I don’t think it matters that much from a rider standpoint. The most popular choice would be to keep it as is — send it downtown. But no matter what, some people will like one choice, and dislike another one.

        It comes down to logistics. You would save a lot of money by pairing the 7 and 70, but if the route is too long, it becomes too unreliable, and you are back to square one. The 7 is one of our most popular buses (more ridership than many of our RapidRide routes). A fair amount of effort and money is going into making it faster and more reliable. It would be a shame if the bus is made unreliable because of what is going on at the other end. I think a Boren bus would be a lot like the 8 or 44. Very popular, with great ridership per hour, but also very unreliable. I think that route should be kept fairly short and frequent (ending at Beacon Hill or Mount Baker Station). Broadway to south Rainier is reasonable, but if I’m not mistaken it gets bogged down a lot. In contrast, a lot of time and effort has gone into making 23rd more reliable — that may be the best option.

      5. Metro is proposing to reroute the 106 on Boren to SLU, so that will answer that. Rerouting the 7 to Boren has never been on Metro’s or SDOT’s radar so it would be an uphill battle since it’s a majorly successful route now. It might save money, as might connecting the 7 to the 70, but those are way beyond what was envisioned in the RapidRide R project. It was a simple matter to extend the G and J because those were already on their radar as possible extensions, but taking the 7 off Jackson is a much bigger lift. It depends on whether Metro/SDOT see Jackson as part of the 7/R’s essential service area. There are good reasons to believe they do, because a lot of people on Rainier get on/off at Jackson, people who aren’t transferring to Link.

      6. I am relatively certain that the 7 was through-routed with the 49 (technically they were just one route called the 7) back in the early-mid 2000s. I never rode it on the now-49 section, and only rarely on the 7 section, so I cannot say for sure how the routing changed over the years, but I remember reading at the time that Metro split it because it was very long and unreliable. The 70 was its own beast that to me seemed intended as a local shadow of the sometimes-express 71/72/73 “spine” at the time. I hope that Mike Orr might remember more details of all those changes :) As I think he mentioned he would ride all those buses regularly back then.

        In any case, I mention this because I would strongly caution against any plans to through-route 7 and 70 together, it seems like a terrible idea reliability-wise. Aside from the historical reasoning for splitting the 49 out as afore-mentioned, more recent anecdotal observations also suggest a lot of bunching on the 70, at least at the North end of it – I have not gone there recently but certainly pre-pandemic it was not uncommon to see the 70 start the Southbound run late, both during morning rush hour and evening (when I was most likely to ride or notice it, anyway). So connecting it to another long segment like the 7 would just exacerbate the problem (and exasperate the riders ;) )

      7. That’s a fair point about reliability. And, realistically speaking, any changes to the 7 is probably politically impossible. Even simple stop consolidation on the existing route would be blasted by opponents as racist and inconsiderate of whatever person has to walk an extra few hundred feet as a result. Never mind that everyone else on the bus gets a faster ride.

        Sending the 106 to First Hill/SLU might be an easier sell, simply because the route is much newer and doesn’t have the decades of history behind it that the 7 does. Even then, you would still have to fight the ACRS who insists that their front door must have a one-seat ride to downtown, no matter what.

        But, however you do it, Mt. Baker and Beacon Hill should each have a bus to First Hill and one of those buses should continue to SLU. Somehow.

      8. Even simple stop consolidation on the existing route would be blasted by opponents as racist and inconsiderate of whatever person has to walk an extra few hundred feet as a result.

        Oh come on. They are going through the process of a stop diet right now, and things look pretty good. Or at least they were looking at it, until the project got suspended. I can only find the website on the Wayback Machine (https://web.archive.org/web/20200221002130/https://rapidriderline.com/), but you can see that the proposals look very good (https://web.archive.org/web/20200421184243/https://rapidriderline.com/mt-baker-to-columbia-city/).

      9. I would strongly caution against any plans to through-route 7 and 70 together, it seems like a terrible idea reliability-wise. … more recent anecdotal observations also suggest a lot of bunching on the 70, at least at the North end of it

        The whole idea is to make both the 7 and 70 are lot more reliable. Lots of bus lanes, queue jumps, stop consolidation and off-board payment. Throw in a little signal priority to boot. Although the work on the 70 isn’t going to be ideal, there are still a lot of big improvements that should make it a lot more reliable.

        But there is a limit to how well that can work. Thus the advantage of terminating at Mount Baker. It may be that a combined 7 and 70 (even with the new improvements) can’t be reliable all the way to Rainier Beach.

        I’m not saying that is the best approach. We have to look at it once all of the work is done (or at the very least, when the studies are done). But it is a reasonable option worth considering.

      10. From my experience with the 70, the two big problems are getting past the University Bridge (at least during rush hour) and all the stops and stop lights along Eastlake. The latter can be addressed to some extent with stop consolidation and queue jumping, yes – though since there are only two lanes of traffic (i.e. one in each direction), it might be a bit tricky in spots. The bridge queue jumping might be the harder part. Either way, yes, I agree that it would be an interesting thing to try. I have never personally needed to go through (either need to get somewhere along the 70 from the U District, or somewhere along the 7 from downtown) but I can definitely imagine it being a useful route when combined.

        When the 49 was through-routed with/part of the 7, I assume that the problems were similar, just on Broadway rather than on Eastlake, plus there were all the tight turns through West Montlake/North Broadway/whatever that area is called (Roanoake?) that also further slowed it down. But I think I’ve taken it all of three times so I really don’t feel comfortable speculating too much about it.

  4. Alex K: amen. It would have several strategic advantages. Note that the downtown Seattle terminals of routes 7 and 70 has issues exasperated by bike projects.

    1. Bike riders may be “exasperated” by a bus lay-over, but the bus stop problems are “exacerbated”.

  5. I probably should have done more research, but how significant is the travel time savings for a rapidride VS frequent route? Are there any components that can be completed relatively cheaply, like maybe signal priority on top-tier frequent routes and all door boarding with validators on each door?

    I probably would prefer to maximize platform miles given budget constraints

    1. Many frequent routes already have signal priority in places. The only factor that’s inherent to Rapid ride is off board fare payment. If a route is very crowded, like the 7, this can make a big difference. But, if a route is lightly ridden, like the 239, the impact is negligible.

      1. But as I noted before, lots of routes have off-board payment as well. Essentially it is the same — just a matter of degree. Some buses that serve downtown have off-board stops just like RapidRide buses. I don’t think there is any bus that has 100% off board payment.

        This is another reason why we should scrap the RapidRide system. It makes way more sense to focus on zones, as we already have, with downtown. There should be similar zones around Link Stations. Imagine someplace like Northgate or 145th. In the evening, the vast majority of people using the train will transfer to a bus. They will be forced to line up, and tap to get on, despite having recently tapped to get off the train. Even if Metro and ST continue their mindless approach to revenue sharing, there should be a Metro reader right next to a Sound Transit reader. You tap off ST, and tap on Metro. Then you just get on the bus, via any door.

        The RapidRide system has become a joke. When they skip over the busiest routes and try a regional approach the term becomes meaningless. It looks pretty on a map, but it just doesn’t make sense. They will have some bus from Kent to Maple Valley be a RapidRide, but not the 44.

      2. Thanks, I didn’t realize that. Looking at the map though, that looks to be the case. For either line, there are nothing but “stations” (e. g. https://www.communitytransit.org/swiftgreen). In contrast, the RapidRide lines have “stations” (where there is off-board payment) and stops (where you pay in front). For example, the E: https://kingcounty.gov/depts/transportation/metro/schedules-maps/route/e-line.aspx#route-map.

        Its not a bad compromise, in my opinion. The idea is that you serve those stops without spending money on the off-board readers (and kiosks) for relatively few riders.

      3. “They will have some bus from Kent to Maple Valley be a RapidRide, but not the 44.”

        That’s not what it says. In the interim map in the article, the 44 is a candidate RapidRide corriror (and extended to Children’s). The Kent-Kangley route to Maple Falley is a Frequent route. Maybe in the 2050 plan Maple Valley is upgraded, but I don’t see the 44 downgraded. In any case, if RapidRide is proposed for Maple Valley, it wouldn’t be just for Maple Valley riders. It would be for the larger number of riders in between, at East Hill, Kent-Meridian high school, the Lake Meridian area, as double-frequency to 132nd in an equity-deserving area, and the Wax Road intersection with Fred Meyer, and thus the edge of Covington.

