Proposed changes in the east and I-90 corridor area (image: Sound Transit). Click to see more detail.

In the East Link restructure online open house, the entire restructure proposal is broken up into five sections: North, Central, South, East, and Seattle. We’ve covered the south subarea previously. The east subarea covers Issaquah, Sammamish, Preston, Snoqualmie, and North Bend, but also throws in Mercer Island as part of the I-90 corridor (but omits Eastgate and Factoria, which are part of the central subarea). I’m also including the Seattle subarea since it includes only one minor change to route 8 in the vicinity of I-90. Like other areas, there are some route reconfigurations, but these changes don’t seem as significant as in other areas, with local service on the main routes 204, 208, and 269 looking largely the same as today. But the changes are nonetheless dramatic, with all service east of Lake Sammamish being extended along I-90 to either Merce Island or Bellevue, and reducing the two-hour headways seen on today’s route 208. So let’s jump in!

East of Issaquah (Routes 208 & 215)

New route 215 replaces route 208, and now connects to Link at Mercer Island Station (image: Sound Transit)

This route is new, and completely replaces deleted route 208. This is a resurrection from the 2014 cuts, except truncated to Mercer Island. But more importantly, this route will run all-day and all-week. Peak trips will operate every 15 minutes, and off-peak and weekend trips will run every 30, but only one-third of buses will continue past Issaquah to North Bend (making headways 45 and 90 minutes respectively). While far from frequent, the 90-minute headways will nonetheless be an improvement over the approximate (and I mean very approximate!) 2-hour headways on route 208 today, especially if it’s consistent. And the fast, reliable, and frequent connection to Link will make the trip dependable, especially in the eastbound direction, where it is very important not to miss your connection!

Route 200

Route 200, with limited usefulness, is being deleted and replaced by a patchwork of other routes (image: ST)

Route 200 will be deleted and replaced with routes 202 and 203 (which is part of the central subarea) south of I-90, and improved service on route 269 north of I-90. While currently suspended, route 200 (when operating) is essentially an Issaquah circulator. Though routes 202 and 203 are a bit less frequent during the day (every 60 minutes, vs every 40 on the 200), they will actually be more useful because route 200 has a very limited span of service (with the last trip of the “night” starting before 3pm) , and doesn’t operate at peak at all.

Sammamish (Route 269)

Route 269’s main change is extension to Mercer Island Station (image: Sound Transit)

Route 269 is being improved, mainly by moving its western terminus to Mercer Island P&R and its northern terminus being moved to Downtown Redmond Station, giving Sammamish fast all-day service to Link Light Rail at both ends. Service headways are improved at peak from 20-30 minutes to 15, and at night from 40 minutes to 30, but midday headways will remain at 30 minutes (which is probably reasonable given the area it serves). While the PDF for this route says that there is no service on Sundays and is self-contradictory on Saturday service, Sound Transit said at a virtual Q&A session that it will have both Saturday and Sunday service. One downside is the removal of the stop at Issaquah Transit Center, which is done to get on I-90 more quickly, but limited connection opportunities here leaves little to be missed.

Since this route connects to both a 2023 East Link station and a 2024 Downtown Redmond Station, routing changes will be phased. Route 269 will connect to Mercer Island Station in 2023, while the northern terminus move to Downtown Redmond Station will happen in 2024.

I-90 service

Route 218 is truncated to Mercer Island, and consolidated with other service (image: Sound Transit)

Unsurprisingly, all I-90 bus service to downtown Seattle on I-90 is being redirected to either Mercer Island Station or South Bellevue Station. Peak-only service is being consolidated into the 218 (which will operate peak only), 215, and 269 (which operate all day, but run more often at peak). At peak, service from Issaquah Highlands to Mercer Island will operate every 5 minutes (which is more frequent than the Link connection at every 8 minutes) at peak, and every 15 minutes off-peak and weekends. Interestingly, the 554 is also getting frequent all-day all-week service on its own, but it will run from Issaquah Highlands to downtown Bellevue, with its own stops at Issaquah TC (which the 215/218/269 won’t serve) and S. Bellevue Station (instead of Mercer Island).

Mercer Island (routes 204 & 630)

Route 630 Community Shuttle will replace downtown service with a new terminus in Cherry Hill (image: ST)

Service on the island isn’t changed very much. The obvious one is that users of the 550 to Seattle and Bellevue will get to use the train instead, but the only significant service boost on the island itself is that the 204 is getting Sunday service. What’s not changing is that the bus will still run only every 30 minutes at peak and every 60 minutes off-peak and on weekends (which is about how much time it takes to walk the length of the route if you miss it). However, peak service is still supplemented by route 630, which will remain as the only bus crossing I-90 into Seattle. Within Seattle, it will no longer serve downtown, but will instead ditch the one-way loop to First Hill and change to a proper two-way route to First Hill and Cherry Hill. Since our dream of light rail to First Hill is a long way from being realized, having route 630 remain to keep this connection from Mercer Island and the eastside is at least a small consolation.

Seattle (route 8)

With the Judkins Park Station bringing new connections to both Rainier Ave S and 23rd Ave S, many of the essential connections already serve the station. An exception is route 8, with that route being proposed to move from MLK to 23rd at Jackson St., and just stay there until the end like route 48 does. This makes a lot of sense, as Metro will always keep route 8’s diversion to 23rd Ave regardless of what happens (except during the time when 23rd was undergoing construction, when route 8 was ironically “detoured” to just stay on MLK like it just should anyway).

One side effect of this change is that route 4, which is redundant and redundant and redundant (the only route to be so redundant that STB has three articles about it with the exact same name, and yet isn’t fully suspended like the 22 and 47 are) will serve its part of the Judkins Park neighborhood all on its own. Meaning that it will finally have a reason to exist. But would have more of a reason to exist if it connected to any of its nearest two Link Stations. Sigh.

Notice anything good, bad, or just weird? Or, maybe you have a question or a strong opinion about something. Whatever the case may be, we’d love to hear about it in the comments, and (more importantly) Sound Transit would love to hear about it in the East Link Connections online open house, which is open until October 18 October 25th.

58 Replies to “East Link restructure in the I-90 corridor and east subarea”

  1. Ok, I have to ask. Why does Mercer Island, of all places, get the special privilege of a one bus ride to First Hill, when nobody else on the Eastside does? If the expectation is that people will transfer to the 630 at Mercer Island station, why can’t they just transfer to the G in downtown Seattle?

    (Anticipating a reply from Daniel Thompson about how Mercer Island is so privileged, and that Metro is making them mad by bringing riffraff to their precious island from Eastgate and Issaquah, who can’t afford $5 million waterfront homes, and how more riffraff from further east is taking up parking spaces that rightfully belong to people on Mercer Island because they’re so privileged, and Metro and ST should be forever grateful to Mercer Island for being generous enough to allow Link on the island to be built at all, and any buses from off island to serve it at all, and the least Metro can do to show its gratitude and get back on the privileged island’s good side is to give Islanders a special privilege of a one seat bus to first hill.)

