An Everett Transit Bus at Everett Station in the Night

Some highlights from June that we never mentioned here:

This is an open thread.

84 Replies to “News roundup: June highlights”

  1. Metro and Sound Transit have posted the first East Link restructure proposal.

    You have to go down to the survey part, then check the boxes for the different geographic areas to get access to more detailed maps for each area along with maps of the routing changes. Too much to quickly unpack, but my initial glance is that it is a very solid effort.

    North: Bothell, Duvall, Kirkland, Redmond, Woodinville

    Central: Bellevue, Issaquah, Redmond, Medina, Clyde Hill

    South: Renton, Renton Highlands, Newcastle, Factoria, Bellevue

    East: Mercer Island, Sammamish, Snoqualmie, North Bend I-90 Corridor

    And the proposed Route 8 revision

    1. Wow, they’re flipping the 245 and B Line on 152nd (Overlake P&R). The B Line will stay on 156th, and the 245 will go down to 152nd. Just the reverse of how it is now.

      And, I didn’t think it was possible, but they are making the 249 routing even more convoluted.

      1. Bernie, yes, they should have done that years ago. The B Line is the more express service between it and the 245, so it’s the route that should have continued straight on 156th.

        Another thing they should have done years ago, which this proposal will fix, is ending the 245 at Eastgate, and not sending it down to Factoria. However, I don’t think T-Mobile headquarters workers will like this change.

      2. “they are making the 249 routing even more convoluted.”

        That was the first thing I thought. It doesn’t matter to me, but I knew somebody would look askance at it.

        Liking the 270 on Bellevue Way to the U-District.

      3. The bee line on 156th Avenue ne was the recommendation of the alignment sounding board and planners; management shifted it to 152nd Avenue ne at the request of Redmond. The city had the specious notion that it would help development, but the parcel in question was served by either pathway , the direct one or the indirect one chosen.

      4. they are making the 249 routing even more convoluted.

        It makes sense to me the more I think about it. It is essentially a bunch of tiny coverage routes sewn together. Might as well throw in some uncommon (but plausible) trips like this: From there, a rider can catch a frequent bus to destinations in Kirkland. There aren’t enough riders making that trip to justify better frequency, but that bus would be worth waiting for (as any alternative would be infrequent and a lot longer).

      5. Ross, don’t get me wrong, I like how the 249 will go to some Link stations. It looks like it will go to, or get very close to, 5 stations. It’s just that at first glance, the entire 249 route map looks like a mess.

        Another small change I just noticed. The map shows it turning on 20th/148th. Currently, it bypasses that entire Fred Meyer area by detouring to 29th Place. This is a positive change.

        I hope they make this a frequent route, if for no other reason than when traffic gets back to normal, this route looks like it will have trouble staying on schedule.

      6. Yes, the 249 I grew up with was on Bel-Red road. Northup Way didn’t have transit, the 226 was on NE 8th Street, and the 245 was a peak express to Renton Boeing. So when I hear 249 or 245 now I think they’re somewhere else or I can’t remember where they are now.

      7. RE: the comments above. Yes, getting the 249 off of the “by-pass” and on 20th/Northup is a huge improvement. Detouring off Northup/20th to jog over and serve the 130th P&R I’m no so sure about. I can see why they are proposing it as a shadow route to Link but unless development changes NE 20th has lots more than what Bellevue is branding as the “Arts District”. Staying on 20th/Northup also gets you to S Kirk P&R a lot faster and I see that as a big plus. I get that you want to connect to Link. The missing Link Station was at 20th and 140th.

      8. at first glance, the entire 249 route map looks like a mess

        I get that. My point is that it is common for coverage routes. Consider West Magnolia. It is low density, and it is easy to argue that it shouldn’t have any service in the middle of the day. So what do they do? Combine it with the other coverage route, the 24. The result is one of the craziest routes in our system. It loops around so much that you can get off the bus, jog down the hill, and pick it up again. Twice.

        But the alternatives are worse. There is no way that Metro can justify the 19 (a direct bus that runs only during peak). So that leaves either a split (with service every hour) or no service at all (which means really, really long walks). By tacking onto a route that is also borderline, Metro manages to save a lot of money and provide decent coverage.

        This is kind of like that. I’m agnostic about the changes, but if there is any route that should be like that, this is the one.

      9. The wacko 24 routing also can be justified by how it gets used during the middle of the day. There are a few people that ride it from their homes to stores in the village or to the grocery store at the north end of the neighborhood.

      10. People actually ride the 24 from one part of Magnolia to another, to avoid the extremely steep hills. During my trips to Discovery Park I’ve seen people take it from 28th to Magnolia Village, or to/from the Government Way stop. The part that’s very low ridership is west of Magnolia Village, I’m almost always the only one on the bus.

