64 Replies to “Christmas Snowpen Thread: Dash8ing through the snow”

  1. This coming from Minneapolis. To survive the below freezing temps, you’ll need to cover your ***. You could do this if you have a long parka or a well fitted long peacoat. Layering is an absolute must–if you have thin Mereno wool shirts and leggings from your hiking experiences, use those as base layers below your regular clothes. Even though I’ve grown accustomed to Minneapolis freeze, I regularly ride buses and trains at dark and in temperatures below -10c with some moderate difficulty. Wear thick gloves, cover your head, and don’t go checking OneBusAway outside like I do. The air will feel crispy once you go outside, so that’s where my KN95 covid respirator comes in. Beware, the condensation does add up inside the mask, so lift it up outside every once in a while. And that’s what I’ve got. Enjoy your historic once-in-a-lifetime Seattle Freeze.

    1. That’s an old news post, not a page. Perhaps you meant this page? A lot of the info is still relevant. Is there anything you’d like to know that is not there?

      Sound Transit has a page that is relevant mostly if you are traveling between the airport and downtown (or anywhere else on the 1 Line / Link Light Rail).

      I heartily recommend not traveling other places until the omicron variant fizzles out, unless you have a truly urgent reason to do so. If you must travel, I still must urge you not to do so unless you have been fully-vaccinated for COVID-19, and if eligible, gotten your booster, and gotten a negative test result before traveling. Certainly be sure to have done all of these before traveling internationally. And wear an N95 or two masks any time you are around other people. Let us hope this advice has a short shelf life.

      1. I know a co-worker flying to FL for vacation first week of January. She’s been vaccinated, so she might be a test case of sorts.

  2. So, Metro has released the update to the Metro Connects plan:


    2027-ish highlights:

    -In addition to adding the usual suspects (RRG, H, I, J, K, R, 36/49, 40, 44), Metro wants to turn the 150 and the 164/181 into RR. RRB will also be split, with the west leg being joined with the 270, and the north leg with the 245. Finally, RRE would be extended to Montlake Terrace.

    -Metro wants to turn the following routes frequent: 31, 105/107, 128/131, 156/906, 161/168, 183/901, 225, 240, 331/345/347, 348, and a few other corridors I can and can’t sus out. It seems that this includes moving the 8 to Thomas/Mercer and adding service to Boren. I presume these aren’t the only routes Metro is planning on making frequent, as the 60 and 101 are both frequent but not branded as such.

    -There are number of local coverage restorations, like the 25, 28, 39, 47, and a lot of new connections in the suburbs. Included for one is the Renton/Issquah route, I’ve been on the record saying that I feel that the Issaquah/Renton connection should be done as an extended/rationalized version of the 114 (that terminates in DT Renton).

    -In terms of fleet compitision, Metro seems to moving closer to embracing “In Motion Charging”, or at least off-wire extensions of Trolley bus routes.

    1. Yaay for a plan. Right when my desktop computer conked out so I have to decipher it on a small laptop screen. I’ll put my comments in separate threads below because this will become a long discussion.

    2. I went through it. There’s a lot of general statements, but no route by route descriptions you are alluding to, at least that I could find.

      I did, of course, find tons and tons of talk about “equity” and “priority populations”. This is a huge change from the 2016 service restructure, where Metro was mostly focused on maximizing overall ridership, rather than trying to view everything through a lens of race like they do today.

      1. @asdf: The new Long Range Plan, around page 23. While they don’t show any numbers, there’s enough detail there (when also reffering to the existing map), that one can sus out what’s there.

      2. I don’t think Metro including race and socioeconomic status in their planning decisions means that they’re ignoring growing ridership. If I’m interpreting the LRP correctly, the big impact of that is just identifying three communities for additional investment (Skyway, Kent, SeaTac). It’s clear that Metro is still going to be running RR and other frequent service throughout the county, so this is not a return to the arbitrary 40-40-20 days, it’s just a slight deprioritzation of serving white, upper-middle class office workers with peak-only trips in favor of running a frequent all-day network that serves people even if they’re not loud and politically well-connected.

      3. Metro has looked at socio-economic factors for a long time now. They also incorporate regionalism. Otherwise buses like the 40 (the third most popular bus) and 7 (fourth) would be RapidRide, instead of the B and F (neither of which are in the top ten, even after the RapidRide treatment). If Metro was simply focused on the “biggest bang for the buck”, then the RapidRide program would look very different. We could really use off-board payment system wide, but if we can only have it on a handful of routes, we should focus on the ones where it would do the most good, and they clearly haven’t done that.

        But that is the way most systems work. It isn’t as simple as balancing ridership and coverage — there is politics involved. It is much easier to gather support for the RapidRide program if it serves people in various districts, even if those areas should be way down the list.

      4. I’m finding it very interesting! Thanks for the hyperlink.

        I think there was a desire to delve into the prior version’s specifics. I like how this version downplays doing that. Concepts shouldn’t be set in stone until studies and feedback from smaller areas are completed and future land uses and travel behavior trends are manifested. I do think that developing several specific 2032 action plans by region of the county would seem to be the next logical step.

