The passenger trailer doubles the length of a standard bus and is used during peak hours, mostly to transport students.
50 Replies to “Weekend open thread: bus trailers”
Some nice views of East Link construction in this short video. The first shot is of Wilburton Station. That’s Whole Foods right behind the station, for those that don’t know the area.
Part of me wonders what kind of power plant is equipped to carry a trailer that’s about as big as bus. You’d need the equivalent of a Cummins L9 330HP coupled to a Allison B500R6 for this setup to work. Other than that, I love how this is basically a detachable artic bus. The hitch works similarly to the hydraulics in the articulated joint, giving riders a smoother ride. Modern surveillance systems watch the interior of the rear of the bus. Cash payers continue to use the service door, while farecard payers are expected to use the rear doors. Love it.
If there’s a second attached vehicle, why not include room for bicycles?
Interesting idea…but, as a rider, I’d rather see more frequent buses than longer buses.
There is zero reason to have any artics in the fleet except to serve rush hour peak demand. But since we have them they get run all day every day on routes where they make no sense. A trailer can easily be left behind and with electric hybrids you don’t need to worry about over sizing the diesel engine. And, when it snows you leave the trailer wherever and don’t have stuck artics screwing up the arterials and highways. There’s other issues, like fare collection, but I think they can be iron out. Commercial trucks don’t articulate trailers which tells me this is a much more efficient system.
One thing, it’s illegal in this State for people to ride in a trailer.
Many routes need artics all day. I still remember one in the 80s on Memorial Day, I took a 255 from Kirkland to downtown and I was the only one on the bus, and I transferred to a 71/72/73X to the U-District and it was articulated and pretty full. Nowadays I take the 131/132 from Costco to downtown, and for years they had artics weekdays but not weekends, or Saturdays but not Sundays, and when it was a single bus I often had to stand while balancing a heavy backpack and two canvas bags. I kept asking for artics on weekends, and finally they put them on a few years ago. Then there’s the 5, 7, 36, 45, 49, 65, 70, 75 (Campus Pkwy to U Village), etc, and of course the A, C, D, and E, and 512 and 522.
Making the buses run every seven minutes would be great, but there’s the cost of the driver. And it doesn’t address spikes if ridership is uneven, like when thirty kiddos and their teachers go on a field trip together. Or when four people are waiting for the bus at Costco but a busload already got on further south. These are spiky and unpredictable.
Even if ridership is light, artics are better for social distancing. I think the incremental cost of a little bit more diesel fuel is well worth it if it means less virus spread.
I have seen this on YouTube. Their algorithms sent it to me after I searched for Swiss electric trolleybuses. That was good porn.
So the other days thread got me to consider how a Lynwood Link restructure might go, and I’ve managed to come up with something of interest. This only considers weekday service levels, and only features routes being altered by Link, so assume no change if no mention. It’s also meant to be close to (though not quite) revenue neutral, to account for stuff like extended span of serivce, as all of the routes serving Link would see their span service extended to after midnight.
CT 107: Cancelled, Extension of CT 112, and enhancements to ST 513 make it redundant.
CT 109: Using service hours from CT 412/860, is extended from Ash Way TC to Lynwood TC via 164th St SW and 44th Ave W. Daytime frequency on the entire route is enhanced to 30 minutes, and 15 minute headways operate between Lynwood and Silver Firs (where the 412 terminates) during peak hours.
CT 112: Is extended to Seaway Transit center via 168th St SW, 52nd Ave W, Beverly Park Rd, Mukilteo Speedway, Harbour Pointe Blvd, and Paine Field Blvd. Daytime frequency would be 30 minutes, using service hours from CT 402/855.
CT 113: Has the middle of it’s route straightened to operate from 36th Ave W to Mukilteo Speedway via Hwy 99. Service operates 15 minute daytime headways, and 10 minute peak headways, taking service hours from the CT 413/415/417/880.
CT 119: Daytime frequency is upgraded to every 30 minutes, using whatever free existing service hours are left after the reorganization.
CT 120: Daytime frequency is upgraded to every 30 minutes, using the service hours of CT 435.
CT 130: Using the service hours of CT 405/416/871, daytime frequency is upgraded to every 30 minutes, and peak hour headways to every 15.
CT 201/202: Truncated at Everett Station. Service on each line is boosted to every 20 minutes daytime, and every 15 minutes at peak, leading to combined headways of every 10/7.5 min respectively. Service South of Everett would be handled by ST 510/511/512 and CT 221/227/247 respectively.
CT 221: New Route, utilizing the combined service hours of the CT 421 and 821. Would be peak-hour route operating between Lynwood TC and Marysville, with a new stop at South Everett TC. Would have bidirectional Peak service, like KCM 212, and would have 15 peak direction and 6 reverse-peak services at minimum.
CT 224: Former CT 424. Rerouted to Start at Lynwood TC, continue up I-5 to Everett, with a stop at South Everett TC, and then turn east to Hwy 2 corridor, serving it’s usual Snohomish/Monroe in reverse, terminating in Monroe. Service along the I-405 corridor would be handled by Stride. There would be 4 departures in the peak direction.
CT 225: Former CT 425. Truncated at Lynwood TC, and with a new stop at South Everett for connections to Seaway. Would have 10 departures in the peak direction.
CT 227: Would be rerouted to serve Lynwood TC, with a stop at South Everett TC. Connections to Seaway TC would be via transfer with the 513. No increase in service unless additional service hours are found.
CT 247: Rerouted to Lynwood TC, and enhanced with the service hours of CT 422, and would have 8 services in the peak-direction, and a new stop at South Everett. Connections to Seaway TC would be via route 513.
CT 270/271/280: No longer have direct service to Seaway, with all services terminating at Everett Station.
CT 402/855: Canceled. Service hours reapplied to CT 112.
CT 405/416/871: Canceled. Service hours reapplied to CT 130.