        P.S. You get some nice views of the water and fancy houses in the western segment.

      11. “Detouring off Northup/20th to jog over and serve the 130th P&R I’m no so sure about.”

        It’s to serve a Link station. and to offer bus connections from that station to surrounding areas, and the eventual expansion of Spring District density. I wondered at first about not serving that part of 20th at first because I’ve gone to the businesses there. But the station is effectively at 16th I think so it’s four blocks difference. And for a person standing at the furthest point, 20th & 130th, it’s only 8-10 blocks to the 249. Most people on 20th aren’t starting from exactly that point so it’s shorter for them.

        I doubt Metro even considered the P&R as a reason for the 249’s routing. The surface P&R is a throwaway placeholder until Spring District density expands to that area. When I complained about the P&R at an East Link open house, the ST rep assured me it was temporary. (That’s “assured” in the sense of he told me rather than it calmed me down.) And I think Sam said multistory construction has already started on 130th.

      12. I get they are turning off Northup to serve the 130th P&R station. But they could stay on 20th all the way to 130th. There’s nothing that’s being served by turning off at 136th. Turning at 130th gets you the Link connection but the bus just came from the Overlake Village Link station. People that want to get Link can just board going that direction.

        For now there’s only the one apartment going up west of 130th and it’s virtually at the intersection. Given what development will be in place when Link opens it can use 124th to go back north to Northup giving all the residents of the Spring District access to S. Kirkland P&R. The Spring District is building out from the current core. I won’t be surprised to see more of the public storage facilities on 20th get converted to apartments which make this routing look good for the foreseeable future.

      13. I think you guys are missing the point I was making on the 19. During rush hour, the 19 takes a fairly direct line to downtown (while also running through Magnolia Village). The 24 ends at Magnolia Village. This is the way that the buses used to run most of the day. I would bet that if you polled folks in West Magnolia, they would prefer it that way. I’m positive that folks in the Magnolia Village would prefer that, as it would give them two buses to downtown.

        The *only* reason they run the back-and-forth version of the 24 is the only reason they ever ran it: cost. Back in the day, that was the nighttime route. As time went on, it became the midday routing, as Metro just couldn’t justify sending the 19 and the 24 to Magnolia in the middle of the day. There might be a handful who prefer the current routing, but they are vastly outnumbered.

        The same is true with this route. People would much prefer a more direct set of routes, like in other parts of the city. Metro just can’t afford to spend that much money on so few users though. It is covered with one route (not three) because it is much, much cheaper.

    2. Am I reading the South map proposal correctly in that route 111 would be shortened from Renton Highlands -> Seattle commuter bus into a Renton Highlands -> South Bellevue light rail feeder?

      1. Yes.

        Truncation of Seattle-bound service via I-90 at either Mercer Island or South Bellevue was pretty much a foregone conclusion. For the 111, South Bellevue makes more sense due to the I-90/I-405 ramp configuration.

    3. There’s a whole lot here that I really like! I like the new 8, the 222 connecting 24th St and Idylwood with Redmond, and the 270 (271 replacement) picking up Bellevue Way.

      That said, there’re a couple missed opportunities. For one, there isn’t any straight shot between Overlake and Eastgate. They should’ve swapped the 245 and 223’s routing in Lake Hills. For another, the 240 should connect to South Bellevue (and then on into downtown) instead of Eastgate, giving people a straight shot to both Bellevue and Seattle. Perhaps the 241 can take over its proposed routing on the Lake Hills Connector?

      1. I agree with both points. The Newcastle bus should go to South Bellevue, not Eastgate. The Eastgate routing is a poster child for why people refuse to ride feeder buses and insist on unlimited parking capacity at the Link stations. Also agree we need a straight shot bus down 148th.

        The new 249 is too circuitous to be useful, to the point where it provides little value over the alternative of just taking Link as close as you can to the destination and walking the last 3/4 mile on foot. I would seriously consider just killing the route entirely and recycling the service hours to make some other route more frequent.

        That said, there was some good stuff in there. A straight line bus from Redmond to Woodinville is overdue, and ends the rediculous situation where public transit is slower than jogging 6-8 miles down the Sammamish River Trail.

        Glad to see the 250 remain mostly intact, as I do consider the route to be a success, although the Bear Creek Park and ride detour needs to go. I’ll comment further when I’m at my real computer instead of my phone, and can look at this more closely.

      2. I’m not even asking for a 148th straight-shot; I’d take a 156th+148th bus that also serves Crossroads. But I want something better than the 245!

        Also, I really like the Redmond-Woodinville bus, and also the 202 and 203.

