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.

166 Replies to “Intercounty Routes for Lynnwood Link”

  1. I like your thinking about SWIFT, but I don’t have a high degree of confidence it will happen. The knee jerk, unquestioned assumption that transfers must always happen at transit centers is just too baked in.

      1. Except a stop along Aurora would also serve Aurora Village. Google says it is exactly the same distance to Costco, for example ( or

        I think it is simply fear of change. Right now, the stop is popular because it is how you transfer to other buses, and how you access Aurora Village. That could occur just a little ways down the street, but it would be new, and folks aren’t confident it would work out as well. My point is that the most popular transfer — if not the most popular activity at that stop — is a RapidRide E transfer. That would improve substantially with a same-stop transfer along Aurora.

        Agencies should also consider the cost of detours. Sure, some riders really like a detour, but every other rider has to put up with the delay. Every detour costs the agency money, which in turn reduces frequency. There is also a potential for improvement. A new stop at 192nd would tie together the YMCA with Snohomish County. Of course there aren’t a lot of people asking for this — it has never been offered before. Basing all of your decisions on existing rider patterns ignores the fact that the current system doesn’t work for a lot of potential riders.

        Then there are the folks who live around there (in King County) that would benefit from this change. If Community Transit doesn’t push for this change, Metro should. That is the point of this post. There should be cooperation between the agencies, to enable a better network for the area.

      2. It is possible there could be another elephant in room here: Riders don’t want to have to cross SR-99 on foot to reach Aurora Village, even with a traffic signal (perhaps because of the very wide road, long cycles, or right turning drivers who don’t bother to look for pedestrians).

        Essentially, we have a road safety problem that nobody really wants to solve, because any real solution reduces car throughput. Yet, CT still may be weary of asking elderly people to cross Aurora under present conditions. The solution of least resistance is, of course, to just detour the bus, and leave the safety issues unaddressed.

        Yes, it sucks, and I would much rather have whoever is in charge of the intersection find a way to make the crossing safer. But, putting myself in the shoes of a CT planner who has no leverage whatsoever in street design (traffic engineers out there typically answer only to people in cars, and provide only the bare minimum level of pedestrian infrastructure to comply with the law), I can understand their discomfort.

      3. I’ve walked by Echo Lake to get from a friends house to the transit center. I’ve yet to see anyone else walk from the transit center to anything nearby. There’s a couple restaurants, the Costco gas station, and not much else. The few who go shopping by bus at Costco itself must use a stop further north on Aurora or something.

      4. Actually, Ross, neither the northbound nor especially the southbound stop would “serve Aurora Village as well”.

        In the first place, they’re on Aurora, which is not the same road as Highway 99 in Snohomish County after it makes the curve. Both stops are “farside” which means that southbound passengers would have to cross two streets to enter the grounds of the Center. There’s a fence with a drop off behind it “protecting” Costco from the Aurora RiffRaff®.

        In fact, since Costco has the world’s largest shopping carts and you can’t buy just one of anything except a 79″ TV there, and Home Depot sells eight foot 2×4’s which won’t go through the bus door, there’s no reason to go there except the transit center…..

        Now I expect that SnoHoCo would very much like to make it hard for their riders to patronize the King County branches of Costco and Ho Depot, so maybe Swift will go to 185th and hang a left to the station, but I think that asdf2 said it eloquently. Forcing people to cross the Aurora Car Sewer is a terrible idea.

      5. In the first place, they’re on Aurora, which is not the same road as Highway 99 in Snohomish County after it makes the curve.

        Yes it is. Aurora *is* part of Highway 99, which means it is the same road ( This trip crosses the county line, but is all on the same road (Highway 99): Notice how Google refers to the entire section as highway 99, regardless of what county it is in.

        Both stops are “farside” which means that southbound passengers would have to cross two streets to enter the grounds of the Center.

        What “Center”? You act as if the only destination in the area is the village itself. Yet if you look on a map, it is clear that north of 200th and east of Aurora is almost all parking lot. The two big stores are Costco and Home Depot — both of which tend to favor driving (for obvious reasons). In contrast, south of 200th is the Aurora Village Medical Center as well as the Shoreline Veteran’s Center. If anything, there is more to the south than the north. After an appointment at the clinic, a bus stop by the highway is actually closer.

        All of that misses the point. Even if this is marginally more convenient for people, it isn’t worth the detour. Consider Edmonds College. This is one of the biggest destinations in the area — a much bigger destination than anything close to Aurora Village. And yet Swift doesn’t get that close to it. The bus could go up 68th and then over on 200th (like the 115/116), thereby getting students and faculty much closer to the school. I’m sure if you polled people, you would get plenty of people who want a shorter walk (that doesn’t involve crossing the highway). But it doesn’t, because such a detour isn’t worth it.

        The *only* reason the detour via Meridian is being considered is inertia and the county boundaries (which go together). As a terminus, the Aurora Village Transit Center is appropriate. But as a detour, it is terrible. It would hurt riders that want to just keep going on the highway, and delay riders connecting to Link. My point is if this was all the same agency — or if the agencies could cooperate better — then Swift would take the best route to the Link station, which is to stay on the highway (Aurora at that point) to 185th.

      6. Riders don’t want to have to cross SR-99 on foot to reach Aurora Village

        Of course, but you could say that about practically every stop of Swift. If you don’t like crossing the highway, how the hell did you catch the bus? The bus follows the highway almost entirely, and when it doesn’t, it might as well ( Crossing there seems no different than crossing at 200th in Aurora. There is nothing special about Aurora Village. It is merely close to the county line.

        Then there is the fact that for some people, this means a shorter walk. The largest apartment building in the area is just west of Aurora. Oh, and it is worth pointing out that the 101 (Swift’s shadow) will of course continue to use the exact same Aurora Transit Center parking spot. So those that find that stop more convenient are welcome to use that bus, while Swift uses a faster way to connect people. Swift should not be a coverage route.

      7. Ross, I apologize; I didn’t make myself clear. In Snohomish County it appears to me that there are more pedestrian safety amenities than in North King County. Yes, Shoreline has done a great job of improving Aurora, but with the exception of the cloverleaf for Edmonds Way, it looks like Snohomish does a better job of keeping the traffic away from people walking.

        Yes, of course it’s the “same road” if you’re talking highway numbers.

        Rider safety should rank equally with speed.

      8. In Snohomish County it appears to me that there are more pedestrian safety amenities than in North King County.

        It sure doesn’t look that way to me. Look at the Swift stops, heading north (with the two possible additions):

        192nd: It is a bright red crosswalk, with a stop line that extends a few feet out.

        200th: Almost exactly the same, although they also added a small divider which makes it look a little less like a wall of cars.

        238th: Same idea, but instead of the bright red, they went with white. No center divider. The sidewalk is at more of angle, increasing the walking distance. For all of these reasons, this is clearly a step down from those in Shoreline.

        216th: Same as 238th, except the crossing distance is even longer. It is about 85 feet for the Shoreline stops; here it is over 100 feet.

        Rest of Highway 99 — Pretty much the same:

        Evergreen Way and 4th Ave. West. This is not part of Highway 99, but you wouldn’t guess it. Like every other spot, it is 7 lanes across. But the angle makes it especially bad. I measure the crossing distance as 125 — an extra 40 feet longer than those in Shoreline. The angle makes it more dangerous as well. Imagine someone heading north on 4th, taking a right onto Evergreen. These are major arterials, and this is a slight right. If the light is green (or worse yet, yellow) they could make that right turn without slowing down. That is a very dangerous crossing.

        It is that way until you get into downtown Everett. At best you come close to the quality of the Shoreline intersections. But it is always worse — sometimes much worse worse — until you get onto Pacific.

        You have it backwards. The safest, most pleasant crossings are in Shoreline. Partly it is luck — the highway and cross streets are at 90 degree angles. But Shoreline has also spent a lot of time and effort improving the pedestrian experience on Aurora. Nothing in Snohomish County comes close.

      9. @Tom: I have to disagree with you about south Snohomish doing a better job for pedestrians on Highway 99 than north King. There have been a steady stream of pedestrian deaths along Highway 99 in Edmonds and Lynnwood. Edmonds does have a streetscape plan for their stretch of 99, but even that seems mostly geared towards beautification, and it hasn’t begun to be implemented yet. Shoreline also has somewhat lower traffic speeds than Edmonds and Lynnwood.

      10. OK, if somebody besides the Old Contrarian says I’m wrong about SR99 in the two counties, especially someone who lives up there, then I’ll admit to being wrong.

        I still think that there needs to be a place for people of limited mobility and/or vulnerability to make transfers where buses are waiting — e.g. a transit center — somewhere in the area. Most buses up there, on both sides of the county line are infrequent so even though the Swift and E may come every few minutes and whisk people away, on their return they’re typically going to have to wait much longer.

        Shoreline CC is too far south, and in a cul-de-sac, so it’s not a good place. The same could be said for Edmonds CC, though it is somewhat closer. I doubt Shoreline wants to set aside a block of parking at 185th and Aurora for bus layovers, though that would probably be the ideal location. There isn’t sufficient layover space at the 185th Link Station and it’s hard to access from the east, so where else than a facility that already exists?

      11. I still think that there needs to be a place for people of limited mobility and/or vulnerability to make transfers where buses are waiting — e.g. a transit center — somewhere in the area

        Riders can always take the 101 if they want. It will continue to terminate at the transit center.

        In most cases, though, they are better off with a transfer on Aurora. The most common transfer is with the RapidRide E. That would be a same stop transfer, which is better than the transit center. With the transit center, at best a rider would have to get from one part of the transit center to another (delaying all riders on their way to Link). At worst they go from the street (200th) to the RapidRide layover. For those with limited mobility, nothing beats a same-stop transfer.

        Even with other buses, most would be just as well on Aurora. Most of the transfers on the 101, 115, new 130 and 331 would be same-direction, same-stop transfers. Given the angles involved, a lot of reverse direction transfers have better alternatives. For example, instead of taking Swift from Swedish Edmonds to Aurora Village and then back to Edmonds, riders will just take the 116. The one exception is the 346 (on Meridian). As I wrote up above, if that really is a priority, they could add a stop on Meridian. My guess is very few make that transfer, and if the transfer distance is too far, there is always the 101.

        Overall, if the bus went on Aurora, there just aren’t that many transfers that would involve anything more than using the exact same bus stop. The transfer experience for most would be better than it is now. Keep in mind the stops are for Swift and/or RapidRide E. These are technically “stations”, and not regular bus stops. They have better than average shelters. That’s part of the whole “BRT” thing.

        The Aurora Village Transit Center isn’t much of a transit center, like Bellevue or Northgate. There just aren’t that many transfers involving Swift, other than RapidRide E. It’s main reason for being is to serve the giant parking lot, and provide a place for buses to layover. Neither matters to Swift if the bus keeps going to 185th, and lays over there.

      12. @Tom: I live in Mountlake Terrace and frequent the stretch of 99 from Shoreline to Lynnwood. Caveat: my personal observations are based on driving there and imagining myself as a pedestrian trying to get across to access a bus stop or business. The busses I take don’t go on 99, and I’ve actually never attempted crossing 99 on foot. Still, the string of recent fatalities in Edmonds and Lynnwood speaks for itself.

      13. Correction: A transfer from Swift to the 331 (or vice versa) involving Shoreline College would not be a same-stop transfer. It would likely involve crossing 200th (assuming the stops are past the intersection).

      14. People might believe the comment section when it says the 800 foot walk from the Aurora Village TC to Aurora Ave isn’t too far, if the comment section hadn’t already said the 300 foot walk from the Bellevue TC to Bellevue Downtown Station is too far.