      4. Metro has said it will extend some RapidRide-like improvements to some Frequent routes that it wants to upgrade to RapidRide but can’t afford to. So they may get some capital improvements after all, but not the full suite that RapidRide lines would get.

        We should tell Metro that some improvements are fine. We just need a high priority to make them full-time frequent or as close as it can get. And don’t waste money on red buses. Green buses are fine. I’d rather have more frequent green buses on more routes, than red buses on fewer routes.

      5. Oh, and the reason for red buses and the station styling is that the federal grant that partly funded the initial RapidRide A-F launch required a distinct brand. It was supposed to be BRT-lite, and that requires a distinct brand. Otherwise passengers don’t realize it’s there, can’t tell which routes are it and aren’t it, or which routes have a guaranteed minimum frequency. The brand also includes the fat red line on the map, to make them easy to find and tell where they go, and to make them look more like subway lines.

      6. @Mike — Yeah, I know it was hyperbole. But my point is that something similar to “RapidRide” is a reasonable idea. You have a handful of routes that get extra attention, as they serve as the core of your system. The buses should be the ones that carry the most riders, or the most riders per hour. They should be the ones that get the most benefit from the increased service or other improvements. Yet if you look at our system right now, that clearly isn’t the case. The F is well below the 2, 3, 5, 7, 8 and lots of other buses. You can consider it an anomaly, but there is nothing being done to change it. We are going to spend a lot of extra money on mediocre routes — converting them to RapidRide — while far better routes sit with nothing. All in the name of spreading around the RapidRide love.

        It isn’t much difference than what ST is doing. Billions spent so that places like Issaquah, Fife and Ash Way get light rail, while far more appropriate places have nothing.

        In contrast, check out the future of the Swift system. There are no plans to run Swift to Snohomish, Monroe or Lake Stevens, let alone Granite Falls. The plan is to have Swift run on 128th, 164th, and 196th, even though they are obviously in the same general area. Metro isn’t taking that approach, and RapidRide will increasingly be seen as just a random set of red buses.

      7. “All in the name of spreading around the RapidRide love.”

        Agreed. Frankly too much has been made over the whole branding thing with KC Metro’s “special red buses”. The agency needs to spend the money on the things that really matter, i.e., the infrastructure components that actually speed up the route.

    2. The definition of RapidRide is so vague that there is no way of telling. Basically RapidRide is anything Metro decides it will be. The biggest difference is the color of the bus. Just about every change that happens with RapidRide has happened with other routes. For example:

      1) Frequency. A lot of buses are more frequent than RapidRide.
      2) Off Board Payment. Not all RapidRide stops have off-board payment. Some regular routes have off-board payment areas (e. g. downtown).
      3) BAT lanes and Bus Lanes. Similar to off-board payments. RapidRide buses tend to run in a mix, as do regular buses.
      4) Fancy Stations (with reader boards). Another mix.
      5) Signal priority. Someone can speak to this, but this may be the only practical difference. I think some RapidRide buses have this, while no normal buses do.
      6) Stop spacing. Typically when a bus gets converted to RapidRide it goes through a stop diet. But that can happen with a regular bus (they are looking to do that with the 7, for example).

      In general, the big thing RapidRide does is involve a big look at the bus route. They look to add bus lanes and a stop diet, along with some off-board stops. But that can all happen without RapidRide, if they can find the money. For example, Seattle is paying to look at the 7 (https://www.seattle.gov/transportation/projects-and-programs/programs/transit-program/transit-plus-multimodal-corridor-program/route-7—transit-plus).

    3. It’s always good to speed up a bus between stops as a way to get more overall productivity. However, if a rider is only going a mile, that rider will barely notice a difference.

      Unfortunately, the RapidRide program has usurped what most big city bus lines have — a local and a limited-stop route on the same street. While each corridor has its own trip length and stop spacing issues, having a RapidRide line has become more of a beauty contest than a practical way to improve bus travel.

      Let’s take one big example: Signal priority. If a limited stop bus stops every 3/4 to 1 mile, a signal system can expect that bus to arrive downstream 15 to 20 blocks and adjust the timing. If however the bus stops every 1/4 mile, a system can only anticipate buses 5 blocks away. Keep in mind that busy streets take time for pedestrians to get across so this is a huge disadvantage to changing the signal timing 2-3 minutes before the bus arrives which is what needs to happen if a street is wide. Some side street phases take 40 or 50 seconds to allow enough time for pedestrians to cross. .

    4. Frequent means just that: frequent but no capital improvements. Metro’s definition of frequent is 15 minutes until 6pm Monday-Friday. Some frequent routes extend that into the evenings and weekends but there’s no blanket promise of it.

      RapidRide means 15-minute minimum until 10pm every day, and some unspecified amount of street improvements (transit lanes, BAT lanes, queue jumps, etc), in-lane stops, fancy stations, next-arrival displays, off-board payment, red buses, more standing room, and slightly-wider stop spacing (1/4 to 1/2 mile instead of 1/4 mile or less). The newer regular buses have some more standing room too, and other routes gotten some stop diets and off-board payment and next-arrival signs, thus decreasing the difference between them and RapidRide.

      The amount of those improvements varies widely on different RapidRide routes. Shoreline and South King County have full BAT lanes on their parts of the A and E. The B and F have no transit-priority lanes I’ve seen. The E in Seattle has a few blocks of BAT lanes here and there. (The Aurora businesses objected to removing street parking or reducing GP lanes, so there went the BAT lanes.) The C and D may have a few queue jumps somewhere.

      So RapidRide means a higher investment. At minimum it means red buses, some stations with off-board payment and next-arrival signs (but some minor stops may not have these), and some budget for street improvements. But how much the improvements are, is vague and differs from route to route.

  6. This looks like a prescription for crap. There are a ton of flaws. They look at corridor productivity, using park and ride lots, housing, employment and education. There is nothing about other reasons why someone would take transit, like getting to a food bank, or a clinic — so much for social equity. Speaking of which, the new social equity considerations are supposed to be geared towards folks who don’t own a car, yet they give a lot of consideration to park and ride lots.

    Speaking of social equity, they focus only on the ratio of low-income and minority riders. Nothing about the total number (in theory the two go together, but a corridor gets more points for having 1 sole rider who happens to be low income & minority, than you get with 2,000 white riders and 1,000 low income minority riders).

    They give extra value if the corridor is the “Primary connection between regional growth, manufacturing/industrial centers” as defined by PSRC. You can see a map of these here: https://www.psrc.org/sites/default/files/centers_small_0.pdf. This means, for example, that you get extra credit for going to Canyon Park, but not Lake City. You might think that Ballard is included, but only the industrial part of Ballard — not the hospital, restaurants, shops or apartments that are found there. Silverdale has an “Urban Growth Center”, but not Greenwood. No wonder Metro killed the 61 in the womb — they should have run a bus from Canyon Park to Interbay.

    The biggest flaw in all of this is there no interest in building a real network. It encourages routes that go downtown, not routes that enable someone to transfer to go downtown (or anywhere else, for that matter).

    1. RossB., a serious question for you. These lifelong flaws in basic planning, for KCM and ST both- is it really time that our next transit-oriented purchase include two brand new agencies?

      Even if she’s as Evil as she is feline, our pandemic’s gift of total Stagnation seems a priceless chance to pause and plan and think. I’m also sensing a major and very natural torch-passing between generations.

      For a fresh start, what better time? STB can be a lot of help here. It’s a blessing that our trains and buses ARE political. Because that’s what makes them OURS to rebuild and care for. Among this blog’s founders, I sense experience.

      Can we have some postings on what really is our next move?

      Mark Dublin

  7. I look at Metro Connects as a continuation of the transit service concepts that we have today. That seems a way to make a reasonable “projection” of needs, but we should remain open to other service delivery types and changes to transit demand (like the pandemic).

    For example, the decline a heavy-commuter driven peak demand may give way to continual all-day demand for more and more routes. Driverless low-speed shuttle from a Link station may eliminate the need for some connector routes in some areas. Housing markets may push transit-dependent residents into some areas and away from others.

