East Link map with stations

East Link might open in as little as 18 months. Like any rail opening of that magnitude, there are many opportunities to reorganize bus service to reduce redundancy, improve access, and serve new priorities.

Metro and Sound Transit are creating a citizen sounding board for these changes, and they’re paying $50 per hour:

“Are you someone who:

  • Lives, works, and/or travels within Eastside communities? These communities include but are not limited to areas east and south of Kenmore, east of the I-90 and SR 520 bridges, north of east Renton (such as Bellevue, Kirkland and Redmond), and west of Sammamish and Issaquah? Or do you live, work, or travel in Seattle’s Chinatown/International District and/or Judkins Park?
  • Is a transit rider or a potential transit rider?
  • Are able to bring your perspective as an individual, not representing the interests of an organization?
  • Are willing and interested in drawing connections between racial equity, transportation issues, and access to opportunities?”

Apply by the end of this month to participate from April to November 2021. It’d be helpful for some board members to have an appreciation for transit planning principles.

56 Replies to “Join the East Link Connections Mobility Board”

  1. “ Are able to bring your perspective as an individual, not representing the interests of an organization?”

    Wow! This is a complete 180 degree turn from the usual approach of ST to have a “Stakeholder’s Committee” entirely filled by people who have the interests of corporate or community organizations and not transit riders. Did Metro front this?

    Anyway, it’s about time we see a different approach to transit planning input like this!

  2. I was a member of the U-Link sounding board in 2015; while they didn’t offer money for participating, it was well worth the time. While the role of the sounding board is strictly advisory, opinions shared wildly among group members can matter at the margins. For example, the sounding board offered positive feedback of the proposed new route 62 and discontinuing the 71/72/73’s downtown->U-district service to make other routes more frequent. Both survived intact. The board also provided negative feedback to an early proposal to reroute the 70 to terminate at UW Med Center instead of 50th/Brooklyn; the end result kept the 70’s current tail intact.

    In the case of East Link, a quick glance at the station map and the current bus route map shows an area ripe for restructure. For instance, if nothing changes, the 226 and 249 would each miss the 130th Link Station by about 1/4 mile and you’d have to stay on the bus all the way to Bellevue Transit Center to get a clean connection. The 271 (which could become an important Link feeder route for the Lake Hills/Eastgate area) misses East Main St. Station and has to fight traffic on the congested 4th St. bridge before reaching Bellevue Transit Center. The 240 forces riders from the south to detour east to Eastgate, then north to East Main St. Station to reach Link, when sending the bus to South Bellevue would get them to a station far faster. The 550 will also be going away, so some bus route will have to be extended or restructured to take over its stops along Bellevue Way.

    Meanwhile, there are recurring problems with the current Bellevue bus routes, not directly related to Link. For example, the 221 prioritizes coverage to Phantom Lake (very low ridership potential) over a straighter path to Bellevue College from areas further north with much higher ridership potential. The 271 spends too many service hours on its Issaquah tail, which drags down frequency on the rest of the line – this in spite of the fact that the one-seat ride between Issaquah and UW is actually slower than the two-seat ride (554->Link), even with the connection downtown (in the future, the connection would presumably be at a Link station further east, but it’s still a bus->Link trip, regardless).

    I really hope we can get a sounding board that is interested in actual mobility on the eastside – which means allowing people to get more places, in less time, more hours per day – rather than getting bogged down in red herrings, like trying to enumerate the destinations where upper middle class people imagine low income people wanting to go, and detouring bus routes to serve these destinations’ front doors. The reality is that virtually every business (even in rich areas) has low-income service workers and if you design a bus network for general mobility, you serve them well, automatically. But, the moment you try to be too specific in your planning and imagine specific buildings that low-income people want to go, you end up with a system that fails for anybody not matching your imagined narrative – including most of the low-income people.

    1. Do you know why they chose you as a board member? I’m interested in applying, but I’m not sure what to accentuate when they ask “What interests you about transit services in the area, please include your experiences using the transit system and any ideas on how to improve transit in this area?”

      1. At the time, I lived about 1.5 miles from UW station, so I had a personal stake in the outcome. But, I also lead a transit oriented walking group, which takes me on buses all over the city. That may have helped.

      2. I applied for the U-Link sounding board but was rejected because it already had transit fans and they were looking for a more diverse group of people (viz, ethnicity, age, job, and knowledge about transit).

        I think Martin mentioned being on a sounding board.

        The sounding boards are probably the closest thing ST has to a riders’ advocacy group. The other groups (the stakeholders’ board and electeds’ board) have a blind sport for riders’ concerns. “Stakeholders” are city and county governments, large companies, large institutions, etc, while riders and groups like STB are all lumped into one stakeholder.

      3. Yes, I was on the SE Seattle Sounding board 100 years ago. Even if I remembered how I applied, I doubt they’re looking for the same stuff.

    2. Why does the 226 need to serve 130th station when it serves Overlake Village and Bellevue TC? It’s only 15 minutes from one station to the other, so from any stop in between it would be shorter. Bellevue-Redmond Road needs transit service, and it’s not clear to me whether a reroute to 20th east of 130th (if that’s what you have in mind) would be better or worse.

      1. The current 226 doesn’t go far enough north to serve Overlake Village.

        Bel Red road is really a hard place to serve. It’s just barely far enough from Link that you don’t want to leave it with nothing, but the biggest ridership draws would be endpoints that are already connected by Link and/or the B-line, so there’s no good way to serve it without redundant service.

        The least bad option I can think of is to serve Bel-Red road with something very infrequent, like the 249, knowing full well that able bodied people will just walk a mile to the nearest Link station, rather than wait for it. I would rather see more transit resources going into arterial corridors that don’t have nearby Link service, such as 140th, 148th, and 156th in the north/south direction and 8th St./70th St., and 85th St. in the east/west direction.

    3. It’s too bad that you cannot be on this board, too. You have a lot to add as an “alumi.”

  3. I skipped this whole article because Martin’s first sentence that read “East Link might open in as little as 18 months” was so incredibly shocking. Given there is so much left to complete before a months long mandatory testing period, isn’t this statement not just overly optimistic but almost surely false?

    1. I too would be amazed if it opened in 18 months. The miles wires are still not up and tested as live. There are lots of stations. There is a new OMF and interlining. There are dozens of new vehicles required. There are minor adjustments probably needed for the floating bridge once trains are tested on it.

      That’s a long checklist and if any one has a delay, the opening is probably delayed.

      I’m sure there are some good short-term optics in setting the date earlier but I could easily see it making ST look worse in the long run.

      1. Oh I don’t think ST will move the start date until they are very confident, so there won’t be any news until next year, at the earliest. The quarterly performance reports indicated that if everything goes as scheduled – a massive caveat – the project is on track of a late 2022 opening. The official opening is in 2023 because, indeed, probably something don’t go as scheduled.

      2. https://seattletransitblog.com/2020/10/21/challenges-more-closures-for-east-link-construction/

        This is a good article on when East Link will open, and noted the opening date had been moved from Sept. 2023 back to the original July 1, 2023.