      15. @Sam — With one, rarely used exception it doesn’t matter how far it is from Aurora Village TC to Aurora Ave. Very few make the transfer to the 346, and they could always take the 101 if they don’t want to walk that distance. That also assumes the 346 ends there (and the bus doesn’t just keep going, as eddie suggested below).

        There are a lot of places where the transfer (or the walk) is much worse with Swift (like getting to the college, or transferring to the 107, 115, 116, 119 or 196). If you don’t want to walk a ways to make your transfer (or walk a ways to your destination) you take the 101.

      16. It is always interesting that when there is a discussion on bus routes that some of you get all wound up about a routing that takes a bus into a Park and Ride lot or a neighborhood because it may delay the bus and possible inconvenience other riders.

        Maybe you need to keep in mind that transit serves more then just a group of riders heading for Link or downtown. It also needs to serve other riders who may need to transfer at a Park and Ride lot or need transit in their neighborhood.

        Transit not an exclusive for a certain group of riders and serves more then them.

      17. Jeff:
        If you do too many diversions to serve too many places, you get the Magnolia section of the 24: all loops and few off-peak riders after the first wacko loop-de-loop.

        The goal here is to try to serve the transportation needs without the bizarre time consuming loops.

        This area (original topic of the area around Aurora Village) has a fairly good street grid, and it should be possible to set up a better transfer point for all these routes than a Costco gas station. Why on earth make a loop through that as a transfer location when a Link station is going to be only several blocks away? You talk of serving local neighborhoods, yet every single neighborhood around Aroura Village TC would be closer to a bus if the bus routes continued on various streets rather than stopping at that location.

        Aurora is a continuous corridor. Aurora Village TC would be like splitting the 44 at Fremont and making everyone traveling through on that corridor change buses at the Wallingford Playfield. Sure, a very, very few people from one end or the other might want to go there or the several houses near it, but mostly it’s several blocks from anything the majority of riders want to go breaks a really good through route into something that needs a transfer, is really a random location, and any transfers that do happen there could happen elsewhere with a bit of planning and give everyone better results.

        Again, I contend that if a single agency were operating here, and not three, you’d have a grid bus network looking far more like Ballard or Fremont rather than even have an Aurora TC. It’s the fact that it’s on the border between agencies that’s creating the transfer need here, rather than serving any of the needs you say are present.

      18. Maybe you need to keep in mind that transit serves more then just a group of riders heading for Link or downtown.

        I never implied that this was all about riders heading downtown or to Link. That is a pretty arrogant assumption (that only you are considerate enough to think of all of the riders — the rest of us simpletons just can’t imagine taking the bus for any other purpose). I consider *all* of the riders in my comments and posts. The main benefit with sending Swift along Aurora are those folks taking trips along the highway, from one county to the other. Holy cow, I propose an *additional stop* at 192nd, connecting to Swift. I mention the family YMCA as a potential destination for Snohomish County riders. I write that some of the people in the nearby apartments would appreciate a fast one-seat ride to Snohomish County destinations. To say that I’m only considering people headed downtown or to Link is a complete misreading of this essay.

        It also needs to serve other riders who may need to transfer at a Park and Ride lot or need transit in their neighborhood.

        You are ignoring the fact that every transfer but one can be done just as well on the highway. The most common transfer (from RapidRide E to Swift) is *better* on the highway. Transfers don’t need to be made at a Park and Ride lot — the vast majority are not.

        As far as serving that neighborhood, under my proposal, it serves more of it. A stop on Aurora and 200th serves the western part better, while a stop by the parking lot serves the eastern part better. That is a wash. A stop at 192nd serves a new neighborhood. From a neighborhood service standpoint, the best option is to have two stops on Aurora, not one off to the side, next to a giant parking lot.

        You also need to consider the 101. There are no plans to change it. It will continue to serve the transit center/parking lot. Having both serve the exact same stop reduces coverage, while also making transfers worse. If the bus goes to Link via Meridian it will be slower, serve less of the community, and make transfers much worse. None of that is worth it.

      19. I wasn’t specifically referring to the proposed transit changes around Aurora Village but in general that I have seen posts from various people wanting to make changes to transit service because they feel that routes go to far from main arterials and streets to serve neighborhoods and Park and Ride lots.

        My point was that riders in neighborhoods have as much need and deserve transit service and sometimes buses will have routes to provide that service. The same with routes traveling into Park and Ride lots.

        It may be that some riders will take longer to complete their journey so that this service can be provided and that may not seem fair but then life is not fair.

      20. Every time you add a detour to a bus to serve one particular destination, you save time for people going to that one destination(*), at the expense of increasing journey times for everyone else. Repeat this too much, and a bus route becomes like a mail route, where it takes all day to get anywhere.

        In many cases, detours aren’t even about coverage per say, but reducing walking distance to some destination, so it’s value becomes simply a time calculation between minutes saved by not having to walk as far vs. minutes spent sitting through the detour. To pay off, the detour needs to serve a stop that is so popular that the majority of the entire bus is using it and, simply put, that’s quite rare. Far more common is 10-20 people having to put up with extra turns so that one person (or, nobody but an imaginary person) saves a few hundred feet or walking.

        In many cases, the destinations privileged by detours are quite arbitrary, or, in some cases, vestiges of an older transit network, where they used to provide an important connection, but don’t anymore. Houghton park and ride is a great example of this. No bus stops there except the 245, so there are no connections to be had, yet the westbound 245 still stubbornly detours into it because, 20 years ago, it used to have a bus to downtown Seattle (which has long since stopped running). We also have an obnoxious habit of detouring all-day buses into park and rides which offer no connections outside of peak hours (Tukwila Sounder station for the F line). Or, park and rides which provide only the same connections that are available elsewhere in the route, without the detour.

        Ultimately, the bar for a detour needs to be very high, and should only happen in exceptional situations. Pre-covid, the 545’s detour to overlake transit center met that very high bar, due to the shear volume of people getting on. Similar with the capitol Hill detour mornings. But, there are numerous other routes that have detours that don’t meet the bar, and don’t even come close. For example, no bus should go into Totem Lake transit center, except for routes that end there. Thru routes should serve the area, of course, but just stop on the street. Brickyard park and ride by the 239 is another example of a useless detour – the one person who uses it can walk a little bit further instead to save time for everyone else on the bus. The 50’s detour into the VA hospital is also rediculous, as is the 345’s detour into northwest hospital. Injured patients, who cannot walk, go to hospitals via taxi or ambulance, not on a public bus. If a hospital wants a door to door shuttle to the nearest link station, they are welcome to run their own bus with their own money, but should not expect everyone else riding a public bus through the area to pay for it with their time.

      21. I’ve ridden the Hele-On bus service on Hawai’i. Most routes spend so much time circulating through neighborhoods and shopping centers that ridership is nearly in the 3-5 riders per trip on these routes. Bus service absolutely needs to connect places, but time consuming stuff like this:
        really should be re-thought out on a regular basis to see if there’s a better way other than looping all over the place. Sometimes, agencies just try to do too much with one route, to the detriment of all passengers.

        Sure, there are many different places for people to want to go, other than Link or downtown Seattle, but where would you terminate the routes? The bus route on Meridian is nice and quick because it has so few passengers, but it serves a bunch of single family neighborhoods. Apparently not too many people use it to get to the Costco by Aurora Village.

        The bus route I use most often is TriMet #10. You want something that serves neighborhoods? It’s almost entity single family residential except for about 1 mile between SE Portland and downtown Poetland. It’s a coverage route, sure. It’s also reasonably busy. It does so by intersecting a dozen or so other routes, so that no matter what direction people need to go, there’s something that can get them there. From east to west, 14, 73, MAX Green Line (two spots), 14 (again), 72, 71, 75, 17, 9, 66, 2, 14 (a third location), 70, Portland Streetcar, 6, and then it goes downtown. Sure, it probably doesn’t go directly where the majority of people in the neighborhood want. However, there’s a 0% chance a single bus route is going to do that. It’s not a teleportation device. However, by making sure it intersects route that go in a number of directions, it connects these neighborhoods to a vast swath of the city.

        There’s a park and ride lot at Holgate and I-205. If you want to serve a park and ride lot, you could divert the 10 up there, but I’m not sure what purpose that would serve. It would provide a bit better connection to MAX Green line, but with the turns onto and off of Holgate you’re adding about 10 minutes to each trip, and on its existing route it’s only about 4 blocks from a different MAX station. For most, it’s probably faster to keep the existing route and just walk those 4 blocks than try to divert it to the park and ride lot, because the turns would be time consuming. I-205, however, has a decent bike path next to it that helps connect neighborhoods to the MAX stations, and that helps with getting passengers from the second intersection of #10 to the Green line. It’s not clear that Link will have a similar pedestrian access effort.

        Apologies for using Portland as an example, but I-205 and Foster Road share some similarities with what is happening at Aurora Village. There’s a new Light rail line next to the freeway, while all the stuff people really want to go to is next to a busy arterial 12 blocks west, with a really busy north-south bus route that really shouldn’t be diverted away from that corridor to visit the light rail stations and provide interconnection between the two. When the freeway was built, a bunch of east-west connections that would be useful now were broken, except for a few arterials.

        Complicating things at Aurora Village is the fact that the division between the two counties doesn’t go anywhere. The apartment complex to the east already gets bus service on Meridian, and while you could add more (say, divert the E to there) the fact is 200th doesn’t cross the freeway. Any east-west routes from the current primary transit center can’t go east, and west is a narrow residential street that, while serving a neighborhood, would not support a bus route. It peters out in only 10 blocks.

        Diverting a bunch of stuff to 185th means diverting it to Link, but it’s not just about getting people to Link. It’s also one of the few places buses can get across the freeway. Sure, they could also cross at 205th, but that’s a major highway interchange and transferring between bus routes there wouldn’t really be that convenient. If you want to keep buses off major arterials and actually serve neighborhoods. 205th is a major highway, while 185th is really more of a neighborhood street. Think of the fact that there is a Link station there is just an added bonus for those wanting to go further north or south.

      22. @Jeff — My apologies. I agree, there is a trade-off when it comes to detours. It really depends a lot on the detour. For example, consider the 345. It makes a detour off of 130th to serve the Sanford Hildebrandt Towers (formerly known as Four Freedoms House). This is a low income senior center. At first glance this detour seems silly (folks there can walk). But the numbers there are very high. Not only does this represent a significant amount of ridership, but riders that have limited mobility. The bus is infrequent, so it is already geared towards coverage. I don’t have a problem with the detour.

        There are other considerations, like the location of the detour. For example, consider the 50. I haven’t looked at the numbers, but it is quite possible that very few people ride it east of the V. A. detour. It is also possible the detour picks up a lot of people. In that case, the detour doesn’t do much harm, and is clearly worth it.

        In a lot of ways, detours are similar to stop spacing. Too many, and trips take too long, and buses run less often. If the stops are too far apart though, you lose riders. Stop spacing and line spacing have that same dynamic. That is why Jarrett Walker writes about it a lot: All of this fits into the ridership/coverage dynamic. A detour, or short stop spacing may provide a huge benefit for a few riders, but end up hurting overall ridership. That’s the fundamental trade-off.

        In this particular case I see very little benefit from going via Meridian. It is slower, and makes the most common transfers (to Link and RapidRide E) slower. It doesn’t provide extra coverage, since the 101 will go that stop. If anything, coverage would be better with an extra stop on the highway. It is really just inertia that keeps it this way. A few years from now, someone riding the bus will wonder why it goes this way, and the only reasonable explanation will be “because it always went that way”.