    It’s better to have a future scenario like this rather than not have one. Still, it’s important to be open-minded enough to understand that this is more of a scenario rather than a plan built in stone. Having it should not be an excuse to avoid taking advantage of new technologies and behaviors, and changes in trip-making demand. To that end, the adjustments being made are interesting — but we shouldn’t obsess about them.

  8. My first thought was that splitting the B at Crossroads would be bad – you’d need to transfer just to get from Overlake to Downtown Bellevue. But then I remembered that Link will connect those two areas in the near future. In which case, splitting the B makes perfect sense.

    Sending a RapidRide route over 520 and the Montlake bridge practically invites unreliability, though. Seems to me you should just have it terminate at a freeway station, Evergreen Point perhaps.

    1. Right, the primary purpose of the B is to get the Crossroads concentration (the lowest-income part of Bellevue) to either downtown Bellevue or Overlake/Redmond. So splitting the route there is fine.

      1. Yeah it’s funny, I had that exact same idea for splitting the B at Crossroads, with a B1* from UW to Crossroads and a B2* from Redmond to Eastgate. Mind you, I was cribbing the idea from an older Transit proposal that came out of Bellevue.

  9. Ross B. would it be okay for Rapid Ride to be whatever KCM’s passengers need for it to be when time and money finally come to get it started?

    Provide a bus with necessary speed and capacity. Mark your lanes. If you have to, borrow the Fire Department’s means to hold a signal. And finally, when the Heavens split open and the angels sing, tell the public where to wait and at what time. If that doesn’t work, try something else ’til something finally does.

    Everybody but me has long since bought a cell-phone that’ll book ’em through to China. But most important, even if KCM and ST were 100% Divine-Created, the Creator went for coffee and left their driver’s compartments not only unlocked, but without even any clear polyester for a hindrance.

    Since despite the virus, a residential address of Western State Hospital is presently l a bargain, I doubt your take-over campaign would face an opposition slate of one. San Francisco’s People’s Railway needs some work. No law you, them and Portland can’t form a consortium out of that book “Ecotopia.”

    Which if memory serves, clearly showed a lot of operating people Out of Uniform. Which considering their age now, should at least bring down a Warning from their Base Chief.

    Mark Dublin

  10. From the Metro Connects Document:

    Equity Gap Improvements
    …Focus on gaps near areas with higher ridership during COVID-19

    This is ridiculous. There is no evidence that ridership during the pandemic is related to transit need. It is pretty easy to think of reasons why one area would have higher transit ridership than others:

    1) Less fear. The East Side got Covid first. Folks in more urban areas were fearful of density (for good reason). In contrast, a lot of the restrictions for areas like Kent kicked in much later.

    2) Fewer layoffs. Those working in retail got laid off. Those working in Amazon fulfillment centers did not.

    This assumption — likely made by people who work in offices — that ridership dropped only because people worked from home is unfair to all of the folks who got laid off from retail jobs.

    1. Although determining service areas and levels during a pandemic is problematic, I think the Metro Connects Document is assuming those riding transit during the pandemic truly have to ride transit. They have to be somewhere which probably means some kind of work, and they absolutely have no other form of transportation (which doesn’t reflect well on the safety of transit at this time, but is the reality). During some of the pandemic this included service workers.

      I don’t think whether the eastside or westside got the first infections is relevant since the infections were from a discreet nursing home. The eastside did not have less fear about getting Covid-19, or figure their relatively less density protected them. If anything the eastside is more hysterical about these things than the westside. But the eastside has way more workers who can work from home, and were offered that option, and has way more citizens with cars, which is why traffic congestion has returned on the eastside to a much greater extent than transit use.

      Really, if you think about it there are few better ways to determine who must absolutely ride transit than a pandemic, because if you don’t absolutely have to be somewhere you are not going to risk a bus, and if you have any other form of transportation, any, you are not taking the bus, which is why the city created so many street parking zones for essential health workers on Pill Hill because they have cars.

      Using this paradigm does not necessarily benefit South Seattle because many residents in other neighborhoods still had to go to work, although they probably had more alternative forms of transportation, which is the second prong of the test. 1. Absolutely have to be someplace; and 2. absolutely have to take transit.

      But my guess is advocates for S. Seattle and communities of color were pretty sure this test would benefit them, and reflect on the inequity of the entire situation, from housing to schools to safety to transit. My guess is what really sticks in the craw of these advocates and their constituents is even during a pandemic when riding a bus puts your life at greater risk their demographic had to go to work someplace, and didn’t have a car or any other form of transportation.

      1. I still ride the bus to meet up with friends outdoors, rather than over Zoom. When the case counts spike, the bus gets emptier, and the ride, paradoxically safer. The idea that being one of three people on a bus, everyone wearing a mask, is somehow more dangerous than shopping at a grocery store (which I also still do) is preposterous.

        Anecdotally, I have observed relatively resilient ridership on routes like the 250 that rely on walkup ridership, while park and ride ridership has dropped to near zero. In the case of the 255, for example, people still ride it to Kirkland Transit Center, but the typical trip now goes in and out of South Kirkland park and ride without picking up or dropping off a single passenger.

        The focus should be on walkup ridership vs. park and ride, not east king vs. Seattle vs. South King.

      2. if you don’t absolutely have to be somewhere you are not going to risk a bus

        I think you missed both of my points. The East Side was afraid — for good reason. They were the first to get it. Literally the first known cases in the United States were there. If I’m not mistaken, they were also the first major school district in the state to close down.

        Seattle was afraid because we have density. More than anything, we have visible density (big new buildings) which make areas like Lake City or Ballard scary.

        In contrast, the south end was like Texas. Sure, it is a concern, but it isn’t a high density area — there is less to worry about. Thus it is quite possible that people in the south end took the bus more often simply because they weren’t that concerned about it.

        There are people who ride the bus without a mask. Clearly they aren’t afraid. Given this lack of fear, it is reasonable to assume that some riders *choose* to ride the bus, especially when it isn’t crowded (and thus a lot faster) and free (which it is was for quite some time).

        You also completely missed the point about employment. Retail jobs largely went away. Given the massive unemployment within many low income sectors, this creates an obvious problem with this methodology. People who were laid off are basically being told that they don’t count. When companies start hiring again, it doesn’t matter if they don’t have a car, and are just as transit dependent. They didn’t have a job during the pandemic, so tough shit.

        It is a mindless measurement that ignores the social and economic particulars of the pandemic, and how they relate to the future economy.

      3. “In contrast, the south end was like Texas. Sure, it is a concern, but it isn’t a high density area — there is less to worry about. Thus it is quite possible that people in the south end took the bus more often simply because they weren’t that concerned about it.”

        That’s a big assumption. I think Metro’s explanation is more likely: that lower-income people tend to have more non-teleworkable jobs, and jobs that are more essential, off-peak, and non-downtown than average. South King County is full of industrial jobs, medical jobs, retail jobs, and custodial jobs that fit that profile. Many people commute within South King County, and my roommate commutes from Seattle to a Kent industrial job on the 150. So presumably others commute from Seattle too.

        All these factors give reasons to beef up South King County service. And South King County’s bus network has been extremely neglected and has not kept up with the rise in population, industrial jobs, and poverty there over the past 15 years. So it needs a lot of catching up.

        At the same time, it does not make sense to downgrade transit in dense urban areas where transit can have the biggest impact, and where withdrawing transit returns us to the bad old 20th century when everybody insisted on having a car and didn’t want to pay for transit upgrades. That would be a problem if urban corridors revert to 30-minute service, as is being threatened for Lake City evenings and Sundays.

      4. That’s a big assumption.

        I’m not assuming anything. It is the county that is assuming that bus ridership during a massive recession (that hit some sectors way harder than others) is a perfect proxy for transit dependence. There are a bunch of different explanations, and no one has produced much data at all, other than blurry maps that don’t even list the actual ridership!

        Show me a map with car ownership on it, if that is who you want to serve. Otherwise, it is no different than the folks that write about how rush-hour traffic will be gone forever — ignoring the fact that tens of thousands have been laid off in the region.

      5. Daniel, what really sticks in my craw is you going after my fellow advocates of policing that doesn’t dirty the uniforms of the decent officers I know. With the claim that these people are risking death from disease to make a point.

        My last dark and rainy pm visit to Seattle just about brought my life to an end, blinded by a windshield full of water delivered by a passing speeding truck infringing my lane. On a highway full of trucks, vans, and SUV’s asserting their non-existent right to save their headlight bulbs ’til midnight.