        The eastside subarea has the funding to run ST express buses to Seattle even if ridership is down (which of course it will be compared to estimates), and in fact the eastside subarea has paid 100% of the east-west-west buses since they began, which will cost the eastside subarea nearly $1 billion by the time East Link opens. The decision to eliminate all buses from the eastside to Seattle, which only was adopted in 2018, was from Metro, to save costs.

        If Metro can serve East King Co. with the kind of frequency many on this blog state is necessary to attract ridership (7 minutes), especially on feeder lines to East Link, great, but it will be very expensive. If it can’t, and ST will probably get the blame for eastside riders waiting to catch a bus to a train station, I would go with some express buses to Seattle that run along the large park and rides along I-90 if I were ST, and didn’t want public perception of East Link to turn sour on top of the $11.5 billion miscalculation on ST 3 in N. King Co.

        Maybe I am jaded. I live in an eastside city with 26,000 citizens that will have two station entrances to light rail but no intra-Island bus service to access the light rail station, so I don’t hold a lot of hope for Metro.

  4. Yes, sounding or mobility boards have been critical to network changes since 1996. They help staff, management, and elected officials understand rider feedback and overcome inertia. Yes, the U Link board was quite helpful on the 71s series; that was the most important change. Though, changing Route 70 to terminate at the Pacific Triangle would have had significant advantages: there is market synergy between SLU medical technology sector and the UWMC; Route 70 could have served as the Link bus bridge; there is passing track on NE Pacific Place for a second trolleybus route.

    The East Link start date is an interesting variable.

    re Route 221 in Phantom Lake, transit coverage is important. The other corridors have routes 245 and 226. the route spacing seems fine. Yes, East Link should have a complete network restructure. Each Link station will provide great access to Overlake, downtown Bellevue, and downtown Seattle. Local routes will have the opportunity to provide new connections.

    Again, I hope the ST Board builds and opens the NE 130th Street station with Lynnwood Link.

    1. I do think Phantom Lake should have some service, but it shouldn’t come at the expense of other riders’ time by making them detour to serve it.

      Ideally, the bus routes would be kept as straight as possible – perhaps one that goes straight down 156th, one that goes straight down 148th. Of course, to achieve this without duplicating service, you’d need some kind of restructure, likely involving a splitting of the 245. If I have the time, I might try to come up with a page 2 post, for what a better Bellevue bus network might look like.

      1. Yes, directness is very good. Yes, East Link will allow a complete restructure.
        But it depends on what the detour allows one to reach; Route 221 reaches Crossroads. Note that 148th Avenue NE and SE looks straight, but serves interchanges at both SR-520 and I-90, so has heavy traffic; to the south, it has a lake and a park, while 140th Avenue SE has some apartments and Sammamish High.

      2. I think 140th should have a bus, in addition to 148th – ideally continuing north beyond Main St. The lake and park section of 148th is very small – the bus gets through it in less than a minute, so it’s not worth detouring around to maybe pick up a small number of extra riders. Also, the park trails connect with the surrounding neighborhood (including Sammamish High School), so a bus stop next to the trail could actually get riders, in and of itself.

        Unfortunately, the 148th bus would probably have to have a diversion to Overlake Village Station. Having the north/south routes connect to Link, rather than bypass it is very important; it also gets the bus closer to Microsoft and a lot of dense housing. But, the rest of the route could still be straight. It definitely should not be diverting to serve Phantom Lake.

        I was even thinking that with Link connecting DT Redmond->Microsoft, maybe the 148th bus could simply replace the B-line north of 40th St. (serving the exact same stops), and the B-line would be truncated to just run from Bellevue TC->Overlake TC only. I think the southern part of the B-line complements Link well, and I wouldn’t change it.

  5. ST claims East Link will open by July 1, 2023, at least to Overlake. Also important is the announcement the S. Bellevue Park and Ride will open in Sept. 2021, which will allow ST to determine to what extent commuter ridership will return on the 550, which declined by 1/3 after the S. Bellevue Park and Ride was closed and the 550 kicked out of the Seattle transit tunnel. IMO it is critical East Link be a success after the debacle with ST 3 in the N. King Co. subarea, because if ST can’t estimate and run transit in the one subarea with plenty of money it doesn’t know what it is doing.

    SCOPE OF MOBILITY BOARD

    The geographic boundaries of the “Board” suggest to me the main issue will be bus feeder service for East Link, even though the majority of ST on the eastside is express buses.

    MAKEUP OF BOARD

    The request for those with experience in planning but not tied to a specific organization suggests to me ST would like to avoid having some of the various eastside transit group members on this Board. These members are knowledgeable on transit and traffic on the eastside (and predicted before ST 3 the cost estimates for ST 3 in N. King Co. were way low, especially the tunnel, and estimated future ridership on East Link was wildly exaggerated, before the pandemic), but these folks tend to dislike transit, and hate ST. Of course if you randomly selected 10 eastsiders to serve on the board 7 would have no knowledge of transit, and the other three would hate ST and transit in general from their awful work commute.

    Whatever one might want to believe, East Link was designed and sold as peak hour commuter transit in an area that is very car concentric, which is why it runs from the eastside to downtown Seattle, and the vast majority of citizens drive during non-peak and non-work trips. Nothing about East Link was based on “equity”.

    UNCERTAINTIES

    According to ST and Metro they like to have their bus schedules known two years before a light rail line opens. However, the two uncertainties today are:

    1. Ridership on East Link. ST still predicts 43,000 to 52,000 riders per day on its website, which was unrealistic pre-pandemic. The Catch-22 is if this estimate is accurate Metro could never afford the feeder bus service if any kind of frequency is provided, and some downstream stations like MI (especially if it serves as the bus intercept) will not have peak hour capacity. On the other hand, if ridership is much lower than estimated ST will look like it was lying in order to convince East King Co. to contribute to the second transit tunnel, and to gin up farebox recovery estimates.

    2. Mercer Island just won a significant victory in its litigation against ST. The court declined ST’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit, which means it will go to a decision. Personally, I think MI has the stronger case under the 2017 settlement agreement, but the bigger issue is the layout for the planned bus intercept on MI simply was never planned or designed for 20 articulated buses per peak hour, each bus dropping off all their passengers next to a park and ride that that handles 1100 peak hour SOV’s trying to access I-90 westbound from the 76th entrance, that require a crossing of N. Mercer Way to get to the rail station. The current I-90 configuration was always based on SOV access from Island Crest Way, and when that was eliminated it created a situation that most Islanders have to drive through the town center to access I-90.

    THE REAL BOARD

    Obviously the real players in the decision making will be the important eastside cities, which includes Bellevue, Redmond and especially Issaquah/Sammamish which combined equals over 100,000 residents. The Board is probably just public relations, although as noted above ST should listen to its riders more.

    This process might be the first time commuters and riders learn their trip just added a seat and transfer, after a drive to the park and ride, for citizens who don’t love transit for transit.

    My guess is Metro does not have the funds to provide frequent feeder bus service on the eastside no matter what the ridership is on East Link because of the huge area and lack of density. The word “equity” does not immediately conjure up Issaquah, but Issaquah is a major player on the eastside, and someone taking transit to downtown Seattle to work because they can’t afford to drive and park is equity to them, even if they are white. If they suddenly are not taking transit to downtown Seattle to work there goes most of East Link’s ridership.