      23. @Ross,

        No apology is needed but appreciated.

        What I think I did was to bring up for discussion the many different needs that transit needs to provide to its riders and how to accomplish that. It is not an easy task and at the same time try to keep the riders happy.

        The many posts on ideas on how to provide transit service once Link is extended north is a great example of the different opinions on how do that. It will not be easy for Community and Metro transits to finalize the service and there will be people unhappy with whatever plans they decide on.

        As the saying goes, you can’t please all of the people all of time.

    1. In addition, who would pay to build the SWIFT stops in King County? The SWIFT stops will need ORCA readers, ticket vending machines, etc as there is no on-board fare payment on SWIFT buses.

      1. The Swift stops would be shared with the RapidRide stops. The ORCA readers are already there — you would just need to add some some paint. If you added stops on 200th (not inside the transit center) you would have to do the same thing (and add a reader for the eastbound bus). If you kept the same loop through the transit center you would further delay riders (beyond just the delay of using Meridian).

      2. Ticket vending machines would still need to be added. In addition, the SWIFT stops are designed differently than a regular stop such as a higher curb to allow ease of boarding. I am not sure Community Transit could be convinced to share a stop.

      3. @ J. Reddoch — My point is that has to be done no matter which route they choose. That is a given. If the bus goes on Meridian, it still has to stop on 200th.

        I suppose it could make an extra loop through the transit center, but that would be especially irritating to those that just came from Link. Not only would the bus take the slow route to get to Snohomish County, but it would make an extra loop around a transit center along the way. Jeesh, since when did Swift turn into a milk run.

        RapidRide stops are designed differently than regular stops as well. They are very similar. Somehow Community Transit was convinced to share the transit center with Metro buses, I think they can be convinced to share a BRT stop on the highway.

      4. Swift does not share stops with other routes. Where other routes stop on the same block, Swift has a separate station next to their stop, sometimes a bit separated. RapidRide happily shares stops with other routes but Swift doesn’t, so it’s unclear whether CT would be willing to on Aurora. Since it can’t very well build a dedicated Swift station in King County, that may be another reason not to stop on Aurora.

      5. Yes, Swift has different stops along SR 99, to avoid being delayed by the 101, or other buses. Swift has off-board payment and all-door boardings — the other buses do not. For sake of argument, it is “BRT”. The good news is RapidRide E is BRT as well. They are essentially identical in terms of features (special branding, special stops, ORCA readers, etc.). It should be trivial to combine them.

        If Swift insists on BRT-only stops, that’s fine. That is the main, if not the only same-stop transfer that would occur anyway. Every other transfer — whether it takes place inside a transit center or not — involves some travel. So be it.

        Since it can’t very well build a dedicated Swift station in King County, that may be another reason not to stop on Aurora.

        The Swift Station at Aurora Village is inside King County. The Swift Station at 185th station will be inside King County. This is really nothing special. The only thing that would be unusual is to have the two BRT lines share a stop. That is what grown-up agencies do.

        It does take work to build these special Swift stops. But unless Swift makes the same loop around the transit center, that has to be done no matter what. If Swift stops on 200th eastbound, across the street from the transit center, someone will have to install a Swift bus stop (in King County). Same with a stop on the other side of the street. The only thing that would be special is to have a stop shared by both the RapidRide E and Swift, which is largely just a matter of branding.

        No matter what, the extension of Swift will cost Community Transit money. Not only in terms of service, but to build new bus stops. If they go with the Aurora routing it will save them service money, and there is a good chance that they will save money building the stops by cooperating with Metro. The more the agencies ignore the big picture, the more costly everything is.

      6. I forget:
        Does Lynnwood Link go into service before or after ORCA II?

        If the card readers are more available than ORCA readers, they could be put at each door of of the buses serving Swift and RapidRide. A different boarding scheme than currently used could be in place.

      7. @Glenn: SWIFT buses don’t need ORCA readers on the bus. All fares are paid at the station.

  2. The eastern half of the 130 is useful as the “last mile” neighborhood connection to both Lynnwood and Mountlake Terrace Link stations, also the Lake Ballinger area, and Aurora Village. I’ve never ridden it to Edmonds, but for an Edmonds rider, wouldn’t it be just as well to ride the current 130 route to MLT station, versus having the bus go down to 185th ST? Presumably most Link riders would be going further than 185th, so it’s just one more stop on the train. Perhaps the peak 416 needs to go, and run the 130 more frequently instead (e.g., 15 minutes peak/30 off peak and weekends)?

    In the longer term, Community Transit is looking at upgrading the 196 to BRT (bus lanes are currently being built in Lynnwood) and possibly extending west from the college in to downtown Edmonds. If this happens, it could also be a great connection to Link.

    1. There are two parts of the 130, east of Aurora Village. First is the section between it and Mountlake Terrace. The other is the section between Mountlake Terrace and Lynnwood. I don’t address this other section in the post, but I assume that it would simply be part of a different Community Transit route. It is fairly short (and quick) so it could be tacked onto something like the 113.

      The section between Aurora Village and Mountlake Terrace would be taken over by the 331. People along that corridor would get an increase in frequency. In the middle of the day, the 130 runs every hour, while the 331 runs every half hour, if not better. There are some one-seat rides that are better with the old 130, but there are some that are better with the 331. Given that the 331 goes to Shoreline College as well as Kenmore, this looks better for people along that corridor.

      The big benefit for people in Edmonds is a faster connection to Link, especially for riders heading south. It will save about five minutes each way (two on the bus, three on the train). Much of the benefit is psychological. People really don’t like going “the wrong direction” on a bus. If they are headed south, they want to go south. Most people will be headed south on Link, since there are only two stops to the north of 185th. If riders are headed to Lynnwood, they would take a different bus (like the one you mentioned). Mountlake Terrace is a bigger destination than 185th, but not so big as to compete with all of the Link stops to the south.

      It is definitely a trade-off, but one that seems better overall.

      1. Route 130 used to run every 30 minutes. The reduction to hourly service only happened because of the pandemic and reduced ridership. Hopefully they can eventually increase back to the frequencies they had before, a lot of Community Transit’s routes are still operating at reduced levels from pre-pandemic service.

      2. Yeah, but the 331 used to run more often as well. It used to run every 15 minutes during peak. In other words, the 331 was always more frequent than the 130. Not by a lot, but enough to make a difference.

      3. Great idea about tacking on that local MLT to Lynnwood segment of the 130 on to the 113. This would also make it a 1-seat ride to the Alderwood retail area, versus a forced transfer at the transit center. Better transfers to the 101 and Swift lines too (right now you either backtrack to Aurora Village, or make a second transfer using 115/116 or 196). Better inter-connectivity. I hope someone at Community Transit is paying attention.

  3. RossB has some good thoughts. We want ST, CT, and Metro to work together. The most important thing for ST to do is to run Link with short headway and waits at all time periods. All three agencies should be open to rider input.

    Swift. I agree that Swift is better off on Aurora Avenue North and N/NE 185th Street than on Meridian Avenue North for the reasons cited by RossB. There would be common stop transfers between the E Line and Swift. SR-99 has BAT lanes, not HOV lanes; they work well for transit flow.

    RossB neglects to mention Route 347. It could connect Mountlake Terrace and South Shoreline via 56th Avenue West, NE 205th Street, and its regular pathway. It could terminate at the South Shoreline station. Route 347 need not serve 48th Avenue West.

    Route 331 could also serve the MT Link station. As CT has other routes on SW 236th Street, Route 331 could serve NE 205th Street east of 56th Avenue West. both routes 331 and 347 could terminate at MT. CT local routes could serve the areas to the north and west. RossB is correct, it is difficult for Route 331 to reach the North Shoreline Link station; the streets are narrow and indirect.

    A new Metro local route might connect the North Shoreline Link station and the AVTC via Meridian Avenue North; it could continue to Shoreline CC via the routes 331 pathway. Route 346 could terminate at the North Shoreline station.

    the asdf2 point of those oriented to Aurora Village not wanting to cross Aurora may be valid. But I suspect the transfer market is stronger than the big box retail market.

    1. I didn’t mention the 347, because I didn’t want to muddy the waters. The 347 would continue to go to Mountlake Terrace. In that sense, the 347 is an example of current intercounty cooperation. How the 347 and 331 go up to Mountlake Terrace is debatable. I’m not convinced I have an ideal route for the 331 — it is just one option. If the 331 did follow that path, I would have the 347 take a straight shot up to the station, using 19th/56th ( That is faster, yet the combination provides good coverage.

      If I follow you correctly, you are suggesting we might split the 331. The eastern half goes between Kenmore and Mountlake Terrace, while a different route goes between the 185th station, Aurora Village and Shoreline College. That works, but the 331 seems especially short (almost everything requires a transfer). It is fine if you are taking Link, but a trip from Ballinger Way to Shoreline College (currently a one-seat ride) would be three seats, right? A new section (between 185th station and Aurora Village) gets a one-seat ride, but there aren’t that many people between there. If you are next to the station you will probably just hop on Link, get off on 145th, and take a bus from there (my guess is that would be faster). If you are headed from the 185th station to Aurora Village itself, you take Swift (no matter which route it takes). The split doesn’t seem to get you anything. I’m biased, but it sure doesn’t look better than the 331 shown on the map. It could be what we end up with, but only because the better solution (having the 331 take over part of the 130) fails because the two agencies didn’t cooperate.

    2. “the 347 is an example of current intercounty cooperation.”

      I don’t know that it’s cooperation or that CT has much to do with it. In the 80s there was a bus 377 to Horizon View, an obscure residential area in Lake Forest Park with a blind services building. There was a peak express 477 to Lynnwood P&R paid by CT but operated by Metro. At some point the local route got extended to Lynnwood P&R, maybe during the 522 restructure. The Mountlake Terrace transit center didn’t exist yet. When it was built, the 347 or its ancestor was truncated at Mountlake Terrace. It’s just an over-the-border transfer point like Federal Way TC or Aurora Village, not something the “host” agency is funding.

      1. Mike Orr: Route 377 was extended to the Lynnwood TC between June 1997 and September 2003. Route 317 was extended to downtown Edmonds during the same time frame. It was at the initiative of Councilmember Maggi Fimia. The reduction of the span of Route 315 created a hole in the network and CT had improved its network. So, the restructure of fall 2003 focused hours within King County and improved east-west service (e.g., routes 330, 331-345, and 348); it was zero sum with no new hours. the new hours were used to improve off-peak service on Route 358, the future E Line. The Route 522 restructure was in fall 2002 and unrelated. Routes 317 and 377 had many variants; peak period headway was hourly in the reverse peak direction.

      2. [The 347 tail] is just an over-the-border transfer point like Federal Way TC or Aurora Village, not something the “host” agency is funding.

        I’m not saying it is getting funded, but clearly the 347 goes out of its way to serve Snohomish County riders. It is one thing to terminate in Mountlake Terrace — that may be the only good layover. But the big detour to get there is largely in Snohomish County (on 48th and 236th). It really doesn’t make sense to me, other than to cover more of the neighboring county. I would imagine Metro worked with CT on it (along with the city of Mountlake Terrace).

  4. As a resident of Shoreline actively involved in city affairs for ~30 years as well as a bus rider for over 40, here’s what I’d recommend or predict, based on transit agency planners tending to keep their routes in their own service areas:

    Swift Blue: Yes, 200th is a no-brainer, yet CT planners have been difficult to convince of that, I’ve been trying for years. 192nd is also a no-brainer, for the 192nd Park & Ride is a larger facility than at Aurora Village, and there is a large multi-family complexes on the NE corner of 192nd and south of the Park & Ride that don’t require a YMCA membership, i.e. both of these have far larger appeal than the YMCA does.

