With the East Link Connections survey wrapping up Monday, it’s a good time to make suggestions if you haven’t already. The process of restructuring is about tradeoffs, and in any result, there will be both winners and losers. While no plan is perfect, I have two ideas for how I think the plan can be improved to further expand and speed up access to Link in the south and east study areas. One of them is in Newcastle and Renton, around routes 240 and 114, the latter of which is proposed to be deleted. The other is in Issaquah, around routes 215 and 269.

King County Metro 1998-1999 New Flyer D60HF 2399
Route 114, set to be deleted with the opening of East Link (image: Shane Ramkissoon on Flickr)

Newcastle, Renton

In the proposal, routes 111 and 114 are consolidated into an all-day 111. But while the proposal characterizes the 111 as a replacement for route 114, the routes are very different outside Seattle. Route 111 follows a unique path through Renton, and serves more of Renton Highlands than the all-day 105. The 114, however, follows the 240 through Newcastle, then follows the 105 a bit in Renton. Given that the 111 is the route without local shadow service, it makes perfect sense that this is the route chosen for all-day service. But while the 114 does have all-day service already along most of its local route, using it for trips to Seattle is rather cumbersome. Today, it’s a two-seat ride, requiring riders to ride east to Eastgate P&R before transferring to a Seattle-bound bus. But once East Link opens, it will become a three-seat ride with the loss of direct service to Seattle from Eastgate.

Taking route 240 to Seattle will require going out of the way, and transferring twice.

As far as three-seat-rides go, it’s not going to be that bad, at least going to Seattle at peak. Riders can catch a bus at Eastgate every 5 minutes, connecting to trains every 8. But it gets trickier going the other way when connecting back to the 240, which is not getting a frequency boost. And frequencies off-peak aren’t good enough for the three-seat ride to make sense to most people. Given this, and how most other areas of the south eastside are getting direct access to a Link station, route 114 riders would understandably feel like they go the short end of the stick.

An alternative arrangement connects the 240 to Link, while bringing in other routes to fill in the gaps.

A natural way to fix this would be to run the 240 up to South Bellevue Station like the 111 will be. This would leave some gaps to fill though. The route from Bellevue TC to Eastgate could be filled by extending the 270 to Eastgate (much like the short-run 271 trips of today), and the route from I-405 to Eastgate could be filled in by extending the 245 from Eastgate to a new layover space west of I-405. This would dramatically improve rider experience when going to either Seattle or Bellevue at all times of day, and trips to Bellevue College could be made with a transfer to the 245. However, since the 270 and 245 are both going to be generally more frequent than the 240, this change would not be revenue-neutral, and would require allocating service from elsewhere to cover the difference.


Route 269 takes longer to get to I-90 than route 215

Service in Issaquah is looking to be very good, with all-day frequent connections to both S. Bellevue and Mercer Island stations. In particular, Issaquah Highlands is getting 15-minute all-day express service to Mercer Island without stopping at Issaquah TC by combining the 269 and 215 (each every 30 minutes), but there’s a catch: the 269 takes longer than the 215 because it runs locally in north Issaquah, coving a part of deleted route 200. This means that effective headways will have to be uneven, perhaps 20-10 instead of 15-15. It turns out that this can be fixed in a fairly elegant way.

Having every 3 trips continue to North Bend allows the 215 to serve two other branches at 1/3 frequency as well.

Route 215 runs to North Bend, but only for one-third of trips. This means that two-thirds of trips will end at Issaquah Highlands. Instead of just ending there, however, these trips could branch off in different directions, serving other parts of Issaquah at lower frequency like the 215 does for North Bend. The obvious one would be to extend one branch along the 269’s local route through Issaquah, freeing the 269 to get on the fast path to I-90 and solving the problem. But what could the other branch do? Well, in light of the deletion of route 628, it could take over the on-demand part of that route in Issaquah Highlands. In our coverage at the time, we noted that the introduction of route 628 would bring on-demand transit options to a difficult-to-serve area of Issaquah Highlands, specifically east along NE Park Drive. Rather than an on-demand service, this would be a short fixed-route extension from Issaquah Highlands P&R, and would only run every 45 minutes at peak and 90 minutes off-peak. However, riders would get essentially the fastest possible connection to Link at Mercer Island Station, and Link’s frequency and reliability will ease the stress of a such an infrequent connection. But this change is also not revenue-neutral, and would also require service hours to be reallocated.

Got any other ideas of how to improve the East Link Connections plan? Leave a comment, both right here and on Sound Transit’s East Link Connections survey, and make sure you weigh in before the survey closes on October 25th.

64 Replies to “Improving East Link connections in Issaquah and Newcastle”

  1. The Newcastle issue, I’ve written extensively on in comments during past STB posts. It’s a problem. I have personally used the 240’s Newcastle section several times to access trails into Coal Creek or Cougar Mountain. It’s always been painful coming from Seattle, and the East Link restructure appears to be making things worse, not better.

    I like the basic idea of your proposal, although I think the 240 needs to serve Factoria Blvd. before getting on I-90, otherwise the Factoria->Newcastle connection becomes completely severed. The service hour issue can be dealt with in multiple ways. As I’ve mentioned before, the proposed 249 offers little value over simply riding Link to the nearest station and walking 10-15 minutes. That route can be cut altogether and very few people will miss it. Simply having only some of the 270 trips extend to Eastgate is another option.

    1. Ah yes, I’ve read (probably from one of your comments) that the old 240 took Bellevue Way like the 241. So I think that may be the better way to go, since the 240 can do that again except end at S. Bellevue. The connection to BC can be closed by leaving the 245 terminus the way it is.

      I think the 249 as a coverage route has value, but stringing it all into one route is a stretch, especially the way it is proposed. I don’t think it should go away, but the parts east and south of S. Kirkland should be separated.

      The south part can be taken by extending routes 202 and 203, a natural fit since they are also coverage routes. Beaux Arts could be taken by the 203 since it goes to S Bellevue, and the Clyde Hill part can be the 202 (similar to how the 246 works today). Further extending the 203 beyond Bellevue TC to 84th Ave NE could replace part of the 271 if there’s any pushback against its removal. Certainly an infrequent coverage route here would be a lot cheaper than the frequentish 271 here today.

      I think the east part of the 249 should be done as proposed except shorten the deviation to Link. It probably should divert only to Spring Blvd and only between 120th and 124th Ave. The connection to the 226 could be useful but the 249 shouldn’t go all the way to Bel-Red, instead the 226 could run on Spring Blvd to 124th (which would be really natural since Spring breaks off of 12th at a point on route 226).