        Show me proof that any transit-inflicted COVID casualties are anywhere near close to these idiot’s routine score. What these fellow advocates of mine are truly, bravely, and sensibly demanding is LIBERATION LIKE THIS:

        A country where the average person can secure their own WELFARE by being hired and trained to EARN the LIVING that’ll finally make their HOME both their OWN and their own CHOICE.

        And this is how my Evil little love COVIDIA will finally earn her catnip. For her, fresh kitty-litter. For us, economically and political, a really really overdue CLEAN SLATE.

        The survival of The United States of America is going to hinge on a system of public works not seen since the Crash of ’29. A Restoration that’ll not only give us buses, as Rapid as we feel like, but the shamefully-neglected habit of manufacturing them once more.

        About the Apple Pie, dead serious. Within a few blocks of Link and its pretty partners the ST fleet, there are half a dozen places that just cannot wait to bake it. Come the Restoration, first espresso’s on me.

        Mark Dublin

      6. Daniel, your premise that transit is only for the poor and desperate is just wrong, even with the pandemic. We’ve been taking transit to get to parks and hikes for months. Sure, there’s some risk, but for the most part people are wearing masks and keeping distance, and the small risk that we take on for ourselves doesn’t have much risk of spreading beyond us.

  11. Still no stop at 55th/56th? Why not? Roosevelt has plenty of activity around there and it’s near a terminus so affecting fewer riders than additional stops in the middle of a route. Will there still be service between Northgate and UW? Or will it be diverted to The Ave?

    If this is to be the only service on Roosevelt/12th South of Ravenna, it needs a stop around 55th. Otherwise it may be OK to run through. Turning at 67th would make up for any lost time.

    1. RapidRide J was originally envisioned as downtown to 43rd (U-District Station), with a possible extension to Northgate. During the hearings, SDOT said the budget wasn’t enough to get to Northgate, and the community strongly supported extending it at least to Roosevelt Station (65th)..

      That would have included a 55th stop. I lived near 55th for 14 years, so I can say that I would have ridden it a lot to Eastlake, Roosevelt, and lower Roosevelt Way, and that all of it is a high-ridership corridor. (SLU wasn’t developed then, but now I’d say SLU is an important addition.)

      Then with the covid recession, Metro said it can’t fund the line at all and dropped it. Seattle picked it up and is trying to build it to 43rd. The only reason it’s not going to 65th anymore is Seattle doesn’t have that much money and it has a lot of other transit priorities. Ultimately, in the long term, it should be extended to Northgate.

      in the meantime the 67 is not that bad. Its main problem is it’s slow north of 65th and needs street improvements.

      1. The main problem with the 67 is that it loops around, making a ridiculous button-hook to get to Northgate. You can get off the bus, walk a few blocks, and get right back on the bus if you feel like it. The 67 should be combined with the 73.

        If the RapidRide J (formally Roosevelt RapidRide, formally Roosevelt BRT) is extended to Northgate, it should use 5th. It should cut over on 70th or Weedin (like the 63). The other alternative is to connect it to the new 67 (coming from 145th).

        The combination of buses on Roosevelt and buses on the Ave is a bit tricky. Coming from the north, it is trivial to cut over to the Ave. It often saves time, and gets riders closer to Link, and closer to the university itself. Coming from the south, it is a different matter. It takes a long time to get over there.

        I think you can make the argument for consolidation on the Ave, south of Ravenna. It isn’t that far between the two streets, and the freeway blocks the west side (reducing the worst case scenario to walks like this: https://goo.gl/maps/LLw6G6GhP2AECTkq5). With a limited number of buses, you gain frequency (by combining routes along the same corridor) even if you lose a little in terms of coverage. If not for that penalty from the south, I would be more supportive of that.

        I think the ideal combination is a very frequent bus along Roosevelt (RapidRide J) to at least 65th, and then lots of buses converging on the Ave. There are plenty of candidates in the long run. The 45 is the obvious one. If the 67 is not combined with J, then it would be another one. The Lake City Way/Roosevelt corridor is another one (which would occur as as soon as ST abandons Lake City Way — using 145th instead). At a minimum that is two frequent buses (three if the J goes to Northgate via 5th). You could also extend the 48 (or some other bus) up the Ave to 65th, to increase frequency there. Given the very good layover at 65th (and outstanding connections there) it is a reasonable extension that would cost very little in terms of service.

      2. The RR-J has shrunk to little more than a $40M FTA bike lane for Eastlake Avenue. It was first proposed in 2016 as Northgate-to-Downtown and has been shrinking ever since. Now its a dysfunctional version of the Route 70. Route 70 allows transit riders to reach the UW campus without stepping into a roadway. The proposed RR-J drops them blocks away. METRO is already out of the RR-J. The FTA is likely soon to follow. Sure do wish we could address actual transit needs with Seattle’s transit dollars rather than fund inefficient and inherently unsafe exclusive use arterial bike lanes.

    2. “Retail jobs largely went away”. That isn’t quite true Ross. Some areas boarded up like downtown Seattle, in large part due to the riots, but throughout the region retail — and restaurants — have stayed open depending on the shelter in place rules in effect. Plus citizens in S. Seattle also work in essential services, although they may not be the boss. Some have their own businesses. Another factor may be many work off the books, or are self-employed, and so unemployment compensation was not an option.

      Advocates for these disadvantaged communities are not asking for more transit to encourage people to use transit instead of their cars. They are asking for more transit because their constituents don’t have cars, although they would love to own a car, the more expensive the better. I am sure they would love to be debating with ST how large the park and ride should be.

      Some see equity in this matter from a transit point of view. They see it from a poverty point of view. Their argument is there is good reason ridership on the 7 has stayed much stronger than on the 550, and it isn’t because Eastsiders haven’t left their homes. It is because those with a car could drive, and many could work from home because they have white collar jobs. If they finally get a disproportionate amount of transit service I doubt they will weep. After all, anyone can move to S. Seattle if they want, although not many want to.

      In the end this is just a formula that works for those seeking more transit for S. Seattle, and right now they have the political momentum, for some pretty valid reasons.

      You could argue as you have that other areas of the city or region also have citizens who have had to work during the pandemic, and don’t own a car and so had to take transit, and that ridership should show up in the studies, but my guess is the advocates for S. Seattle wouldn’t care. What they want is more services — including transit — for poor communities of color, and God forbid if they finally get more than they deserve.

      1. Oh come on, man. Restaurants and bars shut down in Seattle, long before the protests: https://www.seattletimes.com/business/local-business/new-data-shows-where-coronavirus-crisis-has-hit-workers-the-hardest/.

        But that’s my point. Maybe Seattle got hit harder than other places. I don’t know. But it is ridiculously presumption to base transit need on a period when huge numbers of people were laid off — and more importantly, in a disproportionate way. Look at the numbers in May: https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/data/coronavirus-unemployment-bartenders-dental-assistants-top-list-of-washingtons-hardest-hit-jobs/. 100% of the bartenders got laid off. All of them. This obviously takes a disproportionate hit to Seattle. Seattle has a lot of restaurants and bars (per capita). Auburn doesn’t.

        Even if some of the restaurants and bars are open again, most aren’t anywhere near back to normal. Retail has been hammered. If you haven’t noticed all of the shops that have signs stating “Closed until further notice” you haven’t been out and about much.

    3. Skylar, I don’t think I said transit is only for the poor and desperate, although there is a certain level of endemic desperation among the poor. If transit was for the poor we wouldn’t have light rail, or certainly East Link that has nothing to do with the poor.

      What I was trying to say is the actual poor want more transit service, and I think transit should prioritize those who must use transit because they have no other option, even though they probably won’t use the extra service to go hiking.

      What the poor would really like however is what the rich have: a car. Not too many Rap videos with rappers riding the bus.

      1. In practice, a transit system that is designed around the needs of the poor, however well intentioned, ends up not actually serving the poor all that well, largely because it is all too easy for the rich people who design the system to think in boxes that make too many assumptions about where poor people need to go.

        Obviously, some areas have a greater concentration of poverty than others, but not every poor person lives in the top 5 poorest neighborhoods and, even those that do, often need to travel out of their neighborhood to get to work, socialize with friends, or do anything else that normal people do. A system that is designed for anywhere to anywhere travel at any time of day accomplishes these goals. The fact that middle-class people can find it useful too does not make the system any less useful for poor people.