    130: It could stick with its current routing, which primarily (as a CT route) serves Snohomish County and takes it by the Mountlake Terrace Station.

    331: It serves (as a KC Metro route) as a link between Shoreline CC, two high schools, one middle school, and AVTC to the west and AVTC, Lake Forest Park, and Kenmore to the east. One way to continue these connections is to dip down at 5th NE to get close to the 185th Station, then back north using Meridian to reach Aurora Village. A long-overdue traffic signal at 5th NE and NE 205th would allow for the residents in that area to get a bus stop on both sides to restore what Metro took away from them due to there being one – and folks running across 205th, a recipe for disaster. Instead, they left cars darting across those lanes.

    416: Another CT (Snohomish County) route, this one could cross under I-5, take a left, then use the new road on the east side of I-5 past the movie theater to access the Mountlake Terrace Station. Absent that, using 1st NE would be an good option, although I’d keep the stop at the bottom of Meridian on 205th, add the stop back on the northwest side, and put a stop halfway up the hill on 1st NE to be closer to the many multi-family residents who live in Ballinger Terrace as well as eliminating a pull-out at the bottom of that hill, which could potentially become a right-turn lane.

    1. @ transitrider: the CT planning team is becoming increasingly hard-headed as they maintain the same ‘ol managers and planners. They’re less open to new ideas nowadays. The Blue Line really should’ve stayed on Aurora because it’s connecting customers to more useful destinations, predominantly 185th & Aurora, without having to transfer. Besides, I have an inkling that residents along Meridian will soon gripe about 60 ft buses going up/down their street 20/7.

      As for bus 416, it should be replaced by either a peak hour route that serves 185th or simply cut it and keep the 130 (and divert it to 185th).

      The 331 is in interesting one… it comes so close to the new Van Ry Blvd that connects Ballinger Way and MLT station. it might be worth the deviation to/from Ballinger Way. Plus I hear that there’s supposed to be more development in that area.

      1. As I wrote up above, I didn’t want to get into the particulars around Mountlake Terrace (that is the subject for another post). This is my current thinking for Metro bus routes after Lynnwood Link: The 347 takes a much more direct route to Mountlake Terrace. The 331 takes over some of the coverage.

        I’m not completely sold on this idea. This puts a lot of the apartments on Ballinger farther away. If we aren’t concerned about coverage, then both could converge onto 19th/56th. Community Transit could then backfill service on the county line. Another alternative would be to have the 347 continue to follow its current coverage route, while the 331 turns on 19th, and follows a more straight forward path to Mountlake Terrace.

        I thought about using Van Ry Boulevard, but it seems like more trouble than its worth. Southbound looks especially tricky, as the bus would have to cut across all three lanes.

    2. One way to continue these connections [on the 331] is to dip down at 5th NE to get close to the 185th Station, then back north using Meridian to reach Aurora Village.

      Right, but that involves a big detour. Turning from Ballinger to 19th would be difficult, if not impossible. So that means turning up at 205th, onto 15th. Then you have to go all the way down to 180th, if not 175th. So basically this: It is faster to go via Mountlake Terrace. It is a more straightforward route (twists and turns sap ridership). There is also less overlap with existing routes. Those other routes could be sent other places, but then you’ve lost some of the functionality as well as the coverage. In contrast, the 130 overlap is tiny, and a lot of riders would prefer the bus just keep going south (to the nearest station).

      Even if Community Transit wants to continue to send the 130 on its current path, I would still send the 331 up to Mountlake Terrace. That is redundant service along the way, but still faster. My point is that doing so should involve cooperation. If both routes go there, it would represent a significant improvement for service on that part of Snohomish County. Community Transit should respond in kind (by having Swift stop at 192nd and Aurora).

  5. The Fred Meyer at 185th and Aurora is a pretty significant regional destination and just as likely to have people from Snohomish Co as King Co visit it. There seem to be more transit riders using it than the Costco at 200th. But, there’s obviously a bit of a rub in providing sales tax funded service to a place where shopping would put sales tax into a different district.

    One option I attempted one time, because the E is so awfully time consuming, is the 346 on Meridian. Meridian actually moves pretty well. However, the turns on Meridian would be really unrewarding for such a short distance. I would definitely vote for 185th and Aurora. The only thing that serves as a destination in that area of Meridian is the King County District Court just south of Meridian and 185th. Is going there from Snohomish Co even a thing? Putting the 130 there instead of Swift, and making sure the transfers don’t thoroughly suck, would help solve that. Move the transit center to the other side of Aurora so the 348 extends to Aurora would help alleviate that too.

    Don’t get me wrong: the transit center is busy enough, but I’ve never seen any of my fellow passengers walk to anything nearby. It’s always just transfers, which to me implies the transit center really isn’t in a good place. If a bunch of bus routes terminate at something, it should have some actual thing or two that people are actually trying to get to. To me, it seems the only real purpose of the transit center is to serve as a delineation in an otherwise homogeneous area that has an otherwise invisible line through them.

    Crossing Aurora is definitely as issue, and the highway makes a dip through the area around 192nd where a pedestrian bridge connecting the Interurban Trail to the west side of Aurora could probably be done without too much fuss. Aurora actually sits in a slight trough through part of the area.

    Then again, this also would be a good reason to have the transit center on the west side of Aurora.

    1. To me, it seems the only real purpose of the transit center is to serve as a delineation in an otherwise homogeneous area that has an otherwise invisible line through them.

      Well put.

      Crossing Aurora is definitely as issue

      As I put up above, if you aren’t comfortable crossing a street like Aurora, then Swift Blue won’t work for you. Just about all of the stops are next to streets just as busy and wide as Aurora.

    2. “Crossing Aurora is definitely as issue”
      A safe, wide, and bright pedestrian underpass at the 200th intersection will be a natural fit for the street topography, as there is already a steep retaining wall down to Costco from the Aurora sidewalk. It’s unfortunate that it’s hard to design underpasses that would sufficiently address other safety concerns, such as loiterers and tents.

      192nd x Aurora pedestrian bridge: I think the city already has conceptual designs for this, as part of the envisioned multifamily development in the area, such as the conversion of the Rat City property to the east and the unused park-n-ride space to the west, to multi-family/retail.

  6. Splitting this corridor at 200th seems very non-ideal.

    Any thoughts from the horde about something like removing the 301 from downtown Seattle and making it a 145th to Aurora north into Snohomish County as a corridor express partly funded by both agencies? Being able to take a single seat ride across 200th for part of the Aurora corridor seems like it would be useful for some.

    I’m not sure what you’d do about the sections of the current 301 that would be cut though.

    1. Historically, getting multiple agencies to agree to chip in for a single route that covers both agencies’s turf has been very difficult. The bureaucratically easier solution, by far, is to just have each agency run its own buses in its own turf, and force everyone to transfer at the county line. Sucks for the riders, but makes the paperwork easier for the people running the transit systems.

      At least the folks at CT realized that the status quo is unacceptable. Having the SR-99 bus connect directly to Link, rather than indirectly via other buses, will be huge, regardless of the Shoreline route taken.

      1. Even if it could be pulled off, I don’t think it would be ideal. Combining the two routes would make for a very long route. The 301 no longer goes downtown anyway, it goes to Northgate.

        I also think there is value in having an overlap, with Swift going to 185th. 185th is the shortest distance between SR 99 and Link (at least until they add a station at 220th). It is also fast, since there is no freeway ramp there. I applaud CT for sending Swift there, I just hope they go the right way.

        If there is a flaw, it is with the terminus of the E. It ends in the middle of nowhere, next to Aurora Village. Obviously this is because the county ends there, but it is a pretty weak terminus. If there was no county line, it would make sense to end at a real destination, like Swedish Edmonds, or Edmonds College. That would cost more money, but would be ideal from a riders standpoint. It would mean anyone on Aurora would have access to Swedish Edmonds and Edmonds College (two of the biggest destinations on Swift) while lots of people north of 185th connect with Link destinations like Northgate, UW, etc.

  7. After Lynnwood Link, what’s the need to keep Aurora Village? CT will conduct an extensive restructure of its service. One of the ideas is what Ross has already outlined above: terminating the 130 at 185th St. CT has already committed doing the same with the Blue Line and the 115 will soon become the Orange Line and terminate at EdCC. Plus, there’s tons of stuff that you can do with the Metro routes when Link arrives that don’t require a route to terminate at Aurora Village.

    So that begs the question: do we really need it in 2024?

    1. The number of people needing to take the bus to visit Echo Lake Park or the Costco gas station does seem quite small.

      It is good to have a place for buses to lay over between trips, and with the county line there it makes sense to do that somewhere in that area.

      I’m pretty sure if it weren’t on a hill and if a single agency were involved in this location instead of three, Shoreline Community College would wind up being a significant transit center. Community colleges are usually a point that generate a fair number of trips from a number of directions. I’m not sure how many routes would be worthwhile diverting there under the circumstances.

      Under the current situation, it probably makes the most sense to end the E at what? 225th Link station, whenever it starts service. It means a bunch more service hours, and those service hours wind up in a city outside King County.

      Maybe the E should be what loops back down onto Meridian from 200th and goes to the 185th station?

      1. Looping the E back is a good idea. It connects loads of North King County riders to that court with a single transfer, and does it frequently.

  8. I’ve taken the 130 from Mountlake Terrace to Edmonds, because Mountlake Terrace is the transfer point for the 512. Going from Mountlake Terrace to Aurora Village is surprisingly fast because there’s little traffic or stoplights on the north side of the lake. The part of the 130 that’s slow is west of Aurora Village, where it seems to take an inordinate amount of time through Woodway and down to downtown Edmonds.

    Meridian has never had much traffic that I’ve seen, so any bus should go pretty fast there. Some drivers use Meridian when congestion is extra heavy on I-5 and Aurora.

    1. Driving down Meridian may be fast, but I wonder about right turns onto Meridian. Are these wide enough to be made comfortably by an articulated bus? Or will the bus have to honk the horn and get drivers in the opposing left turn lane to back up every time they make the turn.

      Hopefully, CT has measured the turning radiuses, but if the buses don’t have enough room to make the required turns, the Meridian route is going to be a disaster. Aurora, on the other hand, is wide enough that there is absolutely no question of there being enough room. If semi trucks can turn right on and off Aurora, so can the bus.

    2. Meridian is never faster than Aurora. That is just the way traffic works. If Meridian was faster than Aurora, people would use it as a bypass, and … well, you get the idea. You don’t have to trust my word for it, check Google. Go ahead, play around with it. Go from the station to some spot on Aurora, just before the county line: Right now 185th to Aurora is faster. Change the time, and pick something else. It is always the preferred option (Meridian doesn’t even show up).

      Now consider that Google doesn’t know you can drive in the BAT lanes. The congestion they thing might delay drivers doesn’t apply to a bus. Aurora is always faster. Always.

      1. Not always.
        Not by bus anyway.

        King Street Station to 185th & Stone Way the transit planners will usually suggest the E, but it takes an hour+/- due to all the stops.

        However, due to the time required by the E, a number of other suggestions come up too, depending on the time of day. After U Link, the 373 from Aurora Village to 185th to a series of obscure streets to Husky Stadium was frequently suggested by the transit trip planners (route deleted upon Northgate Link, and it got slow last year due to a huge number of construction detours). Sometimes they also suggested the 346 on Meridian to 41 (now Northgate Link) as the fastest way. I did this once and Meridian was really fast, compared to the E. It got slow overall due to the offset in schedule time between it and the 41 though.