    1. It’s another case of redirecting downtown peak expresses to First Hill. Daniel should be glad his city is lucky enough to have such a route. I wonder if anybody in Bellevue will take Link to Mercer Island and transfer to the 630 to First Hill to avoid transferring in “unsafe” downtown.

      It looks like the G will open in 2024, thanks to a federal grant. It has the potential to become really popular, but I think people are taking a wait-and-see attitude. The 2, 3, 4, and 12 have been so slow for so long that I think people are wondering whether it’s really possible to have a speedy, reliable downtown-First Hill bus route.

      Which raises an interesting question about snow. I assume during snow the G would be suspended or moved to Pike-Pine, and the 3rd-Jackson-Broaway snow shuttle would be the only route directly to First Hill.

    2. asdf2, I believe the 630 ran before the pandemic but not to First Hill, and its existence was because Metro provides no meaningful intra-Island bus service on MI, and the park and ride is filled with 53% off Islanders, who are not the riff raff you assume but commuters from the eastside who want a one seat ride to Seattle.

      I have no idea how many Islanders take transit to First Hill, or will post pandemic. I know a number of doctors and dentists who work on First Hill and live on MI, but they are provided free parking by the hospitals or their clinics. So I guess the nurses, admin. staff, hygienists, and techs can somehow find first/last mile access to the light rail station on MI since we have no intra-Island transit, take East Link to downtown Seattle, transfer, and then a bus to First Hill on streets they don’t think are safe. If that makes you feel better. But you are delusional if you think wealthy folks and professionals on MI who work on First Hill take transit.

      The large private employers like Amazon or Microsoft don’t run their private shuttles from MI to First Hill, they run them to SLU or the Microsoft campus in Redmond.

      I was not consulted on Metro’s and ST’s restructure for eastside bus service. But I agree with their view of the future for the eastside post pandemic: much less cross lake commuting from the eastside to Seattle, and much more eastside commuting and transit to Bellevue, and then east of Bellevue. Plus less commuter ridership altogether with WFH, and much more subsidized parking by employers which is the model on First Hill right now.

      Mercer Island is a non-entity on the eastside unless you want large lots and great schools. It got a light rail station with two entrances because it sits in the middle of Lake Washington, not because it is a transit hub. East Link won’t affect transit ridership on Mercer Island, because before East Link bus service for those who took it (and got to the park and ride early enough) was quite good (until the 550 was eliminated from the transit tunnel and ridership declined 1/3). I think Metro and ST are correct in the restructure: no one was ever going to take a bus to MI to catch a train to Seattle, especially post pandemic. You still think like ST, that transit makes decisions for people.

      I don’t know why you are so angry. When have I ever advocated for a one seat bus ride from MI to First Hill? I didn’t even know the 630 would go from MI to First Hill until your rant. What I have stated is commuters from the Issaquah region will balk at taking a bus from their park and ride — to MI or S. Bellevue — to catch East Link and will demand a one seat ride to Seattle, probably without stopping on MI. Or they will drive to the park and ride at S. Bellevue or MI and catch East Link there.

      Unless of course they are going to SLU or First Hill. Or are you advocating that the nurses, technicians, and admin staff who work on First Hill or SLU and use to take transit drive to their park and ride in the Issaquah region, catch a bus to S. Bellevue or Mercer Island, catch a train to downtown Seattle, and then catch another bus to First Hill or SLU?

      If so I sure hope you don’t need some medical or dental care in Seattle because those workers who are in very high demand will get a job on the eastside, and right now that is a real staffing problem for hospitals and clinics in Seattle: these medical staff like to live on the eastside for the schools and safety, and can get jobs anywhere, so why go to Seattle or deal with shitty transit with a bunch of transfers when Overlake provides free parking to staff, as do most eastside clinics?

      I don’t think you really get it: the 630 to First Hill was likely demanded by the hospitals and medical/dental clinics so they could get qualified staff because East Link does not serve First Hill (or SLU), not that is a flaw in our transit system, and these kinds of staff live on the eastside.

      Problem solved. Now you can take several different transfers to get from Seattle to the eastside for your medical and dental care, and ideally the 630 is cancelled due to lack of riders.

      1. It sounds like Mercer Island probably has most of the First Hill hospital workers on the Eastside, so sending the 630 there makes sense. If they were on the Highlands you might send the 218; if in Snoqualmie or North Bend you’d send the 215; if Eastgate or old-town Issaquah, a peak-only variant of the 554 (or keeping the 212 or 214 and sending them to First Hill).

    3. The 630 is repeating Netro’s equity blind spots with First Hill/ Cherry Hill for people that go there. There are similar peak services there from North Seattle and Federal Way too.

      The equity blind spots are two:

      – Metro serves employees with direct service but not patients.

      – Metro operates at peak hours to serve only employees that have normal eeekday schedules, rather than those required to keep a hospital open 23/7 (and whose wages are generally much lower)

      The irony of Route 630 being the only route directly connecting Judkins Park Station with these important places is not lost on me. It’s just a shame that such service isn’t available to SE Seattle residents (a population several times bigger than Mercer Island).

      1. Metro serves employees with direct service but not patients.

        Ideally it would be equally simple for both, but giving top medical professionals, no matter their economic status, easy, stressless transportation to their jobs seems like a smart thing to do. Bad on the equity scale for sure, but probably good on the beneficial for society scale.

    4. The 630 exists because the City of Mercer Island is paying (part) of the cost directly, through it’s locally-imposed $20 vehicle license fee.

    5. .”What I have stated is commuters from the Issaquah region will balk at taking a bus from their park and ride — to MI or S. Bellevue — to catch East Link and will demand a one seat ride to Seattle”

      We’ll know soon because now is the time a rebellion if it’s going to happen. Hopefully Metro will release a summary of the public comments, as ST has been doing the past few years. My guess is if there are any complaints it will only be one or two. People who don’t know about the change until it opens may complain then but it will be too late. They’d probably just switch to driving, but the peak-hour buses and Link will still be busy with other riders. The biggest rebellions in the past decade have been over restructuring the 2 and 12 in central Seattle, not about peak expresses or local routes in the suburbs. Metro’s retention of First Hill expresses is an attempt to pre-empt uproars, and it probably knows where the biggest ones are likely to occur because it has been monitoring the situation for years.

      “probably without stopping on MI”

      That won’t happen because the Issaquah-Seattle routes have always stopped at Mercer Island, and there was never a complaint about that that I heard.