      3. 148th to SE 8th then jog over to 140/145th looping through Bellevue College and then down to Eastgate P&R. There’s very little on 148th or 156th south of Crossroads and the city wouldn’t be happy about buses stopping on that section of 148th. The reason for SE 8th instead of NE 8th is to avoid the twice daily gridlock at Sammamish HS. Odle & Stevenson also back up NE 8th. It would probably be too complicated to only use the SE 8th route during school start/dismissal times.

      4. It’s not like every moment of every bus route has to pick up tons of riders. As long as the bus gets through the section with nothing there quickly and it saves time for people actually going somewhere, it’s better to stay in a straight line. The bus should get through the empty section of 148th in about 2 minutes. It’s not like the other roads have that much higher ridership anyway.

        Of course, 140th needs a bus too and I’m ok with that bus being the 245. But there should be some other route, somewhere, that just stays on 148th, and if it means sacrificing some coverage to phantom lake, so be it. It could run from, say, Redmond to Factoria via Overlake. Seems as good of a route as any, by Eastside standards.

      5. An Overlake to Eastgate bus needs to pick up people somewhere besides being a shuttle between P&Rs. There’s some commercial between 24and Bell-Red and a Walmart and some other stores at Main. That’s pretty much it. That section of 140th is a high concentration of older affordable housing. When I drove for BSD we had stop there where 20 kids would get on. And like I said, you don’t want to be putting a bus stop on that section of 148th. You combine people likely to use transit with good transfers and access to shopping + jobs and you’ve got something useful.

      6. Yes, it does look like the 240 meanders too much between Renton and Bellevue, especially north of Factoria. But there will be alternatives on the 111 and eventually Stride South. Swapping the 240 and 241 seems like a good idea. The total length of the 241 is shorter so even with the detour it’s not that long, whereas the 240 already takes a frustratingly long time between its southern reaches and Bellevue, and there’s no Link station in the middle to short-circuit it or give more destination opportunities.

      7. I agree with both points. The first one seems obvious, and I can only speculate as to why they did that. The 245 is a lot more frequent than the 223. Maybe they didn’t want to saddle Main/140th/145th with infrequent service (maybe there are a lot more riders there). With a little more money, I would have the 223 run as frequently as the 245, and make a straight shot between Overlake and Eastgate. I would then have the 226 cover the easternmost areas of the 223 (by staying on Northrup Way and cutting back on 8th). That would mean a fast trip between Overlake and Eastlake, good frequency along each route, and really good frequency on the combined sections (if timed right). You would end up with a tiny bit less coverage, but that would be worth it.

        It does seem like the 240 should take a more direct routing to downtown Bellevue. Frankly, this one confuses me. The 240 is infrequent. It is taking over a section that is frequent. Maybe that section isn’t that popular, and can’t justify frequent service. But the 241 is infrequent as well. Swapping them (as you suggest) would seem like the better choice. The 241 could take over the Lake Hills Connector part, go through Eastgate and then (the very low density) Somerset area. It would need a layover in Factoria, but worse case scenario it loops back to Eastgate. This would be worse for Somerset, but better for riders on the 240. I have to assume there are a lot more riders on the 240.

        Making things even weirder is that the Lake Hills section is supposed to become RapidRide K in 2025 ( So maybe the 240 routing is just temporary. After they build the RapidRide K, they will send the 240 to South Bellevue (and on to downtown Bellevue).

    4. Route 8 rerouting: I’ve stated this in other posts, but I would have preferred that Route 8 went back to MLK at Massachusetts rather than stay on 23rd all the way to Rainier until it reaches Mt Baker TC. Everything south of Yesler on 23rd becomes redundant with 8 and 48 (and 7 and 106 on Rainier) while MLK will have no service for several blocks. In particular, the Rainier stops can barely handle two buses, let alone 4. Plus it’s taking buses on Rainier between 23rd and MLK two signal cycles to clear some of those intersections all through the day (not just typical commute hours).

      1. MLK is five flat blocks away in that area. That’s closer than the 49 and 10. Consolidating the corridor allows one very frequent corridor on 23rd. The Rainier segment may be for the eventual loss of the 106 in that area.

      2. Do you think Massachusetts is flat between MLK and 23rd? Holgate? Plum? It’s not scary but those streets are not flat, Mike. And residents east of MLK on those streets have quite a climb up to 31st (Route 14).

        And you are missing my point about bus congestion on Rainier. That’s four bus routes on a street with short bus stops and all-day traffic congestion. It’s going to take an 8 rider longer to reach Mt Baker TC from Judkins Park than it would if the bus used Massachusetts and MLK.

      3. It’s going to take an 8 rider longer to reach Mt Baker TC from Judkins Park than it would if the bus used Massachusetts and MLK.