        However, the reason the E is so slow on that part of Aurora is because that’s where everyone is trying to go, so there are a lot of fairly long stops. Based on my experience, Meridian would be much faster, but also only generate about 5 riders per day.

        Since trying to serve actual riders is the goal, it seems like Aurora and 185th would be best, even if a bit slower.

      2. Aurora bogs down peak hours. It’s not an issue in Shoreline because Shoreline has full BAT lanes. Seattle doesn’t.

      3. The 373 would typically take 10 minutes to get from the transit center to the turn onto 185th. It’s not the traffic, but the stops for passengers plus the traffic lights plus fighting its way out of the BAT lane into the turn lane.

        But, it’s also where there are destinations for passengers.

      4. What about the left turn from Aurora to 185th? Barring special signal upgrades, there’s no BAT lane for that. Is the bus getting over into the left lane and waiting for the left turn arrow with general-purpose traffic likely to be an issue? My guess is “no”, but it’s a question worth asking.

      5. Not always.
        Not by bus anyway.

        You are arguing a different point. If you are dead heading from 185th station to Aurora past 200th, then the fastest way is via Aurora, because of the BAT lanes, speed limits, and two fewer turns. This means that if there is one stop between there it is faster as well (a given no matter the route). It is so much faster that you could probably add a second stop (at 192nd) and it would still be faster to use Aurora.

        Keep in mind it doesn’t have to be faster every time. It merely needs to be faster on average.

      6. If you say so, but my experience riding all three of the routes that operate on the approximate route we are talking about definitely didn’t provide that experience.

        (But I would certainly still argue Swift needs to be on Aurora)

      7. What about the left turn from Aurora to 185th?

        It is the same as a turn on 200th. That is the point.

        Look, we can trust Google (which bases its conclusion on millions of data points, gathered over a long period of time) or we can break it down into segments. I’m fine with the latter. This is really easy to do with a pencil and paper — tougher to do in paragraph form. But here goes:

        Both routes have turns from Aurora — those cancel out. Both have segments between Aurora and Meridian — those cancel out as well. Aurora is faster than Meridian (faster speed limit, BAT lanes). Using Meridian has two additional turns: one to get on Meridian, one to get off of it. Aurora/185th wins.

        It is really silly, given the nature of Swift Blue. The route is designed for speed. It has extremely large stop spacing. It spends miles and miles without making a turn. And yet Community Transit is willing throw all of that away, so that riders get closer to Home Depot. There are three types of riders that would be effected by this decision:

        1) Riders connecting from Swift to Link.
        2) Riders connecting from Swift to RapidRide E.
        3) Riders using the bus stop on 200th.

        If the bus turns on 200th, the first two groups of riders are worse off. All to benefit some (but not all) of the folks in that third group.

  9. This proposal seems to remove the useful 130 last-mile connection between Lynnwood and MLT to replicate service that the 347 is already providing, as noted elsewhere.

    Aside from increasing frequency on those last-mile connections like the 130 (or 119, or 112, or 116, or the 346) there are some critical connections that I feel are missing:

    – Connections between Swift, light rail, and 522 STRIDE need some work. A single route from Edmonds to Kenmore via MLT Station (or one route for each county, if you took a rapid and frequent truncated 416 and 331 and made them meet at Ballinger Village/MLT light rail station up Van Ry/Gateway Blvd) would help connect the ferry, Swift Blue, light rail, and 522 STRIDE near the county line.

    (The 104/I5/205th interchange is a bottleneck here and needs some work, which I think is worth doing longer term. Improved bus-prioritizing connections would allow Swift Blue to make a more direct connection to light rail at the MLT station rather than dipping way into King County; the E line could use the old Swift Blue route to connect directly to light rail at 185th rather than relying on a transfer.)

    – 220th and 212th are currently very underserved for the level of development they have (including a large corporate headquarters and several areas of relatively affordable apartment housing). A route connecting Swift Blue to Lynnwood station via 220th, 52nd, 212th, and 44th would provide additional last-mile service and help improve connectivity between these two rapid transit routes. If this ran down 220th all the way to the Edmonds ferry it would be similar to the old 110, except it would connect at Lynnwood rather than MLT.

    – A better last-mile connection through Ballinger Village / the area of Shoreline north of North City, which is seeing a lot of development but hasn’t seen new infrastructure to match. A reworked 347 that ran up Van Ry / Gateway to MLT Station instead of doing a weird little zag down 48th would help with this. (Southeast Mountlake Terrace would then be very underserved by bus, but this is probably a Community Transit thing.)

    1. This, except that part about the part about the proposed 130 reroute replicating the 347. This is what I get for typing on a phone.

    2. This proposal seems to remove the useful 130 last-mile connection between Lynnwood and MLT

      Sorry if I gave you that impression. I would expect that to be part of a different route, like an extension of the 113. I guess I should have written something about that. I almost did, but I wanted to keep the essay limited in scope. I would expect that corridor to be covered by a different route, as part of a restructure in that part of town, of the type you suggest.

  10. I miss Daniel telling us that WSBLE is going to take every dime of North King transit money until the heat death of the Universe, so there won’t be any cash left for a sign announcing that the TC is closed.

    1. Missed? The last one was just 22 hours ago. I’m sure there will be another one today or tomorrow. In any case, Lynnwood Link and the second line will be finished before WSBLE construction starts. They’re what’s holding it up: the monthly revenue that’s paying their bills is what WSBLE needs for its bills.

      1. Mike tends to take everything as serious as a heart attack… even if I put an emoji at the end. I wonder what the reaction would have been reading A Modest Proposal back in the day.

        New cars cost less in Puyallup :=>

  11. We need a similar level of cooperation between King and Pierce County. South King residents are MUCH closer (geographically) to jobs in Tacoma than Seattle. But there are very few transit routes that connect places like Auburn, Federal Way, and Kent to downtown Tacoma. Take a long, winding, circuitous neighborhood route to Federal Way Transit Center, then transfer to a bus to Tacoma Dome, then a transfer to Tacoma Link. Or roll the dice on the one or two reverse direction trips per weekday on Sounder, and pray that you make the evening connection back. For most people, it makes far more sense to drive (for me, 1 hour 30 minutes on transit vs 25 minutes driving). All of the investment in Tacoma Link makes zero sense if we don’t get people IN to downtown Tacoma to begin with.

    1. It is noteworthy how different agencies have already laid out lots of bus restructuring proposals for Lynnwood Link but not as much for Federal Way Link considering that the official opening of the latter extension is just 5 months later than the former.

      Of course, East Link restructuring has been taking lots of Metro staff time recently. CT seems always more aggressive with new route planning than PT traditionally is. I seem to remember seeing initial Federal Way restructures for KC Metro but I’m can’t seem to find it today. Does anyone have the hyperlink?

      I think a general question is when should advanced planning occur and when are details needed. I felt like Metro is just a tad “late” with the Northgate and East restructuring but they seem to get done well before opening day.

      1. Is there much for PT to do? Then will truncate all the I5 routes at the Link station and then use the savings to either boost frequency or backfill gaps elsewhere. I don’t see any new routings for PT routes. For STX, the routes will be truncated and the bus hours will disappear (replaced by Link service hours), so aside from some high frequency already in new SIP I don’t see any changes for ST.

        Will be interesting to see what KCM does, particularly with routes that intersect or terminate at KDM.

      2. Is there much for PT to do [after Federal Way Link]?

        Not that I can see ( I don’t think they will make a single change. They already have several buses that extend to Federal Way (and no farther). They’ve got a bus that goes to Auburn, but I don’t see that changing.

        Metro could get rid of the 177. The 162 and 190 could get truncated I guess. The 193 goes to First Hill, and makes some stops that Link doesn’t, so that probably remains the same. If I’m not mistaken, all of the buses that go across I-5 (or SR 99) go by a future station anyway. I don’t see much in the way of intercounty cooperation there. Maybe the 63 could be combined with the 182 or 187?

        The big question is what ST will do. They could truncate a lot of the buses in Federal Way, or keep sending them to Seattle. Either way I expect buses to stop in Federal Way, since it is easy to access. This will represent a big improvement for trips to SeaTac, if nothing else. Right now it takes a while to get from downtown Tacoma to SeaTac. First the rider has to get to the Tacoma Dome. Then they catch the 574, which only runs every half hour. In contrast, the 594 would take them right to Federal Way, and it is more frequent. You don’t need the 574 any more. This savings gets pushed into the 594 to make it more frequent. You get even bigger savings if you truncate the buses at Federal Way.

      3. I could see more of the public asking for both South King and Pierce routes to directly tie into Link. There just aren’t very many routes from the East and South of the line.

        Because there isn’t much to revise, I don’t see it considered a “restructure” because there won’t be many routes cancelled or significantly revised. Instead, I think it will evolve with growing requests for more service.

        One other systems change will be the 167 project making it easier to get to Federal Way HOV ramps feeding the station. Of course, it may not open until Tacoma Dome Link is almost open so that makes it less essential to run buses to Federsl Way and using it.

        I’m also expecting casino shuttles running to Muckleshoot and Emerald Queen upon Federal Way Link opening. They are too big of income-generating activity centers to not spend money on buses making the 15-minute journey each way to Federal Way for gamblers and workers. I could see some people calling Federal Way “Fortune Way” if that happens..

      4. I could see more of the public asking for both South King and Pierce routes to directly tie into Link.

        Yeah, but where? Just about all of the routes that could connect to Federal Way already do. Pierce County has four routes that leave the county — three of them connect to the future station in Federal Way. Places like Algona-Pacific have bare bones service (DART, which connects riders to Auburn). Auburn already has a connection to Federal Way. The Federal Way transit center is already treated like a major destination in the area, by both agencies. Other than combining the 63 with the 182, there isn’t much to do in the area. Even then, the 63 only runs twice a day, so it wouldn’t add much.

        It is easy to imagine some grand network with lots of new connections to Link, but eventually reality hits you in the face: most of the area lacks transit service going anywhere. The public could ask for more connections to Link, but requests for transit service of any kind clearly haven’t been met. It is like asking for a special request at the food bank. You get what you get, and often you don’t even get that.

        The area is extremely expensive to serve, and there just isn’t enough money to provide even the most basic service. Unfortunately, that’s what happens when you have sprawl of this nature, and no investment in transit.

      5. It’s interesting to compare the FW TC with the Aurora Village TC. Both are useful but also arbitrary transfer points driven by county borders. But while Lynnwood Link makes the Aurora Village TC much less useful (as 185th & I5 suddenly becomes a major transit node), Federal Way Link makes the FW TC a more useful & very much not arbitrary transfer node. So I think it then logically follows that Lynnwood Link requires KCM and CT to rethink transit in the area, while PT & ST can mostly just run the existing network, investing in better frequency rather than route redesigns.

        The Sounder corridor, rather than the I5 corridor, perhaps has more opportunity for a rethink … but even there, the biggest change is probably a big increase in value of running a Puyallup-Sumner(-Auburn?)-FW route all day, which is basically just the 578 truncated at FW Station. With the 578 significantly shorter, perhaps it can extend to cover South Hill (overlapping a bit with the 400 or 402?), but otherwise the opportunities are mostly just better frequency on the existing routes.

      6. The last south King County restructure prepositioned some of the changes anticipated for Link and RapidRide I (Renton-Kent-Auburn) so there’s less to change now. The 168 prefigures the I. The 168 was straightened out. More half-hourly Sunday service reached eastern Kent. The 165 (132nd-Kent-Des Moines) was moved from Reith Road (very low density and meandering) to northwest Kent (I haven’t been there so I don’t know if it’s better).