        I find the 2050 target date interesting. That seems to be consistent with all of the Link lines and stations opened.

      5. The issue is whether it deprioritizes weekend and evening frequency in North Seattle, Central Seattle, and the Eastside.. Some expected increases may not happen if resources are shifted south. RapidRide will continue apace, but watch whether most of the new lines are in South King County and South Seattle. RapidRide H (Delridge), I (Renton-Kent-Auburn), J (Eastlake), and K ((Kirkland-Bellevue-Eastgate) already underway, funded by Seattle (J), or recently revived (K), so they will probably go through. Additional RapidRides may be all in South King County.

        King County/Metro is talking out of both sides of its mouth when one side says equity means shifting resources to South King County and South Seattle, and other side says areas deserving equity investment include parts of Lake City, Crossroads-Overlake, and Issaquah. (Who knew Overlake and Issaquah had concentrations of lower-income people/essential workers?) So it’s unclear which way Metro will go on this, but if its commitment to ridership falters, we’ll have to double our efforts to tell it to keep frequency up on all the core routes, including weekends and evenings.

      6. Page 23 shows a map. But, you can’t tell which segment connects with which. For instance, does the bus on 156th turn west on 8th or continue straight. In the map, it all looks the same.

        The map also shows the Bellevue->U-district route behaving like the current 271, rather than the proposed 270, which is inconsistent with the EastLink restructure process, and makes me question somewhat whether this map can really be trusted. They also show the RapidRide K, from Eastgate to Totem Lake, which I thought got cut (and I have mixed feelings about; I personally think Kirkland is better served just keeping the existing routes 250 and 255 as is, and simply boosting weekend daytime frequency on the 250 from 30 minutes to 15). STRIDE is also completely missing from the map, even though it’s supposed to be up and running by 2027 (even the 2050 map doesn’t show the I-405 STRIDE bus).

      7. @Al S.: I tend not to take the 2050 map super seriously, but the interim map I treat as more certain.

        @asdf: I percive the split as being there, as this is an idea that’s been almost as long as RRB.

        As for ignoring the East Link restructure with the 271, it’s one of many examples of the Metro and Sound Transit teams talking past each other. Just look at how this plan stupidly ignores BAR (And why I think the 150RR proposal is one of the worst thought out ideas of this). And no service on 5th Ave NE north of Northgate Way.

        @Rossb: The 2050 one yeah, but the Interim one is giving us a preview of the Federal Way/Lynwood Link restructures. Though of course it’s dependent on things.

      8. It’s not Metro not talking with ST, it’s Metro not talking with Metro, or rather, the difficulties in finalizing a weeks-long report while things are rapidly changing. The report is dated November 17th, which is over a month ago, and doubtlessly went through weeks of bureaucratic approval before that. All the Metro routes in the East Link restructure came from Metro; ST is just coordinating the joint outreach. The LRP map is subject to refinements as each district-level restructure goes through, so the Eastside restructure is more accurate than this map, at least for 2021-2030. RapidRide K was revived a couple weeks ago, after the report was published.

      9. What’s relevant in the map is which activity centers are connected at what service levels. The specific minor streets may change in the future restructures, and the tradeoffs of changing from the current routes may be reconsidered. This affects; e.g., whether the western part of the B will really be attached to the 270 in the end, or whether route 20 will remain or be broken up. The routes on the map are basically ideas at this point.

      10. but the Interim one is giving us a preview of the Federal Way/Lynnwood Link restructures

        I doubt it. That has *never* been the case. You can go back (if you can find it) and look at how little of the Northgate restructure matched the long range plan. Other than the obvious stuff (killing off the 41 and sending the 75 there instead) it just doesn’t match the plan. Consider the three options they considered for the Northgate Way corridor (to backfill the 75):

        1) Send a bus to Greenwood, but using 80th.
        2) No all-day service along that corridor.
        3) Extend the northern part of the 26 to Lake City, and replace the southern part with a bus that goes to the UW via 50th.

        These are dramatically different, and not a single one was in the long range plan. I am confident of this because I wrote three separate proposals for a Northgate restructure before Metro came out with their first one, and I would have definitely included that idea. That first idea is great, but I would have sent it to 85th. Instead, I simply had a frequent route going back and forth from Lake City to Northgate. My point is, no one was talking about sending a bus from Northgate to Greenwood (or what we ended up with, or what we almost ended up with) until the real planning occurred.

        That goes for other changes as well. I could be wrong, but the whole 79/74 thing is new (as originally proposed, or as what we ended up with). Again, this is dramatic stuff (running an east-west bus on 75th all the way to 15th NE). It would have been noted, and argued about, in the same way people are arguing these other ideas. I probably would have included it in my proposals, or the very least, mentioned it. I’m confident it was never proposed in the LRP.