        I doubt it, and my guess is that is why Metro decided on this routing. They didn’t want to spend time getting back to 23rd (an extra couple of turns). It is also quite possible this is simply the first phase of a more long term restructure (which was listed on the long range plan). Eventually the bus would go up to Beacon Hill via College Street. That would happen after that part of the 8 is split, in conjunction with the new RapidRide G (about a year after East Link).

        I also don’t mind extra buses along Rainier, as I think it pushes the issue. Rainier is long overdue for additional bus lanes (and a stop diet). Flooding the area with buses would make it hard for the city to ignore the problem.

      4. Route 8 southbound still has to turn at McClellan (instead of Jackson today or possibly Massachusetts) to make a right onto MLK and then enter the Mt Baker TC. This route southbound adds a new angled left turn from 23rf to Rainier.

        Northbound, using MLK and Massachusetts does require more turns (right on McClellan, left on MLK left on Massachusetts and right on 23rd.

        Honestly, I’m not sure if buses could make the right turn from Massachusetts to 23rd. That may be why Metro chose the proposed routing.

    5. Frequent all-day route connecting downtown Bellevue and the University District. Like today’s Route 271, this route would travel to the University District via SR 520. However, the routing between downtown Bellevue and SR 520 would shift from Medina to travel on Bellevue Way, to match higher rider demand on that corridor.

      I love it. Thank you, Metro, Thank You. I only got that far and I like the restructure.

      1. Oh, I missed that that was actually happening. We’ll see if it gets through the county council or if one old lady complains and it gets scuttled.

        I also didn’t see anything about frequency, but downtown Bellevue to U district really deserves a bus that runs every 15 minutes, 7 days/week. The frequent service need not (and probably should not) extend all the way to Issaquah, but should at least cover the popular part.

      2. I also didn’t see anything about frequency [on the new 270]

        Yeah, that is missing. I think I’ll write about the errors with the virtual open house on a different thread. I agree though, there should be frequent service from the UW to downtown Bellevue.

    6. I put my word that the 555/556 should be running all day instead of the 542/554, and that it should go to Ballard. I also think that said combined route should be truncated at Issaquah TC.

      Also put in word that one of the 8/48 should connect to Beacon Hill.

      1. @Rossb: Metro is going to be running the combined 215/269 every 15 minutes between Mercer Island and Link. So I think the 55x on top of that is overkill, especially since the 202/203 are also connecting to Link and Issaquah Highlands.

        And there’s something else I want. Having ST handle all 520 service would free up enough Metro service hours to extend the 106 to SLU via Boren.

    7. Did I miss something, or are they sending *no* buses to Mercer Island Station from off the island? The 556 — which will run every ten minutes during peak — will exit the freeway, and move into the general purpose lanes so that it can join the hordes driving along Bellevue Way. It will provide a direct connection to downtown Bellevue — a trip that a mere 200 people take a day on transit right now. This seems like a huge mistake that will cost a lot of riders a lot of time, and get them screaming for their old express bus to downtown.

      1. This is still a flaw, and I regret that I didn’t notice it when I filled out the survey. This means that if you are coming from Seattle, you don’t know which stop to use. Three buses use the Mercer Island stop, and one uses South Bellevue. That would make the choice simple if it wasn’t for the fact that the most frequent goes to South Bellevue. It isn’t much of an issue during peak (Mercer Island is the obvious choice) but in the middle it means weak frequency no matter which stop you choose.

      2. The Mercer Island-bound buses appear to be skipping Issaquah TC based on the maps. Meanwhile the 554 is basically the same as today except running to Downtown Bellevue instead of Downtown Seattle, replacing frequent 550 service on Bellevue Way and providing the Seattle-Issaquah TC connection via South Bellevue.

        My impression is that they appear to be trying to push people going to the further-out areas (Sammamish Plateau, Preston, Snoqualmie, and North Bend) to use Mercer Island, and anyone going to the closer-in areas (Factoria, Eastgate, Somerset, Issaquah) to use South Bellevue. At least that seems to match the service pattern, since you’ll have the 203, 226, and 241 serving South Bellevue.

      3. @asdf2 During peak hours, the metro buses go to mercer island, so the 554 aims to complement, rather than duplicate them.