      1. The thing about the 249 going to South Kirkland, you have to ask where in south Kirkland people are actually going to on it and how are they getting there. For most, I would argue that the two seat ride of Link->250 is a good enough replacement, especially if some of the 249’s service hours could be used to run the 250 more often.

        In practice, for many, it wouldn’t even be an extra connection. For instance, if you previously rode the 250 or 255 from downtown Kirkland to south Kirkland park and ride and switched to the 249 there, you’d just take the 250 from home, stay on a little further, and take Link. You walk a bit further at the end, but the trip is still a two seat ride anyway, and you spend less time waiting. Those taking the 249 west from Overlake would just take Link and walk, no transfer required.

        The subset of people benefitting from the 249, as proposed, is people who are going to and from a very specific set of buildings *and* are unable to walk half a mile on flat terrain *and* are willing to wait up to 30 minutes for a bus. All these and’s makes for a very, very tiny ridership base.

      2. I think it is reasonable to just eliminate the 249.

        I don’t! I agree that Bill G isn’t going to take transit to Burger Master; he has too many cars that need to get driven. The 249 north of BTC should be the route that covers Northup/20th. Connections to S Kirkland P&R are important. S of BTC I can’t comment.

      3. you have to ask where in south Kirkland people are actually going to
        The answer for the way the old 249 was routed was to connect with the 255; UW/DT Seattle/DT Kirkand & Totem Lake. The new 250 gets you there from BTC… eventually. S Kirkland P&R is like a Link station in respect to transfers.

        East Link can’t open fast enough since transit on the eastside has gone from not quite OK to abysmal. I can drive from North Bellevue to my job in Seattle in 15 min (AM); about the time it would take to get to the nearest P&R . Then it would be more than an hour to get to work. E Link, walk to the train station, walk to work, walk home; life is good… buses bad.

    2. I think it is reasonable to just eliminate the 249. The only reason there is service in Medina is inertia. How is it that Medina gets a bus route, but apartments next to Saint Edwards do not? They thought about it, but now those folks have to call microtransit. It is backwards — the folks in Medina should call microtransit, which would cost Metro practically nothing, since damn near everyone in Medina can afford a cab.

      But if you are going to have a bunch of coverage routes, it saves money to string them together. While the route overlaps in some places, it provides real coverage on most of its route.

      Great point about the South Kirkland Park and Ride stop. It is a meaningless detour. It connects to buses that you can connect to anyway. The bus serves Yarrow Point, where you can get to the 255. You can connect to the 255 on Northrup Way. Would you drive to South Kirkland, and then take the 249? I don’t see it. Not for an infrequent, relatively slow coverage route.

      That being said, this is a coverage route. It is not that crazy to go out of your way to try and pick up a rider here and there. Then there is the fact that there are no bus stops on Northrup Way between Lake Washington Boulevard and 108th NE. Maybe they didn’t want to mess with the hassle of adding a couple stops there, figuring it wasn’t worth the hassle for a coverage route.

      1. I’d be curious if the ridership of the Medina bus isn’t mostly geared towards housekeepers and such, who probably couldn’t afford cab-like microtransit.

      2. Nathan, our maid makes $100 for three hours each week, or three hours work before the kids went to college. Now there isn’t much to clean, but we don’t want to cut her hours because Covid has cut her and her husband’s hours. Not sure how much she declares, but she drives a minivan because at $33/hr transit is not economical, and the coveted areas she serves (MI, Clyde Hill) have little transit. The irony is a maid doesn’t want customers who live where transit serves.

        She and her husband are immigrants from Cambodia. Not the white privileged shit on this blog. I am talking Pol Pot. They both work regular jobs too for the health benefits, except Covid has cut their hours.

        We have used her for 30 years. Around 30 years ago she and her husband bought a modest home in White Center that is now their nest egg, so rising property values are not all bad. Her cleaning service saved their house during Covid and the Great Recession. She never misses a day.

        Your comments about her are condescending. Like most of her compatriots and working class she is a staunch conservative, because as she tells me too many white people don’t work.

      3. The fangs are gleaming, Daniel. We never expected that the leopard had really changed its spots.

      4. Dan, I’m not sure what set you off on my comment, since it was in response to RossB’s comment that “damn near anyone in Medina can afford a cab”. I had a bi-weekly housekeeper growing up, and she either took the bus or had a family member drop her off and pick her up. And this was a town not well served by transit. I don’t remember what we paid her because I was a child and it wasn’t my responsibility.

        There’s nothing condescending about the implication that people might prefer to take a bus rather than wait for microtransit or pay for rideshare or cab when that half-day job could be their only gig for the day.

        It’s obvious that you fundamentally abhor transit and transit riders, and I have no idea what you’re still doing here.

      5. The 249 north of BTC should be the route that covers Northup/20th. Connections to S Kirkland P&R are important.

        Yeah, but the weak part isn’t just south of BTC, it is south of South Kirkland P & R. That is more than half the route. You could easily cover Northup/20th by extending a bus like the 222 or 225 to South Kirkland.

        Of course there are people in Medina that want to take a bus. I’m just saying there are lots of places on the East Side without coverage. Why does Medina have a coverage route, but not Juanita Drive (south of 153rd)? The area around Saint Edwards has way more density (with a university to boot). The only reason is because Medina had a bus route before.

        By the way, I almost made a snarky comment about “the help”. As in “everyone in Medina can afford a cab, except the help”. (This is an insult to wealthy people in Medina, not the folks that serve them.) But even that is probably a stretch. House cleaners typically drive. They have their own cleaning equipment (often you can even see them driving around in company cars). I suppose there are some nannies that take a bus, but for a place like Medina, owning a car would likely be a requirement.

        Again, in an ideal world Medina would have bus service, just like various low density places on the East Side. Other routes that carry a lot more people would run often, instead of every half hour. But we don’t live in that world.

      6. Nathan, I apologize if I misinterpreted your comment.

        I stay on this blog because transit — and housing — are important to everyone, despite how often you use transit. You accuse me of not using transit, but neglect I live in a city in which all first/last mile access to transit has been eliminated even though as a whole we pay a ton of transit taxes. Hell, we even have to fund our own bus, the 630, because no one serves First Hill from the Eastside.

        Crummy and arrogant transit doesn’t help anyone. Sucking $131 billion out of the system for ST and the spine is not a good investment. Yes rail makes sense in some high capacity situations, but not for most of the three county ST taxing district, and not based on some silly Urbanist vision. I especially disagree with my subarea spending $4.5 billion on rail from Issaquah to S. Kirkland, and resent ST’s dishonest assumptions in levies. We can do much better. After all, I probably pay more in transit taxes than anyone else on this blog, and so far I am not too thrilled with my investment b

        Too often this blog is an echo chamber, and too often infused with class warfare, especially when it comes to land use that creates no affordable housing. You never want to get into a class war if your “opponents” have more money than you do, because you will lose.