        Then you have the obvious flaws as noted. Clearly the folks who put together the East Link restructure ignored the LRP (and vice-versa). Likewise, there are some very big, obvious flaws in what they have for Lynnwood Link. This is not minor stuff. For example, the Lake City Way corridor, which has had all day service for a long time (and now has frequent all-day service) will have no all-day service. The area around 20th and Lake City Way — that contributed to a considerable amount of the ridership for the 522 *before* they added all of the townhouses and apartments nearby — would get nothing. Or how about all the buses going across 145th. Sorry, but that is stupid. A bus approaching from the east has to go up to 148th just to get to the station. At that point, the obvious thing to do is go up to 155th, and cross the freeway there, avoiding the horrendous traffic on 145th. Sorry, but there is just too much scribbling on this map to take it seriously.

        Nor is it meant to be taken in that way. The map is merely an idea — what things could look like, and still be consistent with the rest of the plan. But it doesn’t get into the details like whether there is terrible traffic there, or a lot more people than there used to be living there, or where the station actually is, etc. It not a real proposal, and it is highly unlikely that it will even influence a real proposal, let alone be a preview for it. The parts that become part of a new network are simply parts that exist now, or are obvious changes that have been considered and discussed for a long time now. For example, you can have a new bus go to the 130th station, or simply send the 75 there, and then all the way to Shoreline College. As to whether even that gets into the first real proposal is anyone’s guess.

        This also explains why the map is purposely vague. You can’t tell where the bus routes actually are — only that certain corridors have a certain level of coverage. I could come up with several maps — each dramatically different than each other — using that map as a guide. That’s because it isn’t meant to be a real proposal, but merely a plan to give people a very rough idea of how much service they will get.

      11. I’m sure they looked at it. The same kinds of planners do both, so they have the same ideas. The LRP incorporates the cities’ transit master plans, and the restructures reflect the LRP and any newer or local changes. It’s like the difference between a high-level concept and a concrete service-change set, or Link’s representative alignments and what finally gets built. The LRP is based on high-level global concerns and giving a sample illustration, and the district retructures are based on looking more deeply at local concerns. If a restructure occurs three years after the LRP is published, that’s plenty of time for bad feedback to come in on some of the LRP’s suggestions, but the LRP won’t be updated for that, especially when “that” isn’t final yet.

        Still, it’s worth noting anything we like or don’t like in the LRP, because it may come back in the future. It’s also worth noting differences from the previous LRP, because that shows how Metro and the feedback are evolving. We have do that from memory because the previous map is no longer online.

      12. And the LRP is fiscally unconstrained, while the restructures are based on no or limited additional money. In an unconstrained plan you can turn one frequent route into two frequent parallel routes. In a constrained plan you can only do one or the other or something in between, and there may be centers that can’t lose a minimum level of service, so that prevents an innovation. For instance, the Fred Meyer to Fred Meyer route (Ballard to Lake City), routes on Aloha, the Son of the 25, etc.

        For the 155th corridor RossB mentioned, the previous LRP had a 65 extension going north on 5th, west on 155th, to Shoreline CC. That seems must-have to me. It goes directly to the station, 155th doesn’t have freeway traffic, and 155th & Aurora is a retail center and emerging urban village. If Metro has withdrawn this concept, first, we don’t know why. Did it really withdraw it? Was there negative feedback about it? Is the map just imprecise or are we misinterpreting it? The previous map had specific routes, while this just has colored streets, so it’s not clear which routes overlap where. Would the 65 really go north to the station, turn around and backtrack to 145th west? That seems unlikely.

    3. Based on history, I think we have to take these maps with a grain of salt. I’ve never seen Metro planning incorporate the ideas from previous restructures. The folks in charge are basically given a clean slate, and can come up with whatever they feel like (LRP be damned). Real planning (e. g. Northgate restructure) alters the LRP, not the other way around.

      It is nice to have ideas though. Much of it depends on funding, and a lot of the plan assumes a lot more funds that we are likely to have (at least in the short term). Complicating things even further is that Seattle may have a lot more money than the rest of the county.

  3. 3 inches of snow in southwest Capitol Hill at 7am and it’s still falling. The weather service says more snow this afternoon, and again Wednesday night to Friday, and below freezing to Thursday at least. So snow on the ground all week.

    Metro is on red snow routes, listed on the Service Advisories page. The route 90 shuttle provides replacement service around First Hill, and the 65/67 shuttle in northeast Seattle. Other areas may have service only on certain plowed arterials, or stop only on the top and bottom of hills.

    Weather reports are at weather.gov. Enter your location, then at the bottom of the summary page click “Forecast Discussion” for a detailed analysis of the next week.

    Northwest snow is particularly dangerous because it remains near the freezing point and is moist, so it repeatedly thaws and refeezes, creating layers of unstable ice that’s slippery. Look carefully for ice as you walk or drive, and prefer dry ground, fresh snow, or snow that has been packed down but has no icy surface. Especially watch out for bridges and viaducts, where cross winds make ice worse.

    In Central Seattle, Pine Street is usually walkable from 1st to 14th, with only the treacherous viaduct at Boren.