    I doubt the concerns of “Chinatown” or Judkins Park will be of interest, and both sound like equity inclusions to me (which is ironic since recent demographic info shows West Bellevue is more Asian than Seattle), and probably more west to east commuters come from Capitol Hill.

    CONCLUSION

    The bad news for ST is East Link will never be what it was promised to be, especially if there is a steep decline in commuters. Metro simply does not have the budget to provide frequent feeder bus service to such a massive area with little density. At the same time, East Link and ST on the eastside simply has to work for ST, because East King Co. is the subarea with the fewest issues for ST, most importantly funding. It also doesn’t hurt that there are not a lot of “Eastside Subway” groups, and most eastsiders couldn’t ‘t care less about transit.

    My guess is ridership will be much lower than estimated post pandemic, Metro will provide terrible feeder bus service, and so ST will need to continue some of the express buses to Seattle, which will be easier if traffic congestion through downtown Seattle is less with Northgate Link and fewer eastside buses. The litigation with Mercer Island is also a wildcard, especially if Bellevue balks at sharing the bus intercept for non-Bellevue area with Mercer Island.

    ST cannot let its arrogance screw up East Link and east King Co. like it has N. King Co. East Link has to work, no matter what it costs, and no matter how few ride it, because the riders will make all the noise. Probably the best news is most of ST on the eastside are ST buses, and mistakes in planning or operations are a lot easier to fix with buses than rail, or bus truncation at rail.

    1. There’s a lot of room to make things better using the eastside’s existing service hours. Contrary to what you say, the entire Eastside isn’t Sammamish. There are pockets of density that can and should get good feeder service without long, meandering coverage crawls through low density areas.

      Also, you make it sound like this is all ST’s doing, but nearly all of the feeder service will be run by King County Metro. Sound Transit’s role will be a few freeway express routes like the 554, 560, and STRIDE, but it’s the Metro routes that will actually be serving the bulk of the homes.

      1. “Also, you make it sound like this is all ST’s doing, but nearly all of the feeder service will be run by King County Metro. Sound Transit’s role will be a few freeway express routes like the 554, 560, and STRIDE, but it’s the Metro routes that will actually be serving the bulk of the homes”.

        I do understand that asdf2, which is my point. Metro won’t be able to provide decent feeder bus service to dense areas in Seattle, and is looking at 25% reductions in overall service, and reallocation of service based on “equity”, which probably does not mean the eastside if it doesn’t mean Lake City Way. Unlike the N. King Co. subarea the east King Co. ST subarea has a lot of money, whereas Metro does not. What are the chances Metro will, or will be able, to provide frequent first/last mile access to rail on the eastside?

        How many times have I written that rail begins and ends with first/last mile access?

        I also took note of your use of the word “homes”. Providing frequent feeder bus service to a huge zone of mostly single family homes on large lots that require cars just to get to the road is probably impossible even with adequate funding.

        There is a reason park and rides are popular on the eastside, but now they don’t serve the ultimate transit mode (rail) across the bridge. They serve a feeder bus operated by Metro, for a population not accustomed to transfers and intercepts. There isn’t first/last mile access on MI, and we have two rail stations, but no bus service.

        ST built East Link. This is all about East Link. People on the eastside don’t pay attention to bus routes. The eastside has spent at last count $5.5 billion on East Link. East Link has to work. That means first/last mile access, in a huge and mostly undense area, that will retain that zoning, by Metro that is cutting services due to funding. Metro might be (is) the problem, but ST will get the blame.

        East Link will be a success for those who access it by park and rides that directly serve East Link because they are going to Seattle, and that is where every commuter to Seattle will drive to, from Mercer Island to S. Bellevue and so on. Except there won’t be enough stalls, which will be as frustrating as infrequent feeder bus service.

        Personally I never quite understood the efficacy of East Link as transit considering the center roadway was grade separated and buses could access the transit tunnel, except the eastside wanted rail too, had the money, and at the time running it to downtown Seattle made sense. Spending $5.5 billion for “pockets of (quasi) density” seemed extravagant to me, and running Metro buses all around east King Co. serving “pockets” of density is not affordable.

        More than anything I never understood how Metro or ST were going to get folks to a rail station for a single line if that is the only way across the lake (which only became part of the plan in 2018) in a very undense and large area without very large increases in total trip time. East Link was designed by people who think East King Co. is like Seattle.

        Sammamish and Issaquah are the norm in east King Co., and between them are over 100,000 citizens, all living on large single family home lots, the zoning of which they will never change. Transit has to start with a car to a park and ride, now a bus to a train station, and a train to Seattle, because East Link wasn’t about service workers or equity, it was always about the work commuter to Seattle. I doubt a seat and transfer or hunting for a rare park and ride stall will be seen as an improvement for a commuter.

        If I were ST I would assume Metro will not provide the kind of frequent feeder service eastsiders with a new transfer will be happy with, and so I would look at maintaining some express buses to Seattle. Truncating all trips to Seattle was just to get ridership on East Link near future estimates, but those are out the window anyway.

      2. “Metro … is looking at 25% reductions in overall service,”

        I don’t know where you’re getting that. Metro’s service levels will depend on future revenue and taxes, which are unknown at this point. It may be less than pre-covid service or less than Metro’s 2025/2040 visions, but we don’t know how much. It depends on how the economy goes, how much people will telecommute, whether King County offers a countywide tax measure, whether it passes, whether suburban cities set up TBDs like Seattle did. A lot of unknowns, and projections to 2025 are more reliable than projections after that.

        Equity has gotten a lot of rhetoric since covid started, but it will probably be only one factor in these decisions, not the primary factor. Just as progressives tried to defund the police and pass an Amazon head tax, the actual changes that last more than six months are less dramatic. King County has a responsibility to move everybody and avoid traffic gridlock, not just to get poor people to their janitorial jobs and medical appointments. So I don’t think Metro can ignore the non-equity issues.

        “People on the eastside don’t pay attention to bus routes.”

        That’s a huge assumption. There are people on the 550, B, 271, and 240. They pay attention to bus routes. There are a lot of people who won’t take a bus and will only drive to a Link or Sounder P&R, but those are secondary riders. We can’t spend all our resources spoon-feeding them.

        “Personally I never quite understood the efficacy of East Link [when the I-90 express lanes and bus/train tunnel existed] … except the eastside wanted rail too”

        Seattle has 720K people, Bellevue/Redmond has over 200K, and they’re only twelve miles apart. That’s why. In Germany there would be no question that they’d have an all-day S-Bahn or U-Stadtbahn. Of course they would. The I-90 corridor is grade separated but buses lose time traveling on surface streets to the P&Rs or around to 405 and the NE 4th Street exit, and they get caught in periodic traffic jams, and collisions stop freeway traffic completely. And our agencies are just more willing to make trains more all-day frequent than buses, and we need that frequency. And trains have more capacity than buses, both for growing ridership and for occasional surges. The largest concentration of trips in the Eastside is the Seattle-Bellevue-Redmond corridor, so that’s where Link is, and it’s a large enough corridor to have a train.

    2. It’s not ever talked about, but a complete feeder bus system had to be assumed to get to those ridership projections. Here’s hoping that assumed service concept is made available as a reference point. It would also be good to know How full the parking areas got in those projections.