        If there is anything special that should be done to design transit around the poor, it should be to focus on service that runs all-day, 7 days/week, rather than pouring the entire service budget into rush-hour service, neglecting the rest of the day. The rich have the luxury of not caring how bad weekend service is, since that’s what the car is for. The poor don’t.

        But, in terms of actual routes, the mobility needs of the rich and poor are not all that different. As you said yourself “What the poor would really like however is what the rich have: a car”. In other words, the poor desire the same all-day, anywhere-to-anywhere transportation as anyone else, not a bus system focused on specific places where some rich planner imagines that poor people need to go. Operate a frequent anywhere-to-anywhere transit system and lots of poor people will find the need for a car lower down on their priority list – some might even forego it in exchange for a home that’s a bit larger, or in a better neighborhood.

        So, if terms of designing service this “prioritization” of poor people is really a false choice. Obviously, not all corridors should be treated equal – Sammamish should not have the same level of transit service as Capitol Hill. But, if you simply focus on maximizing ridership and quit worrying about what percent of the riders are rich or poor, you automatically maximize the mobility of poor people. But, if you start letting “social equity” politics get into the decision making, you end up with a system designed to serve more imaginary transit needs than actual transit needs.

      2. Not too many Rap videos with rappers riding the bus.

        Woo-hoo! That was a pretty low-frequency dog whistle, Danny.

      3. What I was trying to say is the actual poor want more transit service, and I think transit should prioritize those who must use transit because they have no other option

        Which as I wrote is a reasonable goal. The point I’ve been making is that there is no reason to believe that Metro is any closer to reaching that goal with these guidelines or plans. Simply throwing a bunch of bus service to the south end and saying “I think the poor people are down there” just won’t work. Neither will basing the decision on the people lucky enough to *not* get laid off during the pandemic, but poor enough (or brave enough) to take the bus. There are a lot of low income people in Seattle and they deserve decent bus service as well.

      4. Um, Daniel, addressing only the factual part of your suggestion (“What the poor would really like however is what the rich have”) and not the racially-tinted hyperbole that comes after it, I think what the poor really want is security (financial, job, housing, etc.). A car might be a tool to provide that for some, but for others it’s an albatross. The BLS estimates that transportation spending is #2 after housing for households[1], and transit provides a mechanism both to reduce that expense (less insurance, loan payments, etc.), and make it more predictable (no more surprise repairs, or need to worry about the cost of fuel).

        [1] https://www.bls.gov/news.release/cesan.nr0.htm

    4. “They are asking for more transit because their constituents don’t have cars, although they would love to own a car, the more expensive the better”

      Some poor people without cars would love to own a car, and some of them would prefer an expensive car. But others think cars are overrated and are more trouble than they’re worth, and they’d love to have a transit network good enough that they don’t need a car. And some poor people do have cars because they live or work in places that have little transit, or the nearest store or other non-residential building is a mile away or more. Some of them have cars but wish they didn’t have to, or wish they could live in a place where cars weren’t necessary.

      1. asdf2, what you write is fair if funding is unlimited. But funding is not, and the concern for Metro and ST is the full paying commuter may go away with working from home, or just a recession, and decide transit levies no longer benefit them.

        The truth is light rail is predicated on the peak hour commuter, which is all about capacity and folks who want to live in single family home neighborhoods with good schools but have to work downtown. Light rail in the end is about people who work and have families but are not the partners who can drive and park. Now they may not have to take transit.

        That is why Metro and ST are both looking at a staggering 25% decline in future service, although ST claims it is a delay in projects and frequency (and a second transit tunnel).

        Disadvantaged communities of color don’t want transit because they hate cars, or think they can afford TOD’s in the spring district, or upzoning will mean they are moving uptown, or transit will solve global warming.

        They just want a more frequent bus closer to their house while standing at a risky bus stop because they don’t have any car, and all the Lime bikes are broken or discharged. They know why white people don’t move there, and won’t no matter how good the transit is.

        I live in a city that pays a fortune towards transit but gets none. That is ok because we wouldn’t use it. But if I think more transit is going to the communities I know have gotten the shaft for years I am good with that.

        If the Issaquah commuter is going to have to add a seat and 30-45 minutes to their commute so can some transit riders in North Seattle. It is only time, right?

      2. Sounder is predicated on the peak-hour commuter. Light rail isn’t. Just look at the schedules. Sounder doesn’t even run outside of rush hour. Light rail runs every 10 minutes all day every day (temporarily reduced due to COVID). Running a service that often is expensive and they wouldn’t do it if ridership were just a rush-hour thing.

        You can also take a look at Sound Transit’s ridership reports, which break down ridership by weekday/weekend and time of day. Sure, ridership is higher during rush hour, but it’s not negligible the rest of the day.

        “They just want a more frequent bus closer to their house while standing at a risky bus stop because they don’t have any car”

        True, but for the thousandth time, not all poor people live in the same neighborhood. People also need good service at both ends of the trip, not just the segment that goes closest to their house. Good service for everybody is good service for poor people.

        “If the Issaquah commuter is going to have to add a seat and 30-45 minutes to their commute”. East Link will not add 30-45 minutes minutes to the commute for Issaquah riders. At worst, it will be a wash. You pay an extra 5 minutes switching from bus to train. You gain the 5 minutes back by not having to deal with stoplights and traffic on downtown streets. You also save time waiting at the bus stop because the bus will run more frequently (assuming, of course, they reinvest the service in the same corridor, rather than shipping it off to Kent).

      3. Skylar, I can’t argue against your statement that for anyone financial security, job security, and housing security, are very important. And I would add health insurance and education. The poor just don’t have this security. That is the point.

        A car can be an albatross if you are poor, but not if you are not poor, although you may not use it much. Just about any expense can be an albatross if you are poor, even transit I suppose. An $8 round trip fare on East Link in 2023 can be an albatross. The poor wish a car was not a financial albatross, and they had one, and they were not poor, but that isn’t reality. Transit reminds them they can’t afford a car, and don’t have one, and can’t afford to live in the north Seattle neighborhoods.

        I support the decision to move more transit service to disadvantaged communities of color. Equity is not equality, and it is pretty obvious the residents of these south Seattle disadvantaged communities of color don’t have equality, in pretty much any of the things you list and I list. Equity sometimes means for once getting a little more than what is “equal”, especially when your group has never really gotten an equal share of anything.

        I don’t care if they receive disproportionate levels of transit service, especially since they get disproportionately less of just about everything else in life. This is why I willingly subsidize transit although I don’t use it. I don’t believe transit will solve global warming, or upzoning and TOD’s will create affordable housing, or all the other claims for transit. I do believe better transit service will make the lives of the citizens who must take transit in these disadvantaged communities better, and if I have a say that is where I want my transit subsidy to go.

        If they have to use transit why not give them the best transit? I support the decision to move more transit service to these S. Seattle neighborhoods, whether it is “equal” or not, and if transit is critical to a citizen I hope they move to these disadvantaged communities and make them better. Think of it like an enterprise zone, in which more favorable zoning or transit finally begins to attract residents and businesses to these disadvantaged communities. If you want an Urbanist utopia begin in S. Seattle, where it is needed, and the cost of the land less, and now the transit better.

        Equal usually doesn’t mean fair, especially if someone else is measuring equal, and they don’t live in your neighborhood.

    5. I see from this map that they’re turning it into a modified 70. Apologies. But on Metro’s page it still goes to 67th or 70th.

      1. Much of the increase in car use is due to decreasing transit service. Many agencies across the country in the past fifteen years reduced frequency, coverage, and routes due to tax cuts, recessions, or budgets not keeping up with inflation. That makes some trips that were viable on transit non-viable, so people switch to driving, and those who don’t have cars buy them. The US has some cheap used cars so even people with modest means can buy at least a klunker.

        So when the article says, “the shift in auto ownership could also be a factor”, you have to take a step back and ask, why are people buying cars? In many cases it’s because transit service has been withdrawn. Ridership goes up and down mainly due changes in the quality of transit. It’s not that people are suddenly buying four cars for a three-person family, because that has been going on for a few decades. It may have increased slightly, but not enough to cause a major shift. In contrast, if a bus route that formerly was half-hourly until 11pm becomes hourly or ends at 7pm, or stops serving a neighborhood or job site or shopping center or stops running Sundays, then using transit for those trips is no longer viable and you have to get a car or bike.