        At the heart of it I believe transit serves people, it does not dictate their decisions or force your utopia on others. Very few choose to live based on transit, and residential property values reflect that. For too long ST and Metro and transit advocates have designed a system based upon transit slaves.

        This approach does not work on the Eastside or most suburbs. Driving is always the preferred mode during non-peak times, ,in large part because we have kids, and WFH has allowed commuters to not be transit slaves.

        When I saw the restructure for East Link I understood it instantly, because it understood the Eastside and WFH, and not ST’s delusional assumptions. But many of the posts on this blog tell me the posters still don’t understand the Eastside, because they think transit comes first. On the Eastside transit comes In around 10th, if you use it.

        I could live in a tent but if I posted on this blog I lived on Mercer Island folks would draw assumptions, but what amazes me is anyone familiar with downtown Seattle doesn’t understand transit more than anything else depends on safe and vibrant streets. But the class warfare blinds them to that fact, as though crime affects the wealthy.

        Look, I hope transit advocates get it right, considering they sucked all the money for social services out of the system. On the Eastside East Link will have little impact over buses, and the restructure understands that. I joined this blog because of the planned intercept on Mercer Island, but the pandemic, WFH, the slow realization of ST’s dishonest assumptions, and Metro’s limited budget to serve all of East King Co. did it for me.

        So now I follow this blog for the social justice of spending so much on light rail that impacts every other social need. ,

      7. And I have a friend who’s a maid without a car. She lived in east Seattle for decades and her clients are there, and now she lives in north Lynnwood with relatives and commutes to them. In between she lived in Mount Vernon with other relatives, and tried to find housekeeping jobs there but couldn’t; the most housekeeping jobs she could find were again in Seattle. (I asked her how she got to Mount Vernon, she said there’s a bus from Everett. She has to leave Seattle in time to catch the last peak bus northbound.)

        I can understand why other maids with cars might prefer Mercer Island and the east Lake Washington shore and ignore transit, if it’s because there are a lot of clients there and they pay more than other clients. I think my friend has also worked on the Eastside sometimes, somewhere.

      8. Again, I’m not saying Medina will get zero ridership. But when you are counting on a subset of a subset (maids who don’t drive to the house they clean) instead of everyday users, ridership is going to be tiny. Providing bus service to those folks is nice, but there are way more people who don’t have service on the East Side who would benefit from a similar bus.

        If you are going to have microtransit, this is where you have it. Not covering apartments and colleges, but places where the occasional house cleaner and teenager (without a drivers license) will ride it.

    3. Alex’s proposal has the 245 laying over at the pseudo-gated community of Newport Shores, where the people would probably scream bloody murder at a bus laying over there. Keeping the 240’s connection to Factoria means the 245 only has to lay over there. Alternately, I wonder if it would be worth it for the 226 or 203 to serve SE 36th St? For the 226 in particular, east of the park-and-ride, Eastgate Way pretty much serves a whole lot of nothing, and has the same midday frequency as the 240.

      1. I know a family in Newport Shores and they offered their club house for my son’s youth bike racing team to have a get together. There is a turn around BSD uses for school buses at the entrance. I’m guessing that’s where the proposed layover would be. I don’t believe there would be any “scream bloody murder ” over having better transit options.

  2. The beauty of East Link is how Line 2 will connect to so many areas with quick, fast, reliable service. I like your 240 comments because I think that the default Metro routings in East King should almost always serve a Link station if it’s going to be less than a mile or two away. I particularly like how your 240 aligns with the ramps to South Bellevue.

    1. Al, I’m gonna take your statement a step farther:

      Every bus route in King County should connect to at least one Link station, no exceptions whatsoever. Outskirts routes connect to one station, city and inner-suburban routes should connect to at least two.

      Once Federal Way Link is open, there is no excuse whatsoever not to do this.

      1. Donde, yes that’s the ideal!

        Amazingly, there are still a few routes even in Seattle that stop less than a mile short of a Link station. RapidRide I also doesn’t connect to Link.

        I suspect that post 2024, the public will generally expect every route to connect to Link except for niche services or services just too far away from a station.

      2. It’s not that simply. Sometimes, there’s a conflict between connecting to a Link station and having a bus that goes in a straight line. For instance, the 7 is a well-uses route even though it’s very slow precisely because it runs in a straight line through a populated area. Had the 7 been routed to take detours to Columbia City and Othello stations, I guarantee you, ridership would have plummetted.

      3. asdf2, the plan is to turn it at Henderson and loop at Rainier Beach. That will mean that it connects with six Link stations. It doesn’t have to deviate between Rainier Beach and Mount Baker.

      4. Every route certainly has its issues, asdf2. The route I was thinking about is Route 27, which Metro has proposed eventually going to Mt Baker station (replacing the Route 14 tail) but today it peters out in Leschi. Thus it’s not used hardly at all past MLK. Another example is Route 4, which meanders through the Judkins Park area but doesn’t connect to either Judkins Park nor Mt Baker Station. Again, the lack of connecting makes it’s tail barely ridden. I’m sure there are similar issues elsewhere in Seattle.

      5. I agree with asdf2, although I wouldn’t use the 7 as an example. Technically it does serve Link, as it runs downtown. Even the distance to Mount Baker is close enough to be considered a connection.

        With Link expansion, there will be very few routes that don’t connect to it. Partly it is because so many routes go to the three main areas (downtown Seattle, UW, downtown Bellevue). Some routes that used to connect to secondary destinations (which had their own express buses to downtown) now just connect to Link (345/346/347/348).

        But there are still going to be bus routes that don’t connect to Link. The 105, for example, performs quite well. It connects to frequent express buses to downtown Seattle, as well as local routes and expresses to other places. But mostly it just serves the area. Not everyone is going from Renton to Bellevue or Seattle. A lot of people are going from one part of Renton to another.

        There are also routes that will skip the nearby Link station. This is what asdf2 was getting at with the 7. The 12 is another example. It could go out of its way to get close to CHS, which would provide value for people headed north. But it isn’t worth the effort.

        The farther out you go, the more it makes sense to detour, or even terminate by a station. Northgate Station is a great example. It pulls in buses like the sun pulls in comets. This is appropriate, even though it is extremely wasteful. Ideally the stop would be on Northgate Way, so that the buses could reach it more easily.