    3. It’s really a Metro-led project that’s just coordinating with ST. The article doesn’t make this very clear. ST doesn’t have many decisions left to make: we know where the alignment and stations and entrances will be. ST will have a minor role in deciding what to do with the ST Express routes, but 90% of the issue is Metro. What Metro’s network looks like will affect the question, “How many destinations can I get to from my house in 30 or 45 minutes?”

      The point of the board is to have a wide cross-section of Eastside riders. A few transit fans, a few people who just go to work and don’t know much about transit, a few people with non-9-to-5 jobs, a few low-income people who travel to public services, etc. Because that’s who Eastside travelers are.

      Metro’s future network has several aspects affecting it: its Metro Connects 2025 and 2040 plans, pre-covid revenue/ridership, the recession, post-covid revenue/ridership, future countywide taxes, and potential suburban TBDs. All that will add up to either a network comparable to the 2040 plan or more likely something scaled back. A scaled-back plan would probably have some 2040 RapidRide corridors downgraded to Frequent, and some Frequent corridors may not be full-time frequent, and maybe some all-day expresses wouldn’t be realized (North Bend-Mercer Island, Snoqualmie-Auburn). But the relative distribution of service would probably be similar to Metro’s 2040 plan, because that’s where the densest areas and highest-travel corridors are.

      If ridership is lower post pandemic, ST would have less money to keep express buses to downtown, not more. It’s unlikely in any case that the ST board could be convinced to keep downtown expresses: all planning documents to date have them truncated. Of course, ST is not involved in the decision whether to keep the 111 and 218 to downtown: those are Metro routes.

      1. Or economic recovery and tax receipts. It also assumed Seattle’s TBD wouldn’t be renewed, but it has been. And now that I-976 has been resolved and the TBD has passed and economic recovery is starting, Seattle might propose a TBD supplement that adds a percent or so and uses car-tab capacity. And suburban cities are free to establish their own TBDs if they want to.

      2. That all-electric priority does bother me. Frequent service is more urgent than 100% electrification right away. Buses are more fuel-efficient than cars, so even diesel buses are better than no buses. We can electrify them when we can afford to do both that and maintain full-time frequency, and we can convert a few routes at a time.

      3. I think a rule of thumb is that you need at least 10 or so passengers per bus to make the bus more fuel efficient than each passenger driving a separate car.

        But really, carbon reduction is not the reason why we have a transit system – if it was, all trips with loads less than this would cease to exist. We have a transit system to provide mobility.

        I do think buses should be electrified, but the costs for doing so should be funded with federal grants, reflecting the fact that the benefits of reduced carbon emissions are spread throughout the entire world. For any city, acting in isolation, it becomes a chicken and egg problem. It’s not worth the cost until the cost goes down, which can’t happen until electric buses develop economies of scale. Federal grants is how you break that chicken and egg cycle.

      4. The average ridership on even low-volume routes is at least 10 passengers per hour. Even the Southcenter-Fairwood van got 8 boardings in the western half on a Saturday afternoon pre-covid, and it presumably got at least two more boardings in the eastern half. The entire route from end to end is less than an hour. The lowest-volume routes and new routes may get half of that, but it’s hoped that they’ll increase over time, and they won’t increase if they’re not running.

    4. Mercer Island just won a significant victory in its litigation against ST. The court declined ST’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit, which means it will go to a decision.

      Significant victory that the case wasn’t dismissed with prejudice? I guess it all depends on what Mercer Island was trying to accomplish, which appears to be to shout to the world how entitled and scared of off-islanders they are.

      I really hope the utility rate hikes were worth this bizarre exercise in futility and arrogance.

      1. “I really hope the utility rate hikes were worth this bizarre exercise in futility and arrogance.”

        The cost to the average household is $78/year, added to the utility tax. The average utility bill on Mercer Island for a house is $500/month, not including the surcharge for water in the summer. Citizen support for the tax to fund the litigation, and the litigation, was around 90%, and there have been no objections to date.

        Parties are often unsuccessful in litigation. Whether the litigation is “futile” depends on what a party has to lose. ST refused to negotiate over a bus intercept it designed unilaterally so Mercer Island had nothing to lose by filing suit. After the denial of ST’s motion to dismiss things are looking pretty good for Mercer Island, when it started out with nothing. Momentum is a very big factor in litigation.

        I am not sure why you think a city or neighborhood objecting to ST’s unilateral plans is arrogance, or that ST is not arrogant. ST is not a Sovereign, above the law, and governments sue one another all the time. You seem to believe ST can do no wrong, and cannot make a mistake. The irony of the litigation is ST’s lies over future ridership estimates on East Link will probably make this litigation irrelevant, because 20 articulated buses per peak hour will never be necessary on East Link, and probably never was pre-pandemic.

        Had Mercer Island’s prior council not foolishly approved the SEPA permits in 2015 without a written agreement with ST — or ST had raised the bus intercept before the 2017 settlement agreement was entered into — probably all of this would have been resolved in that agreement. After all, Bellevue demanded a $300 million tunnel, 1500 stall park and ride, and $35 million in cash, Issaquah demanded a $4.5 billion light rail line, the UW demanded poor station locations and $70 million in cash, West Seattle demanded a rail line, so did Ballard, and Seattle is demanding a second underground transit tunnel at a cost of $3.5 billion, and Montlake has demanded millions in mitigation for 520, because those cities negotiated their SEPA permits. Is that arrogance? I think it is smart local governance, one thing Mercer Island was not good at.

        “Significant victory that the case wasn’t dismissed with prejudice? I guess it all depends on what Mercer Island was trying to accomplish, which appears to be to shout to the world how entitled and scared of off-islanders they are.”

        The significance of the denial of ST’s motion to dismiss is it was not based on the agreement that ST drafted and the parties entered in Nov. 2017, but on technical reasons. All Mercer Island is trying to accomplish is for a court to review and apply the written settlement agreement, because Mercer Island believes it specifically does not allow drop offs on the north side of North Mercer Way, and does not allow North Mercer Way to serve as a bus layover area for four articulated buses. Big deal. That is how parties, and governments, solve their disputes: in a court of law.

        RapidRider fails to explain why asking a court to review and interpret a settlement agreement is being “entitled”, when virtually every neighborhood and city has negotiated ST mitigation, and until 2018 the bus intercept concept was designed to have Mercer Island and S. Bellevue share the intercept for non-Bellevue and non-Mercer Island eastside cities, which is what the 2017 settlement agreement is based on.

        My advice to RapidRider is ST and government agencies are not always right, which is why the law does not recognize them as sovereigns, above the courts.

      2. The cost to the average household is $78/year, added to the utility tax.

        The fact that MI is using increased utility fees to pay for a frivolous lawsuit seems like a legitimate lawsuit waiting to happen, though admittedly $78 is not worth going to court over. If the utility regulations are written such that this is allowed, I would question the sanity of the city I’m living in. $78 may not seem like much, especially to MI residents, but I would be demanding my $78 if I was a resident.

        RapidRider fails to explain why asking a court to review and interpret a settlement agreement is being “entitled”, when virtually every neighborhood and city has negotiated ST mitigation, and until 2018 the bus intercept concept was designed to have Mercer Island and S. Bellevue share the intercept for non-Bellevue and non-Mercer Island eastside cities, which is what the 2017 settlement agreement is based on.