        That isn’t true. As Jason wrote, the maps are confusing (and it doesn’t help that ST decided to create their own confusing maps — get with the program ST!) but from what I can tell, here are the routes that go to Mercer Island:

        215 — North Bend/Issaquah/Mercer Island — All day, every day
        218 — Issaquah/Mercer Island — Peak Only
        269 — Sammamish/Issaquah/Mercer Island — All day, no weekends

        Here are the routes that go to South Bellevue Station (SBS):

        111 — Renton express to SBS — All day every day
        203 — Issaquah to SBS via surface streets — Unknown service levels
        226 — Crossroads/Eastgate Way/SBS — All day, every day
        241 — Eastgate/Somerset/SBS/Downtown Bellevue — All day, every day
        249 — Overlake/Clyde Hill/Beaux Arts/SBS — All day, every day
        554 — Sammamish/Issaquah/SBS/Downtown Bellevue — All day, every day

        As Jason wrote, most of the routes that go to SBS are local, while the long distance routes go to Mercer Island. Since SBS is on the way to downtown Bellevue, it would make sense for the closer routes to go there. The closer the trip, the more irritating it is to transfer. It makes sense for buses from Factoria, for example, to serve SBS on the way to downtown. But even in that sense it fails, as the 241 does that, while the 203 does not.

        That means that if you are in downtown Bellevue and want to get to Factoria, the 241 will get you there in a fairly straightforward, fast way. Or you can take Link to SBS, and take either the 241 or 203. Either you make a transfer (unnecessary half the time) or you have a long wait.

        The bigger problem is the one I mentioned earlier. From Seattle, what is the best way to get to Issaquah? During rush hour, the 554 runs every ten minutes. The 215/218/269 each run every 15 minutes. Not only is it faster but it appears to be more frequent, making Mercer Island the better choice.

        But things get messy in the middle of the day. Both are reasonably fast, but frequency is split between the buses. The 215 and 269 both run every half hour. If they are timed (which seems quite reasonable) that gives you 15 minute service from Mercer Island. The 554 also runs every 15 minutes. That means that you have 8 buses an hour connecting to Link, but they are evenly split between the two stops. No one has great frequency.

        Here is what I would do:

        Send all of the I-90 express buses to Mercer Island. In the middle of the day, this would mean running them every ten minutes, timed appropriately to Link. This would save the agencies money (6 buses an hour from Bellevue, not 8). I would send the 241 and 203 to downtown Bellevue, opposite each other. They would both go on Bellevue Way, providing the same level of service there (15 minutes in the middle of the day) while connecting that corridor (and downtown Bellevue) with direct service to Factoria. I would extend the 226 to downtown Bellevue via 108th (providing coverage for 108th). I would also send the 111 to downtown Bellevue via the freeway (never leaving the HOV lanes).

        There are trade-offs. Service from Factoria to downtown Bellevue and service from Eastgate/Issaquah to Seattle would get better. We also would save money, which could be put into other improvements. But service from Bellevue to Eastgate and Issaquah gets worse.

        This can be remedied by addressing the problem William brought up above. Have the 223 take a direct route to Bellevue College south of 24th. Have the 226 cover the service lost east of 164th. Truncate the 226 at Eastgate. Have the new, faster 223 take over service from Eastgate to SBS, and on to downtown Bellevue. With the savings mentioned earlier (6 buses and hour to Link instead of 8 from Issaquah) run the 223 at the same frequency as the 245. At worst run them both every twenty minutes opposite each other, for combined 10 minute frequency most of the time. This would mean fast, frequent service along the Overlake/Bellevue College corridor, extending along Eastgate to SBS and Bellevue Way to downtown Bellevue. People headed from Issaquah to downtown Bellevue can transfer to those buses (at Eastgate) or transfer in Mercer Island (to Link).

        I really think we are spreading ourselves too thin by running buses from Issaquah to Bellevue and Issaquah to Mercer Island. There simply aren’t that many people headed from Issaquah to Bellevue. The 554 was standing room only from about 2:30 PM to 7:30 PM (eastbound). Then means it was crowded when it ran frequently, and when it didn’t. This is with competition from similar Metro buses during peak. The 556 never came close to being full, and averaged 20 riders a day (between Issaquah and downtown Bellevue) even though it ran largely around peak and was the only direct route for those trips.

        All that being said, this is by no means terrible. This is a much better restructure than the one that followed Northgate Link. ST is merely building a replica of a future light rail line, so at least people can see how many riders it gets. I can live with that, especially given all of the very good changes that would occur with this plan.

      4. I really think we are spreading ourselves too thin by running buses from Issaquah to Bellevue and Issaquah to Mercer Island. There simply aren’t that many people headed from Issaquah to Bellevue.

        Lots of people are headed Issaquah to Bellevue. You’re just not going to get them out of their cars no matter what.

        Yes, the peanut butter can only be spread so thin. Spend the money/hrs on neighborhoods that have housing where people use transit. I haven’t checked GIS data but I’m pretty sure that’s not Medina. If it is, why doesn’t Bridle Trails have a coverage route? 132nd/134th is a major N/S through street. Where’s my coverage route?

      5. There’s a contradiction on the 269 between the survey and the PDF. The survey says it’s adding Sunday service implying it will run every day. The PDF says it will be weekdays only. Either is possible because both meet different goals. Every-day service would address what Metro acnowledges as chronic underservice, It would also increase Issaquah Highlands – Issaquah – Link frequency.