      An interesting quote in the Seattle Times this morning:

      “When Sound Transit’s new light-rail stations open Saturday, Bunnee Butterfield expects to shave as much as an hour off her travel time. She’s been using a car to get to medical appointments several times per week at UW Medical Center-Roosevelt. Soon, she’ll ask her husband to drive her about 15 minutes from their home in Edmonds to the Ash Way Park & Ride. From there, she’ll take a Sound Transit Express bus to Northgate, where she’ll transfer to the train for the trip to the new U District Station. “The thing that’s most appealing to me — apart from the fact that I just don’t like driving — is that the new stations give me a whole lot more flexibility,” said Butterfield, 71. “A lot of my appointments are early in the morning, and I-5 is just awful, so I have to leave pretty early to beat traffic.””

      There’s somebody satisfied with a 2-seat ride (Or 3 if you include the initial car trip.) It should be noted that the north end has more traffic bottlenecks to Seattle than the Eastside, so people may be more willing to use express transit there. But Ash Way is only a little further from Seattle than Issaquah is.

      I didn’t know Edmonds extended north to 164th, but I assume she knows which P&R is closest to her.

      1. ”What I have stated is commuters from the Issaquah region will balk at taking a bus from their park and ride — to MI or S. Bellevue — to catch East Link and will demand a one seat ride to Seattle” [Me]

        “We’ll know soon because now is the time a rebellion if it’s going to happen. Hopefully Metro will release a summary of the public comments, as ST has been doing the past few years. My guess is if there are any complaints it will only be one or two.” [Mike Orr}.

        Mike, normal people don’t read this crap or Metro restructures, especially if they are not taking transit now. Yes, Metro will likely get one or two comments, period, from folks like you. Commuters will wait until they drive to a park and ride after East Link opens, and their bus suddenly drops them off at S. Bellevue or Mercer Island (unless they are WFH), and East Link does not go to SLU. Then a rebellion will start.

        First they will just drive directly to S. Bellevue or Mercer Island to park and catch East Link. Then petitions, Nextdoor, council meetings, Bellevue citizens will complain they can’t find a spot at their new 1500 stall park and ride, as Ross noted folks will catch the wrong bus home from MI and miss their park and ride, riders will demand continued subsidized parking from their employers, and so Bellevue and Issaquah will point out Lake City (which they certainly do not consider an equal) got express buses so should Issaquah, but nicer buses.

        If you are a new CEO of ST and Balducci is chair, and Bellevue and Issaquah say the subarea has the money and they want express buses what are you going to do? Say no? The good news is this is a problem with a solution the subarea can afford, when your other problem is DSTT2 and WSBLE with no solution.

        I don’t know about Seattle, but ST and Metro don’t make the decisions on the eastside, the citizens do (at least the tiny percentage who ride transit) because Bellevue’s and Issaquah’s councils will want to appease their demanding constituents who will find out just how stupid East Link is. Ross at that point could probably run for mayor and win.

        You and ST and Metro cannot make people do what they don’t want to do, especially when they don’t want to be on transit to begin with, and have highly transferable skills. This is not transit for the poor. Just like so many complaints on this blog, this is transit for affluent workers and so finally yes it does have to serve the rider, or there won’t be any riders which isn’t great for farebox recovery that is already based on fantastical ridership projections.

      2. Do you think this has never happened before? The 255 was truncated last year. Many other express and local routes have been restructured and one-seat rides lost over the years. If there’s an unusually large uproar, Metro or ST might address it in the following periodic restructure. Balducci’s and Constantine’s and Metro’s and ST’s concern is for the entire Eastside, not one set of Issaquah-Seattle commuters. So it’s extremely unlikely there would be an emergency addition of an Issaquah-Seattle peak express route right after opening, or that this would become the main issue in a council race. If Balducci, who has long political experience, thought it would be a deathbed, ST and Metro wouldn’t have put it in this restructure in the first place. And Issaquah’s government has had fifteen years to raise it as an issue. They Eastside governments all said “Build East Link and truncate the express buses and reinvest the hours in Eastside service” all along. The post-ST2 ST Express planning scenarios came out in January 2016, and all of them truncated the I-90 routes and had no buses going all the way across the bridge.

      3. The vast majority of riders from Issaquah will put up with a two-seat ride, just like the vast majority of riders from every other place that has had truncations. This is nothing new. Yes, there will be some complaints — again, nothing new. There were people complaining about the truncation of the 41 before it was official. To those whiners I say this:

        I understand — your trip is slower. Get over it. The fact is, for the most part, you were subsidized by every single-digit bus rider in Seattle. Go ahead, look it up. The 212, 214, 216, 217, 218 and 219 perform worse than the 1, 2, 3 etc. even at rush hour. Even the 4 (which many have said is redundant :)) performs better than an express bus from Issaquah. So you’ll just have to tough it out, and transfer, like everyone else. Why? Because you live so far away! Jeesh, it really isn’t that complicated. Sorry, but I don’t have a lot of sympathy for you if you move to a low density suburb, quite a distance from the big city, and then whine because you don’t have an express bus into the city. We can’t afford to give you that AND provide service that is far more cost effective. The light rail isn’t being built for you (that would be nuts). It is being built to connect to downtown Bellevue and Microsoft campus. Everything else, from the Spring District to downtown Redmond, is just a bonus. So too is the ability for Metro to actually improve efficiency on the East Side. People from Issaquah will — if this goes into effect — have a huge increase in frequency, for no other reason than Sound Transit’s distance fetish, and Metro’s fear of pissing people off. And you wanna complain?

      4. I suppose that is a fair comment Ross.

        The remedy for these folks is to drive directly to a park and ride that serves East Link since they have to drive to a park and ride anyway.

        Or take a job on the eastside (especially if you work in SLU, and your company now has an office on the eastside, to avoid a third or fourth seat), or one that subsidizes parking. Or WFH.

        Pretty much same for riders of the 630. If you are a nurse or dental hygienist why in the world would you want to work on First Hill if you live on Mercer Island? Work in Bellevue and probably get free parking, and be able to shop or dine in Bellevue after work.

        And in fact I think that is exactly what the restructure on the eastside is anticipating, and what Bellevue is hoping for, and exactly why Link from Issaquah will run to Bellevue and not Seattle.

        I guess eastsiders could ask why did our park and rides get extended when we have the money for them so N. King Co. could expedite its projects because it is broke. I thought there was subarea equity. And why is East King Co. giving $275 million to N. King Co. for DSTT2 so it can build a $12+ billion WSBLE it can’t afford when East Link will never need the tunnel capacity? What has N. King Co. given the eastside?

        The real solution is pure subarea equity for Metro. If county taxes for Metro are raised in the eastside require that they be spent there, and let the eastside figure out how to spend them. It is their money.