        With Northgate Link, I believe almost all the buses in Seattle connect to Link, either by going downtown, or connecting at station outside downtown (44, 50, etc.). The one exception is West Seattle, which has the 22 and 128. In both cases this seems appropriate. You could just send all the buses downtown, but that would cost a lot more. Frequency on the buses would drop. You just don’t have that many people using the buses in West Seattle outside of rush hour — having buses like the 22 and 128 provide coverage/connections within West Seattle is a much better value.

  3. A related question: Should any route planned along Factoria Blvd SE ever move to 124th Ave SE? It’s much closer to the front doors of Target, has fewer long signals and is an easier street to walk across (from a bus stop). I could see this street serving 240 and 245 in your suggestion, for example.

    1. The problem is SB on Factoria Blvd buses can’t make the right turn onto SE 38th St. There may be a plan in the works to acquire some of the land necessary to fix this as it’s shown as ROW on google map view. If would make sense because it picks up a few more apartments, is much nicer place to wait for a bus and there’s layover space at Newport HS.

      1. Good point, Bernie. I bet that’s the reason.

        It’s a good example of why site designs where collectors meet alternatives need to consider bus turning radio. Given the amount of deliveries to the shopping center anyway, it’s an unfortunate circumstance. That design limitation probably stems from the 1950’s or 1960’s, illustrating how the legacy of limiting design can still limit transit 60-70 years later.

  4. route 114 riders would understandably feel like they got the short end of the stick.

    I could see that, but the 114 performs poorly. It performs below the 111, and well below most Renton buses. This includes express buses (like the 101/102), buses that make local stops on Rainier Valley before going downtown (106/107) or buses that never leave Renton (105). If you look at the census maps or an aerial view of things, it isn’t hard to see why. Once you get north of NE 4th, there isn’t much. There a few apartments here and there, but not many. There is also a lot of traffic, as drivers seek out alternatives to the slow moving 405 towards Bellevue.

    For much of its route, the 111 is kinda like the 105. It provides service within Renton, for an area that can easily justify it. Outside of rush hour, it connects very quickly to Link, for trips to Bellevue, Redmond or Seattle. This is the reasoning behind making it an all day route.

    There is no way that a 114 can deliver that. The 240 will mean riders in Newcastle have a slow ride to downtown Seattle. That’s fine, as it is essentially a coverage bus, south of Factoria.

    What is more worrisome is the fact that Factoria has a very poor connection to East Link, even though they can practically throw a rock at the train. They are too far to walk, but the only bus options are the 241 (40 minutes) or 203 (45 minutes). That leaves the 240, which only runs every half hour, and would involve an extra transfer, and a trip the wrong direction. If we are going to allocate service from elsewhere, this is where we should allocate it, not to provide more distant, lower-density Newport with a bus that skips over the most productive part of its route.

    1. I agree with a lot of this. I’m under no illusion that an improved 240 made to be 114-like will make trips to Seattle very fast. Though I think there may be a bit of a chicken and egg situation here with ridership. If the main reason ridership is low is because the 240 is very circuitous and takes forever to get anywhere, then that should not stop us from wanting to fix it. The way I see it, when we’re opening a transformational light rail line to the eastside, we should try if at all possible to avoid making transit access to Seattle go from C- to D-, when we could make it a solid B (lacking speed and frequency) which I believe something like this would be.

      Alternatively, I am more convinced by the workability and practicality of the 240 going to Factoria then I-90, and keeping the current 245 terminus. It also solves the problem you bring up with connecting Factoria to Link, being the most frequent such connection and augmenting the 241 and 203. It would also probably cost less than getting on I-405 early because it makes the situation with the 245 simpler and shorter. This would probably bring the 240 from a B to a B-, but I think it’s still well worth a bit of extra cost when you consider the proposal is D-, in addition to the improvements to Factoria.

      One critique of the way the 240 has been planned in this proposal is the almost singular focus on Bellevue College as the real destination of the 240. This is great for people who go there, but there is no reason to keep the 240 in largely in its current form when it seems contorted to avoid Link rather than meet it (especially in an environment where *Sammamish* and *North Bend* are getting a Link connection). This is a recipe for the 240 to have low ridership forever, and leaving a fairly geographically large region to another generation of car dependence.

      1. When it comes to southwest Bellevue I’d break the challenges down into two issues.

        The first issue is the ‘triangle’ of South Bellevue P&R, Factoria, and Eastgate/Bellevue College. Lacking resources to saturate the triangle with frequent service, the hub-and-spoke compromise is to choose a hub vertex and provide frequent service to the other two vertices. Before Link, Factoria might have seemed logical, but it has a terribly constrained road topology that ‘traps’ buses once they’re on Factoria Blvd. With Link, South Bellevue Station — despite sitting in isolation against a wetland — has a strong case for being the hub.

        The second issue is the legitimate concern that more than one transfer gets unpalatable. The Mercer Island-to-Issaquah ‘fanout’ 215-218-269 (as I’m recalling someone has noted) is conscious to this. By starting 240, 241, and 203 at SBS and running them all down Factoria Blvd, one can synchronize their schedules to evenly space SBS-toward-Factoria transfers. (That may not be as flawlessly achievable in the other direction, but in that case at least Link itself is highly frequent.)

        I think this is reasonable on the other spoke as well: a couple routes that connect SBS to BC (its center, not just Eastgate Freeway Station) that can be synchronized for frequent service to BC before fanning out to BC’s north/east. (As I’ve noted, I believe the 223 is a better candidate than the 226 for this.)

        Granted, taking this so far may put more pressure on SBS than it can bear — the need for layover spots, charging facilities, etc., grows considerable. Also, one can still have a route give a one-seat ride Factoria-BC, but it can be a tail of a lower-frequency route focused on weekday midday service — the 226, perhaps.

      2. (A correction: in the current proposal the 241 doesn’t terminate at South Bellevue Station. One could still attempt schedule synchronization by timepoint.)

      3. The 240 started to go to Bellevue College in the 2010s because some Renton residents said it was hard to get to the college. (Who knew that Rentonites went to Bellevue College?) Before then the 240 went up the west side of Factoria to South Bellevue and downtown Bellevue, so to get to Bellevue College you had to go to Bellevue Transit Center and take the 271 I guess. So Metro rerouted the 240 and created a 241 on the old routing or something like that, and then they changed again once or twice, to the current pattern.

        So now Metro wants to keep the Renton-college pattern for all the students, and it dovetails with Metro’s post-2020 equity emphasis, since Rentonites and community college students are favored under that formula.

  5. I don’t see that the core of Crossroads — the area along 156th just north of NE 8th, where multifamily residences and businesses are concentrated — gets much benefit from the current proposal. The proposed 226 has a ‘tail’ from Eastgate to South Bellevue, but 226 would cross 156th at Northup instead of serving the Crossroads core. To me the proposed 223 is more worthy of getting the South Bellevue ‘tail’, so the Crossroads core gets one-bus access to South Bellevue and its many transfers.