        On the other hand, it’s express west of Issaquah TC. But any route to Issaquah or further east must be express west of that to give reasonable travel time. The 271 (southwest Lake Sammamish) and 1980s 210 (Newport Way, Allen Road) were horrendous.

    8. This is a Metro process, so I don’t know if they are describing ST changes.

      Is the ST 545 discontinued? So everyone from Redmond to Seattle has to go via Mercer Island? And there will be no 520 service to Seattle? With the constant Montlake bridge issues and stadium events, today transferring to the 545 is the saving grace. Gone?

      1. The restructures are done jointly. Metro takes the lead in organizing it, but ST also receives and considers the input, and ST reps will be at the open house.

        The 545 and 550 are going away. Link will be around 20 minutes to downtown Bellevue, 40 minutes to Redmond. So Link will be at least as fast as the 545, which is 48 minutes eastbound at 9am. That’s the benefit of grade separation and in-line stops. From Redmond you can take the 542 to UW if you want.

        Improving the cluster on Husky game days and when the Montlake Bridge is closed is something we can advocate for later. The current and past workarounds are horrendous, not only for Eastsiders but for Northeast Seattlites. Although the latter will be mighty glad of U-District and Roosevelt Stations.

      2. Yes they propose to discontinue the 545. The 542 (U District to Microsoft via 520) would see an upgrade to frequent service until 7 pm, and would also be extended to downtown Redmond. That would probably remain the best option for travel between Redmond and north Seattle, instead of the Link 2 line that would take you south through Mercer Island first.

      3. The 545 is being deleted, but large swathes of its hours are going to be poured into the 542. And once the WSDOT work at Montlake is done, that area should be a much smoother transfer.

    9. Ok, I filled out the survey. I came out in support splitting of the the 271 and moving the Bellevue->U-district segment to Bellevue Way, as RossB has long advocated for. I opposed route 240 because it effectively cuts off Newcastle from the broader region, for the sake of connecting it to a few specific destinations, such as Bellevue College. There were also multiple loopy coverage routes I suggested just deleting entirely and re-invest the service hours into running routes with higher ridership potential more often. I wrote in favor of the new 251 because I like buses that run in a straight line between population centers.

      The 250, I wrote that it was mostly good, but asked that it stop serving Bear Creek P&R because nobody is going to drive their car to a park and ride to ride a local bus like the 250. In fact, I suspect most of the people who do use the stop at Bear Creek Park and Ride are not actually going to the park and ride at all, but walking a few blocks to one of the big box stores, such as Target, Home Depot, or Fred Meyer. To the extent that a local bus should be serving that area at all, it is the retail that the bus should be focusing on, not the park and ride; but the 250’s current stop pattern, which serves only the park and ride and loops around gets this completely backward. That said, my personal opinion is that delaying every trip from Avondale Road to anywhere to serve the big box stores is not worth it. It may have been worth it in 1980, but in 2021, where anyone can shop online and have merchandise delivered, taking the bus to a big box store is a lot less important now (the exception being, of course, those that work at the store). The 542 would provide a frequent transfer from downtown Redmond. And, if push comes to shove, a forced transfer to get to Target once in a blue moon is worth it if it makes the bus ride to or from everywhere else 5 minutes faster (especially if the bus to Target is paired with an Uber ride back, so it’s really only one direction).

      1. Also, the survey didn’t give me a chance to say this, but I would scavenge the service hours to pay for that “straight down 148th” bus by deleting the 202 and 223 from the restructure proposal. My new route would replace some of the 223, and the 202 gets terrible ridership today on the 271. My personal opinion is that the sole “local” Issaquah route should follow the path of the proposed 203. It’s also a low ridership coverage route, but I think the ridership potential is still better than the 202, as there are actually some apartments along Newport Way that the 203 would serve, while the 202, I think, is 100% single-family homes on one side and the freeway on the other.

      2. The Fred Meyer in Totem Lake isn’t too far from the 255 on NE 124th and there’s a QFC right at one of the NE 124th stops. For Target you have to go to Bear Creek on the other side of Redmond or the new store in Bellevue. They do have a Costco just off NE 85th.

    10. The survey has a few errors. The new 202, 203 and 270 are mentioned in the survey, but don’t have a web page. I thought it might be a case of not having a link, but I tried the URL (e. g. and there is no blob. We need more blobs! Seriously though, Metro could some more (or better) software testers (and I’m saying this as a former Q. A. guy). They had problems with the previous survey as well. It is hard to offer an opinion on a route when we don’t know the frequency.

    1. “speculation that some bike-share riders may “test-drive” the bikeshare e-bikes and then go and purchase one of their own.”