        The eastside subarea has the money for express ST buses from Issaquah to Seattle. After all, the eastside subarea has paid 100% of the buses east–west–east, and will until East Link opens, which will cost the subarea nearly $1 billion, although plenty of Seattle residents use the buses.

        Personally I don’t agree with the approach: let’s make transit as crummy as possible for the commuters who pay the bills, even though they make up a small percentage of commuters on the eastside, mostly middle income folks.

        Technology and money and private enterprise do a pretty good job filling in holes in bad public services, if the money is there. WFH, subsidized parking, working closer to home, skipping Seattle completely if you live on the eastside, driving directly to a park and ride that serves East Link if you absolutely have to go into Seattle and can’t get subsidized parking, private employer shuttles, these are all valid remedies for crummy and arrogant public transit, and that is what East Link is.

        And I wouldn’t feel too bad for Issaquah. In a few years ST will break ground on a $4.5 billion line from Issaquah to S. Kirkland that will carry very few riders, but will go to Bellevue, and will really exhaust the debt cap ceiling. Issaquah can take care of itself. If it wants express buses it will get express buses, except it may not need them.

        No one loves crummy transit from Issaquah to Seattle more than Bellevue, which is why the 554 and so many buses run to downtown Bellevue, and all those new shiny buildings in The Spring District and Wiburton.

        It very well could be there are very, very few folks who complain about transfers to get from the eastside to Seattle because there are very, very few commuters taking transit to Seattle. (Not good for ST 3 in N. King Co. that needs those commuter tax dollars).

        And why does Lake City, which I imagine pays a lot less in county taxes than Issaquah, get express buses? Equity?

        I think the restructure answers these questions. Most folks on the eastside will work fewer than five days/week, and most eastsiders will work on the eastside because their employers will have offices on the eastside, and they prefer the eastside, where most parking is free. The large private employers will operate their own shuttles.

        So I think you may be correct, a one seat express bus from Issaquah to Seattle that has no one on it is not a good value. Of course, neither is a $4.5 billion rail line from Issaquah to S. Kirkland, but what the hell, Issaquah wants it and can afford it, even though no one will use it.

        Issaquah will be ok.

      5. The remedy for these folks is to drive directly to a park and ride that serves East Link

        or just transfer! Good God man, do you think you’ll get cooties or something if you make a transfer? You just take the bus, walk a little bit, and take the train. Tens of thousands of people have been doing that in Seattle for a while now. Millions around the world to that. Transfers aren’t the end of the world. You can’t possibly build a decent transit system without them.

        Again, the vast majority of people will ride the bus from Issaquah, transfer to the train and not complain. Only a handful will, and they just need to get over it. The world doesn’t revolve around you, or your needs.

        There used to be a bus that went from Pinehurst to Lake City to downtown Bellevue. I loved that bus. I used to call it my private bus, because it went very close to my house to very close to my work. But it didn’t pick up that many riders, so it wasn’t worth it. I lost my special bus. I got over it.

      6. Ross, all I said is people will make their own decisions.

        The good news is there are many, many commuter options these days on the eastside. These are very valuable employees who don’t want to commute to work to begin with, and live on the eastside because they love it. As an employer I can tell you they are gold, as we learned the hard way when the 550 was kicked out of DSTT1. Did they complain to the transit agencies? I don’t know, but 1/3 of them went somewhere else, probably to jobs on the eastside, and guess what: we are following them.

        They will figure it out. They can drive directly to a park and ride that serves East Link, WFH, work on the eastside, demand subsidized parking rather than subsidized Orca cards, private employer shuttles, and if that does not satisfy them raise holy hell with the Issaquah city council, and they will get what they want because Issaquah always gets what it wants, because the subarea is rich, and they are bosom buddies with Bellevue. Every woman shopper on the eastside loves Issaquah, which is why its sales tax revenue is through the roof (to subsidize all those single number Metro routes and their 20% farebox recovery, as it probably should be).

        Issaquah has 35,000 residents. Mercer Island has 26,000. For the life of me I have never understood the differential in political power between the two. One is weak (but once under Aubrey Davis was strong (in a turtle sort of way), and the other is powerful.

        I know you don’t like suburbia, or Issaquah, but come on, Issaquah doesn’t give a shit what a Seattle Transit Blog thinks of it. If Issaquah calls the ST Board it picks up, because Bellevue is on the line too.

        If they dislike transfers, ST or Metro will get rid of the transfer, in part because the large employers like law firms and banks and accounting firms in Seattle will tell ST and Metro to figure it out, they need those eastside staff. Or they will subsidize parking.

        You don’t really think Metro kept the 630 from Mercer Island to First Hill just because MI thought it was a great idea. Geez, we have to pay for it. Of course the hospitals and medical/dental clinics chimed in, because just like our firm they need those eastside staff, who tend to be female.

        There are two things transit nuts don’t really understand: the eastside, and eastside women, and there are not a lot of magazines at the check stand called “Women In Transit”. Women don’t get transit.

        If you work in a hospital, or medical/dental clinic, or sales, or a law firm one thing you learn is your female staff are very, very smart, and you make a fortune off of them. If a subsidized parking stall costs the same as an Orca card post pandemic like it does now, and staff work around 3 days/week, commuter transit is dead.

      7. do you think you’ll get cooties
        People will put up with one transfer. It’s expected if you live on the eastside and aren’t driving to a P&R to commute. To get that one seat ride you probably have to be at the P&R before 7AM. That’s fine if you’re hours are early or not set 9 to late as they would be for retail or a customer service job like bank teller. The problem with 3 or more transfers is the time hit. Every transfer introduces uncertainty so you have to plan to be one bus early for each transfer. A Link transfer isn’t as bad but when you’re talking two buses that even with 15 min frequency you’re adding 30 to 45 minutes to your commute each way. So instead of 20-30 minutes driving you’re looking at 1-2 hours to use transit. That’s 10 hours out of your life every week. And unlike sitting on transit the transfer waits are generally useless time.

      8. I don’t mind transfers, but some of Link transfers make Google maps trip planner not work. Eg, I was attempting to get to somewhere on the 45, and Google maps said it was possible. The maps didn’t factor in the significant time sink at UW station required to change routes.

        It’s difficult to support transfers when we have no idea how atrocious the transfers will be.

      9. “Issaquah has 35,000 residents. Mercer Island has 26,000. For the life of me I have never understood the differential in political power between the two.”

        Issaquah has corporate headquarters, Gilman Village, an urban growth center, tons of apartments, a new urbanist village, and serves as an anchor city for its own suburbs (Sammamish, Snoqualmie, North Bend, Fall City, Carnation).

        Mercer Island is an archetype of a 1950s-style suburb or bedroom community. Its downtown is very small and short, there is no urban growth center, no large businesses or industry, little to draw off-islanders, and outside downtown is almost all large-lot houses. It has little to give it clout except the wealth of its residents, and it’s not being part of the solution to most of the county’s problems.