CT 410/810: Canceled. Service hours reapplied to CT 119.
CT 412/860: Canceled. Service hours reapplied to CT 109.
CT 413/415/417/880: Canceled. Service hours reapplied to CT 113.
CT 421/821: Merged into CT 221.
CT 422: Canceled. Service hours reapplied to CT 247.
CT 424: Reworked into CT 224.
CT 425: Renumbered CT 225.
CT 435: Canceled. Service hours reapplied to CT 130.
ST 510: Truncated at Lynwood TC, extended to Everett community College. Peak hour headways boosted to every 5 minutes.
ST 511: Truncated at Lynwood TC, extended to McCollum Park and Ride via Ash Way, Mariner P&R, 132nd Ave SW. Peak hour headways boosted to every 5 minutes.
ST 512: Truncated at Lynwood TC, rerouted to serve Mariner P&R (via Ash Way). Would operate every 6 minutes daytime.
ST 513: Truncated at Lynwood TC. Would absorb the service hours of ST 532, enabling bi-directional Peak service every 10-15 minutes.
ST 532/535: Reorganized into Stride, probably with better headways than now. ST 532 still exists, but it’s coming from the Stride related service hours.
And that’s all I got for now. What do you think?
The 113 is not going to drop the Harbour Point loop nor the Beverly Park section as CT has made clear its commitment to coverage routes such as this one in both in its latest 6-year TDP and the update to its long range plan. The TDP from just a couple of years ago indicated that the agency was expecting to add some 54,000 hours of service in 2024 but the latest version has lowered that number substantially. They are planning for two scenarios, i.e., a slow recovery and a fast recovery and in both they have significantly revised their numbers downward.
Forgot the link….
@Tlsgwm Well, I wouldn’t be dropping service in those areas, in fact they have better service via the extended 112.
Looking at the Swift Orange Line, I had been under the impression that it was going to be using Alderwood Mall Pkwy to get to 164th St SW. Since it’s using 36th Ave W, I’d move the 109 over to Alderwood Mall Pkwy, and I wouldn’t have the extra peak service it. I’d move the 113 over to 44th Ave in the area.
I can’t see CT extending the 112 like that. I just don’t see the appetite for making that particular route that long of a milk run, post Lynnwood Link. Additionally, CT has already identified other travel corridors in need of service, on top of the ones they wish to increase frequencies on, and there’s only going to be so many saved hours to be allocated. The latest TDP is pretty sobering.
On a previous comment thread there was a discussion about Mukilteo, in response to the silly idea of digging a tunnel from Whidbey Island to there. I made the case that there should be an express from Lynnwood to Mukilteo, every half hour, to coincide with the ferry. This should run in addition to the 113.
The more I researched it though, the more difficult I realize this will be. While such a run wouldn’t be that time consuming, it also wouldn’t pick up many riders. Whidbey Island isn’t that big. Mukilteo doesn’t help things either. Check out the zoning map: https://mukilteowa.gov//srv/htdocs/wp-content/uploads/Zoning-Map.pdf. Downtown Mukilteo is tiny (and consists of a lot of parking lots). What really sucks from a transit perspective is that the highway has basically no one on it. Along the Mukilteo Speedway there is one tiny section that is zoned multi-family, along with another small section that is zoned for business. That’s it. The rest is zoned for houses or open space. This isn’t SR 99 (which has lots of apartments).
There is a reason for that Harbor Pointe loop — it is where the people are. The loop covers pretty much all of the multi-family housing in Mukilteo.
I still think it would be great if we could have the 113 do a live loop through the Harbor Pointe area and then run another bus more directly to downtown Mukilteo. But I don’t see any way we can afford it. It would take a big subsidy from outside (via the state or ST), as there is no way it makes sense for CT (unless they get a huge service grant as part of some Biden infrastructure/Green New Deal thing). That is because the Harbor Pointe loop is not coverage — service to the Mukilteo dock is.
Like the bus that goes from the Mukilteo dock to Everett, the best we can hope for is that a more direct Mukilteo to Lynnwood bus runs during peak (to get the commuters from Whidbey Island).
I think extending the 112 to take over the northern part of the 113 sounds fine, as does running it every half hour. I would loop it around Harbor Point (to save a little money). You save a little money with the extension and the loop (it doesn’t connect with downtown Mukilteo).
The new streamlined 113 sounds OK, but I don’t think you can possibly afford to run it every 15 minutes. A half hour is likely the best you can do (timed with the ferry) and even that is likely a stretch.
I like your ideas though, FDW — I would love to see it as a map. It isn’t that hard to make a Google map (if you feel so inclined). I have some tips if you want.
@Tlsgwm: I don’t think the 112 is all that absurd in terms of length. The rush-hour 105 is almost that long, and the all-day 109 is even longer. Keep in mind, this realignment is meant to be revenue-neutral, and I was consulting CT’s schedules as they exist now when I was making this. If anything, I might actually underestimating the amount of service that can be gotten from the express network. And I consider myself to be spreading the peanut butter rather thinly, as I’m not taking away service from one part of the county to give to another.
@RossB: Right now, the CT 113 operates 21.5 round trips a day, with peak hour 30 min headways, and hourly headways at all other times. The 413 operates 15 roundtrips per day, the 415 operates 10.5, the 417 5.5, and the 880 6.5. Now, my straightening out of the 113 would probably save about 7-10 min depending on time of day. Meanwhile, most of the 417/880 trips are taking twice the time to run their route as the 113 does now, so consolidating all their service into the 113 would add something like 24 trips to it. Meanwhile, I’m estimating that you’d be able to get like 50% more 113 trips out what the 413/415 run, which would be like 38 additional 113 services. Do you see why I’m saying 10 minute peaks, and 15 minute daytime headways now?
But yeah, I’ll throw up a map of this for better clarity.