        Seattle and Pugetopolis were unusual in increasing transit during that same period, so ridership loss did not occur and transit ridership gradually increased. LA’s transit got worse so its car-use rate rose, as did most American cities. (Now with covid everything is out of whack, so it’s hard to tell how much is a temporary disruption and how much is a long-term trend, and things keep changing month by month.)

        Low interest rates have probably made a difference too, they way they have in propping up the housing market. In a recession you’d expect house purchases to drop, but the ultra-low interest rates counteract that.

        “Another factor that is likely leading to higher car ownership rates by low-income residents is the migration of poor families to the suburbs, where housing is cheaper but transit service is spotty or nonexistent.”

        There’s that too. If people move to an area with less transit service, that’s the same impact on them as if the agency reduced transit service.

      2. More to the point, in most cities the amount of transit service is flat, but the quality has decreased because of congestion, so flat service hours = less trips. So it’s less an abrupt deterioration of service (like we are having now) and more a gradual deterioration. IMO, rising car ownership has more to do with the lower upfront cost of car ownership, mostly due to lower interest rates, which then allows more people to switch from transit to driving. At the margin, many people rely on mediocre transit service and are happy to switch to driving at soon as they are able to afford it. Each switch is good of the individual household’s mobility, but in aggregate is bad for the region’s mobility.

        Sub-urbanization of poverty also has to do with it, but I think rising car ownership comes first. Once you are able to own a car, you can then move to take advantage of lower housing cost and still hold on to your old job. To me, it makes more sense if people get a car and then move, rather than move and are forced to buy a car, though I’m sure both happen.

  12. Another tidbit, this time about stop spacing:

    Routes should be designed to avoid competing for the same riders. Studies indicate that people are willing to walk 1/4 mile on average to access transit, so in general routes should be no closer together than 1/2 mile.

    That is clearly a bad idea, as it ignores riders who access the bus stop from side streets. Jarrett Walker explains this concept quite well: https://humantransit.org/2010/11/san-francisco-a-rational-stop-spacing-plan.html. Alon Levy covers this idea as well, in much more detail: https://pedestrianobservations.com/2018/10/30/sometimes-bus-stop-consolidation-is-inappropriate/.

    There are bound to be exceptions, and plenty of trade-offs. Fortunately, they don’t seem to be adopting this standard. Later on in the document it had this little table:

    Service Average Stop Spacing
    RapidRide: ½ mile
    All other services: ¼ mile

    First, let me say that it would be most welcome if the standard for stop spacing is 1/4 mile. That is pretty much the international standard, although not the American one. Basically, the folks that have done this a lot, and have worked it all out, and have lots and lots of people riding transit settle on about 1/4 mile. (400 meters to the rest of the world). Kudos to Metro for making the same conclusion.

    However, a 1/2 mile, in most cases, is too far apart. At that point, you are operating as an express. While express buses have their role, there is no corridor within Metro’s system that can afford running an all-day, frequent express and an all-day, frequent “local” (bus making more stops). The E, for example, is one of the longest, most popular buses in our system. While there is an express equivalent (for the far north end) it only runs peak direction. If the E had fewer stops, then you would lose ridership, unless you ran a bus along Aurora that stopped more often. If you did that, the service hours would have to come from somewhere — likely the E itself. This would prove to be a mistake, as riders would gain a little speed from the express, but lose a lot from the lack of frequency. This is why most agencies, around the world, have one bus on the corridor, running every 1/4 mile or so.

    This combination of buses is only common in the country that is dead last when it comes to transit: the United States.

    1. Right, 1/2 mile spacing looks OK on the street, bit it means the adjacent areas perpendicular to it are now 3/4 of a mile or further from a station, even though they’d be within half a mile if the in-between station were there. So the right stop spacing for local routes is 1/4 to 1/3 of a mile. And the upper end should only be considered if the route is especially frequent, fast, and goes to especially large destinations. Or if there’s really nothing there, as in Link between Rainier Beach and TIB.

      The best situation is two levels: a local route with 1/4 mile spacing, and a limited-stop route with 1-2 mile spacing, or even down to 1/2 mile. The longer the corridor, the larger the destinations it serves, and the longer it takes to reach other parts of the region (especially if it takes 60 minutues or longer), the more the need for a limited-stop overlay.

      In the 1980s there were three routes on Aurora: the ultra-local 6, the limited-stop 359 (daytime only), and the express 360 (peak only). The 1995 restructure consolidated these into one medium-level route (the 358), and then the E replaced the 358 mostly as-is. The argument was that the best use of resources was to make a medium-level route as frequent as possible. But that still seems rather long for trips like 85th to Sky Nursery or 85th to Edmonds Community College. So a Swift overlay would be even better. But not by making the E infrequent. The E should run at least every 15 minutes, and the Swift overlay every 10-20 minutes.

      1. “In the 1980s there were three routes on Aurora…”

        One correction: The 358 came about because Metro retired the 359 (express) after the 1998 shooting/bridge tragedy. I took the 359 and 360 (peak) routinely when I lived in Wallingford back in the 90s.

      2. I remember the switchover because it was during my first trip to Russia. The tragedy occurred on the day I left or thereabouts. Before the tragedy they were going to consolidate all three routes into a route called the 359. After the tragedy on the 359, they decided to retire that number and call the consolidated route the 358. When I returned six weeks later the new route was in place.

      3. The best situation is two levels: a local route with 1/4 mile spacing, and a limited-stop route with 1-2 mile spacing, or even down to 1/2 mile. The longer the corridor, the larger the destinations it serves, and the longer it takes to reach other parts of the region (especially if it takes 60 minutes or longer), the more the need for a limited-stop overlay.

        In theory, yes. In reality, no. We simply don’t have the funds. As I wrote up above, there is no corridor in our system where that would work. Not for all-day service. That is why such things are rare, if not unheard of in other parts of the world. It doesn’t work. What you gain in speed, you lose in frequency.

        Take the E for example. It is our most popular bus. It is also very long. A lot of the trips take a while, because of all the stops. North of 65th, it generally stops every five blocks or about every quarter mile.

        So imagine a stop diet with a new bus stopping every half mile. OK, so now you are running a bus that stops every 1/4 mile, and a bus that stops every 1/2 mile.

        Before the pandemic, the bus ran every 10 minutes most of the day, and 15 minutes at night. I’ll focus on the 10 minute period, which means 6 buses an hour. How do you split the service? Split evenly it means the buses running every 20 minutes. You might save a little time in the 1/2 mile bus, but at best you are talking 15 minutes for it, and 20 minutes for the one that stops every 1/4 mile. You can’t time the buses, which means they randomly appear at a half-mile bus stop. You might have the express followed a minute later by the local, and then 15 minutes later by the express. You’ve clearly lost ridership.

        You can try and favor the express. Now it runs every 12 minutes — a relatively minor degradation. But now the 1/4 mile bus (the old E, if you will) runs every half hour. Unless the buses on the express are much, much better than the other ones, you’ve definitely lost ridership. You’ve either forced those riders too far away from a bus stop — in many cases too far away for both the start and finish — or you’ve forced them to wait an extremely long time.

        Meanwhile, the folks you want to help — those that are going a long distance, and are lucky enough to be served by the express bus stops — aren’t helped that much. Sure, they save a minute or two on the bus. But they have to wait a minute or two extra, on the street. Wait time is worse than travel time. Frequency is more important than speed.

        Of course you could come up with money from other routes, but that is just robbing Peter to pay Paul. Besides, if you suddenly have more money for the E, you could put that into nighttime service, so that the buses run every 10 minutes, instead of 15.

        A limited stop express only makes sense if the base line bus is running very frequently (around three minutes*). That only happens during rush-hour on that route, which is why an express only runs then.

        * The 3 minute number is somewhat arbitrary. But it is the number than Walker uses while discussing capacity and streetcars. It is the same idea. At that point, you don’t gain much by running the buses more often, so switching to a combination of routes (or a different, higher-capacity mode) makes sense. https://humantransit.org/2009/07/streetcars-an-inconvenient-truth.html

      4. By the way, I’m well aware that Swift and the 101 follow the pattern you mention. There are several reasons for that:

        1) It saved capital. Building the fancy bus stops and off-board readers adds up.