        This whole lawsuit is based on the fact that the City of Mercer Island doesn’t want off-island people using a regional train station, on regionally owned right of way, that is funded by the entire region, not just Mercer Island. They are using their wealth to try get their selfish way. It’s the I-90 express lanes all over again.

        If that’s not the definition of entitled, I don’t know what is.

  6. One possible topic is with private shuttles. Will East Link’s opening spur companies, office park owners or tenants, casinos, shopping center owners, large apartment complex owners or similar firms to choose to contract for a peak or day-long shuttle driver and vehicle? Will station asphalt be designed for bus access only or will shuttles and shared ride areas also be managed? Will a permit program to manage this be rolled out, and will it include signage? Will Metro perceive them as a good thing (offering free service) or a bad thing (taking away local bus riders)?

    It was much more expensive to have a shuttle system all the way to the ID, but a shuttle to a close station like South Bellevue or Redmond Tech or Wilburton seems much more affordable.

    Up until now, this has been a pretty minor topic for Link. East Link’s opening could easily increase its awareness.

  7. Does there need to be a mini version of this panel for Judkins Park? After all, this one station is projected to be 10-20 percent of the East Link opening ridership and seems excluded from this committee’s assignment.

    1. Scroll down to Judkins Park Station Connections. “Potentially Affected Routes & Services: 4, 7, 8, 9, 14, 48.” It doesn’t have the words “sounding board” but it says “Metro will be working with community to evaluate potential changes to bus routes in the Chinatown/International District, Central District, Mt Baker, and Rainier Valley to integrate with Sound Transit’s opening of the new Judkins Park Link light rail station” and “Metro and Sound Transit are initiating an effort”. So it could be a sounding board or something smaller.

    2. I’m not sure if they will do much. The 7, 106 and 48 already serve it. I think it makes more sense to wait until Madison BRT, which is scheduled for 2024. That project will force changes (e. g. the 11 and 12 no longer make sense) which isn’t really the case here. Most of the changes I would make are just long overdue changes (just a general restructure) such as:

      1) Straightening out the 8 on MLK. But if the 8 no longer runs on MLK (if it goes to Madison Valley instead) then it would be silly to change things twice.

      2) Get rid of the 4. The Queen Anne side of the 4 is already gone — it would make sense to just get rid of the other side. Then again, there is no hurry for this. Might as well leave it as is, and see if there are lots of new riders since the bus goes right by the station.

      3) Have the 3 go up Yesler, instead of James (folks have been fighting for this for a while). This avoids the traffic on James, while increasing service to Yesler Terrace. If folks objected to the bus being too far away from Harborview, then I would just do the dogleg via 9th (https://goo.gl/maps/4KcKsdRzCa7tr5p26). That would allow us to send the 60 (making it faster). Better yet, it could be linked with the 49, saving a fair amount of service time, which would be put into making that route more frequent.

      4) Have the 14 skip that little bit to Mount Rainier Drive (just go on McClellan to Mount Baker Station).

      5) Run a bus from South Lake Union to Mount Baker via Boren. I’m not sure where we would get the money to do this (call it RapidRide, and try to get a grant, similar to Madison BRT).

      But as I wrote, I wouldn’t do any of that until Madison BRT is built.

      1. I agree that so much is already available to the station so that waiting until Madison opens is reasonable.

        The blocks just south of Judkins Park Station will have about 2000 new residents that weren’t there 3 years ago. These new places have little parking and will be much more dependent on transit.

        There is no bus from Cherry Hill to Judkins Park, and the only bus from Harborview and Swedish to Judkins Park is the very infrequent and almost fully cancelled Route 9. This structural problem deserves to be solved since there is a strong reliance on the medical services there from SE Seattle. If Metro can run direct expresses 10-15 miles away from this area, they should be able to serve locations just 2-3 miles away with direct service — areas which are also getting thousands of new residents in mid-rise apartment buildings these days.

        Until a major restructure happens, the obvious small change at first glance is to reroute Route 4 to turn up Massachusetts St rather than up Judkins St. However, the trolley wires are missing to make that happen. I’m not sure of the effort to add wires but it feels like a minor expense since 23rd is already designed with trolley wire poles. Is adding wires for a few blocks difficult?

        Since Route 27 is diesel, it could make sense to jog it to Judkins Park entrance via 23rd, Massachusetts and MLK as a minor change. Then the Route 4 tail could be dropped to pay fir the added service hours and Route 8 could stay on 23rd between Jackson and Massachusetts. The other way that Route 27 could be used is do extend the end to McClellan and Mt Baker Station as proposed by Metro already (dropping the Route 14 tail), and then circle back to end at Judkins Park to allow for Route 4 tail to go away. The problem of not connecting Judkins Park station with the hospitals would get worse in that case though. At least the current Route 4 is just 2-3 blocks from the station’s 23rd St entrance.

        It’s like a sudoku puzzle where changing one thing ripples through the entire network design. Of course, that’s why big restructures are periodically needed. A year of griping after East Link opens would coincide with the restructuring discussions for a 2024-25 change.

      2. There is no bus from Cherry Hill to Judkins Park

        Yeah there is. It is the 4 and is literally called “Judkins Park”. OK, you mean the station, but it is not a horrible walk (five minutes through a park or through the neighborhood). You could straighten out the 4, which would get it closer to the station.

        But the big problem is frequency. Before the pandemic, it ran every half hour, all day long. The combined 3/4 ran 8 to 15 minutes most of the day. The potential riders (Bellevue to Cherry Hill) will likely choose frequency over the time savings, and just ride the train into downtown.

        Even when you consider the 3/4 split, it doesn’t quite work. Let’s say we run the 3 and 4 every 20 minutes. That means the combined section (to Garfield) runs every 10 minutes. I suppose someone could time their commute so that the 4 makes sense, but I doubt it. The main employer/destination in the area is a hospital, and they have hourly schedules. Arrive 10 minutes before your shift and you just wait. Arrive 10 minutes late and you get fired. Frequency becomes more important than a faster connection. To get that, you just continue to downtown.

        This is the challenge with “T” shaped routes that overlap other routes. They cost money, and rarely are they worth it. There just aren’t that many people going between the East Side and Cherry Hill. We are better off cutting the tail of the 4, and bumping up frequency on the 48 and the 3.

        If it wasn’t for moving the wire, I would be fine with just straightening out the 4, and sending it to Mount Baker via 23rd. It is definitely an improvement. The coverage you get by going on 24th and 26th is minimal. But eventually we should cut the tail of the 4, and put the savings into other routes. The 4 only makes sense if it can run very frequently, and we don’t have that kind of money for buses (and if we did, we would add a lot of other things first). Speaking of which:

        the only bus from Harborview and Swedish to Judkins Park is the very infrequent and almost fully cancelled Route 9

        Yep, that is a much bigger issue. There is a very strong case for a frequent South Lake Union/Boren/Mount Baker bus. The case gets stronger when you add East Link. It gets even stronger when you add Madison BRT. But how do you pay for it? There are no savings that come from Judkins Park Station. The savings come from Madison BRT. At that point, you can get rid of the 4, 11 and 12, send the 8 to Madison Park and combine the 49 with the 60. All of those save money (in some cases, lots of money). Then run the SLU/Boren/Mount Baker bus as a standalone route, or as an extension of the 106 (as Mike suggested). Then run a coverage bus on MLK, connecting it to Beacon Hill, like so: https://goo.gl/maps/4qKg19uTjs6pDvu2A. This could be done as an extension of the 107 or standalone. At this point, you are still way ahead. You can increase frequency across the board. You have a much better network and better frequency.