On the Harbor Pointe loop, I guess it comes down to what Mukilteo wants to be, rather than what it is. If Mukilteo wants the Speedway to become more like 99, or if Mukilteo wants its downtown to be a vibrant growth center, then I think the speedway needs an express route with a direct connection to Lynnwood to facilitate one or both of those transformations. But if Mukilteo wants neither of those things, I regrettably concede that y’all are right that the Harbor Pointe loop will be retained as the primary route. A bummer for downtown Mukilteo residents and for ferry riders, but probably the best use of scarce resources.
I wonder if Harbor Pointe is one of those incredibly rare examples where a loop makes for a good service pattern? If there’s frequent service on the speedway, a Harbor Pointe loop would provide good coverage, but both routes would need to be frequent to avoid the transfer penalty and you all are suggesting CT doesn’t have the service hours for good frequency here.
This seems like a chicken-and-egg situation, where Mukilteo doesn’t have the density along the speedway (or in downtown) to merit better transit, and if Mukilteo doesn’t want a chicken, no reason to try to hatch the eggs (if I may overextend my metaphor).
In future growth plans, this ‘speedway’ corridor seems like a good option for Snohomish county to consider for future growth given its linear nature and natural anchor with the downtown & ferry, if/when existing growth centers build out.
Do you see why I’m saying 10 minute peaks, and 15 minute daytime headways now?
I’m not arguing about whether CT can afford it. I’m arguing that it doesn’t make sense to run that route every 15 minutes. There are only a handful of people on the Mukilteo Speedway. The only significant destination is the ferry dock, and it runs every half hour. An all-day 417 (truncated at Lynnwood TC) running every half hour is good enough. Put any additional savings into other routes.
Alright, here it is:
I was considering throwing some ideas for Everett Transit, but I decided to leave those out. I’m only showing routes here that have service changes, with enhanced routes being left off.
If Mukilteo wants the Speedway to become more like 99, or if Mukilteo wants its downtown to be a vibrant growth center, then I think the speedway needs an express route with a direct connection to Lynnwood to facilitate one or both of those transformations.
Based on the zoning, they don’t. In an area where transit will have limited impact, it seems crazy to focus transit on one area, then change the zoning, then hope that people build there. It is out of order.
I wonder if Harbor Pointe is one of those incredibly rare examples where a loop makes for a good service pattern?
They are not that rare. As long as it is a live loop at the tail of a run, it can work out really well. The 22 is a good example.
In general it is a compromise. It makes sense for coverage routes. You save service hours, while riders sometimes start out going the wrong direction. In this case, the worst case scenario costs you about 15 minutes (https://goo.gl/maps/f6k4FgR8QEAitfHMA). That is only one direction (it is the same if outbound). In exchange you get better frequency.
You don’t have to do the loop, the bus could just turn around like so: https://goo.gl/maps/Y4Ps5nyZwooUbpuWA. This could be done as a live loop, or with a layover at 106th (which would mean only outbound stops on the tiny loop).
The big issue is the one you mentioned: Disconnecting this route from downtown Mukilteo. You would have to look at the ridership patterns, which would be fairly easy (are people boarding the bus outbound in the Harbour Pointe area). If only a handful do that, than this could make sense.
You would still try and time the buses, but I’m afraid that would be very tricky. The most important timed connection is between the express bus and the ferry (largely why you are doing all this). So that means both buses are running every half hour, which is quite reasonable. So in theory the 113 can be based off the express bus. Unless you are really lucky, a live loop wouldn’t time well. There are also multiple transfer points. If you are headed towards downtown Mukilteo from the Harbor Pointe area, you transfer at the north end of Harbor Pointe Boulevard. If you live off Beverley Park Road, then you want to transfer in that area where the 113 runs on the Mukilteo Speedway (and both buses would share the same stop).
If there really are a lot of people from the two “detour” areas headed to downtown Mukilteo, than I think it would be tough to pull off, unless they were to run these buses a lot more often (and again, that would be hard to justify). My guess is the best approach would be to take the easy way out. Continue to run the 113 as is, and just run a few more express routes (truncated 417/880). Not enough to run every half hour during the day, but enough to extend into the morning and evening, with perhaps hourly weekday and weekend service.
There are huge savings to be had when the express buses get truncated at Lynnwood. Not only by avoiding the trip downtown, but by consolidating UW and downtown buses. The 880 is a great example of this. It runs at the same time as the 417. Not only that, but it also detours to Swamp Creek Park and Ride, providing the only service from there to the UW. All of that goes away. That is a huge amount of savings. By my estimation, an express to Lynnwood (making all the regular stops on the Mukilteo Speedway) would get to Lynnwood in about 1/3 of the time than the regular 880. OK, that might be a bit optimistic (there are no bus lanes on SR 525) but even the ratio is more like 5 to 2, instead of 3 to 1 it is huge. Instead of 12 buses (one way) you have 30. That could mean from 5:30 AM to 10:00 AM, buses leave the Mukilteo Ferry dock every half hour. Then the bus shifts to every hour for 12 hours, and you still have service left over to improve the 113 or have some weekend service (which would probably be hourly).
As Tlsgwm wrote though, it is possible none of that happens, and the recession eats up all the savings.
The biggest problem with the 113 is not the residential detours but the infrequency. The last time I took it, it was fine for going westbound to the ferry, but eastbound from the ferry you had to wait 20 or 50 minutes for bus.
Alright, here it is
Cool. That was quick. Small suggestion: consider changing some of the colors where routes overlap. It isn’t that hard for a user to figure it out, but at this point, a few different shades would help. Anyway, nicely done.
Did you mean for the 113 to stay on Alderwood Mall Parkway over the freeway and up to 164th? If so, what bus backfills service on 36th?
The biggest problem with the 113 is not the residential detours but the infrequency. The last time I took it, it was fine for going westbound to the ferry, but eastbound from the ferry you had to wait 20 or 50 minutes for bus.