        2) SR 99 is very spiky. You have some very big destinations (colleges, hospitals) and lots of nothing.

        3) Almost everything is very close to the highway. Its not like Aurora, where you have lots of apartments a few blocks away. In contrast, a few blocks away you often have very low density housing (much lower than the single family zones found in much of Seattle).

        4) Snohomish County is comfortable robbing Peter to pay Paul. At best it is because so much of the potential ridership is along SR 99. At worst they are simply short-changing the rest of the county. Community Transit is saying that a particular bus stop on SR 99 is not worth serving by Swift. Ridership would be too low. Yet it is saying it is worth serving with a completely different bus route.

        5) I’m not convinced it is the most cost effective solution to maximize ridership. You could probably add a few bus stops, run Swift more often, and see better overall ridership. You lose a little on speed, gain a bunch on frequency. A few people wouldn’t have service, but that is true for much of the county.

      5. “In theory, yes. In reality, no. We simply don’t have the funds.”

        We need to have a robust goal. If we can’t get there yet because of funding, having a goal is better than not having it. It focuses people’s minds on what optimal transit is, how far we are from it, and how can we eventually close the gap. It does no good to say our suboptimal transit network is the ideal and there’s nothing beyond it. Having a robust transit goal is what enabled other countries and cities to get close to achieving it.

        I do not support taking hours from the E or other routes for the overlay. It must be in the context of keeping other routes at their optimal frequency. But we need to recognize it’s a gap in the transit network, that causes people to have unreasonably long and slow trips, and there should be a milestone in our plans to fix it someday.

        Metro Connects is great about saying where the routes should be, but it’s not that good about minimum frequency, and it ignores the issue of missing limited-stop overlays. Yes, all the routes marked “Frequent” should be frequent, and are in the right places more or less, but we need a guarantee of 15 minutes until 10 pm every day, and some framework for getting the most core ones to 10 minutes. Maybe we can’t afford to fully implement it by 2025 or 2050, but there should be a concrete plan and phases for it. The “well, uh, it’s not very important” attitude is why American transit networks remain so inadequate decade after decade, to the point that people turn to cars.

      6. Swift is poor man’s light rail. Snohomish couldn’t afford light rail so early or in so many corridors, and it’s lower density so buses can move faster, so it chose Swift. In contrast, Metro is doing nothing. It’s relying on Link to be the limited-stop trunks, but Link serves only a few areas. It emphatically does not serve Aurora, the Renton-Auburn axis, east-west travel in Seattle, areas like the 48 or 128 corridors or 106 south of Rainier Beach, and it won’t reach Ballard or West Seattle for 15-20 years (assuming a 5-year delay).

      7. Here’s a novel idea: Ask the riders of RapidRide riders! I’d be curious if those riders would prefer what they have now, two different routes with one being limited and one being local, or putting more service feeding Link rather than use 99.

        The rider preferences don’t have to dictate the service design — but we’ve had RapidRide long enough to where regular users can at least give some insightful user advice that even the best-meaning armchair transit advocate can’t.

        Which highlights the basic problem of Metro Connects: There aren’t service design alternatives to compare and contrast. There is one alternative. It is a staff-preferred scenario but it should not be given the same weight as a plan chosen after serious analysis and feedback on different scenarios.

      8. “I’d be curious if those riders would prefer what they have now, two different routes with one being limited and one being local,”

        What I’m talking about is keeping the the current E level service and adding Swift. They can’t object to that because their existing service is still the same. Actually, you may convert a few peak runs to limited-stop to match people’s actual origin-destination pairs more closely, but only if those are extra runs beyond a minimum peak baseline and aren’t needed to avoid local overcrowding.

        “or putting more service feeding Link rather than use 99.”

        That’s a different trip pattern that’s feasible for some trips but not others, so the answer is not either/or but both/and. If you’re going from 46th & Aurora to 185th & Aurora, it probably makes sense to go east to Link and back west. But if you’re starting at 85th or 105th that begins to break down, because the overhead of going east and west becomes proportionally larger, both because they’re a larger portion of the trip, and because they have fixed overheads (10-15 minute frequency, walking between modes). And if you’re starting or ending halfway between two Link stations, then making a U-shaped trip becomes even less feasible. It’s all relative to the distance between the endpoints, whether you’re starting or ending exactly on Aurora or west or east of it, and whether your latitude is right at a Link station or between two stations.

      9. I do not support taking hours from the E or other routes for the overlay. It must be in the context of keeping other routes at their optimal frequency. But we need to recognize it’s a gap in the transit network, that causes people to have unreasonably long and slow trips, and there should be a milestone in our plans to fix it someday.

        OK, it is priority number 3,419 — right behind frequent service to Perkins Lane, in Magnolia. Seriously, I don’t why you think this is important, given that it is rare outside the United States. There are cities — big cities, with very good transit share — and they don’t do that.

        In Seattle, there are very few routes “at their optimal frequency”. Even the E isn’t at it’s optimal frequency! It runs every ten minutes in the middle of the day, and 15 at night. Yet it is better than most. We have obvious routes — or at least corridors — that don’t even exist! You are basically arguing that we keep the E, but run it a lot more often (to its optimal frequency) and also run an E express, that skips a lot of the stops. Yeah, wonderful. There is no way that we can afford that, and even if we did, there is no reason to assume that the E express would perform well, outside of rush-hour. Express buses tend to perform poorly — they spend too much time *not* picking up riders. It is quite likely that an E express would simply be luxury transit for a relative handful of people.

      10. Swift is poor man’s light rail. Snohomish couldn’t afford light rail so early or in so many corridors, and it’s lower density so buses can move faster, so it chose Swift. In contrast, Metro is doing nothing.

        Yes, it is a big analogous. Like light rail, you spend a lot of money on stations. As a result, you often end up with less than optimum stop spacing.

        Metro may be “doing nothing”, but it least it didn’t screw up service on Aurora by mimicking the Swift, and having very poor stop spacing.

  13. I see Old Bellevue, a section of Clyde Hill, and large areas of Sammamish are considered equity gap areas.

  14. Hooray! We’ve needed an update to Metro Connects, now that the 2016 projections have been unable to cope with the 2020 recession and the county declining to put up a countywide funding measure by now. We need a reference point of what Metro thinks it can afford and what corridor priorities it sees. Because sometimes Metro planners see things before anybody else does.

    I’m not that concerned that the interim 2025 plan is mostly status quo with some of the 2016 restructures. That’s what we can afford with known funds (if the economy recovers), and it’s an incremental improvement, even if it doesn’t do as much as we’d hoped. That’s where we’re at now, climbing out of a recession, trying to convince the suburbs to pass a countywide measure sometime, and trying to convince the Legislature to give Seattle more freedom to fund its own transit improvements (and with a less regressive tax).

    I haven’t looked at the 2050 plan yet becuse it’s so far away, and right now I’m just trying to prevent things from getting worse and to get incrementally better. ST2 Link is coming anyway by 2025, and that will gigantically improve people’s mobility, no matter how much Metro does or doesn’t do. I’ll worry about the longer-term bus network later.

  15. Keep in mind that Metro’s definition of “frequent” is 15 minutes until 6pm Monday-Friday. In contrast, RapidRide frequency is 15 minutes until 10pm every day. In many cases Metro wants the frequent corridors to have RapidRide-like frequency, and it fills in parts of it when it can afford to, like the (pre-covid) full-time frequency on the 65/67, Saturday frequency on the 11, 20-minute almost-frequent evenings on the 8, and 15-minute evenings on the 5, 10, 40, 41, 49, etc. Many of these were funded by Seattle’s TBD, which represents “Metro wants to make the frequent and will fill it in as it can afford to”.

    But Metro’s baseline promise is only until 6pm Monday-Friday. That allows it to claim the frequent network is more extensive and useful than it is. And it creates a big ambiguity, because we don’t know which routes on the “Frequent” map will have 15-minute evenings, Sundays, or Saturdays. Some will and some won’t. There’s a further ambiguity whether they will be 15 minutes (like the 62) or 10 minutes (like the 65/67). All these make a material different to passengers in terms of whether transit is convenient and whether they want to ride it those hours, but the map colors all of them the same so you can’t tell.