      That’s exactly what I did three years ago with the Lime bikes. Didn’t take many Seattle->Kirkland trips at $15/round trip (now, more like $50) before I did the math, stopped using the service, and bought my own.

    2. Most bike share users own a bike already. I’m not surprised though, that a lot of people try out our bike share system and give up on it. Our bike share system sucks (from day one).

      1. I assume that was in reference to a previous comment I made (on a different thread). I’ll copy the comment.

    3. During peak hours, the metro buses go to mercer island, so the 554 aims to complement, rather than duplicate them. Off peak, there really aren’t traffic issues going to South Bellevue.

    4. It’s the other way around. ST provides baseline all-day express service. Metro’s peak service supplements it, presumably to avoid overcrowding or unreasonably long travel times during peak congestion.

  2. I am very skeptical of Lynnwood’s micro transit scheme. If you’re running enough busses to have <15 minute wait times, why not just run a fixed route circulator every 15 minutes and make it safer for people to walk the last block or two? By having such a wide swath of pickup/dropoff locations, you are pretty much guaranteeing that the shuttles will get bogged down in parking lot traffic during busy times.

    However, on the positive side, it could help elderly and disabled folks get to errands and appointments without having to deal with the hassles of the County's paratransit. There are several senior/elderly care complexes within the Alderwood loop route, in particular. Also, the 188 ST corridor is currently an unfortunate gap in Community Transit service.

    1. All microtransit is inefficient, as RossB’s link shows. Both in Lynnwood and Kenmore and Crossroads and Rainier Valley and Tacoma. It would be better to spend the money on additional coverage routes. But people like the idea of ordering a custom ride to their house and they imagine it’s efficient, so they put strong pressure on transit agencies and governments to offer it, and some imagine it’s the future of transit.

    2. If there’s a specific problem with elderly access in the Alderwood multifamily area, target that directly. An unrestricted microtransit can get filled up with people too lazy to ride a bus or just don’t want to share a bus with strangers. That makes wait times longer for people who really need it. And a dedicated senior service could have larger vehicles and more time to deal with walker boarding and other mobility issues.

  3. “Lizz asks if transit ridership will come back”

    Nobody in governments here asks that question. Verboten. WFH may persist, which means the ridership demand forecasts that supposedly justified the ST3 light rail system buildout plans were only so much hot air. If light rail ridership will not come close to the levels projected the light rail system planning should be stopped and the funds redeployed to better serve communities with increased bus service levels, right?

    1. Funds redeployed to plan light rail service that better serves all-day destinations, and stations built where people want to go. Instead of, for instance, building a commuter focused network.

      This would require much more investment within Seattle. Sounds good to me.

    2. The whole “ridership will never come back because of WFH” premise ignores other forces pushing in the other direction.

      1. For the more urban parts of Link, ridership serves other purposes.

      2. In case anyone hasn’t noticed, gasoline is getting expensive again. As long as we are buying gasoline, it’s higher cost will affect commute mode choices.

      3. Electric cars are heavier and the fleet conversion will mean that roads will get bad quicker than they do today. Plus, some way to recoup the maintenance will be needed. In the long run, even electric cars will have to fund more road maintenance and that additional cost assigned to vehicles will cause some people to move to riding transit.

      4. Parking costs have grown significantly before the pandemic, and will likely grow again. This also pushes people to shift to transit.

      5. Most jobs can’t be effectively done by WFH.

      6. It’s never been true that a majority of workers used transit in our region. Downtown Seattle annual surveys have never put that number above 48%. Thus, new WFH of 20% could theoretically come entirely from completely from those that drive. With other forces causing shifts in mode, it’s not going to crash transit ridership in the long run.

      As Covid fears wane, I expect to see transit riders returning in the long term merely due to employment growth and these other factors.

  4. A comment on MLK at 6 minutes: The extra two minutes (from 8) is nice, but with four-car trains at 8 minutes it’s the same capacity as three-car trains at 6 minutes. Plus, the EISs for both Federal Way Link and East Link assumed 8 minutes for each line.

    It was ST3 that promised returning to 6 minutes, presumably to serve the anticipated crowded segment under Beacon Hill once Tacoma and Federal Way extensions open.

    1. Running 8 minutes instead of 6 minutes during rush hour is unfortunate, but running 10 minutes the rest of the day is worse. It would cost money, but they should just run the trains every 6 minutes, all day long (just like RapidRide G is going to run every 6 minutes, all day long).

  5. The grocery union must be making more political contributions to city council members. First hazard pay (when medical workers didn’t get it) and now free bus passes. Nothing per se wrong with it, but it is kind of odd how generous the city council has been to grocery workers versus other front line covid workers.