        The remaining things from Metro’s 2016-2020 long-range plan that still need to be done are upgrading the 181 to RapidRide (GRCC-Auburn-FW station), a new RapidRide line on KDM Road (132nd-Kent-KDM station), a downtown-Kent-Auburn express to replace the 578 and long-missing Kent service, and more coverage service in Lakeland Park. These cost significant money so it’s unclear if they can proceed without the future countywide Metro Connects levy that never seems to be scheduled.

        South King County’s geography and the location of the Link line put a ceiling on how much benefit transfers to Link can be. Link is so far west that even a nonstop route on KDM Road or 320th can’t compete with the 150 or 578 in Kent or Auburn. So they need good connections to Link but they also need other alternatives too. Otherwise they’re looking at hour to hour-and-a-half trips to Seattle.

        Access to Tacoma is the worst from the eastern part of south King County, again Kent and Auburn. It’s a long two- or three-seat ride. I don’t know what in particular can be done, but if Metro/PT at least acknowledge the problem maybe they can figure something out.

      7. I guess all this skepticism about more bus connections to Federal Way Link will just encourage more people to drive to a Link parking garage. I’m actually fine with more of a wait and see approach with the garages to see if they fill up before adding routes.

        I also expect to see some minor shifting of parking riders away from Sounder and non-Link lots to Link garages too. Having the transit option to miss a Sounder train and still get 10 minute service to head back to one’s car late is a tempting incentive.

        Finally, I can’t see how almost all PT riders would like having to transfer at Tacoma Dome or catch a bus further west to get to Link. (ST Express is the exception.) For those lining east of Pacific Ave, going to Tacoma Dome feels out of direction.

      8. “almost all PT riders would like having to transfer at Tacoma Dome or catch a bus further west to get to Link.” Will they? I think that was Ross’s original point .. there already are PT routes that directly connect to FW TC, so while there is opportunity to improve frequency & span of service, there isn’t a need for a network redesign.

        Yes, there will be a number of routes that will require transfer, mostly in downtown Tacoma not at the dome, but that’s the right design of the network both today and after FW Link opens, as those routes should first serve local trip pairs and secondarily serve long distance (i.e. into King County) trip pairs.

      9. South King should have a one seat ride to Tacoma that runs beyond the limited sounder schedule. As this is an inter county problem, it would be Sound Transit’s responsibility, most likely through an ST express bus.

        The simplest option is probably to reroute the 574 to serve Kent and Auburn stations, rather than SeaTac, once Federal Way Link is operational.

        Of course, for most, getting to the express stop would require a transfer on a KCM bus, which would drag down ridership. But, it would still be a huge improvement over the status quo.

        The big tradeoff for ST is how to pay for all those extra service hours on the 574. Taking it from the 594 would punish Seattle->Tacoma riders. It’s not an easy problem.

      10. I guess all this skepticism about more bus connections to Federal Way Link will just encourage more people to drive to a Link parking garage.

        I don’t think you quite understand what we are saying Al. Federal Way already is a major transit hub! As Mike put it, all the work has been done*. There are three (three!) bus routes from Pierce County to Federal Way. This, for a very small agency. Metro has a bunch of routes serving it as well.

        The only way that Federal Way could get more routes from Metro or Pierce Transit is if those agencies get a lot more money. But you could say the same thing everywhere.

        This is in huge contrast with Lynnwood Link stations. Not a single bus runs by the future 130th station. There is one bus that goes by the future 145th station, and it runs every half hour. Same with the 185th station. And yet there are lots of buses in the area. They ignore the station areas, because there is nothing there … yet. Once Link is added, then of course the routes will be modified to serve the station *at no additional cost to the agencies*.

        That is the difference. You are suggesting a big increase in funding to better connect riders to Federal Way Link. Yeah, that would be great. I’m saying we should use the existing money we have to better connect people to Link in the north end. To a certain extent, this is a given (Metro will run more buses to Link) but the particulars mean the difference between an excellent system that works well for just about everyone, and one that is needlessly flawed.

        * To be clear, all the work by Metro and Pierce Transit. Sound Transit will of course make major changes to their express buses after Federal Way Link.

      11. Finally, I can’t see how almost all PT riders would like having to transfer at Tacoma Dome or catch a bus further west to get to Link. (ST Express is the exception.) For those lining east of Pacific Ave, going to Tacoma Dome feels out of direction.

        I just want to reiterate what AJ said. Here is the map for Pierce Transit: So you’ve got the 500, 501 and 402. The 500 and 501 start downtown, run through Fife and on to Federal Way. There is your connection to the west. The 402 runs on Meridian, through South Hill and Puyallup. That is your connection to the east. Then there is Sound Transit, which will likely have a bus similar to the 500/501, except more of an express. It is also quite likely they will connect places further away, such as Lakewood. Transit in Pierce County has a lot of problems, but connecting to the Federal Way Link station won’t be one of them.

      12. How about an ST Express route the opposite of the 578? Kent to Auburn, Federal Way, Tacoma Dome, and downtown Tacoma. That would address the hardest parts of getting to Tacoma.

      13. South King should have a one seat ride to Tacoma that runs beyond the limited sounder schedule. …. The simplest option is probably to reroute the 574 to serve Kent and Auburn stations, rather than SeaTac, once Federal Way Link is operational.

        I could see that. My first thought is a combination 574/566. That could work during rush hour, but midday ridership on the 566 is abysmal. I think I would keep them separate then. There is also the 578 to consider, which could be extended to Tacoma. I’m thinking something like this:

        1) Downtown Tacoma, Tacoma Dome, Federal Way, Auburn, Kent.
        2) DuPont, downtown Tacoma, Tacoma Dome, Federal Way.
        578) Downtown Tacoma, Tacoma Dome, Puyallup, Sumner, Auburn, Federal Way.

        All buses run every half hour. This gives riders a couple one-seat rides from Auburn to Tacoma. Likewise, there would be two buses going from downtown Tacoma to Federal Way, and two from Auburn to Federal Way. All of these combinations would run opposite each other for 15 minute effective headway. If we can afford 20 minute service, that would get us 10 minute frequency (to better match Link).

        Kent to Auburn/Tacoma is only every half hour, but that seems adequate. For trips from Kent to Auburn there is the 160. For trips from Kent to Federal Way there is the 183, or the 165/Link. Half hour direct service between Kent and Tacoma seems adequate given the distances.

        For rush hour service there are a whole bunch of possibilities. It does get complicated really quick, and it is tough to say what is best. A lot depends on ST’s tolerance for truncations and transfers.

    2. Agree. There needs to be much more growth in Tacoma, in particular job growth. Downtown Tacoma is anemic as a jobs center compared to a Bellevue or Redmond.

      Right now there is more growth in housing, with a modest but promising pipeline of multifamily projects; T-Link may spur further investments, and then hopefully jobs will follow the housing.

      1. How do you “create” jobs in downtown Tacoma, and why is that a good thing? Regional population growth models show growth over the next ten years under 1% (past growth). Tacoma will have to take jobs away from other job centers like Seattle and Bellevue, and post pandemic with working from home net jobs in these centers (except maybe Bellevue which is stealing jobs from Seattle) very well could go down. I suppose Tacoma could tout a lower tax base than Seattle, but then so can Bellevue.

        What industries does downtown Tacoma have that will see large jobs growth? Here is a link to the largest employers in Tacoma. Most are military or government, with some retail. Nearly all probably require an employee to drive to the work site.

        I think we could be seeing a long term deurbanization, at least of the jobs market. It really makes little sense to have workers from all parts of the county or region all travel to a city hub at the same time for work, and then back home. Urbanists hoped to have the workers move closer to the urban cores, but they have very little understanding of why the workers moved out of the urban core to begin with, and the pandemic has undermined that goal.

        We are spending well over $100 billion dollars to build a 90 mile light rail spine from Everett to Tacoma to Redmond, which to me defines sprawl and deurbanization. So instead of having workers all commute into a hub why not move more businesses to satellite cities along the 90 mile spine that are closer to where the workers live and see if we can’t eliminate the work commute as much as possible, which is good for the worker, the employer, the satellite city, and the environment.

        There is no intrinsic benefit I can see to creating jobs in downtown Tacoma, especially considering the irony our $100+ billion spine doesn’t go there.

      2. Tacoma will have to take jobs away from other job centers like Seattle and Bellevue

        That’s patently false and I’m sure you know it; your own links prove it. #1 employer is JBLM. Increases there aren’t “stealing” jobs from King County. The #1 “industry” in Tacoma/Pierce Co is health care. Increases there aren’t stealing jobs from King County. But the biggest fantasy is that the job pie can’t grow. Of course it can. Tacoma could have been the home of a CNG plant or an ethanol plant. Instead they chose to send those jobs somewhere else. Not to King County to be sure. Even if the new population of Tacoma largely works in King County (but can’t afford to live there) there’s still a need for retail employment and service employment.

      3. I don’t think it is realistic to expect Tacoma (or Everett, or Lynnwood) to be the kind of jobs center that Bellevue or Redmond is. The East Side got lucky, in that Gates and Allen decided to build their company there. Otherwise, the East Side would be nothing special (similar to Factoria).

        Downtown Tacoma is doing just fine, considering. There is no reason to assume that just because it is relatively close to Seattle that it should be a booming jobs center. It is like Bremerton — an interesting history, but there is no reason to assume that translates into jobs. But Tacoma has nice bones, and is doing well not only with government related work, but health care. This doesn’t lead to booming success, but should set it up well in the long run.

      4. The reason to add jobs in downtown Tacoma is to give more job opportunities to the residents of Tacoma, South King County, and the depressed areas west of the Narrows.

        There should be better transit connectivity between Kent, Auburn, and Tacoma. The current service is convoluted and time-consuming if you don’t live directly north of Federal Way TC on the A.

      5. I think it’s plausible Tacoma becomes a major jobs center of the level of UW or Redmond. It has a large footprint, massive excess zoned capacity, several sources of job growth (hospitals, UWT, the Port, arts & entertainment, etc.) in addition to just generic office development, and a political & business community that considers it a partner to, not a dependent of, Seattle’s political & business community. Of course, economic development is mostly about private, not public, actions. In other words, Tacoma will need to get ‘lucky,’ as Ross says.

        Given the hundreds of other major job centers through the USA that simply didn’t exist 100 years ago, Tacoma will have plenty of at-bats to get lucky. Also, as population continues to grow along the overall regional economy, Tacoma’s job base to serve the nearby population (healthcare, education, leisure) will grow. For healthcare in particular, Tacoma seems to be the best positioned city to develop a major regional center alongside Seattle.

        I agree Lynnwood and Everett have less potential (Lynnwood feels like it might top out as another Northgate), but Everett I think could also get lucky – there are a ton of companies in the orbit of Boeing & Paine Field, and if some of those ‘get lucky,’ Everett could be the headquarters rather than Seattle.

        If there was one city that I think could be the ‘next Bellevue,’ I actually think it could be Renton/Tukwila/Kent, particularly if one of these next generation aerospace companies (Blue Origin?) really grows and steps into the void left by Boeing. Tukwila (Southcenter) and Renton (Southport) have neighborhoods that could conceivably host Bellevue-level jobs density

      6. Tacoma also has a really good mix of multi-use multi-level residential going in right next to downtown, so unlike Bellevue or Redmond or Seattle they’ll wind up with more affordable housing. While there’s some exclusionary zoning going on, it’s not as bad as further north.