        There simply isn’t any money for any of that now. There is no savings that come from Judkins Park. Some of your suggestions cost money. For example, if the 27 detoured to the station and back, it would cost a bunch of money. The 27 should run *more* often, for the service on Yesler. With that change, it would run less often. You would make up for some it by killing off the 4, but that is robbing Peter to pay Paul. You have a one seat ride from Judkins Park to Yesler, while you’ve lost your one seat ride from Judkins Park to Cherry Hill. I don’t see that as being better (it is certainly worse for those east of 23rd). What exactly have you accomplished at that point, anyway? Who benefits? If you are headed to Yesler, then it is about the same to just stay on the train, get off downtown, and then take the 27 up the hill. The breakeven point is somewhere around the Langston Hughes Arts Center (at 17th). Any east of there, and you are better off taking the 48, and walking. Any west of there, and you are better off transferring downtown. There are only a handful of trips that would actually benefit from that line, and even fewer if you ran a Boren bus. It isn’t even worth the customer complaints about the detour, let alone the cost.

        There is really very little that should be done for Judkins Park Station. That’s OK. There are several very popular bus routes that will serve it quite well. There are potential routes for the future (that make sense even if the station didn’t exist) that would serve it quite well. It doesn’t make sense to have big detours to serve it — those riders have other ways of getting there.

      3. I may have wandered a bit but the gist of my comments was:

        1. Reroute Route 4 in the short term with a few blocks of new wires. That provides Cherry Hill and First Hill service at essentially almost no additional operating cost. Moving wires isn’t free but it’s cheaper than adding thousands of hours of service.

        2. Restructure Metro routes after 2024 more comprehensively. There are many ways to change the system but it needs to be systemically rather than done to an individual route.

        The “no money” argument is a red herring. This area historically has lots of riders and is adding thousands of new residents to the population between 2017 and 2024.

        The bigger issue is simple: How will Judkins Park Station opening provide opportunity to bridge disjointed service running between First Hill/ Cherry Hill and SE Seattle? Making the riders from First Hill have to stand on a bus running on a steep street to get to Downtown in order to reverse course get to Rainier Ave is just cruel. So is making Cherry Hill riders (and these include people with medical mobility limitations) hike several blocks to get a direct bus to Judkins Park Station — with none of buses going no further than Mt Baker Transit Center forcing another transfer.

        As far as Routes 3 and 4 go, many Route 3 buses already turn around just east of Cherry Hill. There is only low density on Route 3 east of MLK. The entire east-of-downtown route productivity is driven by Cherry Hill and Harborview ridership. That’s in stark contrast to the blocks and blocks of new mid-rise apartment buildings along the Route 4 tail — buildings not there in 2016. The pre-Judkins Park Station opening restructuring concepts from just a few years ago are less and less logical with each advancing year.

        The problem with a strict grid structure is that our destinations are often at places where routes don’t cross. It’s why there are jogs or deviations in many Metro routes to some major destinations (like shopping hubs, transit centers, medical offices) — and unproductive crosstown routes running through mostly residential only areas. Urban transit routes benefit from having destinations at or near each end of the route (as well as the middle) to enable productivity without overcrowding at the busiest end.

      4. I wandered just as much with my comments, Al; no problem. Anyway:

        1). Yeah, you could move the wire, but it makes more sense to just eliminate it. There just aren’t enough people making that trip to justify it. Not when there are other ways to get there. You get way more benefit from just running the base 3 (from downtown to Garfield) more often. You could move the 4 in the short term, but that seems silly if you are going to eliminate it a few years later.

        How will Judkins Park Station opening provide opportunity to bridge disjointed service running between First Hill/ Cherry Hill and SE Seattle?

        It won’t. That’s my point. Madison BRT is the opportunity you want, not the the addition of the one station. It would be different if, say, there was another station at 12th and Jackson. But in this case, there is very little that should be done, especially since the big change is happening only a few years later.

        Making the riders from First Hill have to stand on a bus running on a steep street to get to Downtown in order to reverse course get to Rainier Ave is just cruel.

        By the same measure, so is asking them to wait for a bus that runs every half hour. The 4 never runs more frequent than that. Besides, First Hill to Rainier Avenue can be done via the 60 and 7.

        So is making Cherry Hill riders (and these include people with medical mobility limitations) hike several blocks to get a direct bus to Judkins Park Station — with none of buses going no further than Mt Baker Transit Center forcing another transfer.

        Again, the 4 only runs every half hour. That is much, much worse than the extra five minute walk. Here is an example. This is a trip from Cherry Hill to Rainier Avenue (https://goo.gl/maps/rdopcLaumD1RUKwu8). I picked the location so at to be the best for the 4. And yet the fastest way is to just walk over and catch the 7. A few minutes later, and the fastest route is to walk over and catch the 48. So I put in “less walking” and guess what? The fastest route by far is to catch the 3 downtown and then catch the 7 (https://goo.gl/maps/sN75KVcm3QDBsBdPA). There is only one brief period where catching the 4 makes sense, even though it makes this exact connection (from Cherry Hill to Rainier Avenue). This is the nature of half hour buses in a land with far more frequent alternatives. Yes, you could run the 4 more often, but where do you get the money?

        2. Restructure Metro routes after 2024 more comprehensively. There are many ways to change the system but it needs to be systemically rather than done to an individual route.

        Exactly. And it is quite likely that a systematic restructure of the routes in the area includes getting rid of the 4. It also should include a Mount Baker/Boren/SLU bus that will accomplish what you want far better than a slightly modified (but still extremely infrequent) 4. That’s because it is very easy to justify a frequent Mount Baker/Boren/SLU bus, whereas it isn’t easy to justify a frequent 4.

        If anything, the addition of the Judkins Park Station makes the 4 weaker. Lots of people take the 4 to get downtown, even from the tail. There is a triangular gap between the 14 (on Jackson and 31st) and the 7 (on Rainier). And guess what is right in the middle of that gap? That’s right, the station. Right now, if you want to get from Thurgood Marshall Elementary School to downtown, Google recommends you walk right by the new station to catch the 4, and then ride it to downtown (https://goo.gl/maps/TeLCH5Zjgt4P8363A). Obviously those riders on the 4 go away. Likewise, many of the riders on 23rd (i. e. the “blocks and blocks of new mid-rise apartment buildings along the Route 4 tail”) will decide to take a two-seat ride to downtown, via the (much more frequent) 48 and East Link. For example, if you are at Yesler and 23rd, you stand on the corner, and take either the 4 or 27. In the future, you can ride the 48 and transfer to Link.

        By no means will the system be perfect. But the 4 overlaps other routes. It is essentially a coverage route for an area that is already covered. In rare cases it eliminates a transfer, but we shouldn’t spend a bunch of money on rare cases. Even if it went right by the station it would only save a handful of riders any time — other riders will go downtown first. Judkins Park Station is nice, but it doesn’t call for a major restructure, or even a minor one.