        Mercer Island is similar to Magnolia in that it’s a bedroom community, has few jobs, and is fiercely resistant to growth. The clout it has is mostly manifest in keeping density away. Like Magnolia and Madison Park, if it doesn’t reach the density of average cities/neighborhoods, it’s not a priority for transit upgrades.

      10. Daniel, “Lake City” does not get express buses post-Northgate Link. They will all be gone. Lake Forest Park and Shoreline will get express buses to SLU and First Hill, and they’ll stop at Northgate TC, so folks from Lake City could transfer (there’s that word) to them instead of Link at Northgate instead. But that’s hardly “express buses”.

        You’ve been a good student in Transit 101, but there are a few topics with which you need remedial help. This is one of them.

      11. A Link transfer isn’t as bad but when you’re talking two buses that even with 15 min frequency you’re adding 30 to 45 minutes to your commute each way. So instead of 20-30 minutes driving you’re looking at 1-2 hours to use transit.

        First of all, if you have two 15-minute buses, at worst you are adding 30 minutes of wait time, not 45. As far as 2 hour commutes go, we aren’t talking about trips from Bothell to Burien, we are talking about trips to downtown and First Hill. That means Link and RapidRide G. Link will run every 8 minutes during rush hour, while the G will run every 6 minutes all-day. The only significant time penalty would be if you miss the bus that gets you close to your home, but that is true now. Miss the 218 and you could have a 20 minute wait. Miss the 216 and you could wait 30 minutes. With this change those buses will run more frequently, which means the potential wait time is actually less.

        It may be annoying to annoying to transfer. It may be a bit slower to transfer. But not a lot slower — on the order of a couple minutes, not ten.

      12. “ Lake Forest Park and Shoreline will get express buses to SLU and First Hill, ”

        Really? That might be incredibly useful to me when I get up there next. Which route is the Shoreline – First Hill express?

      13. Route 302 serves Richmond Beach, Aurora Village, and Meridian north of 175th before engaging in a somewhat confusing, hospital-centric loop through First Hill. Basically an extended 303 that skips Northgate. It’s a peak-only peak-direction route with four weekday trips each way. Pretty much any First Hill express is going to be peak-only, peak-direction, and (with the exception of the ones staying on Boren to hit SLU) taking confusing turns to serve the hospitals.

      14. if you have two 15-minute buses, at worst you are adding 30 minutes of wait time, not 45.
        You’re assuming the buses are reliable and run on schedule. If it’s not important that you arrive at your destination on time then yes, if the bus actually shows up you’re adding no more than 30 minutes to a commute that’s already twice as long as driving. If you have to be at work or an appointment on time you have to plan to catch at least one bus earlier than what it says on the schedule. For example, I used ST to go DT to catch Amtrak. It was critical that I be there on time. We allowed for missing one bus which happened because we watched it pull out ahead of schedule. The next bus was supposed to be there in 15 min but was 12 min late. We barely made it and only because traffic was nonexistent early on a Saturday. You throw another transfer into this and only someone that really has no other option is going to use the bus.

      15. The preoccupation about transferring once for people making 10+ mile journeys is a bit laughable to me. After all, there are parts of SE Seattle just 4 miles away that lost direct service to Downtown years ago when Route 39 was replaced by Route 50. While the connection at MLK and Alaska is dangerous, at least there are no stairs.

        I lived through this change. I have not heard of many riders regretting the change. My personal experience is that it’s much easier to predict travel times. OneBusAway and other apps make waiting for a bus much less stressful, and checking for a train is rarely done. Buses have low-floor front ends and the car platforms are level, so rolling luggage is easy. Rail rides more smoothly (to where it’s possible to do simple tasks if you get a seat) and it’s only a few stops before one gets downtown. The roomier trains make it easier to get somewhere away from the occasional “nuisance rider” that show up, and with fewer stops the worry that one boards your train car is much less.

        The “weakest link” is waiting for a sometimes infrequent bus on the trip home — and crossing the intersection mentioned above. I will add that vertical travel in a DSTT Station can also be a major hassle — and the failure to provide redundant escalators (especially going down) is a routine source of aggravation (especially for those with arthritis — which is more common with women).

        So all this chicken little complainers who expect limousine service don’t fully understand that it’s generally no big deal. If anything, light rail is often punctual to the point where riders don’t think of it as a hassle at all — so the main stresser is just between the station and home rather than the entire journey.

        Instead of speculating about it, perhaps talking to riders who are already doing it would be advisable to get a real-world perspective.

      16. If you are talking about talking to commuters on East Link about transfers East Link doesn’t open for two years, and no one on the Eastside is taking transit — at least to work in Seattle — let alone thinking about a commute to Seattle in the latter half of 2023.

        Commuters on East Link and their councils will figure it out. If the transfer from a park and ride to a bus to a train — and to another bus if you work in SLU — is better no one will complain.

        If a large number of commuters are still going to Seattle in 2023 (Weyerhaeuser just announced it is delaying in office work due to safety concerns in Pioneer Square despite spending a fortune on its new building that has very little onsite parking) and don’t find the transfer better after spending $5.5 billion on East Link they can drive directly to a park and ride that serves East Link, get a job on the Eastside, work from home, request subsidized parking from their employer rather than a subsidized Orca card which are about the same price, request their employer fund a private shuttle, or complain to the Issaquah and Sammamish city councils.

        The burden is on ST and Metro to make the trip on East Link including a transfer or two better as Al believes it will be or commuters will find alternatives, and ST and Metro can figure out a way to make up the lost farebox recovery, although I wouldn’t suggest a transit levy on the Eastside if a lot of commuters think East Link is a dud.

        Personally by early 2022 our firm will be located on the Eastside, even though I drive to work, which has been fabulous during the pandemic, so I have found my personal alternative.

      17. The preoccupation about transferring once for people making 10+ mile journeys is a bit laughable to me.
        Transferring once is fine. Great if it’s from an I-5 bus slogging through traffic to a Link frequent dependable ride with a comfortable station to wait in. It’s the extra transfer DT that starts to weigh on peoples decision to use transit; especially in the winter when it’s dark, wet probably late and if things return to some semblance of normal pack full. Commuters will tolerate sitting on a bus with WiFi much more than they will a three seat ride.

      18. The brilliance of the 1 Line is that it connects most of the key destinations in Seattle. Downtown. UW. Airport. Capitol Hill. Stadiums. Ferries are just a few blocks away. That means no double transfers for most trips.

        Stations and trains feel safer too! That’s an aspect that non-Link riders under-appreciate. Lighting is great! Cameras are everywhere. Long trains mean that a rider can keep several dozen yards away from perceived “undesirable people” on a platform — and ST security is reasonably visible when needed.