      7. I think Ross is about right on Tacoma. I would disagree with Bernie that JBLM is a “Tacoma” employer, or is likely to see significant growth. It is a secured perimeter city unto itself, and I would be surprised if more than a tiny percentage of civilian staff live in downtown Tacoma, or even in Tacoma itself, or take transit. Building a modern city around a military base is usually unwise, not unlike Oak Harbor and the Naval Base. Very transient.
        Pretty soon the city depends on the base, but the base doesn’t really attract any other attractive employers.

        Tacoma’s main selling point today is it isn’t Seattle, it has free parking downtown, lower housing costs that are rising, and lower lease rates than Seattle and Bellevue, but ideally if you want to be Bellevue you don’t want those factors to be your main selling points. Tacoma is funky, and hopefully it stays funky. We all agree good jobs are important, but they don’t have to be in urban cores anymore, at least some of them.

        My point was the rise of Bellevue and the eastside, and likely low regional population growth over the next 10 years, and working from home, will likely result in Tacoma’s downtown work force to remain at best the same. There will be increases in healthcare workers everywhere due to the aging of the population, but more and more healthcare visits are online.

        I think down the road Tacoma’s upzoning will be seen an unnecessary and mostly ideological, but at least it will give the rest of us a chance to see if it works before trying the same, or whether Bellevue’s zoning model is more effective at attracting businesses and high wealth residents.

      8. Putting a decent number of jobs at the last station is good for transit productivity. It puts more riders in the non-peak direction when trains are typically more empty.

        It does kind of highlight the systems short-sightedness going 10 more miles to Tacoma Dome but not going the extra 3/4 of a mile into Diwntown.

      9. DT, I grew up in Lakewood as part of a retired military family. 1st, the number of people employed at JBLM is split about equally between active duty and civilian contractors. After my dad retired from the AF he work civil service in the JAG office at Ft Lewis for another 15 years. Only a small number of active duty live in base housing. The number of retired and active duty that live in Lakewood and Tacoma is huge. And then there’s all the employment it creates serving the military personnel; car dealerships, entertainment, misc retail, etc. As more bases close JBLM keeps growing. It’s one of the few facilities that has a “Fort”, an air field (actually two) and a teaching hospital (also a level one trama unit). If you don’t think the impact is significant just try driving through on I-5 during peak.

      10. Bernie, I didn’t say JBLM is not a significant economic impact for Pierce Co. — and we were talking about downtown Tacoma jobs — I said employment on the base won’t likely grow substantially, certainly in the downtown core. But does a city really want a military base as its main employer? Look at Oak Harbor, which once had many car dealerships. I also don’t think Everett will suddenly become the next Seattle or Bellevue, but then again I never thought Bellevue would become what it has.

      11. “Regional population growth models show growth over the next ten years under 1%”

        Regional population growth models are worthless. There’s too many unknowns to predict 10 years worth of population growth within 1%.

      12. “Regional population growth models show growth over the next ten years under 1%”

        “Regional population growth models are worthless. There’s too many unknowns to predict 10 years worth of population growth within 1%.”

        Well, I agree and disagree asdf2.

        I agree that it is “worthless” for the PSRC to create housing allocations and zoning for TOD based on future regional population growth estimates, and probably was unwise for this region to spend so much on light rail on inflated population growth estimates. This region would need at least three or four times the population to make running light rail to Everett, Tacoma and Redmond pencil out, and we will see that in operation deficits going forward which will require new levies.

        I disagree that a range of population growth can’t be estimated from prior decades. If 2010-2020 was an historical anomaly but population growth overall was still around 1%/year or a bit more I think estimating growth at less than 1%/year for the next ten years is safe. Based on the figures Mercer Island got for its six-year parks, recreation and open space plan MI should plan based on a .25% annual population growth over the next decade. There isn’t anything intrinsically good about population growth, and in fact it increases a cities costs and tax rates per capita.

        What I see way too much of when it comes to transit, zoning, ST, and housing targets is inflated population estimates to make poor economic and taxing decisions pencil out. The pandemic and working from home put a big spotlight on those rosy estimates. ST will never reach its inflated ridership estimates from TOD when the overall population is unlikely to increase significantly, or at all.

        So if nothing else I do think it is safe to plan based on the current population levels. Not much is going to change there over the next ten years, except probably the work commute. The four county area including King, SnoCo, Pierce and Kitsap is bigger than many states, and very sparsely populated although much is zoned for housing. Whatever urbanism we have today is pretty much it for the next decade, although it ain’t very good urbanism, and the pandemic is likely to move folks out of the urban centers, certainly for work. So we should plan for that.

      13. Yes, DT Tacoma owes a lot of it’s employment to JBLM. Only active duty & retired can use Madigan. All the rest rely on the health care system centered in DT Tacoma. Even a large number of retired are on Tricare because Madigan is at capacity. The number of active duty goes up and down depending on world politics. The civilian contractors are likely to continue to grow albeit not as fast as the past decade. The number of retires will continue to increase because this is a desirable place to live and they’ve got Madigan, the commissary ,the PX, multiple golf courses, etc. The base continues to create spinoff employment. Dupont was named for the gun powder factory located there to supply the Army.

        That said, Tacoma/Pierce Co has taken some hits. Russell & Weyerhaeuser moving to Seattle and State Farm switching to 100% WFH. The blue collar jobs in industry on the Tide Flats has dropped to virtually zero and shipping has become highly mechanized. For Tacoma to take off they will have to accept industry like the CNG and ethanol plants that wanted to locate there. Waiting for someone from Tacoma to invent the quantum widget is a long shot. Everett is going to have a hard time with Boeing in a state of decline and moving what manufacturing it does have out of State.

      14. For Tacoma to take off they will have to accept industry like the CNG and ethanol plants that wanted to locate there.

        That sounds like Lucy with the football. As you wrote, blue collar jobs have dropped to practically nothing there. Many of the port jobs are mechanized. Wouldn’t the same thing happen with a CNG and ethanol plant eventually. Do you think either is the wave of the future? Come on.

        Building a plant like that might get you some jobs in the short run, but in the long run is not a great strategy. Tacoma is booming now with retirees. It is more affordable than Seattle (or the East Side) and yet has better much better “bones” than say, Auburn. It is not that far away from Seattle or Mount Rainier, along with direct access to the Sound. Having a CNG, or even an ethanol plant doesn’t help with that key demographic. In contrast, anything it can do to help its largest private employer (MultiCare Health System) will pay huge benefits in the long run. That really is the field of the future.

      15. Of course a single plant won’t move the needle. But it’s a turn around that could revive Tacoma as an industrial city. They lost the ASARCO smelter, St. Regis paper, one or two aluminum smelters and more I can’t remember. There have been a number of proposals, one large export terminal and one small LNG plant (I had the wrong acronym) and the Ethanol production and export facility. 100s of construction jobs on offer. In production about 150 direct and associated jobs. You build on this. Looking at jobs in the Tacoma area Boeing is #15 with 1550 aerospace jobs. That’s the largest employer that’s actually producing anything. If Tacoma invited industry instead of being the City of NO Destiny I could see Nucor Steel or a competitor locating there. They already export a huge amount of salvage steel. How about turning that into jobs here? Ethanol is used in lots of industrial processes so a local supply would encourage other industry. Once you build a base you attract expertise in the form of engineering companies. Sure Tacoma benefits from a large number of military retirees. But most people that retire from the military are in their 40’s or 50’s and plan to work for many more years (triple dippers). You have to have jobs to keep them moving here and to keep the kids from moving out. Bates is a fantastic resource but graduates need jobs in Tacoma to enroll and/or stay in the area. In short, Tacoma needs it’s own niche rather than trying to “steal” jobs from Seattle and Bellevue.

      16. The East Side got lucky, in that Gates and Allen decided to build their company there. Otherwise, the East Side would be nothing special (similar to Factoria).

        Luck is certainly a factor. But you don’t win if you don’t roll the dice. DT Bellevue has little to do with Microsoft. MS left Bellevue for Redmond early in the company’s history. Yet, DT Redmond remained nothing but banks, fast food and a feed store for decades. Bellevue upzoned to 400′ building heights DT. It started with the PACAR building where there was a swanky restaurant on the stratospheric 12th floor. But more towers followed and as it’s often referred to in Bellevue City Council meetings; the goose that laid the golden egg was born. Kemper has more to do with DT Bellevue’s success than Bill Gates. Other than MS only in the last few years has Overlake mushroomed (although the history of mushrooms at Bellevue Technology Center goes way back ;-).

      17. [Tacoma] lost the ASARCO smelter, St. Regis paper, one or two aluminum smelters and more I can’t remember.

        Yes, and the city transformed itself from a dying industrial town, to a growing city with an attractive downtown and waterfront. Industrial jobs are nice, but are often a double edged sword. If a hospital opens up down the street, it employs a lot of people too. The difference is no one minds being downwind of the hospital. The best thing for the long term economic health of Tacoma was the loss of the “Tacoma Aroma”.

        Of course there are exceptions (such as aerospace manufacturing) but expecting industrial jobs to employ a lot of people, and not come with any drawbacks is just nostalgia. Modern blue collar work simply doesn’t employ that many people. Industrial cities — or cities in general — that have reversed their fortunes haven’t done so by grasping at the handful of industrial jobs out there. They’ve made the same transformation Tacoma is making.

      18. Also, waterfront land is now premium land. Seattle downtown & SLU used to be near 100% industrial, and now it’s premium residential & offices. So the more likely location for industrial growth would be down in Frederickson, not within Tacoma. Port of Everett is turning much of its waterfront into residential & retail mixed use. I don’t think residential development will happen to the core of the Port of Tacoma land, but that scarce port land is probably only going to be used for uses that absolutely need to be water adjacent (cargo terminals & associated logistics support, PSE’s LNG plant, marinas), not for ‘factory’ jobs like a smelter.

      19. DT Bellevue has little to do with Microsoft.

        Oh come on. Get a map. Bellevue is in between Redmond and Seattle. Redmond would still be a rural suburb if not for Microsoft. Microsoft put Redmond on the map. Redmond became the center of software development in the state, and the largest software development center north of San Fransisco. Thousands of highly paid workers worked in Redmond, and many lived in Bellevue. Spin off companies and software startups chose to open businesses in Bellevue, in an attempt to attract workers from Seattle as well as Redmond. The companies in Bellevue are largely tech based — this is no coincidence. The largest employer in Bellevue is Microsoft, followed by T-Mobile and Amazon. T-Mobile took over the building built by Attachmate (a software company) after they merged with WRQ and moved to Seattle.

        The only reason downtown Bellevue is a major employer (and different than say, downtown Woodinville) is because it is a major technology hub. The only reason it is a major technology hub is because Bill Gates and Paul Allen decided to locate their business in Redmond.

        None of that was inevitable. They could have located it in downtown Seattle. They could have located it in Portland or Spokane. They didn’t, which is why those cities have grown, but aren’t booming like the East Side and Seattle. For that matter, there is no reason why Microsoft’s growth was inevitable. They could have stuck with compilers. If IBM didn’t come knocking (and they didn’t have the good sense to roll out the red carpet) Redmond would be as famous as Duvall, and Bellevue would be as big as Shoreline. Oh sure, there would be a “downtown”, but it wouldn’t have all of the skyscrapers. It would look like Factoria (a mall, a few midsize skyscrapers, some apartments, etc.). It takes more than zoning, it takes demand. Without the rise of Microsoft on the East Side, downtown Bellevue would be tiny.