Yeah, which is why the first thing I would do is make sure the bus is timed with the ferry. The bus should leave five minutes after the ferry docks (not 20). A bus should be there for every ferry ride. There are a number of ways they could do that.
One is to simply run the 113 every half hour. This would be huge for people in the various neighborhoods, as well as a big improvement for ferry riders. The other possibility is to go with one hour service, opposite an express (during most of the day). This would likely be cheaper (since an express is faster). Savvy riders would time the ferry for the fast bus, but if you catch the next ferry, you are OK. This would work inbound (ferry to bus) but outbound (bus to ferry) it would likely mean a big gap between buses, then two buses fairly close to each other. If the express is 20 minutes faster than the 113, then you end up with buses leaving Lynnwood at 2:00 (express), 2:10 (113), 3:00, 3:10, etc. This is less than ideal, since it means that even though you have half hour frequency for part of the line, you don’t have half hour frequency leaving Lynnwood.
This is why I would first make sure the 113 runs every half hour. Even if you just have express service from 5:30 AM to 8:00 (as is the case now) that would still be a huge improvement for all concerned. Any extra service can go into running the express a bit more during the day (or on weekends).
Overall, though, it is very tough situation. I can easily see how an express bus from Mukilteo, timed with the ferry, could result in a lot of riders switching to transit. You get off the ferry, walk over to the bus, and soon get to Lynnwood. It makes a few stops on Mukilteo Speedway, but towards the end, goes very fast. Once you get to Lynnwood Link, the world is your oyster.
I can easily see how the 113, in contrast, loses riders. Imagine I’m meeting my friend, and will pick him up at Northgate TC. He gets off the ferry, waits five minutes, takes the bus for 50 minutes, and then Link another 15 or so, where I pick him up. That is a long trip. In contrast, if he just drives to my house, it takes about 35 minutes (saving a half hour). The express is competitive with driving (and cheaper, and more pleasant). The 113 isn’t. I’m not saying it is bad — it is where the people are — but it is like taking the 40 from downtown to Northgate (just not what it was designed for).
I’ve taken Island Transit the length of Whidbey, and done the ferry – 113 transfer.
The thing that is far more annoying than anything else is the lack of synchronization. It left just as the ferry was arriving. Then, once on it, all of the routes it crossed were an equally long wait as they departed just as the 113 got there.
Get it to synchronize better with the ferry, and the rest of the transfers would synchronize better too.
And it would also help if the deadhead trips on the 417 went someplace, even if it were just one of the minor transit centers along I-5.
And it would also help if the deadhead trips on the 417 went someplace, even if it were just one of the minor transit centers along I-5.
I could see the 417 turning into a reverse commute to SeaWay transit center, then a deadhead to downtown Mukilteo (or even a service express to downtown Mukilteo). Then it would layover long enough to complete the timed run for the 417 again. Basically a 107, but with an additional tail.
I could also see it being bidirectional, especially in the middle of the day and in the evening. Someone in Mukilteo or South Whidbey island may want to head into Seattle for some reason. The 113 should certainly be bidirectional.
There is still bound to be some deadheading, but there is some reverse commuting in Snohomish County (although nowhere near as much as with the East Side).
@RossB: My decision for that color scheme was simply to differentiate coverage, frequent, and peak-hour services, but perhaps I was having too few lines on the map for that really work.
The section on 36th Ave W in my map has the Swift Orange Line. When I threw the scenario together, I had been assuming the Orange Line would be using Alderwood Mall Parkway between Lynwood TC and Ash Way. I switched them around in this area when I found out about Community Transits updated routing (and my 201/202 consolidation is actually setting the table for the Swift Gold Line coming later this decade).
My taking into account of the Swift Orange Line is also why I didn’t add any service to the 115, 116, and 196. They all had 30-minute weekday daytime headways as is, and the Orange Line is already going to be upgrading service in those corridors.
@FDW — OK, that makes sense. It has been a while since I’ve looked at the various future Swift lines. That line is supposed to open around the time of Lynnwood Link, so that sounds good.
I feel like I have a better idea of your plans. It all looks pretty good. The one thing I would say is that the a lot of the numbers seem way too optimistic. For example:
113 — Hard to see 10 minute peak/15 minute all-day. I assume that the 115 and 116 remain the same, which means all three buses cover the Alderwood Mall Parkway area. If the 113 runs every 30 minutes, that is still good frequency along there. As I wrote, the Mukilteo Speedway is very low density, and would have two routes on it for the tiny piece that is even moderate density (around 84th). That leaves the small section of SR 99 (which has Swift and the 101) along with 35th, which is pretty good, but hard to see justifying that kind of frequency (because it is relatively short). The 112, in contrast, will go by way more people. With the ferry running every half hour, I would run the 113 every half hour. The key is getting that transfer right. I would then base the 112 off of that, and send it northbound from Lynnwood opposite the 113 (for combined 15 minute frequency) so that a rider who misses the 112 can at least catch the 113 and walk (if they live fairly close to SR 525).
512 — I don’t think there is any way that bus runs every six minutes. The 512 peaked out at 10 minutes before, and that was as the only express to downtown Seattle. That is probably the best it will do. Sound Transit has already baked in the savings from the truncations, and they are hurting for money. In general I’m not sure how the interplay between ST and CT will work. Your proposal pushes a lot of service onto ST (which they may prefer, or reject). Which brings me to:
201/202 — I’m not thrilled with the idea of truncating these in Everett. Why mess with a good thing? I also think the headways are unrealistic. You certainly don’t need that between Marysville and Everett. Through Everett that kind of frequency makes sense, but only if Everett Transit is absorbed, and the 7 goes away. That really complicates things, of course, but I think the 7 running every 15 minutes along with the 201/202 running every 15 minutes makes a lot more sense than running buses up to Marysville every 7.5 to 10 minutes. If the 7 goes away I would the existing 201, 202, and your new 510. These would run opposite each other, which gives you very frequent service through Everett, and from Everett to Lynnwood (without a transfer).