        Most of these destinations (except the airport) will also be directly reachable when the 2 Line opens — as will the region’s busiest shopping mall at Bellevue Square (albeit with a little walk).

        Further, connecting buses get viewed as shuttle hops. Once they show up, a rider will only be on one for less than a few minutes. The short distance also makes pickups by a household member or even a ride hailing service quite easy.

        So while double transfers are aggravating, they won’t predominate — and we’ve when they do, they won’t seem particularly punitive. Link is almost viewed as a sideways elevator by those that use it, and when 2 Line opens that will be especially true for the DSTT/ UW/ Northgate trunk (with 5 minute all-day service to 10 pm).

        It’s not noticeably punitive! I promise!

      19. Hmm, when I suggested on this blog safety was a big reason for the 1/3 drop in ridership on the 550 when it was removed from DSTT1 everyone got defensive, although Al now uses the safety of light rail stations compared to bus stops to support transfers.

        The key though is commuters to Seattle only find the light rail stations safe during peak commute hours, because of the crowds. Very few Eastside women are going to feel safe in a nearly empty light rail station in Seattle.

        One of the most common mistakes transit folks make is not understanding the “first seat” begins at your front door, not the first form of transit. This can include a very long walk to a bus stop, or a drive to a park and ride. The bus is the second seat, not the first.

        For someone driving to a park and ride to choose to go to a park and ride to catch a bus to go to East Link would be like someone on a feeder bus going to Link to get off that bus and get on another bus going to the same Link station. Why?

        By far the number one option commuters to Seattle will opt for is to drive directly to a park and ride that serves East Link since they are already in their car. In fact, that is exactly what they did pre-pandemic on the Eastside.

        Since S. Bellevue has 1500 stalls, and Bellevue has great shopping and restaurants post work, that is where I would go to catch East Link to go to Seattle if I lived in the Issaquah and Sammamish areas.

        This isn’t what Bellevue or Bellevue citizens want, and if the work commuter returns my guess is many Bellevue commuters will complain to their council that THEIR park and ride is full by 7 am.

        That is Mercer Island citizens did, but ST doesn’t give a shit what Mercer Island thinks. Bellevue isn’t Mercer Island, especially if the Issaquah council is on the line too.

        Maybe it is different in Seattle, or off peak, but transit on the Eastside can’t force citizens to do what they don’t want to do, especially post pandemic when everyone has — and prefers — a car.

        As a city employer I can tell you we need these Eastside commuters, and Seattle alone is a big problem without a long commute, and the 550 taught us these commuters will find alternatives if they don’t like the transit, and that was pre-pandemic before WFH and so much employer subsidized parking. .

      20. I’m one of those people who will be having a two-seat ride from Issaquah Highlands instead of the previous express and I’m completely fine with it.

        Transferring to Link will almost certainly add time in the morning. Coming home in the afternoon, transferring will likely be faster many days and certainly way more reliable. Coming from the Westlake area, buses just creep through downtown many days. With Link, travel time will be identical to Mercer Island basically every day and east of MI, the carpool lanes usually flow pretty well.

      21. I suppose that depends on your wait for a bus heading east on Mercer Island. If you are going to a park and ride in Issaquah served by all three buses you should be ok. Otherwise you could have a 15 minute wait on Mercer Island during peak hours.

      22. @Al,
        We are in total agreement that Central Link will get the majority of riders to where they are going (UW, Cap Hill, DT, SEA) much faster and better than the last leg via bus. I fully support that. The two major destinations Link doesn’t get you is S. Lk Union and Pill Hill. That’s why I understand Metro continuing to run buses to those two destination rather than forcing a second transfer DT.

        There are options to mitigate the deadheading problem. I’d bet there are people that want to commute from 1st Hill to Renton (or W. Sea). I know for a fact people want to get from Renton to Bellevue and from Bellevue to the UW and UW to S. Lk Union. If a bus made that loop (or part or some alternate) it would likely be time to return to base. S. Lk Union buses could go to W. Seattle and/or Ballard. Metro needs to look at this like a logistics company (think Amazon or UPS) instead of the locked in single purpose routes. There’s more demand for peak buses serving an extended “core” than running far out to the exurbs. The exurb peak tends to be very early in the commute because distance==time and P&R lots are full by 7am.

      23. Thanks Morgan.

        Sadly, that 302 doesn’t work too well for the particular need. A friend works at one of the hospitals and their trip on Sundays involved a long, slow trip on the E and a 20 minute walk uphill as none of the connections on Sunday mornings work.

      24. An ideal grid network is that if you’re going in a straight line it’s a one-seat ride, and if you’re going diagonally it’s one transfer. This requires major destinations to be in a straight line, a large percent of people live near stations, the subway lines and bus lines are in the optimal places, all bus lines connect to at least one train station, the buses are always frequent and reliable, and the transfer distance between bus stop and station are short.

        Pugetopolis fails in all of these to some extent. The largest job centers and urban villages aren’t in a straight line, there are extensive distances and low-density houses between them (instead of on the periphery), some stations aren’t in the center of their villages, the bus network is less than ideal.

        But one thing ST2 Link has going for it is it serves most of the large destinations in Seattle’s long axis, will do the same in the Eastside, and it at least knows what the largest cities are in the far north and south. The bus network is a work in progress with limited service hours, so it’s good in some ways for some people and not so good in other ways for other people. We, the transit fans, are trying to collect all the ways it falls short: which trips are 3- or 4-seat rides, how common those trips are, etc. It can be hard to see the diversity of trip pairs, to keep track of all of them in your head, and to evaluate some of the suggested changes in comments (i.e., they’d make some people better off, but are there other people they’d make worse off?). Still, we try, and that’s a work in progress too. I for one welcome hearing about people’s unusual trips and how well the network serves them, so I can think about whether the network can be improved.

        Finally, Stride is an unsung hero. We should think of it like Link because its function will be similar. So we talk about the Central Link and East Link corridors and all the things that aren’t on it. But Stride brings in 405 north and south and 522, and that adds many more areas.

    6. Since the 630 has a special number, it must be the van operated by Hopelink I’d heard about. Since I doubt there’s riff-raff ridership in Mercer Island, it must be the medical class riding it. I know little about Hopelink so I don’t know how good operators they are or the extent of its routes.

      1. I’ve ridden 630 a few times . I’ve never seen anyone in smocks or who smacked of a medical worker of any kind. Most riders were Asian retirees living with their kids on MI and going to get groceries in international district.

    7. Even if most high-paid doctors drive, that doesn’t mean there are zero taking transit. Some doctors are transit fans, or don’t like driving in traffic, or don’t like driving. A First Hill surgeon I went to said his he gets his exercise walking up Seneca Street every day.