    1. If we’re being a little less cynical in our speculations, it might be visibility. Everyone goes to the grocery store and sees them at work; other frontline workers aren’t seen by as many people.

  6. First, much appreciate using my photos w/ credit. Thanks!

    Second, this Everett Transit-Community Transit merger’s a big deal. A proper integrated network is needed with proper frequency and coverage is needed. Having dead zones around and in the same Paine Field that’s going to get a light rail spine curved is a problem. Not to mention there’s nothing wrong with two brands, one overlapping agency. What is wrong is the lack of good local connections.

  7. Tacoma Link fares coming in 2022

    I don’t know if this is a done deal yet but the comment period is closed. Virtually all of T-Link ridership so far has been as a DT shuttle. If you want to visit the Washington State History Museum parking on site is $7 for up to 4 hours (note, this is the middle of DT Tacoma!). If you park at the T-Dome garage and take transit it would be $8 to $10 dollars. Nobody is going to use it. Ideally you’d have distance based fares and the existing subsidy the City kicks in to promote DT activity along with a modest say $1 round trip charge for DT. Most people accessing from the new extension will be transferring or have a monthly pass. So you only generate more revenue if you increase system ridership which I think will happen. And the best way to promote it is to keep fares free for the 1st year the extension is open. People like free!

    The other option would be DT to T-Dome operates like Seattles RFZ. It always has been a RFZ so there’s no worry about the rolling homeless shelter as there is in Seattle. For whatever reason Tacoma is a much cleaner and inviting DT than Seattle.

    1. TLink has been free because Pierce collects more money than it can spend, even after saving for a down payment on the Tacoma Dome extension. That will change when the Tacoma Dome extension has actual construction bills to pay, which is coming soon in 2024 when Federal Way opens. So TLink was always going to charge fares long-term.

  8. The first wave of the program will be directed toward people in the Little Saigon, Chinatown/International District, Japantown and Pioneer Square area who work grocery or food service jobs.

    Another WTF knee jerk PC reaction. Food service workers have all been eligible for the free vaccine for months. If workers aren’t using transit now they won’t just because the get a free ORCA card; one that will soon be obsolete. Lots of people will grab them incurring the cost but few will be used. Use the money to subsidy monthly passes to employers; everybody has skin in the game.

    1. If they don’t use the passes they won’t be an operational cost burden to the transit agencies. That translates to lower bulk pass prices in future years. U-Pass and employer passes work the same way. It all evens out. The city isn’t paying retail price for the passes.

  9. A couple notes from my own news feed:

    South Korea is using cheap taxis as a way to reach rural locations that otherwise couldn’t support taxi service ( It sounds a bit like our own micro-transit initiatives, but they’re claiming annual ridership of 40,000 with a cost of only $147,000, which seems very competitive with bus service.

    San Francisco has recently boosted off-peak service on their ferries beyond even what it was pre-pandemic ( Their ridership isn’t quite back yet but is already at 70% of what it was pre-pandemic. This seems to agree with what we’re seeing here in the growth of off-peak ridership on Metro relative to commute ridership, and definitely makes me feel hopeful that transit isn’t as doomed as I thought it was back in May 2020.

  10. The proposed 249 route looks like an improvement to me. They drop the West Lk Sam & long return on 24th that has nothing. It serves a segment in Overlake that is the Central Shopping District; something that’s been missing. I’m guessing the detour through Clde Hill/Medina was to maintain coverage and let the 270 do the smart thing. The south tail still seems useless.

    Let commuters use the BSD subsidized routes and you get loads of peak coverage for very little $$$. These are all HS routes that have very low ridership. BSE just doesn’t have the buses or drivers to cover it. It would be a win win.

    1. That’s Metro’s way. In order to move the 271 to more-productive Bellevue Way it backfills 84th onto the lowest-ridership kitchen-sink route, which was created for that purpose. The 249 is all the lowest-ridership tails from the RapidRide B restructure stitched together into one snaking route. That’s why it looks like it’s on drugs.

      The way to understand routes like the 249 is they’re not intended for end-to-end trips: they’re a bunch of smaller routes interlined into one. So Beaux Arts to Bellevue TC, Bellevue TC to north Bellevue Way and 20th, etc. That’s more efficient than running each of them as separate routes, and it allows overlapping trips, like going from 20th either to downtown Bellevue or to wherever it goes instead of Overlake Village.

  11. Consider 148th Avenue se. it has a park and a lake and is full of traffic, as it feeds interchanges at both I-90 and ST-520. In contrast, 140th Avenue se has Sammamish high and apartments. The change was made in 2011.

  12. Imagine wanting to travel along 15th Ave W but you have to take 3 buses to get from one end to another. That’s what connecting between ET and CT is like (hwy 99 being the exception). And that’s why ET and CT should definitely merge.

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