510 — I would consider skipping Ash Way. That would mean 15 minute service along Ash Way (with the 201/202) and 7.5 minutes service on
Broadway through downtown, and on to Lynnwood (via the 201/202 or 510).
511 — If you are running very frequent buses from Everett to Ash Way (the road) and on to Lynnwood, it is hard to see why you need frequent buses that start on 128th and do much the same thing. A handful of express buses would be fine.
512 — This gets back to the 201/202 discussion above. I just don’t see CT handing over the corridor to ST, nor do I see much reason to split things at South Everett.
513 — The 513 performed really poorly in the past. It got most of its riders from two stops: Mountlake Terrace and the Eastmont Park and Ride. SeaWay averaged 7 riders a day (yes, 7). All you need is a handful of peak buses from Eastmont to Lynnwood. If you do have all-day service in that area, then it should cover Casino Road, since that is where most of the people are.
One last criticism (not related to frequency):
224 — Sorry, but I don’t like it. This would be a peak oriented route from a suburban area that initially spends a lot of time going away from Seattle. It heads towards Everett, but doesn’t actually serve it. I just don’t see it working.
115/116: I’m assuming that they move over to 36th Ave W, to shadow the Orange Line, and that the only other line on that secton of Alderwood would be the 196.
201/202: This truncation sets things up for the upcoming Swift Gold Line, which will be running from Everett to Smokey Point Transit Center. I am assuming that the 201/202 are turned directly into the Gold Line, and a local shadow is created with the new service hours. In Everett, I am assuming that local shadow is the ET 7 (CT 157?).
510: It doesn’t serve Ash Way. Only the 511/512 would (like today).
511: I was almost considering not having this route at all, and just have the 512 run bi-directionally at peak.
512: The point of my diversion onto Ash Way was simply to serve Mariner, and it has no local stops on Ash Way (that would be handled by the 109, and an extended ET 2 (CT 152?)). I actually think this could save service hours over what operates today, as Lynwood-Everett is only a 1/3rd of the run time of the 512.
513: Ah yes, one of the more controversial parts of my scheme, having the boeing-bound from Outer Snohomish transfer to reach the Boeing plant. In the Everett part of I decided not to show, I’d imagine another CT route operating express from Everett Station to Paine Field. While I say “Bi-directional peak” what I really mean is service tied to the shift turnovers there.
224: Does serve Everett, all the 2xx stop at South Everett for Paine Field area transfers. While the service isn’t all that good, it’s a major step up for Snohomish City, and Monroe doesn’t really lose anything. When I checking the schedules, I discovered that it takes about the same of time for a route to get from Everett Station to Seaway TC as it does from Everett Station to Lynwood TC.
And let emphasize that I have the paper schedules or CT, ST, and Metro on me, and I’ve been consulting them as I put the scenario together. To give one last example: I said that the I would put the service hours of the 435 into the 120, and this would give 30-minute daytime headways. Here how, CT’s 120 has an Average run of a around 40 minutes, and the 435 exactly twice that long of runtime, so I assume that you 2 120 trips for every 1 435 trip. The 435 makes 6 trips per direction per day, so that means 12 additional round trips on the 120. The 120 runs 19 roundtrips per day, so the additional runs would mean 30 minute headways between 6am-6pm, and a service span of 5am-11pm on weekdays.
One question that’s still to be determined is whether the savings from truncating the Seattle routes even goes toward all day service at all vs. more frequent peak service.
A third potential use of the money is to fund new coverage routes to keep up with the ever-increasing sprawl.
The bus on Whidbey (which is free I believe) is a perfect example of the main issue with all transit: first/last mile access. If I could leave my office in downtown Seattle and walk to catch a train to the ferry terminal at Mukilteo, and then catch the ferry to the Clinton terminal, and then catch the bus there because it is a very steep hill up to Clinton, I would still have a several mile walk when I got off the bus to get to our house near the Keystone Ferry after a 20 mile bus ride, and I would be miles from Coupeville or basically anything without a car.
We do however walk on the ferry to Port Townshend, and either drive and park at the terminal or occasionally ride bikes along the highway, but there is no first/last mile access issue in P.T. You are there when you get off the ferry. There really is no “there” on Whidbey Island, which is its charm, unless you want to take transit.
If I could leave my office in downtown Seattle and walk to catch a train to the ferry terminal at Mukilteo, and then catch the ferry to the Clinton terminal, and then catch the bus there because it is a very steep hill up to Clinton, I would still have a several mile walk when I got off the bus to get to our house near the Keystone Ferry
Yeah, but if you lived there, then you would just drive to the bus stop. It would likely cost you nothing to park. You save a bunch as a passenger, rather than a driver on the ferry. If everything is timed well, then you don’t lose much time, depending on your destination. Likewise, you may save money or a big hassle in terms of parking on the other end.
Then you have the possibility of clever solutions to that last mile problem, like an electric bike. I’m not saying it would work for everyone, but it is a reasonable solution, and common throughout Europe. (Often that last mile is with a regular bike). The buses and trains there aren’t necessarily frequent, but they are regular, and most importantly, they are timed well with everything else.
If you think of the ferry as transit (and I think you should) then half hour frequency has to be considered outstanding considering how many people live on Whidbey Island. It is also a major choke point for lots of people, and from a transit perspective, makes the situation unusual. Everett, for example, has a lot more people than the entire (very long) island. But folks in Everett have multiple ways of driving south. In Whidbey, you only have two options for getting to Seattle — the ferry or going around. For many, going around takes a long time. Thus you have a lot of people who are going to take that ferry, and therein lies the potential from a transit perspective. If you meet them at the other end with a bus, ready to take them to Lynnwood (which will in turn take them to various places in Seattle) you are bound to get way more riders than you would if you had similar density in Everett.