    1. I went for a walk in the sun but even the walked-on part of the sidewalk is icier than in past snows so I turned around. No reason to slip and fall on a non-critical trip.

  4. Thoughts on the new Metro Connects.

    [page 1] “More than 70% increase in service by 2050”: That depends on a future countywide Metro vote, a good economy, etc. “Increase flexible service”: That means more on-demand taxis, which serve fewer people but cost more than fixed or semi-fixed coverage routes.

    [3] “unconstrained vision”: This is what we want if money is unlimited. This is not a change from the previous plan or ST’s LRP, but it sometimes goes unnoticed.

    [9-10] 15/30/45/60-minute access maps from Ballard, Highline College, Redmond Tech (Overlake TC), and Skyway.

    [13] Relative peak, midday, and evening (8pm) service. The 2050 goal is flatter, although peaks are still highest.

    [15] Definitions of RapidRide, Frequent, Express, Local/Flexible. Frequent is 5-15 minutes 12-16 hours. I’d expect this to mean until 10pm every day, but Metro sometimes says it’s only a weekday promise, and 7am to 7pm is 12 hours. Many of Seattle’s routes are already at this, so may get little increase. Express is defined as 10-30 minutes for 15 hours. That’s better than the last LRP, and is unlike the current network. Currently only a few routes like the 101 and 255 meet this criteria. Local is 15-60 minutes. That’s a lot of wiggle room; the last LRP had 30 minutes. Almost all current local routes fit this, so it’s unclear whether there will be much improvement on them.

    [15] The highest equity priority is Kent East Hill, SeaTac, and Skyway.

    [17-19] Representative route maps for 2019, 2030s, and 2050.

    Much more follows in the 119 pages total.

    1. Lacking any ridership data, this is subjective, but I feel like 15 minutes headways aren’t good enough to be considered “frequent” service anymore.

      If I’m considering taking a bus trip, check OneBusAway, and see that the bus I’d take is more than 10 minutes away, I’ll start looking for alternate routes, and if anything better isn’t available, I’ll consider alternate routes, an alternate mode, or just not taking the trip at all. If I had the money to regularly use Lyft/Uber, I might use them for the trip. If I had a car, I might consider driving instead.

      A common example of this for me is getting from SLU to the U-District. Route 70 is the most direct option, but it runs at 15 minute headways for most of the day.

      If I’m unlucky and just missed a bus, or the next bus is running behind, I’ll check OBA, and if there’s a nearby streetcar or bus headed towards Downtown, I’ll take it to Westlake Station, transfer to Link, get off at U-District Station, often beating the next northbound 70. This can work, because there’s multiple routes from SLU to Westlake, Link is fast, and because it runs at 10 minutes or less headways for most the day.

      If there’s not a nearby southbound bus/streetcar arriving soon, and the trip isn’t essential, I’ll usually try again another day.

      1. Both Jarrett Walker and that Canadian transit fan and many international cities’ practice is that 15 minutes is the bare minimum for non-rural routes, and 10 minutes is a better minimum. Metro recognizes this and has been moving to 15-minute or 10-minute service when it can but it all comes down to money. The region doesn’t give transit the resources it needs for international-level service. Seattle’s TBD is smaller than the previous one because the city council was skittish about maintaining taxes in a recession and with pandemic low risership. The last countywide Metro measure failed, the one planned for 2020 was deferred, and we don’t know when it will be or whether it will pass. The 2016 TBD did increase a few routes to 10-minute service: 44, 45, 65, 67, maybe the 70. But that went away with the pandemic and the reduction in the TBD. You’re right about what riders expect, especially in a metro this large and growing and people becoming more aware of their options. But it’s another thing to convince the politicians and the rest of the taxpayers to fund it at that level.

      2. I can’t speak to the other routes you mentioned, Mike, but I do hope Metro can bring back some more frequency on the 44, especially in the afternoon. IIRC it used to be 6-8 minute headways and with students back at UW, it’s been SRO pretty frequently.

      3. Yeah, what Mike said. 15 minute service is becoming for Metro what 30 minutes service used to be — the new standard for most routes. In that sense it is barely acceptable, but it sure beats the hell out of 30 minute or hourly routes. Of course there will be core routes (like the 44) that run more often, as well as coverage routes that run less often. But 15 minute service is the level at which a lot of people will consider using transit.

        As things rebound, I hope that Metro (and SDOT) look at more widespread improvements, rather than picking a handful of routes to run every 10 minutes. While there are routes like the 44 that should run quite often, there are some 10 minute routes that seem weird. The 65 ran every 10 minutes, while the 45 ran every 15. Worse yet, the 75 ran every 15 minutes. The 65 and 75 are either identical, or serve identical purposes (e .g Lake City to Children’s Hospital/U-Village/UW) and yet they couldn’t be timed with each other. It would be much better if they ran every 12 minutes (along with the 40, 45, 62, 372, etc. ). Actually, the 40 strikes me as one of those that should (like the 44) run more often. If we get most of the buses up to 12 minutes, that would be one of the ones that run every 10.