    I’d like to build on what others have noted about proposed 249. I like that it serves Yarrow Point Freeway Station, as the transfer options there are extensive, but I agree that having it serve South Kirkland P&R doesn’t add much benefit. If 249 just uses SR 520 between Yarrow Point and the 124th/Northup intersection, it starts to look more valuable to those in eastern Bellevue as a one-bus means of getting to the transfers concentrated at Yarrow Point.

    The Spring District/Bel-Red area presents a dilemma: west of 130th the 226 is rather duplicative of Link, while east of 130th the 249 is somewhat duplicative. Stitching the non-duplicative segments together — ‘fast 249’ (skipping South Kirkland P&R) from Yarrow Point to 130th, then proposed 226 to Crossroads (preferably through it, but the proposed routing does serve apartments on 164th at least), then current 221 to lay over at Eastgate — yields a coverage route that gives a populous non-Link neighborhood (Crossroads) access to Yarrow Point transfers.

    (With a ‘226-249 amalgam’ such as this, the idea Alex noted of having the 202/203 take some or all of the western part of the 249 seems desirable, though I’m not sure if there’s room for two buses to lay over at once at Yarrow Point Freeway Station.)

    Even if replacement service were provided along 148th between 24th NE and 40th NE (e.g. as a tail of the 225), I imagine the other eliminated segments would more than pay for bringing the Eastgate-South Bellevue tail up to the 223’s service level (which benefits not just Crossroads but Bellevue College as well).

    1. Does Crossroads need more benefit? It has RapidRide B to downtown Bellevue and Overlake Village and Redmond, and the 245 to Eastgate. I’d’ve thought it already has what it needs in terms of routes, it could just use a frequency boost.

      1. I think you’re right: a frequency boost on the B line (and perhaps a lesser boost of the 223 or 245) would give Crossroads a solid spread of transfers to/from Link. In particular, coming from Seattle, Link ought to be fast enough that even transferring at Overlake Village or Redmond Technology to get to Crossroads would work (esp. with OneBusAway handy) and might not even add much travel time. More likely to get a seat on the bus as well, I imagine.

        Notes on weekday evening frequency, for reference: on the B’s proposal PDF, oddly the after-7pm figure is “30” for both Current and Proposed; I’d expect this to be “15-30” at least, with 15 min favored until rather late. For 223 it’s “30”; for 245, “30-60”; and for 554 (as a point of comparison), “15”.

        As for my sensing wasted potential of buses terminating at Eastgate instead of South Bellevue: I may need to adjust my mindset more radically after years of viewing Eastgate as a focal point. For transit users focused on Seattle and Link, Eastgate will be off the beaten path. It can still provide transfers like Issaquah-Factoria or Issaquah-East Bellevue, but bus usage may be shaped more by the destinations of those who park and ride. For those riders, the dominant destination would probably be DT Bellevue.

        W.r.t. relative need among Eastside neighborhoods: Factoria’s need appears greater. A bit poignant that the proposal severs the only Factoria-Crossroads-Overlake bus link (already tenuous as the current 245 lays over at Eastgate, making one direction discontinuous).

  6. Issaquah has problems, but the problem you mentioned is a small one. Westbound, you have eight buses an hour heading towards Link from the Highlands. I would time the Metro buses so that they serve the park and ride every 15 minutes, but even if you don’t, it will be OK. At worst someone takes an ST bus (which will definitely run every 15 minutes). At Eastgate, they would be out of order, but you have the ST buses running every 15 minutes, so it is OK, if not ideal.

    Westbound Link riders have to choose between Metro (Mercer Island Station) or ST (South Bellevue Station). But either way, they should get regular 15 minutes service. Riders from Eastgate get 8 buses an hour, and hopefully the two agencies coordinate to provide regular 7.5 minute service from there.

    The weakness is that they serve two different stations, not that they will arrive at their destinations at different times. That is a lot of service, that can’t possibly be coordinated eastbound. At least, not from Link.

    There are other weaknesses. Even though you have lots of buses traveling through Issaquah, they serve very few places. The 554 will run through central Issaquah, but detour around the main part, and probably make very few stops. You’ve got all these buses, and unless you live within walking distance to a park and ride, you will have to drive. For that matter, unless you are up on the hill or heading to downtown Bellevue, it makes sense to drive to Eastgate, since you have way more buses to Link.

    I suppose Issaquah Transit Center is handy at rush hour, but that’s about it. As a transit center, it seems dead. You can make connections to the 202 (which runs every hour) or the 203 (which runs every 45 minutes) but its a real stretch to call it a transit center. My local Pinehurst Safeway seems more like a transit center; you’ve got the 75, the 347 and the 348 (wow!). Seriously though, I expect more transfers there than at the Issaquah Transit Center (and more riders to boot).

    1. Though I was confused at first, it’s clear to me that they intend to treat Issaquah TC to Link and Issaquah Highlands to Link as two independent corridors (probably for the better) and thus it’s OK to send them to different stations. From that understanding it makes sense. I also get the tension between the two stations. I think Mercer Island is better for the overall experience since in general, more people go to Seattle, but the 554 has a particular reason for going to S. Bellevue instead. I think the weirdness is limited though, and in practicality the two branches really will be separate. If you’re going to Issaquah TC from Seattle, you will choose the 554, and if Issaquah Highlands, then you will choose the 269/215/218. Even though the 554 still goes to Issaquah Highlands, there’s still little ambiguity in the decision, and the 554 will be understood to be to connect at Issaquah TC, or to get to Bellevue Way or downtown Bellevue if you don’t want to transfer.

      As you point out, the biggest ambiguity is at Eastgate, but the fact that both branches are still able to operate all-day frequent service independently averts an unacceptable situation. And I think the ambiguity is largely self-resolving. Since trips to Seattle are a few minutes faster from Mercer Island, and trips to Bellevue are a few minutes faster from S. Bellevue, then as long as you have a choice, then you know the right one. Certainly if you are watching OneBusAway and know you’ll get a better transfer by staying on the train longer, then that may be doable, but it still won’t be a horrible experience if you don’t. Though at peak there are 5 minute headways at Mercer Island, which is so frequent that I think in that one case it generally makes more sense to stay on the train until Mercer Island even if coming from Bellevue.

      And I do very much appreciate that they found a way to provide frequent Link connections to both Issaquah TC and Issaquah Highlands without having the Issaquah Highlands route detour to Issaquah TC.