The problem is, you don’t. While Everett is low density, Whidbey Island is extremely low density. Its really not a “last mile” problem, it is a “Whidbey Island lacks density and just isn’t that big” problem. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with that. I really don’t want to see rural areas like Whidbey Island become sprawling suburban messes. But the only real city is Oak Harbor (on the other end). Langley is tiny. So is Coupeville. From a transit perspective, the only thing it has going for it is that choke point — that ferry.
That’s what makes it a borderline case. I go back to what I consider the biggest weakness: Mukilteo. If downtown Mukilteo looked anything like downtown Edmonds, express service would definitely be justified. But because it is weak, and there aren’t that many people in Whidbey Island and they are all spread out, it is one dynamic (low density) against another (geography).
$5 trillion in stimulus will have been pumped into the economy between the start of 2020 and the middle of 2021. I should start seeing fewer tents in Seattle soon, right?
By the way, if you want an idea of future Bellevue “TOD” new construction here is a current project in Vancouver: https://www.buzzbuzzhome.com/us/vancouver-house
Condo’s from $4.5 million to $12 million.
At least Bellevue requires adequate parking for its projects.
Right. Because downtown Vancouver is just like downtown Bellevue. Holy cow, man, have you been to Vancouver? It is Canada’s San Fransisco. It not only has charm at an international level, but it is also where thousands of wealthy former Hong Kong residents decided to park themselves. Of course there is expensive, luxury housing right downtown. Its right downtown!
Downtown Bellevue is nice and everything, but it is still a suburb.
Oh, and in the suburb you probable need a car. In a major, transit friendly city like Vancouver, you don’t.
I really like what Bellevue is doing in its downtown; the parking minimums are probably the single biggest policy mistake they are making right now.
Even now, and particularly post East Link, I think it would be pretty straightforward to live without a car in downtown Bellevue. There are plenty of parks, a library, grocery stores, etc. within easy walking distance.
You could live without a car in downtown Bellevue even in the early 80s. Since then it has gotten immensely easier. It was such a contrast living just outside downtown Bellevue compared to living east of Crossroads or on Somerset. In downtown Bellevue I could walk to Safeway, the library, everything in Bellevue Square, and the restaurant I worked at, and there were buses every direction. In east Bellevue and Somerset it was over a mile to even a supermarket with only houses in between, and one bus route to one place.
I’m not saying that you need a car in Bellevue. I’m just saying that someone in Bellevue is far more likely to want a car, or feel like they need one than someone who lives in downtown Vancouver. But I agree — the parking minimums are a bad idea.
Has anyone submitted comments on Pierce Transit’s proposal to eliminate 407 out of 2100 bus stops to increase route times?
My point wasn’t Bellevue has the same density as Vancouver. My point is each are pursuing an upzone and development policy that creates unaffordable housing, because increasing new construction creates more unaffordable housing. Not just from the cost of the new construction, but from the gentrification.
I agree with AJ downtown Bellevue is much more walkable than downtown Seattle today, which I never thought I would say.
Also, it’s true Whidbey Island has very little permanent population. The density does not support transit. It’s really rural with many 5 acre lot minimums to preserve open space. Most bus stops are along Hwy 20. I don’t think it is realistic to suggest someone on Whidbey Island drive to a bus stop to park along a highway to catch a bus. At least I don’t know anyone who does that.
That’s true of Island Transit 1, but from the few times I’ve taken it, that’s a fairly busy route in terms of passenger load per bus.
The feeders are a different matter, and seem like they could use a bit of work to get them better coordinated. Though, I’ve not looked at the schedule in a long time.
I last rode Island Transit several years ago and, yes, the buses are a lot busier there than one might think. I even recall having to stand on the bus to Oak Harbor because literally every seat on that bus was full.
I’m sure the free fares had something to do with that.
It’s not that bad. There are a number of small park and rides on Whidbey Island, so your car isn’t just parked along the shoulder of the highway. Also, even on Whidbey Island, most of the people don’t don’t live on some random farm, but in a population center, such as Coupville or Oak Harbor. All of the population centers have buses which connect to the ferry.
The weak link that makes leaving the car behind on the island impractical is the 113. Between its infrequency, slowness, and the fact that after 45 grueling minutes, you’re still only at Lynnwood and still need the 512, it all adds up. It’s the 113 which is why, even when you have to wait an hour to get on the ferry with your car, it’s still worth it.
Still, the problem remains that every bus that’s added to one route means one less bus on some other route, and CT is cash starved and the whole county has overall poor service. I understand why some routes, such as Edmonds->Lynnwood are higher priority. I still think the best realistic chance for a fast Mukilteo->Link connection is to wait for Paine Field Station to open in 2041, 2051, or whenever. At that point, the distance and time are so short that CT would not be able to help but run a bus down SR-526, even if it’s just an extension of the 113 or some other milk run. One bus is a lot easier of an ask than 3.
My point is each are pursuing an upzone and development policy that creates unaffordable housing, because increasing new construction creates more unaffordable housing.
Right, because increased supply creates more demand. Just like a wet sidewalk creates rain.
I think you got your cause and effect a little mixed up there. If there was no demand for high end housing, they wouldn’t build it. If they don’t build it, then prices for existing housing just goes up. This increases gentrification. Entire books have been written about the subject (https://www.amazon.com/Rent-Too-Damn-High-Matters-ebook/dp/B0078XGJXO).
No, my point was new construction replaces less expensive existing construction, and this then gentrifies the entire neighborhood, and generally all rents go up. Obviously this does not happen in a city losing population like Cleveland, and further gentrifying an area even as expensive as Vancouver or downtown Bellevue can be a good thing, but it does not result in affordable or even more affordable housing.
I suppose one could argue that if these new huge expensive projects had not been built in Bellevue and Vancouver the laws of supply and demand would mean the costs of the older existing multi-family housing they replaced would have gone up anyway, but the fact is these buildings create a race to the top, further gentrify areas in already hot markets, and displace existing, more affordable housing.