      5. A couple years ago, I rode a route 1 trolley bus the length of downtown on battery power alone. They put it back on the wire around Seattle Center.

        So, maybe, short term, moving any wire isn’t that important?

      6. Ross, there is no bus from Cherry Hill directly to Route 7 unless you go to Downtown Seattle to transfer.

        The worsening service issues for direct medical center access if Metro drops Route 4 are two :

        – Cherry Hill to SE Seattle and Judkins Park Station

        – Harborview to SE Seattle and Judkins Park Station

        Now I suppose we could declare you God and punish SE Seattle people by making it harder to go by bus to doctors and medical appointments until they move or die, but the humanitarian in me thinks that’s a bit cruel given all the other less vital direct route segments that Metro runs.

        Yeah the frequency sucks and the demand may not be there today — but these thousands of Judkins Park Station area apartments are not yet occupied and East Link isn’t open yet and Route 4 misses the station by 2-3 blocks. Service ideas contemplated in 2013 may not be good for 2023.

      7. I think it’s important to mention that Route 8 or Route 48 went down to Rainier Beach when dropping the Route 4 tail was presented. Had the MLK segment not shifted to Route 106 (in around 2014-16), there would only need to be one transfer to get to Cherry Hill unless a rider went way out of direction timewise to downtown. Metro made Cherry Hill a double transfer or a very time-consuming trip for any SE Seattle resident with that route switch.

        Keep in mind that Cherry Hill is the closest hospital to SE Seattle. This entire section of Seattle has no hospital — unlike Central and North Seattle. The only way to get to a hospital from SE Seattle is to transfer not only once but sometimes twice — or walk up either First Hill or Cherry Hill (which is often difficult for a person needing medical care)!

        Either Route 7 or Route 106 should go up Boren, or some other route restructure should happen to restore the SE to Central area connections Metro severed just a few years ago under budget cuts.

      8. Metro’s new trolleybuses can go off-wire for a mile or so but Metro is reluctant to use it outside emergencies. So it’s hard to get Metro to approve a route with an off-wire segment.

        Metro can add a couple blocks of wire here or there, but it has only been willing to do so at Link stations. E.g., at U-District station (44,49,70) and Mt Baker station (14). So again it’s hard to get Metro to approve a trolley reroute that requires additional wire.

        Metro did plan to reroute the 3/4 to Yesler to eliminate turns on 3rd between Olive and Yesler and to get out of the James Street bottleneck. But it withdrew that plan after objections that the King County jail needed front-door service.

        Several other possible restructures could lead to dieselizing most of the remaining trolley routes, so they’re a double-edged sword. For instance, Metro’s 2025 plan proposes extending the 47 to UW on Lakeview Blvd. That would require miles of new wire or dieselization, and it’s a low-volume coverage route so it wouldn’t be a priority for wire. Recently Metro has started talking about at least making the 47 two-way on Bellevue, which would also require new wire or dieselization.

      9. Ross, there is no bus from Cherry Hill directly to Route 7 unless you go to Downtown Seattle to transfer.

        It is a three minute walk: https://goo.gl/maps/h23aiFHWaf57QQFE9

        No, its not perfect, but I guarantee you that people complain about the frequency more they can complain about the walk. Or rather, they simply don’t ride the 4 because it isn’t frequent.

        The worsening service issues for direct medical center access if Metro drops Route 4 are two :

        – Cherry Hill to SE Seattle and Judkins Park Station

        – Harborview to SE Seattle and Judkins Park Station

        Cherry Hill to SE Seattle sucks right now. I don’t how many times I have to write that. If you send the bus to Mount Baker Station it will still suck, for the same reason. It sucks because it runs every half hour. The vast majority of people just transfer downtown, or transfer on 23rd, or just walk from 23rd. Send the 4 to Mount Baker and that will still suck, because buses that run every half hour suck.

        Harborview to SE Seattle and Judkins Park Station via the 4 also sucks. The way to improve First Hill to Judkins Park Station (and the more important Mount Baker Station) is to run a bus from Mount Baker to South Lake Union via Boren. That bus won’t suck — it should run every 10 minutes, if not more frequently. It will also be much faster for Judkins Park (or Mount Baker) station to First Hill, and also pass by way more people, and make way more important connections. Which is why it can justify high frequency (and not suck).

        Now I suppose we could declare you God and punish SE Seattle people by making it harder to go by bus to doctors and medical appointments until they move or die

        Oh come on. Want to play that game? Fine. You just want people in SE Seattle to suffer with their half hour service in perpetuity. Rather than have a fast and frequent bus connecting First Hill with SE Seattle, you want to ask them to endure the slow 4, which only runs every half hour.

        No one likes to transfer, but if you try and build a system that avoids it, you’ll end up with very infrequent bus routes (like the 4). It essentially becomes an infrequent, hub and spoke system — what we lived with for years. Do you honestly think that the 4 was built so that people could get from 23rd to Cherry Hill? Come on, man. It was always about a one-seat ride to downtown. Just look at it. It avoids getting close to either the 14 or the 7. It is a coverage route — to downtown. It has existed for years because there was no good substitute (you can’t run easily run an east-west bus because of the freeway). It was kept, as an ancient relic to a past when half hour buses were common, because you couldn’t justify more frequency, and there was no one-seat substitute. Well, now there is.

        This has nothing to do with the density in the Central Area. It has always been dense, and has become more dense — you can stop attacking that straw man. It has everything to do with avoiding redundancy, which in turns means faster service. The 48 should run more often. The base 3 should run more often. There should be a very frequent Mount Baker/Boren/South Lake Union bus. There should be a very frequent north-south bus through First Hill (on Broadway or 12th). People will transfer, and the transfers will be better than ever.

        A grid works because the buses are frequent, not because everything is on a major intersection. It is expected that people will transfer, but those transfers aren’t painful.

        The flaws in our system have always been about preserving buses like the 4, not about coverage. It has always been about one-seat rides (typically to downtown). For every rider on the old 4 who loses that one seat ride to downtown (or even Cherry Hill), there are a dozen who get a much faster trip to UW, First Hill, Cherry Hill, the V. A., and every other hospital and clinic in the city. Cherry Hill is simply not that big of a destination, and the vast majority of people who are headed there are not coming from that small part of 23rd. They will transfer — either from the 48 (both directions I might add) or via some other bus or Link.

        There just isn’t enough added with the tail of any 4 to justify the cost to the rest of the network. It is just a bad value, compared to the other options. Judkins Park Station changes nothing in that regard.

      10. Keep in mind that Cherry Hill is the closest hospital to SE Seattle.

        For most people, the V. A. is closer.

        The only way to get to a hospital from SE Seattle is to transfer not only once but sometimes twice — or walk up either First Hill or Cherry Hill (which is often difficult for a person needing medical care)!