  7. Someone might have mentioned this, but the page for the 554 has changed. This is the old version: https://web.archive.org/web/20210916224049/https://oohsteastlinkconnect.blob.core.windows.net/media/Default/maps/central/554.pdf. This is the new one: https://oohsteastlinkconnect.blob.core.windows.net/media/Default/maps/central/554.pdf. So the default ending of the bus is at the Issaquah Highlands Park and Ride, not South Sammamish Park and Ride. Fair enough.

    What confuses me is the “Select Trips” to Redmond that somehow don’t manage to connect to Link. WTF? I can understand why you want to run some of the buses to Redmond. Maybe only during rush-hour, or maybe you want to run half the buses there, opposite the 269 (although that would be hard to time northbound). But I don’t get why you would end right before connecting to Link. Maybe it is just an accident in the way they made the map. Unlike the Metro pages, the ST pages looked they were drawn with crayons. It is possible the planners have every intention of ending at the same bus stop as the 269 (at a Link Station). It is just weird.

    1. My guess is that the “select trips to Redmond” is simply deadheading buses on their way to East Base. Sound Transit is not willing to add extra driver time by detouring the bus into the station, but is willing to allow passengers to ride through Sammamish, if the bus is going that way anyway.

    2. I believe right now those select trips into Sammamish are just a handful of runs during peak, not all day service at a lower frequency. Asdf2 may be correct that this may have more to do with leveraging deadhead routes to give Sammamish a nice-to-have 1-seat ride to Seattle, but with the 269 now proposed to run all day into Mercer Island, these select trips make no sense unless the 554 is literally running this route anyways … and I don’t see why it would if it was going to East Base, as the right thing to do would be to put buses in/out of service at South Bellevue. They should just kill it off.

      I agree NE Redmond stop not being the Link station can only be sloppy map design.

  8. RE: Factoria has a very poor connection to East Link
    It seems both Eastgate/BC and Factoria have enough ridership to warrent a frequent connection to Link (either South Bellevue or BellevueTC). It might be worthwhile to consider a gondola line until the 4 line gets built. That would allow Issaquah buses to go to Mercer Island if you’re heading towards Seattle or take the gondola towards Bellevue.

    1. Unfortunately, the 4 line as envisioned will stay north of I-90. It won’t serve Factoria well by any stretch of the imagination. This saves two crossings of I-90, at the cost of skipping a major activity center.

      Penny-wise, pound-foolish again.

      1. Then a gondola (or people mover) may be a good complement even long term.
        I was looking at Singapore transit system recently. They have an amazing metro and use people movers and gondolas to bring people to the metro stations if those neighborhoods are not served directly by the metro.

    2. Yes build a gondola, or put in a shuttle bus from the station to Factoria which would take about 7 min and could be done tomorrow. Hmmm T-mobile might even even get involved if they determined it was a benefit to employees.

    3. Won’t there be a Rapid Ride route going straight up Factoria Blvd? Seems like having a frequent, quality bus route will be sufficient?

      Hopefully they can figure out how to move the line a bit closer, but ultimately it won’t be that different than the Judkins Park station in terms of the station being elevated and within the freeway envelope. I don’t think it’s worth hundreds of millions in flyover ramps just to move the station over 100 feet, unless there was an appetite to pull the station more into the middle of the neighborhood? Would probably be better for Bellevue to grow the neighborhood north of I90 around the station area, in addition to the midrise all to the south.

      1. Of course the station should be “moved into the center of the neighborhood”. Ideally there would be two, one for the west side of the Boulevard a bit to the south of 38th, with a STRide station adjacent and one by T-Mobile.

        That means they’d need to be less grand than ST’s usual edifice complexes.

        There’s relatively little room to develop the area north of I-90.

      2. The 240 was to be upgraded to RapidRide in Metro’s long-range plan, but that’s all up in the air now. The countywide Metro Connects levy still hasn’t happened, and the long-range plan has been offline for months, so who knows what Metro is thinking now.

        There’s also RapidRide K, which in its last incarnation would have gone from Totem Lake to Kirkland, Bellevue, South Bellevue, and Eastgate (maybe Factoria). It’s on hold now due to lack of funding and Metro’s new equity emphasis (which doesn’t include the K corridor). The K’s funding went to the I (Renton-Auburn) instead, and after that another South King County line. (Which one? Maybe KDM-Kent-GRCC, or the 181, or possibly the 240 I suppose. Then the K might come after that.)

      1. A fully automated gondola is cheaper to operate than frequent bus service. Translink found that a gondola would be 30% cheaper to operate up Burnaby mountain than buses. That did not include a switch from current buses to BEBs.

      2. That’s up a mountain. Factoria Blvd is a flat, straight road with perfectly functional sidewallks.

        Shoot, it would be cheaper to have a docked bikeshare system for just Factoria with a giant bike dock at the L4 station.

      3. No point along Factoria Blvd, but a gondola could connect Eastgate and Factoria straight to South Bellevue across the slough or even BTC along Lake Hills Connector and wouldn’t get stuck in traffic.

      4. The advantage of a gondola is that it would be a good way to avoid Mercer Slough environmental issues as well as scale some of the hillsides.

        I generally prefer cable liner systems over wire gondolas, but to be fair, gondolas can be advantageous in the right circumstances.

  9. 45/90 minute frequencies on the North Issaquah segment of the 269 seems iffy to me. The 200 had pre-pandemic frequencies of 40 minutes at mid-day and to my knowledge never ran less often than hourly (in fact I think it might have been half-hourly when I lived there), and the 269 has long served the area at least hourly as well. This for an area that’s part of Issaquah’s Central Issaquah plan to focus development in anticipation of Link. You might as well either have the 215 serve North Issaquah at all times or have the 202 serve the area (or 203 with the 202 taking the 203’s proposed routing) instead of following the 554’s Newport Way route that serves little in the way of unique destinations. On the other hand, your proposed indirect routing for the 210 that would only be useful for people going to and from North Issaquah might be able to keep the 200’s routing on Park Dr with its better walkshed.

    (Would running every other trip as a 210 and giving the 211 and 215 two-hour frequencies be justifiable?)

  10. “The answer for the way the old 249 was routed was to connect with the 255”

    Right, but post-2023, does a connection between 20th/130th and the 255 really matter anymore? I would argue, not enough to justify running an extra bus over. If you’re going west to Seattle, you just walk to 130th St. Link station and ride the train around over I-90. This will be substantially faster than waiting for all those connections going 249->255->Link. Even if the ultimate destination is the U-district, I’m not sure 249->255 would be much of an advantage over riding Link around through Mercer Island and downtown Seattle. Link is longer in distance, but the combination of much better frequency, better reliability, and a one-seat ride compensate for that.