This is what we say in the Central District. Across the board rental and purchase prices went up with upzoning, displacing the once Black population that could not afford the new prices. Is that good or bad? It is a matter of opinion I suppose.
The point I am trying to make is don’t be shocked if Seattle’s land use experiments don’t create the affordable housing some expect, at least not without public subsidies. The real irony to me is the abandonment of the downtown Seattle core for housing, when it should be booming like downtown Bellevue, even more. The other irony is the recent declines in multi-family housing costs in Seattle very well could incentivize builders to continue building single family homes on newly zoned multi-family lots, because the risk is much less, and the profit now much different. Recently a developer sold a 170+ multi-family housing project on east Capitol Hill to the city for around $250,000/unit which had to be at a loss, because none of the units were selling. I have to think that is the result of the pandemic, and could be long term.
Seattle and Bellevue just have two different zoning models: Bellevue believes in massive density within the commercial core, including housing, with well defined single family zones, (and does not believe wealthy eastsiders will give up their cars), while Seattle has seen a flight from the downtown core to the exburbs, and so is now zoning those exburbs mini commercial cores with mild multi-family housing, even now with businesses allowed to operate from homes and garages. Working from home may accelerate this migration from the urban core to exburbs.
I still think any kind of affordable housing, even 80% AMI, in this region will likely require some kind of public subsidy, and in Seattle anyway the zoning and living patterns are being determined by a downtown than is no long attractive for housing or retail. This is pushing density demands to Seattle exburbs and to suburban cities because those folks would like an urban atmosphere, but don’t want to live in downtown Seattle.
Seattle has adopted a zoning code and policing model that is the opposite of most European cities that most urbanists look to as the model for urbanism. Bellevue ironically is more like the European model today than Seattle is.
The issue isn’t whether so much demand, because without demand we wouldn’t be having this discussion. The real issue is housing demand is so weak in downtown Seattle which should be the hub of the region, and that is shifting that housing demand and style to outlying areas.
Y’all are conflating microeconomics (gentrification and neighborhood ‘signaling’) and macroeconomics (supply and demand). Both are true, with the macro operating at a regional level. Daniel may be correct that Seattle’s upzones increase the value of land within Seattle, but otherwise he’s wrong.
And Daniel is confusing short term price signals (sub-lease market, etc.) for long term demand (new construction, building transaction costs). Seattle’s urban neighborhoods continue to add housing stock at a much higher volume than Bellevue, and both CBDs are have ~3MM sq ft of Class A office space under construction, despite Amazon creating an enormous tailwind in Bellevue and headwind in Seattle. Demand for certain types of office space, such as lab space, continues to be very high in urban Seattle.
“No, my point was new construction replaces less expensive existing construction…”
This comment takes the prize for the most false and contradictory material in one Daniel comment. I can’t even begin to unravel all of it.
Downtown Bellevue became unaffordable to median-wage workers over a decade ago, so a few more towers won’t “gentrify” it — it was gentrified long ago.
And all those single-family houses in the Central District also became unaffordable over a decade ago. Some long-time residents still own some of them, but they couldn’t buy them now — regardless of whether the neighborhood had been upzoned and multifamily units built. The CD became expensive because affluent people started moving back to the city and outbid others. The reason it became acute is there was a scarcity of walkable areas near the city center and shopping neighborhoods, so a lot of affluent people are crowding into a few places and driving prices up. If there had been plenty of housing available, prices wouldn’t have gone up and the lower-income residents wouldn’t have been displaced.
“I suppose one could argue that if these new huge expensive projects had not been built in Bellevue and Vancouver the laws of supply and demand would mean the costs of the older existing multi-family housing they replaced would have gone up anyway”
That is the argument, it’s not just “I suppose one could argue”. San Francisco and the West Bay in general built less housing per capita than we did and had a larger influx of people, and their housing costs are twice as high because of it. If you want to see what housing prices without densification look like, look at San Jose, Santa Clara, Palo Alto, Mountain View, etc.
“don’t be shocked if Seattle’s land use experiments don’t create the affordable housing some expect, at least not without public subsidies.”
That’s a strawman. Nobody is saying that in the current real-estate environment. more highrise housing will make market-price rents and home prices affordable without subsidies in the near or medium term. The most effective thing we could have done was prevent the prices from rising so high in the first place by saturating the housing supply when it first started to go up in 2003. Now that we’ve let it go so far, the only choice is subsidies to mitigate it for the bottom 66%.
The problem is restrictive zoning that doesn’t recognize the growing population. When Seattle’s population was 200K and the region was little more than that, it was fine for more people to live in single-family houses. When Seattle’s population is 720K and the region is 4.3 million, it’s unrealistic. When Boston, New York, and Chicago grew in the early 20th century, they allowed housing citwide to become denser and taller to match the population increase. When Seattle and other western and midwestern cities grew in the mid and late 20th century, they didn’t. They locked up 70% of the land in single-family zoning and forced all growth to crowd into the remaining 30%. Bellevue and the other suburbs are worse at this than Seattle. In Seattle, if you want to live in a reasonably walkable neighborhood with a variety of retail choices and buses to get around and you don’t want to live downtown, there are a dozen neighborhoods to choose from. In Bellevue if you don’t want to live in downtown Bellevue you have two choices: Crossroads or the emerging Spring District. That’s it.
“[Bellevue] including housing, with well defined single family zones”
Those “well-defined” single family zones eat up over 70% of the land! If they were 30% or 40% I wouldn’t complain.
“The real irony to me is the abandonment of the downtown Seattle core for housing, when it should be booming like downtown Bellevue, even more.”
You speak as if the rest of Seattle doesn’t exist. What’s missing in downtown Seattle is in the adjacent neighborhoods and other neighborhoods, and they’re together all one city, not two different universes. Everything doesn’t have to be downtown.