      4. The 44, 65, 67, and 75’s frequency boost was/is funded by Seattle’s TBD. Metro can’t take it on until it gets more revenue. 35th Ave NE is one of the new frequent corridors Metro is betting on, the same way it bet earlier on N 40th Street and connecting it to U-Village via through routes. The TBD increased it from 15 minutes to 10 minutes. The U-Link restructure was also going to raise the 67 and 45 to 10 minutes, but then Dembrowski saved the 71 and increased the 73, so those hours came out of the 45 and 67 expansion. Later around 2017 or 2018 the economy was booming so there was enough money to increase the 67 after all. The 65 was also increased to fill the gap between UW Station and U Village before U-District Station opened. And the 65/67 became the night owl expansion route for Northgate and Lake City, which never had night owl before that.

        The 75 also serves Sand Point Way, which is over steep hill from 35th. RossB himself said that most of the 75’s southbound riders board north of Children’s. Magnuson Park is another transit-emphasis area that Metro was trying to improve service to. There’s low-income housing there, no supermarket within two miles, nonprofits, community activities, small businesses, NOAA workers, park-recreation visitors, and school field trips. And Metro wants to saturate the U-District to Children’s corridor with more than six buses per hour.

      5. Regarding the 65/67 and 35th Ave NE-

        I liked in the Ravenna/Wedgewood area for several years, the 65/67 was one of the buses I used the most, so I was really happy to have 10 minute headways on the route. But I don’t know that it should have been prioritized for 10 minute headways- the problem with 35th Ave NE is that there just isn’t that much there. The area I lived in (near NE 65th St) was maybe a little denser than many suburbs, but it was still far from being urban. Going north, you have some islands of commercial, religious, and educational destinations, but it drops off north of 75th, then drops off again north of 85th. Going south of 65th there’s not much there until you get to Childen’s Hospital, and then the U-Village. Once you go half a block off 35th Ave NE, it’s virtually all single-family residential.

        The other issue is that the transfer to Link on the 65/67 is terrible- it’s about a quarter mile walk from the bus stop on Steven’s Way to the station entrance. When UW Station was the only Link Station north of the ship canal, it maybe made sense to give the 65, more service hours than it would otherwise merit, but now that many NE Seattle riders should have better transfers at Roosevelt or Northgate Stations, when service hours are constrained, I don’t think I would prioritize the corridor as much.

        With this said, a lot of the corridor seems like it’s upper-middle/upper class people who own cars. Many of them would be transit riders by choice, rather than necessity, so if we want to get them on board, we may need to over serve the area for a while.

      6. The 44, 65, 67, and 75’s frequency boost was/is funded by Seattle’s TBD

        Yeah, that’s why I wrote about “Metro and SDOT”. I should have mentioned the pairing of the 65/67, which makes it much easier to justify the high frequency of the 65. The 67 really is special, in that prior to Link, it was the only route between Northgate and the UW. Thus there was a strong case for high frequency there. Now, not so much.

        Are you sure the 75 got extra money as well? It ran every 15 minutes, even though the 65 ran every 10.

        In any event, I’m not trying to second guess decisions that were made in the past. I’m thinking about frequencies after Lynnwood Link. As I see it, most of the buses in Northeast Seattle are very similar. Furthermore, a lot of buses overlap, or serve the same trip pair. Once we can establish a good baseline (15 minutes), the buses that have better headways should be independent, and high priority (e. g. the 44). So I would have the 45, 65, 67, 75, 372, and 522 replacement all run at the same frequency. I would send the 20 to Greenwood (via 85th) and run it at the same frequency as well. I would extend the 65 and 75 to Shoreline College (via the 145th and 130th stations respectively). This would set a pretty good baseline for most routes, while allowing buses to easily through-route with another in the U-District. The 522 replacement would be one of these buses, running on the Ave. From a trip pair standpoint, this would enable a lot of good combined frequency, for destinations like the following:

        45 and 20 — Greenwood to Link
        65 and 75 — Shoreline College/Link/Lake City/Children’s Hospital/U-Village/UW
        45 and 522 Replacement — 65th to the Ave, then through UW
        372 and 522 replacement — Service along Lake City Way.

        Thus for a lot of trips, you would have really good frequency (7.5 minutes) even though the particular bus you catch only runs at OK frequency (15 minutes). At that point, I would focus any extra money on other routes, or raising them all to the same point (to 12 minutes).

      7. The long walk is only southbound. Northbound, the 65 stops on Montlake. Even southbound, it’s not that far and, for many, is still far superior to other routes. Plus, the walk is downhill and free of stoplights.

        That said, in terms of service planning, I really don’t like the whole captive rider vs. choice rider mentality. Just as I don’t like orienting the bus network around people in poverty, it is also bad to plan service around an assumption that choice riders deserve a higher quality of bus service than captive riders in order to lure them out of their cars. Rather, the service level of the 65 should be justified by some combination of it’s actual ridership and the total number of people that live or work along the route (e.g. potential ridership). To the extent that socioeconomic status affects ridership, it will already show up in the “actual ridership” metric, so I don’t think it needs to be considered explicitly.