    Alternative, if you’re imagining connecting to the 255 going the other way to go to Kirkland, again, having a bus from 20th to South Kirkland P&R is again unnecessary. The 250 also goes to downtown Kirkland, so just ride Link to Whole Foods Station, walk to 116th/10th, and board the 250 there. Slightly longer in distance over 249->250, but the frequency advantage of Link over the 249 more than makes up for that. (There is also no need to go out of the way to Bellevue Transit Center – the walk between bus and train and Whole Foods Station is only about 900 feet).

    Besides the 250 and 255, there really isn’t anything else to connect to at South Kirkland P&R. I guess there’s the peak-only ST 544 to SLU, but again, just riding Link to Westlake Station and either walking or connecting to a bus in downtown Seattle feels like a better option.

    That basically leaves destinations within walking distance of South Kirkland P&R itself as a reason to want to ride the 249 there from the east. Which is basically one apartment building, a couple of condominium complexes, and a few low-rise office buildings. That leaves some potential value out of the 249 (e.g. maybe someone who lives by 130th St. Link Station rides the 249 to work at an office building next to South Kirkland P&R), but ridership feels inherently limited, and I would still argue that it would be better for the system as a whole if the three people in this situation just made the Link->250 transfer in exchange for some of the 249’s service hours being used to beef up frequencies on the 250.

    Another way to think about it – if the 249 did not already exist, would Metro be proposing to create it now, as part of the East Link restructure? Almost certainly, no. The only reason it’s proposed to run at all is because the route exists today, and Metro is being risk averse.

    If the 249 has to run, it should, at an absolute minimum, be cut back to weekday daytime hours only, as the low-rise office buildings by South Kirkland P&R it serves are not open on evenings or weekends. This would free up weekend service hours to improve frequency on the 270 from terrible to tolerable.

  11. I feel the primary problem with the way MT makes transit decisions is that they don’t fully grasp what’s important to riders. I want a fast ride into town that is competitive with driving. Frequency of trips beyond the half hour is pretty much irrelevant, yet that seems to be the only thing MT/ST ever discusses “improving.” I can schedule my trip around the trip times. What I can’t do is opt for a 45 minute bus ride over a 15-20 minute drive, regardless of whether I can start that trip at 1:00 and 1:30 versus 1:00, 1:10, 1:20, 1:30, 1:40, etc. Sure, it’s nice to be able to hop on the bus whenever, but it’s less nice to still have to wait an hour to get anywhere (I’m looking at you, “Rapid” Ride.)

    And overall, adding connections into the mix only makes that problem worse. Sure, it’s a 30 minute trip to MI, and another 15 minute trip over Link to ID, but there’s also a 10-15 transfer gap — especially the way MT/ST likes to make terminal connections, which is to say, horribly, with tedious long walks, stairs, escalators, street crossings, and so on (Link to SLU streetcar, anyone?) Even Seatac connections are less trouble.

    1. I think K raises a very good point that isn’t discussed on this blog often: how long the transit trip is. I think this is the primary consideration for work commuters rather than frequency.

      Depending on how accurately buses adhere to their schedule a commuter can plan for that. Commuters on the Eastside don’t just walk to a bus stop to catch the next bus. They generally drive, and park, to catch a particular bus. That part of their trip they can control.

      When you add transfers to trips you add time and anxiety. It is not unlike flying: everything is so frustrating getting to the plane, and such a hassle, especially if you are carrying anything while constantly checking the time because you CANNOT be late, that when you finally get in your seat and pull out the newspaper you finally relax. Your part of the trip is over. Changing planes is a huge pain, and starts the anxiety over again.

      When East Link opens every work commuter will compare their total trip time on Link vs before, because everyone has burned in their brain when they had to leave the house to get to work on time on the bus.

      Depending on volumes S. Bellevue and MI Link stations could be zoos during peak times (and MI is the last stop going west). Transfers will be aggravating no matter what because unlike a plane your seat is not reserved, and getting on the next train is not guaranteed (and same for a bus eastbound on the way home when an entire train unloads.). If you believe ST’s ridership estimates on East Link, and across the lake, this will be a real issue. Miss a bus on MI to your park and ride and you add 15 minutes standing in line outside.

      No one voted for East Link thinking it would make their trip longer, and my guess never imagined the transfers. I still think some express buses will run from Issaquah to Seattle during peak times, depending on WFH, with a stop at Eastgate, and those buses will be popular because they will be one seat and will be faster. Especially to SLU or First Hill. I just don’t think most commuters , or travelers, think let’s get on a bus or train or plane that isn’t going where I am going.

      I know some on this blog think express buses that mimic Link are wasteful, but not if Link is slower. After all the Eastside plans to build a $4.5 billion — which means $6 billion — light rail line from Issaquah to S. Bellevue to address this issue, which is a lot of money, and still doesn’t address the issue whether two train trips are faster and more convenient than driving or a one seat bus.

      In the end commuters will use them mode that is fastest, and if it is close which is more convenient and causes the least anxiety, just like they pay more for non-stop plane flights. ST thinks it will limit that choice by eliminating express buses, but Lake City and the 630 make me think Issaquah will demand the same even if Issaquah has to subsidize them. Issaquah has lots of money b

      1. Having been a rail+bus commuter for 22 years of my life, I have often felt this wait dread. I however never had it on the rail leg when frequencies are high. 10 minutes is about the frequency of buses that seems to make a difference. During peaks, East Link will be 8 (or 7.5).

        I commuted in a situation where two lines took me to my destination that had combined 7.5 minute spacing. My apprehension was quite low. Plus, real-time train arrival announcements made the stress go away even more as I knew if I should do something like rest my briefcase or sit on a bench.

        From DSTT to Lynnwood, we will have 5 minute frequency and 4 during peaks starting in 2024. That’s so frequent that — except for the physical effort (and inoperable or nonexistent escalators in both directions) — transferring never matters to many or most people on the one segment is that frequent.

        I’ll add that weather conditions also matter, and we are all soon to find out which stations are more comfortable from wind and dampness and noise. That’s a magnified concern for MI and JP station users as those are the only true freeway median stations that have been planned. With many upcoming stations to be up in the air next to a freeway, the waiting environment may also be somewhat unpleasant there. Even though waiting at an underground station sounds more unpleasant, the weather and noise protection makes the experience not that unpleasant (my rail transfers were all underground). This element of urban design is more important that even most stakeholders and designers realize until it’s too late (I expect lots of complaining about the John Lewis pedestrian bridge in a cold rain or snow event).

