by ROSS BLEAKNEY
The bus routes that are north of Seattle will change after Lynnwood Link. Several routes cross the county line, or should. These are operated by King County (Metro Transit) or Snohomish County (Community Transit). What follows is a proposal for changes to these routes. This is not meant to be a comprehensive list of bus routes that go across the border, but a few that would change because of Lynnwood Link.
About the Map
You can see a full size map by clicking in the corner. You can highlight a route by selecting it on the legend or the map itself. I’ve tried to be as detailed as possible on the map, although errors are inevitable (please notify me of mistakes via the comments).
Swift Blue Line
When Lynnwood Link opens, the main Swift line will no longer terminate next to Aurora Village, but extend south, to the 185th Station. Community Transit has already started looking at the issue. Right now they are leaning towards Meridian (Alt A on the map). The Aurora/185th routing is better for a couple reasons:
- Faster transfers. The most important transfer in the area is right along the highway, from Metro’s most popular route (the RapidRide E) and Community Transit’s (Swift Blue). This routing substantially reduces the time spent on the two buses and the risk of a missed transfer. Neither route would detour to the transit center on its own — riders traveling between the two shouldn’t have to either.
- Faster and more reliable route. Using Aurora is significantly faster than using Meridian. The bus can take advantage of the HOV lanes and faster speeds of Aurora, while avoiding the extra turns around Meridian.
In contrast, the loss of a stop at the transit center doesn’t hurt the other transfers. Almost every bus either crosses Aurora or runs on it. The exception is the 346 (on Meridian) and it is a short walk between stops. Similarly, riders heading somewhere in the neighborhood may walk a little farther, or they may be closer to their destination.
With this routing, there are several potential new stops:
- 200th and Aurora. This one is a given, replacing the Aurora Transit Center stop.
- 192nd and Aurora. There are a number of large apartment buildings nearby, as well as a Family YMCA (a regional destination). There is also a large park and ride.
- 185th and Meridian. This would reduce the walk between Swift and a bus on Meridian. It would also reduce the bus overlap of a Swift/Richmond Beach bus connection. There aren’t a lot of people in this area, although that could change with the most recent rezone.
I would prioritize them in that order. Given the large stop spacing of Swift, I would probably just go with the first two stops. Fare revenue for Swift would increase, while travel time decreases. Even just using that first stop would be a big improvement over stopping at the Aurora Village TC.
The 130 runs from Edmonds to Lynnwood via Mountlake Terrace. There are two other buses that go between Edmonds and Lynnwood, both taking a more direct path. While I’m sure there are riders headed from Edmonds to Mountlake Terrace, I think more people are interested in a faster connection to Link, especially to the south. Thus I send the 130 to the 185th Station, joining Swift. It would probably make several stops along the way.
While this route has plenty of advantages, it leaves out the eastern part of the route, from Aurora Village to Mountlake Terrace. This is where the next bus comes in:
The 331 skirts the northern part of King County, from Kenmore to Shoreline. Like many of the routes that cross I-5, it makes sense to connect it to a Link station along the way. Connecting to the 185th Station is surprisingly difficult, simply because of the angles of the streets. Either the bus has to go all the way south to 175th (and overlap the 348) or make an impossible hairpin turn. Going north, to Mountlake Terrace is the obvious solution.
It isn’t difficult to see how the bus can get from Kenmore to Mountlake Terrace, and one of the routes is shown on the map. But it is surprisingly difficult to get from Mountlake Terrace to Aurora Village. The freeway makes it easy to go south, but hard to go north. There are a number of options, but the fastest is to actually take over the section that the 130 just abandoned. Thus the new path of the 331 works out quite nicely.
The 416 is a peak-only bus that not only connects quickly to Link, but could also provide some coverage along the way. At a minimum it would have a stop on 1st and 200th that the other buses no longer cover.
For this to work, there has to be good cooperation between the agencies. There has to be an understanding that while a particular route (like the 331) is run by Metro, it would cover a significant part of Snohomish County. At the same time, a route like Swift or 130 would do the opposite. Working together, the agencies could produce a much better transit network for people who cross the county border every day.