“Seattle has seen a flight from the downtown core to the exburbs, and so is now zoning those exburbs mini commercial cores with mild multi-family housing, even now with businesses allowed to operate from homes and garages. Working from home may accelerate this migration from the urban core to exburbs.”
That doesn’t even make sense. The exurbs are the area beyond the 1990 commuting ring, which was Kent-Renton-Redmond-Bothell-Edmonds. Or areas that are transitioning from rural and don’t have any large nearby cities, like Duvall and highway 9 and Maple Valley, where big box power centers and gas station plazas substitute for missing cities. Seattle doesn’t control the zoning in exurbs, so it seems that you’re using “exurbs” to mean Seattle neighborhoods. And Seattle’s posture hasn’t changed much in the last twenty years. It upzoned urban villages moderately like it said it would do, and it allowed skyscrapers in SLU like it said it would do. Zoning hasn’t changed much since the pandemic started, because there hasn’t been enough time and the city is busy dealing with the pandemic.
“Seattle has adopted a zoning code and policing model that is the opposite of most European cities that most urbanists look to as the model for urbanism. Bellevue ironically is more like the European model today than Seattle is.”
In Duesseldorf and Ratingen I could not find even one single-family house. That’s what Moscow and St Petersburg are like. I’ve never been to Paris but I’m sure that 70% of the land isn’t single-family houses. Especially not detached houses with side yards, or garages that are the size of the house, or lawns also that large.
You focus on downtown Bellevue and Seattle in isolation, but you also have to look at the rest of the cities. Seattle is vibrant outside downtown (and has been for over seventy years), and the villages and downtown together form an interactive community. In Bellevue you have to look at the fact that outside the emerging U of downtown-Spring District-Overlake-Crossroads, walkable balanced neighborhoods are shut down completely by the restrictive zoning.
I don’t think it is realistic to suggest someone on Whidbey Island drive to a bus stop to park along a highway to catch a bus. At least I don’t know anyone who does that.
I don’t think you get out much. It is very common for people to park in a neighborhood and walk to a bus stop. The push for park and ride lots often come from neighbors who don’t like people parking near their house, instead of transit agencies. In some cases, the city responds by banning long term parking. For example, this is a quiet residential street about a half mile north of the Northgate Mall (https://goo.gl/maps/kC4zXhuMxU8CHduQ9). Yet there is a sign limiting the parking to every four hours. What gives? It is a relic of the old 41. Back in the day, there were several versions (still are) but the version that ran to Lake City was not frequent. The version that ran to the park and ride a couple blocks from that sign was. So people would drive to that parking lot or just drive to the neighborhood and park.
This sort of thing is common in the United States. I remember seeing it in Magnolia, as a kid. I was taking the bus to school, and a bunch of people would get on a few blocks before the bus was headed over the Magnolia Bridge. It took me a while to understand why so many riders boarded there — it wasn’t until later that I realized they were parked in the neighborhood. This is where the 19 and 24 converged, so it made sense that they would pick that spot.
You can also find official park and ride lots seemingly in the middle of nowhere. This one is gravel: https://goo.gl/maps/BP1HTANyJB2Vz8EF9. It is next to the highway.
For unofficial park and rides, it doesn’t mean that the driver is going to park right off of the highway. Often it makes sense to park on a side street. I’m sure lots of people do that. All of this explains why Island Transit 1 (the route that essentially just goes along the highway) has a fair number of riders. It is fed by people who drive, get dropped off, bike or otherwise find their way to the highway.
But again, we wouldn’t even be discussing this if it wasn’t for the ferry. The ferry creates a completely different dynamic, and greatly increases the chances that transit will be successful.
AJ, what are the “Seattle’s urban neighborhoods” you mention, and what are Bellevue’s “urban neighborhoods” you are comparing them to? Urban neighborhood is not a zoning term I am familiar with, certainly in Bellevue.
The current office space under construction in Seattle and Bellevue was permitted some time ago, pre-pandemic, so it may not be an accurate barometer of future demand, although Amazon probably is. I am surprised however that Bellevue has the same sf of office space under construction as Seattle does. Right now, lease rates and occupancy for commercial and housing space in downtown Seattle are down significantly, but you believe that is temporary. You may be correct, but I doubt it, and wouldn’t rely on pre-pandemic permitting years ago to make a definitive determination that short term lease and occupancy rates are not a signal of the future.
Amazon is either (A) making a purely symbolic statement about Seattle’s taxes, or (B) balancing its office space to be more well-rounded. It doesn’t mean that no other companies will go to downtown Seattle and they’ll all go to downtown Bellevue. Even if they do, it’s still easy to get to downtown Bellevue on transit and there are things to do after work on the way home. That’s better than a far-flung office park with maybe one strip mall nearby and little transit.
For ‘urban’ Seattle, I think the PSRC designation of LQA+SLU+Cap Hill+First Hill+’downtown’ is a good footprint. City of Seattle likely has a simillar designation. I don’t use ‘downtown’ since that’s generally referring to a smaller area than the urban core; looks like the FLUM designations ‘downtown’ as mostly bounded by Denny and I5, which I think understates the urban part of Seattle.
From a transit perspective (the point of this blog), not all of Seattle is urban and not all of Bellevue is suburban, so I’m using that language to refer to the contiguous part of Seattle that make up the urban core. There are other parts of Seattle that are clearly urban, so I usually include ‘core’ in my shorthand.
Downtown Bellevue probably does have more everyday destinations within walking distance than downtown Seattle does. But that’s because many of Seattle’s everyday destinations and walkable areas are outside downtown, while a lot of downtown Seattle is an office-only ghetto that excludes everything else. Then there’s the steep hills, which make a 5-block walk comparable to a 10-block walk elsewhere.
However, even with more diverse range client-facing businesses in downtown Bellevue, I’d rather live in Seattle because those parking minimums really ruin things. It pushes everything apart and makes it larger-scaled, and makes it feel like a city for cars rather than a city for people.
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