      8. The long walk is only southbound. Northbound, the 65 stops on Montlake.

        Right, and this is one of the little Metro failures in the area. The 65 and 75 should follow the same path through the U-District. If I’m trying to get from the campus to Children’s Hospital or the U-Village, I should be able to stand at one bus stop and catch the 65 or 75. The failure to consolidate routes in that area degrades the effective frequency from 7.5 minutes to 15. Likewise, instead of three buses from the UW to Lake City, you have two.

        The outbound transfer isn’t as bad, but it still isn’t great. According to Google, it is a four minute walk. The combination of a bad transfer (inbound) and a mediocre transfer (outbound) make for a poor transfer experience. But that is just the nature of the UW Station (one of its many flaws). The U-District, Roosevelt and Northgate Stations are much better, with walks of a minute or less.

        Unfortunately, there is no good alternative for a lot of those routes. It wouldn’t make sense for the 65, 75 and 372 to turn on 45th and head to the U-District. The current routing is fine (it just needs consolidation outbound).

        Fortunately, there are alternatives buses for connecting to Link. Along NE 65th, you have the 62. For Lake City Way, you have the 522. The northeastern buses (65, 75 and 372) are not so special any more. At one point it was the best way to get to Link from anywhere in the area. That is no longer true. If you are along Lake City Way, the 522 is much faster. If you are on 65th, the 62 is much faster.

        This is why I think it is essential that Metro replace the 522 with a similar bus, at least from Lake City Way south. To use the 372 to connect to Link takes an extra ten minutes (most on the bus, but some for the walk). For riders south of Ravenna, they would have an additional walk as well. It is possible their trip to Capitol Hill, downtown or other Link locations would be 15 to 20 minutes longer — each way. To get to Roosevelt would require schlepping over to the 372, and then making a transfer to the 62. This is unacceptable.

  5. Random observation from Christmas Day: when I drove from Tacoma to Seattle, I believe every 578 and 594 I saw on I-5 (at least four coaches) were regular Pierce Transit livery. Any particular reason this would have been the case?

    1. My first guess would be that those were the buses that had the chains on them, and PT hasn’t gotten the chains on the ST buses yet.

      1. This was Christmas Day (yesterday) though, pre-snow. I only commented here because this was the current open thread, and I didn’t get a chance to post last night in the previous thread.

        That *would* make sense if I were asking about today though. Sorry about the confusion :)

      2. Sometimes there aren’t enough special buses available like on RapidRide lines, so regular buses get used. That’s surprising on Saturday though, when more of the fleet is available. It may be due to Christmas staffing: one base may be closed so they’re coming from another base. The agencies have had personnel shortages throughout the pandemic. Or maybe it’s what Skylar said, that those were the chained buses available.

      3. Ah, missed that it was yesterday and not today. I know I’ve seen PT stand-in their own coaches before, so it is probably what Mike says and which base has the staff. Given that something like 40% of PT’s operating hours come from ST, and PT’s weekend service has shrunk substantially, it’s possible that they don’t operate out of all of their bases on holidays.

        Eye-balling the sound-end ST routes on Pantograph, it looks like all of the coaches currently operating are “anomalies” so I’m guessing the same thing is happening today.

  6. MC remarks part 2.

    [17-19 maps] RapidRide candidates 48, 62, 124, 240, 372, KDM-Kent-GRCC, and FW-Auburn-GRCC are from the previous MC, where they were definitely RapidRide. The 150-like route (Kent-Southcenter-BAR) is upgraded from Frequent to Rapid candidate, and truncated from Rainier Beach. It looks like it will still serve BAR. I don’t recall RapidRides on Bellevue-UW and Crossroads-Eastgate, but they were at least Frequent. The Interim and 2050 networks have no West Magnolia service, so no view to the south entrance of Discovery Park; the east entrance seems to be the only one with bus service.

    [23-24] RapidRide G-J are expected to open by 2027. K (Kirkland) and R (Rainier) have been selected for investment and are expected to open in the Interim period. Those are higher priorities than the candidate lines.

    Extending the E to Mountlake Terrace would solve the problem of how to serve both Aurora Village and Link and same-direction transfers to Swift Blue without backtracking to 185th or losing Aurora Village.

    [25] “Metro Connects defines frequent service as any route that comes at least every 15 minutes, 16 hours a day on weekdays and 12 hours a day on weekends. Stops will be every quarter mile.”

    [42-43] Water taxis on Shlishole-downtown, UW-Kirkland, and UW-Kenmore. Well, there’s a way to avoid a cross-lake Link and 522 Link. Shilshole, um, wouldn’t it have the same problems as a Ballard Sounder station? Namely, that you have to go to an obscure place out-of-direction to get to it. Would the 44 be extended to it?

    [49] Current ORCA vendor support ends in 2022. List of next generation ORCA advantages: all-door boarding, open architecture, more retail locations, pay by phone app and credit cards, real-time account management. (The latest buses have a panel at the back door for an ORCA reader.) Moving toward no onboard cash payment someday.