        I don’t know of any trip that would require transferring twice. Worse case scenario, you ride a bus (or Link) downtown, then take the bus back. Even if you extend the 4, and even if someone has an appointment at Cherry Hill, that’s what they will do, most of the time. For example, let’s say you live close to the Othello station — you just take Link downtown, and then ride the 3 back up the hill and over to Cherry Hill. If you live close to Judkins Park, you do the same. If you live off of Rainier Avenue, you will take the 7 all the way downtown, and take the bus back (even if the 4 is extended to Mount Baker). If you live in Montlake close to 24th or Capitol Hill close to 23rd, you take the 48, and then take the 3. If you live in Madison Valley, you are out of luck (you go downtown). It is only that one little piece of 23rd where you can wrap around, and again *most* of those riders will take the 48 and the 3.

        Besides, it is just one hospital. If you are not in the Swedish network, you probably don’t go there. Even if you are, you probably go to First Hill.

        That is a connection that I want to improve. The connection to Swedish is unfortunate, but not the worst thing in our system — bad frequency is.

        Even from a Cherry Hill standpoint, the 4 offers little. The big issue with Cherry Hill is that there is no north-south service there. If you want to get from Kaiser to Swedish, you have to walk, wrap around on the 3 and the 8, or go all the way downtown. If you really want to treat Cherry Hill like it is a critical part of the system, then we should run a north-south bus through there. For example, split the 27, with one half going like this: https://goo.gl/maps/rnYwbK689WedYhE67. Run each half every 15 minutes, which means 7.5 minute frequency up to Yesler Terrace. Now you’ve got a solid north-south connection, along with coverage for the old 12. Or loop around the station, like so: https://goo.gl/maps/phEoJtPdAa7TCc2N8. Both of those are way better than the 4 split, as they provide *unique* coverage, unlike the 4. It is not an overlap, but is simply filling in the grid.

        I’m not saying we should do that — I’m just saying it is better than the 4. But again, none of that should happen until Madison BRT. We shouldn’t be propping up old routes, when it is quite likely we will get rid of them in the future.

        Keep in mind, I’m not the first person who has suggested we get rid of the tail of the 4. Look at David Larson’s brilliant map of a frequent transit system: https://seattletransitblog.com/2013/08/19/your-bus-much-more-often-no-more-money-really/. The 3 runs every 7.5 minutes. There is no 4. Look at the long range plan: http://www.kcmetrovision.org/plan/service-map/. There is still a frequent 3, but not 4.

        There are countless ways in which transit can be improved for the greater Central Area, and most of them involving getting rid of the 4 (as well they should). Of course it is a trade-off (all restructures are). But it is one of the easiest to make.

    3. “The 7, 106 and 48 already serve it.”

      That’s worth emphasizing. The station has entrances on both Rainier and 23rd, so any bus routes on those streets will already serve it, and those are the major north-south corridors in the area. MLK is a smaller corridor, and it will be just 5 flat blocks away on a trail.

      Metro always has some kind of public hearing or sounding board for restructures, so this will have one even if it’s small. But the fact that Metro is raising the possibility of changing six routes means it has proposals to do so, or at least alternatives to do so. And it may make one decision now for two phases: the first for East Link and the second for RapidRide G (Madison). Metro sometimes does that. The plan for the Northgate Link 75 (west to 130th & 5th, south to Northgate) implies the second part for Lynnwood Link (west to 130th & Greenwood, north to Shoreline CC).

      Metro proposed multiple times in the mid 2000s to delete the 4 tail and fold the service hours into the 3. It backed down due to opposition to restructuring the 2 and 5 (so it postponed all changes to the 2/3/4/5/26/28), the fact that the SPU 3/4 terminus wasn’t ready yet, and a little bit of opposition from one social service near the 4’s terminus. But it’s gone in Metro’s 2025 plan too. The 9 will likely go away, and was proposed to be deleted in Link’s initial segment. Metro’s 2025 plan has a 106 extension on Boren to SLU, which kind of replaces part of the 9 and adds a crosstown corridor. (South of Rainier Beach would be split to a separate route.) In earlier plans Metro/SDOT attached the 7’s Mt Baker-Rainier Beach segment to the 48, although that disappeared in later plans and probably won’t happen. For the 14 Metro will probably drop the tail south of Mt Baker Station, and make it officially a 14/1 route (Mt Baker-Kinnear). This route is Frequent in both the 2025 and 2040 plans. So any or all of these might be in the restructure. And maybe Metro has some new ideas too.

  8. Another sticking point I forgot to mention: What to do about the downtown Redmond station not opening for another year or two after the rest of the line opens? It would be ideal to not have to do two separate service restructures in two years.

    1. Sewage tunnels don’t need to be wide enough to fit Link trains. You don’t need two of them for trains traveling in opposite directions. You don’t need to build tracks, power lines, or lighting inside the tunnels, You don’t need to worry about ventilation or fire safety, since there won’t be humans in the tunnel. You don’t have to build stations. There’s a lot of reasons why a sewage tunnel is cheaper than a transit tunnel.

  9. @Daniel Thompson: I hope that you will elaborate on the North King County statements for those of us who aren’t “in the know” about what you’re talking about (“after the debacle with ST 3 in the N. King Co. subarea”). If you’re referring to the selection of 145th as a station instead of 130th, it was a debacle. The City of Shoreline and the state delegation were successful in advancing a narrative that steered uninformed and trusting ST Board members to selecting 145th, a street that they didn’t bother to find out had limited infrastructure and limited right-of-way, rather than 155th, which had neither issue and even hada parking lot already, and skipping 130th as the best choice to connecting BRT service. They were less than truthful in their advocacy, claiming that 155th was “a quiet neighborhood street” when 185th was the same footprint, and with more tree canopy, but for which they were silent about. They said that 175th (with sidewalks on both sides for most of the area is question) had too much traffic, while silent on the fact that 145th had 33% more traffic than that, plus intermittent infrastructure. The ST board bought it, or at least weren’t objective.

    Adding a seat and a transfer was a great line. Conversely, one of the reasons why up in Snohomish County the Executive has corralled the spineless politicians in line to agree with an expensive dogleg that adds 10x the cost plus 5 years in construction to serve political ally Boeing/Everett is so that commuters to that plant will ride the train, for apparently they’re incapable of transferring to high-capacity transit in the form of BRT at 128th/Mariner. It’s unimportant that commuters from Everett south get to spend an extra 2 weeks on the train each year to swing by Boeing and higher fares due to that dogleg and that there is no station planned for Paine FIeld, only for certain to the east at Evergreen Way.

    I, for one, wondered why, on the Eastside, there was a necessity to duplicate the ST #550, a perfectly fine east/west bus between Bellevue and downtown Seattle rather than have rail along the I-405 corridor, most especially from Bellevue to Tukwila International Station, but even north to Ash Way or Lynnwood. ST Board members will say they pledged not to put rail on I-405, a specious argument since they looked the other way to do just that for a South Kirkland/Google line. The board routinely bypasses what’s best for the region and the riders in favor of their own re-elections. It’s the strongest case for board members to be elected and not selected. @Mike Orr is right, riders aren’t represented appropriately on the board. IMO, the board should have at least half of its members who are regular riders, not “photo op” politician riders and those whose interests are parochial. Keep in mind, though, that most of the employees making the decisions about routes at the outlying transit agencies don’t ride transit to work, only perhaps occasionally to downtown Seattle for a ballgame.

  10. Attempting to apply, but link shared in the article has issues. Would like to apply!

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