      2. Of course, travel time matters. I always plan my trips based on minimizing travel time. However, while minimizing transfer often minimizes travel time, it is not always the case. In general, Link is more frequent and reliable than buses, so waiting for it is a lot less of a deal.

        Of course, it’s tempting to say “we want the 630 because it’s faster”, and best case, it probably does save around 5-10 minutes or so. But, the problem is, routes like this do not scale. It works ok when you’re talking about connecting 2 neighborhoods to 2 employment centers. But, when you’re trying to connect just 20 neighborhoods to 20 different employment centers, the “direct connection” approach requires a whopping 400 different bus routes. Running 400 different bus routes not only makes the transit network a mess, it also require spreading service very thin, so anyone not working 9-5, Monday-Friday simply gets screwed over completely.

        Another way I like to think of it – it is always possible to make any one person’s commute faster – sometimes, much faster, by allocating a large enough chunk of the transit operating budget to a route that is tailor-made for that particular person’s commute. In an extreme case, the bus becomes like a taxi – home to work, door to door, nonstop. Great for that one person, but only by giving that person an unfair share of the transit operating budget that results in poorer service for everyone else.

        Of course, one way to “have the cake and eat it too” is when some organization outside of Metro is willing to cough up the money for the premium service. We see it with the 630, and also with private Microsoft/Amazon commuter shuttles. But, these premium routes come with a much higher cost per rider than a standard bus route, and the ability to get somewhere in a timely manner should not depend on having a sugar daddy willing to pony up the money for a premium route that just happens to match your commute.

        Anther thing about the 630, is that’s is ability to even be faster at all over Link->G is dependent on the absence of traffic. If the bus encounters any form of traffic delays – be it on the freeway, on the exit ramp – or on local Seattle streets that don’t have bus lanes – longer than it would take up walk up the escalators and wait for the G-line, all the time savings of the premium route that all that extra operating money was supposed to buy goes out the window. Given we’re talking about a route that only runs at all during the periods when traffic is at its worst, there will nearly always be traffic.

        All that said, as long as the 630 is funded entirely on Mercer Island’s own dime, at least its not taking away service hours from everyone else. But, Metro should not be paying for a route like this. Even if the operating cost is, say, split 50/50 between Mercer Island and Metro, it’s still a bad deal for the taxpayers and riders of Metro. Even the narrow interests of Mercer Island would probably be better served by simply running the 204 more often.

  12. Why is the 111 running on 405? Once Stride south opens, why not just terminate it at the 44th freeway station? Perhaps at peak it can provide overlay frequency, but off-peak Stride should be running often enough to just truncate the route and give the Renton Highlands a high frequency local feeder to Stride.

    Unless staff wants to spend all those service hours just to serve Newport Hills freeway station, which means the 111 is running in GP lanes while Stride flys by in the HOT lanes.

  13. Apologies if this was address in a different thread, but I didn’t see it discussed directly.

    On connecting the 240 directly to Link, why connect it via 405? The way the freeway interchange flows, particularly at peak congestion, the transition from I90 eastbound to 405 southbound is just awful. I think it would be much better to just run the 240 up Factoria Blvd as proposed, and then turn left onto the freeway (and really left onto Bellevue Way, the way the lanes actually flow) to get to S Bellevue and/or MI, if that is preferred over a right turn to Eastgate.

    The 245 could then provide the connection between Factoria and Eastgate as it currently does, but keep it’s current terminus and not need to extend all the way into the 405/Coal Creek interchange mess as Alex proposed.

  14. Issaquah Highlands P&R is a full Transit Center, with off street bus bays and layover space, so I think I’d lean towards just letting the the 215 end there and focus on express freeway service, rather than try to have it loop through local streets.

    1. Having a bus “loop through local streets” is the “Blue Streak” model which was a smashing success for Metro. It had almost died out in Seattle after Link reached HSS, surviving only in northwest Seattle in the Aurora expresses, and now is gone completely.

      Daniel is correct that folks in the suburbs aren’t going to take local service to a bus P’n’R to catch an express to a Link station. So having the expresses operate as Blue Streak collector/distributors “beyond” [e.g. away from the express leg] at the very least during peak hours makes sense. That’s what the three-way split idea offers.

    2. In some cases a neighborhood extension can be fair. In other cases it ends up privileging one street, while other streets indistinguishable from it go without. It’s better if it goes to a P&R so that all the surrounding neighborhoods have equal access.

      One place that needs neighborhood exenions is Renton. Most of the population lives east of downtown Renton, yet the 101 and 106 terminate in downtown Renton, forcing a transfer to the 105, 148, 160, 240, etc. There should be one that continues through to northeast Renton and another to southeast Renton; e.g., 101/105, 106/105, 101/160. This was easier when the 160’s predecessor only went to Kent rather than all the way to Auburn. Renton is too far east of Link to benefit much from it, and yet it doesn’t have any other compensation like a one-seat ride between east Renton and west Renton except some peak expresses.

      1. “In other cases it ends up privileging one street, while other streets indistinguishable from it go without.” This is less often the case in cul-de-sac suburbia where a single connecting road is the only real path to get anywhere. On the Highlands, Park Dr is clearly the main thoroughfare east of the Highlands Dr corridor, and it’s the only way to get east of Central Park, so a bus could conceivably take that path all the way to 25th and there wouldn’t be much argument. Other cul-de-sac-y parts of Issaquah like Talus and Squak Mountain would have similarly obvious paths if they were worth sending fixed routes down in the first place. On the other hand, with the completion of the SE 62nd St bridge there’s no one obvious path through North Issaquah and Pickering Place.

        What’s funny is this might actually be *more* of a problem in Renton. The 160 serves Talbot Rd but you could also head down the path of the 148 towards Fairwood (which frankly could completely obviate that route which only connects Fairwood and Renton), except the peak-hour extension of the 101 known as the 102 takes a bit of a different path so it can loop around the 906’s service area and head back north towards SR 169, and the 148 does a side detour down Royal Hills Dr and back (because someone had the bright idea to build an apartment complex on a cul-de-sac) that maybe could be served by a separate route, and while we’re at it could the area near 108th Ave and 168th St be worth serving, and heck, couldn’t the 160 take the more direct path staying on SR 515 and leave Talbot Rd for a separate route? Renton Highlands has two main paths out of the downtown Renton area in 4th St (served by the 105) and Park Dr/Sunset Blvd (served by the 240), but the 105 only goes as far as Union Ave and now the 111 is planned to bring all-day service to 4th/128th out as far as 168th, and maybe Bronson Way/Edmonds Ave is worth serving separately? I don’t know anything about the relative density of various parts of this, just noting that the street grid provides more options than in Issaquah, especially since Renton Highlands closer resembles an actual *grid*.

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