    [56] More real-time information about bus arrivals, and also available P&R spaces, bike spaces, bikeshare bikes, and TNC taxis.

    [60] Transit boarding volumes at various hubs and stations.

    [62] Foot/bike/car access in high, medium, low, and lowest density areas. List of trail expansions: the Mountains to Sound trail east of Bellevue, Eastrail from Woodinville to Renton, and the Lake to Sound trail from Renton to Des Moines (around the northwest of the airport).

    [65] Mobility hubs. These seem to be the new vision for transit centers.

    [75-78] Electrification. Metro’s goal is to replace the existing petrol buses with battery buses by 2035. Trolley work will focus on using their off-wire capability and not falling back to non-trolley buses on weekends. It doesn’t look like there’s any expansion of the trolley routes. And with some routes (2N, 12, 43, 47) being replaced by routes with long unwired segments, the trolley network may contract. Although I assume the 48 might still be trollified someday.

    [79] “State of good repair”: Bureaucratese for reserving money to maintain and periodically replace the bus fleet.

    [88-93] Financing it all. Also, the LRP will be updated every 6-10 years.

    End of remarks.

    1. It’s a shame Zimbabwe wasn’t in charge of SDOT during ST3 . A competent bureaucrat would have put the SDOT proposal up for public comment. Murray and Durkin (and to some extent, Harrell) were from the same faction of Seattle politics, so they certainly knew the same folks.

    2. I think Harrell’s ego wants to have his choices running the agencies rather than those of his predecessor regardless of their performance.

  7. Was half asleep with KOMO news playing on the TV and heard them mention “the Montlake light rail station”. I was confused for a second as to what they were referring to, but then they showed a photo and I realized they were referring to the University Of Washington Station.

    Do local media have a style guide that offers any consistency when referring to light rail stations?

  8. I wish Sound Transit would put salt / de icer down on their platforms. The light rail platform at the airport was pure ice and saw at least 6 people fall while getting off the train.

    1. The Othello platform had salt last night. That was prior to this morning’s snow. That means that someone is doing it — just not consistently.

    2. How windy was it at the Seatac station?

      Maybe the salt got blown away?
      Were the snowdrits bad?

      Down at Edmonds the snow was coming off the water sideways.

  9. ST’s rider alerts are a disaster… It’s a clear indication that 1) They don’t care too much about the customer experience and 2) whoever is sending them out doesn’t ride public transit .

    1. The one where they said trains would be running every 15 minutes until 10pm had quite a few people confused and asking for clarification. Normally at 10pm trains go to 15 minute headways but the alert didn’t mention anything how frequent it would be at 10 and kind of made it sound like it was shutting down at 10.

    2. I have complained about that before to ST concerning their texts when there is a disruption on Light Rail when all the text says that there is a disruption. It doesn’t say where the disruption is or is it affecting the whole line or just a portion. So the riders are left up in the air on what is going on and what they should do.

      The response I got back was just as worthless as the texts. It was a typical bureaucratic response where they say a lot but don’t respond to what you wrote about in the first place. When it comes to public relations and responding to their customers ST is worthless and clueless.

      At least Metro gives you details on what is going on when one of their routes is disrupted. They tell you where the disruption is and tell you where the catch the bus when it has been rerouted.

      Metro should give a class to ST in how to communicate with their customers but even if ST would show up for the class they would ignore what Metro was teaching them.

    3. ST, even though they brought “user experience” into the organizational culture, still seems to have lots of problems with the concept.

      1. It took years to get ST to emphasize destinations in Link station signing. Finding signs used to be like playing Where’s Waldo.

      2. ST still sometimes uses directional terms like “northbound” even though the word is not on a fixed sign in most stations. Keep in mind that a 2 Line train will arguably go in all four directions so the best approach would avoid using directions almost entirely.

      3. Wait times, often rolling screens on many urban rail systems so a waiting rider sees it every 15-30 seconds, are less frequent on Link. The system also often has incorrect info, which boggles my mind on how that happens since these features have been around for decades across the world including the US.

      4. ST removes planned escalators at stations as the first cost-cutting move, which is what happened with Lynnwood Link (without any public discussion or even any seeking to mobilize an alternate funding source to keep them).

      5. Performance statistics are increasingly less published or are delayed in disclosure. It used to be that ST published monthly ridership reports within five weeks and quarterly reports within nine weeks a few years ago.

      It is tempting to “blame” a middle manager. However, the only way things got this way is a lack of leadership from the very top as well as pressure from Board members.

      I’m an optimist though. I’m convinced that a new head of Sound Transit as well as the increased Board focus on Link operations (because the light rail will directly serve 8 more jurisdictions and impact residents of still more jurisdictions by the end of 2024) will change information for the better.

  10. Does anyone know why Metro is continuing to run trolley buses? Historically, those had serious reliability problems during snow and cold weather due to ice on the overhead wires, but it looks like many trolley routes are still running with them. I would think with the ESN in effect Metro would have plenty of buses to run all diesels.