    8. I can see the reasoning, even if I don’t agree with it. They want to minimize transfers from the suburbs. This way, someone who takes an express to Mercer Island can take an express to First Hill. They could have extended another bus (like the 218), but they chose this in part because so few people ride it. A bus like the 218 runs as often as needed, which means it could run a lot. That would either mean sending way too many buses to First Hill, or creating a weird combination (some go to First Hill, some don’t). This also operates opposite the 204, which means quite a few Mercer Island folks will have 15 minute service during rush hour.

      It will be interesting to see the ridership. Given the frequency, my guess is very few people will ride it.

      1. Longer run they have the option of increasing the frequency of trains between MI and either east or west as demand requires. It’s a good pivot point.

    9. asdf2: go further. Note that Route 630 was implemented from a special silo of funds after the fall 2014 reductions. Those reductions included deleting MI routes 202, 205, 203, and 213. One of the project objectives is to not duplicate Link. Route 630 seems to do so. It is also a small bus; it is a one-way route. Could the Route 630 hours provide more mobility if they stayed on MI?

      The piece also discusses Route 4. If Route 4 was revised to serve Judkins on 23rd Avenue South, would it have greater purpose. Note 23rd Avenue South is going to get electric trolleybus overhead. If unchanged, Route 9 would connect Judkins and First Hill via Rainier Avenue South.

      Note the walk between Judkins and bus service will be easier to/from 23rd Avenue South than Rainier Avenue South.

      Yes, the G Line may be added in about 2024. The network connecting Link and First Hill already includes routes 2, 3, 4, 12, 60, and the FHSC. Route 27 serves Yesler Terrace.

      1. I don’t get the 630. Are there really that many Mercer Islanders taking transit from the south end to First Hill during peak hours, even though the 630 is quite small? Wouldn’t subsidized parking making more sense for these riders? What are they doing now? They are not taking transit from what I can see.

        The 630 was originally designed to offset the lack of park and ride space and lack of intra-Island feeder transit on MI, and basically to mimic some of the private shuttles to downtown Seattle. I don’t believe it used the bus stops next to the park and ride.

        Its appeal was it served a few remote park and rides and was a direct shot downtown, but still you needed first/last mile access to those remote stalls. And then we learned that some long distance commuters like from Cle Elum would drive to MI and park in the small south end park and ride for the day to avoid paying for parking in Seattle, because their car was safe and there was space.

        Since MI is paying for part of the 630 I have reached out to the city to find out why it agreed to fund it post pandemic. Surely not for doctors or dentists.

        The biggest complaint of patients going to First Hill (usually the elderly) is there is no park and ride space on MI. Before the pandemic MI was looking at reserving some spaces at the park and ride (or building our own) for less than 8 hours/day a patient could reserve. But still what transit from MI went to First Hill back then, and today most clinics like the Polyclinic have plenty of parking for a reasonable fee. If I am ill do I really want to take a couple forms of transit to my visit, and a couple back home, when I could just drive?

        The city also wanted to reserve some spaces for working moms and dads who had to take kids to school and so arrived after the park and ride was full, but underground parking was running around $95,000/stall.

        Today of course there is plenty of space in the park and ride, and when I took the 550 this morning at 8:30 there were two of us on it, and there was one rider on the 550 and 554 that passed me as I walked east on N. Mercer Way to the bus stop. There was no fare from reason, and the ride was a straight shot to downtown and up 4th with no traffic.

        It missed my stop on S. Washington (you have to ring for a stop these days with so few riders) and dropped me off on 4th and Cherry, and man that area looks like Fallujah.

        There was no place to get a cup of coffee, all the lunch places I use to visit were boarded up, tents everywhere, and one dirty guy was walking around without any pants or underwear on. Everything looked dirty. I tried to avoid streets with tents on them until I got to my office, at least for two more months before we move to the eastside. It made realize I haven’t really left the office for lunch or to get a drink after work since March 2020.

        Are all the eastside workers and commuters who have disappeared really going to reappear when Covid ends, and take transit? I just don’t see it. It’s been almost two years now. Certainly not to downtown Seattle, and right now both the King Co. Courthouse and Weyerhauser remain closed due to safety concerns, and my walk this morning made me understand why. And this was broad daylight.

  2. I would suspect that Mercer Island has the highest MD to population ratio of any city in the state, so a route to the biggest hospitals in the state isn’t totally crazy, especially if MI is still picking up part of the tab.

    1. When I was in high school a woman at my church lived on Mercer Island and worked as a nurse at Group Health in Overlake Village. She drove to church; I don’t know whether she drove to work. (I’ll just note that her apartment, the church, and work were all on the 226, as I was. The route was something like the current 550+B+226+B.) This was during construction of the second I-90 bridge and the Mercer Island tunnel, so either Murrow Bridge or the East Channel Bridge were often closed, but never both at the same time. I asked why they never closed both, and she said, “Because there are no hospitals on the island.”

  3. Route 215 stop question: should the route take advantage of the Snoqualmie Falls roundabout to divert the route up to the roundabout and put a closer stop to the overlook on the north side of the Snoqualmie River bridge there? Unless there is a safety, roundabout radii or overall trip time issue, I can’t imagine that this diversion would be problematic — and the overlook gets lots of visitors.

    The Falls overlook looks about 2/3 mile away from the route as currently proposed.

    1. Generally, I like Route 215 as a concept. I’m just asking for a Snoqualmie Falls overlook stop. Better frequency would also be nice.

    2. That would be a detour on a route that also serves North Bend and the outlet stores, so I doubt it. There’s apparently an off-road trail from Snoqualmie to the Falls, and since people go to the Falls for recreation, a scenic trail walk wouldn’t be unwelcome for able-bodied people.

      1. Back in 2010 or so, this bus route went by way of Falls City and the falls. I only took it once, but the bus was quite crowded on a Saturday and i was the only one that got off or got on at the falls.

        It’s a busy tourist place to stop, but I think most of them are I-90 drivers on their way to/from somewhere else and stopped there because it’s sorta close to where they are anyway.

        I’m guessing most of the riders were employees headed to/from the outlet mall.

      2. Snoqualmie Parkway was built in the 90s or 00s; before that you had to go through Fall City or North Bend to get to Snoqualmie. The Snoqualmie Ridge new urbanist development was built soon after. The 208 continued on the old route for years, but was finally rerouted to Snoqualmie Parkway.

      3. When it served Fall City the route was known as the 209. Eventually the 208 and 209 ran side-by-side with the 209 running at peak and the 208 the rest of the time, the idea being the 215 would pick up the 208’s slack on Snoqualmie Parkway at peak (, The 209 and 215 became a victim of a budget crunch a year later (

    3. I don’t think a detour here is a good idea. As I’ve said in many past comments, the bar for adding a detour to a bus route should be extremely high – as in, more riders getting on or off at the detour stop than everybody else on the bus required to sit through the detour. Would Snoqualmie Falls, single-handedly, get more ridership than all of North Bend, including the outlet stores? Granted, North Bend ridership is hardly steller, but I would still say “no”. At 90-minute frequency, very few people will ride the bus out to Snoqualmie Falls either, and those that do, can simply walk from the nearest point on the direct route.