    At the same time, most of the Seattle routes marked Frequent are already frequent by Metro’s definition (11, 60, 106), and they sometimes reach even the RapidRide definition (like the 7, 36. 49). So the Frequent network in the 2025 plan doesn’t necessarily mean any improvement for most Seattle routes, which are already at that level. So don’t get too excited about it. I’d hope that these routes will get full-time frequency, and 10 minutes instead of 15 minutes, but there’s no guarantee of that.

    1. To build off of your points, Mike, I actually find all-day (including weekend) frequency much more important than peak frequency. On the days when I ride transit to work (less frequent than it used to be, but hopefully next year will return to normal), I knew when I would head in and I had a pretty good idea of when I would return home. There could be one trip in each direction as long as it happened to be at the time I needed it, and assuming no transfers (though I still am glad for the frequency).

      After work and on weekends, though, there’s a lot more variability: we might go to a park, or to a friend’s place, or run errands, or any/all of the above. That’s really where the frequency boosts of the last few years have reduced the burden of not owning a car: making unplanned, chained trips with multiple transfers.

  16. It seems insane to me that Metro seems hell bent on building RapidRide K. Talk about an affront to any sort of equity policy: not only will K serve an extremely wealthy area chock full of ‘choice riders’, it also duplicates the ST Stride line on I-405. Instead of upgrading workhorses like the Route 48, we’re pandering to an area where ST3 had an approval of 30% – 40%. (It’s worth noting that these numbers are similar to rural parts of Pierce County.) It would be hilarious if it weren’t so egregious.

    1. I live in a wealthy area, but it’s also an area that has been historically underserved by transit. Even though my neighborhood isn’t technically an equity gap area, I believe it should go to the front of the line when it comes to better transit. If the Eastside doesn’t get better transit, we might just build our own public transit system.

      1. I also live in the Kirkland area and I personally think the existing network with the 250 and 255 makes the most sense, and we should be focusing on increasing frequency on the existing routes, not making new ones.

        It is also clear that the K line was planned before the March 2020 Eastside service restructure (since it basically reverts much of it), yet, for reasons of slow beurocracy, cannot be changed.

        Not only does the route not make sense, but the ridership is not anywhere near the level where off board fare payment has an appreciable affect on travel time.

        So, I say, for 2025, scrap the K, restore the September 2020 reductions on the 255, upgrade the 250 to maintain 15 minute frequency 7 days/week, and call it a day. (But, please don’t ship our service hours down to Kent).

    2. I think the K is one of those routes that checks off all the boxes, but is a bad idea. Totem Lake has a lot of people, and I would assume a fair number are low-income. Kirkland has a fair number of jobs, and Bellevue has a lot. This connects to four transit centers, a college, and a de-facto transit center at Eastlake (with a big park and ride lot). It all looks great. It just doesn’t make sense.

      124th is a fast way to get to Kirkland, but a very slow way to get to Bellevue. From Totem Lake to Bellevue you want to go on I-405. This doesn’t serve the freeway stop. It gets you a bit closer (https://goo.gl/maps/ZZtRZhvfgbFz2WzC8) but not that close.

      There is also not much on 124th after the apartments/mall. This skips Lake Washington Institute of Technology, a clear destination. For Totem Lake riders headed to Seattle, this is a bit faster, but still pretty slow. You want an all-day express from the UW to Totem Lake (and other freeway stops). It just doesn’t add much for Totem Lake.

      For Kirkland to Totem Lake, it seems like the choice is rather arbitrary, which is why they couldn’t figure out the best route. This is faster, but leaves out Juanita.

      South Kirkland to downtown Bellevue is the same issue as Totem Lake to downtown Bellevue. Folks want an express (via the freeway). It is bizarre that Sound Transit is spending billions building a rail line with those two stops, yet Metro doesn’t want to bother with the same thing.

      The only part that seems reasonable is the piece replacing the southern part of the 271. Maybe they should just keep that piece, and send it the UW, via the Bellevue Way. That would be faster than going through Medina, and would pick up plenty of riders along the way. While it wouldn’t be the strongest RapidRide route, it would be reasonable. Converting the strongest part of the 271 while making it better and faster is a reasonable project.

      Meanwhile, find a different way to solve the last mile problem for Totem Lake. I think I would double the frequency of the 225, but split it in Juanita, providing coverage for Saint Edwards (and the apartments along that part of Juanita Drive). I have no idea where the money would come from (for that, or any other solution). Of course the same is true of the RapidRide K — I’m not sure where that money is coming from, if they can’t afford turning the 70 or 48 into RapidRide.

      1. Totem Lake Freeway station to Totem Lake transit center does not have a last mile problem. It’s a 5 minute walk according to Google. Nobody is going to wait for another bus to cover a distance that short.

        One thing that should be fixed, buses that pass through Totem Lake but don’t end there should just stop on the street, rather than loop through the transit center. The current pattern adds several minutes to every trip to save a few people maybe 100 feet of walking; it just doesn’t make sense.

      2. Totem Lake Freeway station to Totem Lake transit center does not have a last mile problem. It’s a 5 minute walk according to Google. Nobody is going to wait for another bus to cover a distance that short.

        That’s not the last mile problem I was referring to. No one lives by the transit center. Lots of people live in the new apartments, to the south. There is somewhere between a ten to fifteen minute walk from an apartment to the freeway station. Or, you can take a bus to the transit center, and you still have a five minute walk. Neither one will work for the vast majority of people. A long (and relatively ugly) walk like that is too far for most (https://humantransit.org/2010/11/san-francisco-a-rational-stop-spacing-plan.html) and the transfer isn’t much better.

        You solve the problem by having buses cross over, and either keep going (like the 225) or end there (like the 930). Another alternative would be to extend buses like the 255 to the apartments, if you can find layover/turnaround space there. Or you simply ignore the problem, and wonder why everyone in Totem Lake ignores the buses, and drives everywhere.

        Oh, and while the apartments in Totem Lake have a last mile problem, the large college in Totem Lake (Lake Washington Institute of Technology) has an even bigger one.

      3. Assuming you’re referring to the apartments across the street from Whole Foods/Trader Joe’s, I’m not sure what you would do operationally to get the 255 closer. Add an extra loop around the block? That would suck up service hours and make the entire route less frequent.

        According to Google Maps, it’s 0.36 miles from the apartments to the freeway station, about an 8 minute walk. That’s not a lot and should be easily doable. If 8 minutes is too long, you can always walk faster. By contrast, an 8-minute walk to the freeway station, followed by an express to Seattle once you get there would be much faster than a slow 255 that comes to your front door.

      4. ” If 8 minutes is too long, you can always walk faster.”

        To paraphrase Joe Biden a little, “come on man, there you go again,” assuming that everyone is a 20-something able-bodied male. Not everyone can walk faster and the weather conditions may not be conducive to such even for younger able-bodied men. And honestly, I say this as someone who _does_ walk fast (I usually target a 15-minute mile as my normal, not “hurried”, walking speed). But my understanding is that transit planning does not assume that people like us are the main users of the service, and for a good reason. So let’s not make that mistake in our advocacy, either, right?

        Thanks in advance for your understanding.

  17. And one more problem that can be as easily dispensed with as branding and bus-colors if these things start getting in the way of both service and blog-space.

    Fare payment. Which with the introduction of the ORCA card quite awhile ago should’ve been completely taken care of. By simply, at the beginning of every month or other calendar period, getting every conceivable passengers’ every transit dime up-front.

    All an Inspector needs to verify is validity and possession. Subarea and interagency division, that’s what accountants are being paid for, from their offices in a building with a classy historic hall.

    That really should also have a book-store, a news-stand and some espresso with a flair for grandeur. Zeitgeist? D’Arte? Caffe Umbria? Why not ROTATE!

    And “Distance Fares?” Your card is your key to the whole SYSTEM. In the average hotel or theater, nobody measures hallway-lengths or shaft-heights on elevators. Or do they just put that on your card without telling you?

    But to attract possibly Transit’s most desired passenger, a potential voter who is also a child on their first train or bus ride….that fantastic 1940’s model fare-box that spun your quarters around in a clicketing silver whirlpool when you dropped it in the box.

    Only people inconvenienced? Mothers who have to keep sewing up change-loaded pants pockets. Remedy? Leather or vinyl pants-pocket liners in ST and Metro colors. Remind me, though. Does the US Mint still not sell chocolates?

    Mark Dublin

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