    1. Good question. How does Link deal with ice on the overhead wires? My understanding is that Link has been pretty resilient during periods of snow and ice in the past.

      1. At least in the past, Link ran ice trains all night when there was a risk of buildup on the overhead wires:


        I’m not sure why that’s not sufficient for trolley bus wire but I’ve definitely been on trolley buses that have not been able to keep their poles on the wires due to ice. Pretty frequently there’s a lightning display on the wires as well, which is frightening until you realize it’s just “expected”…

      2. I was at work last night and have a good view of the light rail tracks. They were running trains all night long

  11. Metro announced it’s running its emergency snow network today so only certain key routes are operating.

    What kind of frequency can we expect? I get that during and after snow, there’s an element of “go to the bus stop and the bus comes when it comes”. But if a route is normally scheduled every 15 minutes, can we expect roughly 15 minute headway still? Or will there be fewer buses operating on these routes so longer headways?

    1. The buses are probably operating at a much slower speed than usual, so even if 100% of the buses are operating it will still be longer headways. 100% may not be operating as there may be some drivers stranded in their homes due to weather and unable to get to work.

      If you tap on an arrival in One Bus Away, it should show you the actual detected location of the bus it sees. Because these systems still use schedule data to find the nearest bus, it may not be the closest bus to the stop, but it at least gives you some idea of where at least some of the buses are located.

    2. You can also use Pantograph to get an idea of what routes are running and how many buses are out.


      At least in north Seattle, it seems that, of the routes still running, they’re pretty close to full strength. That Metro is able to do this in once-in-a-decade winter weather and a once-in-a-lifetime (hopefully) pandemic is impressive.

      1. Did some errands today, and transit seems to be doing fine in Seattle at least. Peak speed is down, but there’s much less traffic than normal so the buses we were on (E, Streetcar, 40, 44) were all minimally delayed. The Streetcar was delayed about 5 minutes due to a frozen switch but even that was cleared quickly. Really goes to show how much padding is built into schedules to accommodate personal vehicles.

      2. Had some fun trying to figure out the 522. Metro says it’s part of the ESN and is running. ST says it’s running with several trips cancelled. One Bus Away app said the 522 was not running. Pantograph said the 522 was not running. Metro’s trip planner said the 522 was running. Google Maps said the 522 was running, but it also didn’t have any of the snow detours programmed in.

        So kind of a mixed bag of information there. But the tiebreaker, after I had left the house, was seeing 522 buses running along Lake City Way.

  12. Here’s a minor rant on legibility: We thought we would get outside and walk around Magnuson Park this morning. Normally we’d take the 62 since it lays over in the park. We thought we could do the same thing today since the 62 is an ESN route, and we thought its snow route just went all the way up to 125th before coming down Sand Point via the 75 routing. Turns out that the 62 snow route is marked in slightly thicker and longer dashes than the 62 shuttle route, and the regular 62 just ends at 15th. No problem, we’ll just transfer to the shuttle at 15th & 65th, except there was a rider at that stop who told the driver that the shuttle hadn’t been by in over an hour despite being told by Metro customer service that the shuttle was running. The driver didn’t know anything about the shuttle, but called dispatch who also reassured us that the shuttle was running. Since we were so close to the 45, we figured we’d take the 45->75 to Magnuson instead. It’s a good thing we did, since now that I look at the ESN route list, I can see that while the 62 is active during the ESN, the shuttle route is not. Given the total confusion that even Metro has around this and the fact that the snow shuttle route intersects or overlaps significantly with frequent routes that are part of the ESN (65, 75, 372), maybe Metro should just delete the 62 snow shuttle entirely?

    To make matters even worse, Metro’s schedule tool doesn’t even filter properly for shuttles. The 62 appears with no note about the shuttle not running, and routes that are entirely replaced by their snow shuttle like the 24 also appear. The only place I’ve seen that actually distinguishes between routes and shuttles is this blog post.

    This also brings up the question of what distinction Metro is trying to make between routes and shuttles. Are routes bi-directional with posted schedules, while shuttles are uni-directional with no posted schedule?

    1. I think some of the confusion may also relate to the 65. 1 set of documentation is that the “62 snow shuttle” is really the “65 snow route”. But another set of documentation now has the 65-snow route going up 40th only as far as 85th.

      https://kingcounty.gov/~/media/depts/metro/data/service-advisories/snow-alert-pdf/adv-062-ns-east-of-15avne-on-ne65st.pdf literally says “transfer to route 65 shuttle”

      https://kingcounty.gov/~/media/depts/metro/data/service-advisories/snow-alert-pdf/adv-065-ns-nouwcampus-no-lakecity.pdf now says “Updated 12/26/2021 – Reroute changed to reflect what is in the customer timetable”

      So the route 62 guide says to transfer to the 62 snow shuttle (aka the truncated route 65), but the revised truncated 65 no longer follows that route. So the snow shuttle seems to have been deleted with an orphaned reference to it in the snow guide.

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