  4. With RapidRide G probably triggering a significant restructure, I can’t help but wonder if the Route 8 change should wait for that or not. The revision doesn’t improve Link access for anyone south of Yesler since it parallels Route 48, and those north of Yesler have buses directly to Downtown Seattle. So rather change the route twice in about a year, shouldn’t Metro just leave things alone until a full restructure is determined and change things once?

    1. This means that someone can walk to MLK and catch the bus (instead of walking to 23rd) to get to the East Side. It also means you’ve doubled up the buses along that corridor. This has value in and of itself, but also for connecting to the train.

      But yeah, I could easily see waiting until Madison BRT, which won’t be too much after East Link.

  5. It is weird that the 202 and 203 are on the “Central” map, but the other Issaquah maps are on the “East” map. If they were all on the same map, it would be easier to see what is going on.

    One big change is that the Issaquah Highlands Park & Ride is the new “transit center”, even if it isn’t called that. Every single Issaquah bus serves it. Sammamish to Issaquah, Sammamish to North Bend, Issaquah to North Bend — that is your transfer point. From there you have an express to Eastgate and Mercer Island (connecting to the fast train to downtown) as well as a one-seat ride to downtown Bellevue. From a transit perspective, it is center of the area.

    Looking at the land use, it makes sense. There isn’t a lot at that park and ride, but there is even less at Issaquah TC. In the land of the blind …

    1. The land use is one thing, the park-and-ride itself quite another. There are four bays, one of which is used exclusively by the Microsoft Connector. All buses have to make a single loop with only the two bays parallel to the garage separated from each other. Meanwhile Issaquah Transit Center has six bays on an island to serve what’s about to be three routes, and I doubt many people are going to catch an eastbound 202 that wouldn’t be fine with the 554 (or 203 in some cases). It makes me wonder if Metro or Sound Transit are preparing to shut down the TC and sell it to developers, especially if a future Link station gets built closer to I-90.

  6. After my car broke down outside Issaquah, I was forced to take the 554 back into Seattle form its “old town” (cute place). The bus runs between along a rather vacant road between old downtown and the transit center .

    Wouldn’t it make more sense for the 554 to operate along Gilman Blvd , providing better and more consistent access to the major commercial development in that area?

    1. It’s an express. It makes three stops in Issaquah: at the transit center, City Hall, and the Highlands. I don’t have a strong opinion on how many stops it should have; that’s mainly an issue for the people in the Highlands who would go through those stops. Bellevue Way has stops maybe like you’re thinking about, but that’s unusual for an ST Express route, and it’s only because it replaced an earlier route rather than being a brand-new route.

      Since the 215 will stop only in the Highlands, it may make sense to treat it as the express and let the 554 be more like the 550.

      1. The Metro-operated routes that serve Old Town (208, 214 in one direction, 200 pre-COVID, 271 when it didn’t end at the transit center) does what Jordan suggests, as will the future 203. The 202 is planned to use the 554’s route, so the 554 doesn’t need to serve the dual purpose of a local since there are separate routes to provide local service on both Newport and Gilman.

        At least when I lived in Issaquah, the 556 (and 555 when it existed) skipped Old Town and just got back on the freeway between the transit center and Highlands, so be glad the 554 was there at all.

  7. Can I ask why the 215 trips that aren’t going to North Bend aren’t branded as the 218, since near as I can tell they’re going to be identical to that route? Also it looks to me like the 269 is going to SE Redmond, not Downtown Redmond.

    I mentioned in another post that the 200’s route through Pickering Place on Park Dr gives it a better walkshed than the 269’s route on Sammamish Rd that runs by the state park. The downside is that it’s a clear diversion, and a more direct route may be more important for a route that’s carrying people from Sammamish out to Link at Mercer Island than a pure local circulator, but it’s still not a complete one-to-one replacement. (I also mentioned that Issaquah was considering a new overpass over I-90 at 12th Ave NW, which would make it easier to serve the area with a decent walkshed while also serving part of Gilman Blvd and the area south of the freeway, but that seems to be a low priority in its Mobility Master Plan with no guarantee of happening at all. Would probably be a good investment to accompany a Link station in the area though.)

    The section of MLK between Jackson and Massachusetts, and the Dearborn/Judkins portion of the 4, have become somewhat difficult to serve adequately. Both the 23rd/Jackson area and the light rail station serve as a magnet drawing the 8 to 23rd, and Dearborn is the only street going straight from 23rd to MLK between Jackson and Massachusetts. Since the 8 no longer needs two east-west streets to get to 23rd and back, I wonder if it could stay on MLK to Jackson and cut over to 23rd there, or is there enough stuff near 23rd and Yesler to keep the diversion there? Of course this would create the irony that the segment of MLK the 8 skips today would have service while everything south of it wouldn’t, but it makes a kind of sense since the 14 turns onto 31st, about as far from MLK as 23rd is (and I would guess based on the street numbers about a half-mile away from the latter), making the segment of MLK south of Jackson a somewhat less important part of the grid as the segment north of there (especially since 23rd and MLK keep getting closer and closer until by the time 23rd hits Rainier they’re about two-thirds as far apart as they were at Cherry). It’s not a great solution between Jackson and Norman because 31st dips a bit below the top of the ridge and is cut off from the street grid to the west, but that’s the segment we already established is difficult to serve.

    The 8 could cut back over to MLK at Massachusetts to make the 4 redundant again (and reduce redundancy with the 48 and 7), but that doesn’t seem like it’s that far north from the 4’s turnaround loop (though MLK between Judkins and Massachusetts is almost entirely crossing the I-90 lid). If I recall from the first “route 4 redundant” post, the main objection to deleting it was the question of serving the Lighthouse for the Blind facility at Plum and 25th. I don’t know if I mentioned this, but I had an idea that the 48 could use the 4’s routing on Plum and (possibly) Walker to pick up the slack and use MLK to approach Mount Baker TC, keeping direct service to the Lighthouse at the expense of a one-seat ride to downtown (an unconvincing objection) replaced with the nightmarish transfer experience at Mount Baker (more convincing but mitigated once Judkins Park station opens). An 8 that stays on 23rd south of Jackson could do something similar, with the added bonus of meeting Link again at Capitol Hill and reaching the pseudo-downtown area of South Lake Union.

  8. (Worth noting that the third “is route 4 redundant” post is a Page 2 post that’s two paragraphs long and doesn’t say anything that wasn’t in the first one.)

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