        There is nothing fundamentally special about the East Side. It is merely one of the suburbs of Seattle. This makes it different than say, South Lake Union. You could make the case that without Amazon, South Lake Union would still be a land of warehouses and small houses. Except that ignores the geography. South Lake Union is half way between the UW and downtown. It is essentially an extension of downtown, in the direction it wants to grow. Bellevue is like that, but only because Microsoft located itself in Redmond.

        There is no recipe to becoming the next Bellevue or Redmond. If there was, cities across the country would follow it. Tacoma actually has the right idea (attract a major university, right to your downtown; clean up the downtown, while preserving the old character; try and attract people using your natural amenities, like Puget Sound). But that doesn’t mean that it will lead to a booming success. In today’s winner-take-all economy, you are lucky if you are as successful as Tacoma has been.

      20. I think we could be seeing a long term deurbanization

        Right. So the trend that has been going on since civilization began, that has occurred all over the world, with every culture and every nation, will suddenly reverse itself. Why? Because of this pandemic? Yeah sure, they said the same thing after the Spanish Flu. They probably said the same thing after the Black Plague. In both cases the world kept urbanizing.

        Technology? Yeah, maybe. Except that the countries that have been at the forefront of technology for quite some time now have been rapidly urbanizing at the same time. Rural Japan is shrinking. Hell, Japan as a whole is shrinking. Tokyo keeps growing. Asia in general is the same way.

        Of course people want to urbanize. It is human nature. Government policy may push people back, but they still want to be together. The fact that the country has urbanized over the last forty years despite strong headwinds shows that to be true. Look at the comments on this blog — a transit blog of all things — and it is striking. There are anti-urban comments abound. They could be pulled out of a Nixon/Reagan/Trump handbook. Cut money for cities, while simultaneously calling them all hell holes. Make racist attacks, while denying the racism (“I married an immigrant, I’m the least racist person out there”). These types of comments are nothing new, and all say basically the same thing: cities suck, because of them. And yet, people keep moving to the cities. Because not everyone buys the bullshit, and they realize the “them” is not that different than “us”. There but for the grace of God, and all that.

      21. I represented a couple of workers at the old Kaiser aluminum smelter in Tacoma some years ago. The plant was very old, work conditions were horrible, and very dangerous. If burns didn’t force you out heat exhaustion or lung damage did because the heat was so oppressive wearing any kind of mask was unbearable. But when I asked one former employee why he worked there, he said if they offered him the same job that paid twice what he was making after Kaiser he said he would return to that “shit” in a second.

        The sale of the smelter property was an economic gain for Tacoma.,stopped%20in%202002%20after%20more%20than%2060%20years.

        Ironically, I have also represented longshoremen who worked on the auto processors. The work environment is much better, and as members of the ILWU the pay and benefits very generous. Probably the last vestiges of union blue collar jobs that allow a worker to support a family, provide healthcare, and plan for retirement. That is why I am so opposed to converting industrial lands into one-time quick buck housing developments that once the construction sales tax ends provide very little recurring tax revenue.

      22. Ross, I think you are confused about what I said. I didn’t say urban folks were suddenly going to move to rural Montana. I said they would move out of the urban core to suburbia and exurban areas, primarily to single family homes, and working from home will allow a number of them to do that. For example, State Farm has recently announced it will go 100% WFH permanently. If you were a State Farm worker where would you choose to live with that kind of freedom?

        The explosion of suburban populations is hardly news, and has been going on since the 1930’s, for various reasons. This trend began to reverse to some degree beginning around 2000 as large urban centers became safer, and picked up steam in 2010 because of the Millennials and the fact they marry later. But it isn’t like the suburbs and exurbs faded away. It was a mild shift. Housing prices didn’t decline during this period on the eastside.

        Now we see the shift back to suburbia. Some of that is WFH, some crime in large cities picking back up, some millennials deciding they want a family or SFH, lack of urban retail during the pandemic, a small few moving to more rural areas which are lovely places to live if the locals accept you. I would love to live in Sun Valley, although that is a hybrid kind of rural.

        Will large urban centers fade away? Of course not, but many (and their transit systems) are based on estimates of a never-ending concentration of work and housing, which never made sense in Seattle because as a city it is so undense. Bellevue in many ways has a more dense urban core. Right now the pandemic, WFH, crime, a shift away from the desire to live in extremely congested areas, and declining retail in the urban cores (not all), are shifting population migration patterns.

        Who knows, the migration may shift back after the pandemic although the country is aging and demographics are usually the most influential factor for just about everything, whenever that will be. Public safety in major urban centers will need to improve, retail return, and WFH is always going to be a drag on workers commuting to large urban cores. But if 2000–2019 is going to repeat migrations to urban cores it will need lots of new young workers because urban cores can be expensive.

        All I was really trying to say is the urbanization we see today in this region is probably the same level of urbanization we will see in ten years (except perhaps for downtown Bellevue, but that is at the expense of downtown Seattle in many ways). Our transit systems, especially Link, however are based on large population increases and increasing housing density, when ironically proposals to upzone the far-flung residential neighborhoods of Seattle and the region work to deurbanize Seattle and the region.

      23. Daniel, I think you are channeling trends of past decades rather than future ones. Covid won’t significantly shift these fundamentals.

        1. The irrational obsession leading massive white flight (the racist view that people of color are “dangerous”) is no longer a significant issue. It seems to have no effect on housing choices any more. It used to be a huge issue in home values that those of us over 55 can remember. In contrast, home security has become so affordable that break-ins are less and less of a worry even in a dangerous neighborhood. Sure there are some sketchy blocks around Seattle but there are lots more areas considered safe.

        2. Schools are less of an important factor. Most homebuyers don’t have children. Very few have more than 2. The need for a big yard for kids to play in is a very small percentage of homebuyers. Wealthy parents will consider private schools or home schooling if needed. Plus, Seattle schools are not considered terrible like some other big city systems.

        3. Working from home leaves people more restless. Some enjoy yard work but other do not. Living where there are places to walk to are more attractive to some WFH buyers. The internal need with WFH is pretty much just a desk — attainable from rethinking space use in many cases.

        4. Looming boomer retirements will result in downsizing by this demographic. A couple at 70 without kids needs different housing (smaller and on one level) than they did at 30 when they had two kids. Many have treated their oversized house as their biggest “retirement investment” and will want to “cash it out”.

        The bigger issue seems to be residential property purchases as investments by large companies or portfolios. That is happening across the entire market.

      24. Ross, I think you are confused about what I said.

        No, I’m pretty sure I’ve got it.

        Now we see the shift back to suburbia. Some of that is WFH, some crime in large cities picking back up

        Yep, I’m not confused at all at what you are saying. It is exactly what I wrote. You are simply reiterating the same tired Nixon/Reagan/Trump line: Cities suck, because of them. Next you’ll be telling me about a silent majority. I get it.

      25. There are plenty of reasons to want to live in a city besides just work. Even if work is remote, the other reasons for city living are still there.

      26. Al,

        1. Violent crime is the number one issue in large cities in the U.S. today, and property crimes have increased significantly. Just recently there were major stories about a woman in NY being shoved in front of a train and two women in LA stabbed to death by homeless men for no apparent reason. It may not be as race based, but it is real in urban cities (and suburbs too). Home security has proven to be good at videoing the crime, but not stopping the crime. Half of Nextdoor is Ring cameras with property crimes that are rarely solved. So I disagree with you that crime in major U.S. cities is not a factor in future housing decisions, and may be the major factor.

        2. Schools are more important today than ever in housing decisions. Seattle has 22% of its K-12 students in private schools. San Francisco 25%.
        Tuition in Seattle runs around $15,000 each for K-8, and higher for High School if you can get your kid into a private high school in Seattle, and that tuition when converted to a mortgage allows a much more expensive house where your kids go to public school. Parents want yards for kids and pets. Much of your post is based on what YOU desire, or your lifestyle. Big disagree on this one. Schools are probably the number one factor on where someone lives (whereas jobs are the biggest factor where people live in a region, although not the specific city).

        3. I agree some who work from home will want to live in an urban core (and probably already do), depending on cost and whether they have kids, but overall WFH will reduce urban populations, and probably significantly reduce work commuters who are a big factor for retail density and retail vibrancy.

        4. I agree boomers will retire, and are. Some sell and move to warmer and cheaper areas, but many remain in the SFH if they like the neighborhood and it is safe (although in this state rising property taxes are making that more difficult). There are not a lot of good options for seniors downsizing, and we have this discussion on Mercer Island. They don’t want to move from a SFH to a shared wall condo, a new SFH that is one story requires a large lot and so is very expensive, and most don’t want to move to an urban area, and if they do downtown Bellevue and downtown Kirkland are the top two choices, if you have the money. I don’t see “boomers” (certainly eastside or exurb boomers) downsizing in Seattle. Just too unsafe for them.

        Investments in property are an issue. But any apartment building is an investment by definition. As long as interest rates for mortgages are low, interest rates on fixed income investments are very low, and people believe housing prices will never go down housing — esp. SFH — will be a popular investment.

        It looks like housing sales are already cooling with higher mortgage rates that will go higher, fixed income investments returns will rise, and we may see a decline or stabilization of housing prices, although there will be discrepancies between SFH and multi-family.

        The two key data points I look at right now are subleasing activity and new lease rates (including all the give aways by property owners) in Seattle because development is a lagging indicator, and the price of a SFH in different cities and areas. Both suggest to me Seattle — especially downtown Seattle — will see less urbanization or at best the same in the next decade. If Harrell is not able to get a handle on crime, public safety, and homelessness on the streets and in parks density and population levels will definitely decline in Seattle’s downtown over the next decade, although some downtown residents will likely move to Seattle’s residential neighborhoods.

      27. “There is nothing fundamentally special about the East Side. It is merely one of the suburbs of Seattle.”

        It’s in the middle of the favored quarter. Affluent white would-be aristocrats want to live and/or work in the favored quarter; that’s what makes it favored. It’s where many of the high-paid jobs are; that makes workers commute long distances to it. Most American metros have a favored quarter, usually in the opposite direction from the industrial area, or at least in another direction. So it was inevitable that one quarter would be chosen. That dovetails with King County’s planning, which has channeled growth to the Eastside since the 1960s. These factors overlap: King County channeled growth there because it’s the favored quarter. Bill Gates built his mansion and Microsoft there because it’s the favored quarter. Bellevue believed it could grow big and did grow big because it’s in the middle of the favored quarter. Downtown Bellevue, Microsoft, and Bill Gates’ mansion are all between 520 and I-90, on both sides of 405, and Microsoft is further east than Bill’s house. That’s not a conincidence; it’s what CEOs generally did in the late 20th century.

      28. [Bellevue] is in the middle of the favored quarter.

        Right, but that is only because of software. It is favored because of software, software didn’t arrive there because it is favored.

        The northern and southern suburbs have access to Puget Sound. That is fundamentally more valuable because of the views and recreational value. Magnolia is essentially a suburb of Seattle, it just happens to be within the city limits. It is both closer to the city, and more spectacular than the East Side. Same with West Seattle. Bellevue has access to the lake, but so does Renton and Kenmore, as well as much of Seattle. The reason Shoreline is more affordable than Bellevue is because Gates and Allen didn’t build their economic empire in Mountlake Terrace. If they had, it would be the “favored quarter”.

        If Seattle had looser zoning, then South Lake Union would have boomed a long time ago. Same with the U-District. Safeco Plaza would have had a lot of company, even if they did the right thing, and managed to preserve the Ave. The combination of restrictive zoning in the city, and the arbitrary decision by Gates and Allen pushed development (and then wealth) to the East Side.

      29. @Daniel

        1. Wow, Archie Bunker without the charm.

        2. Yes, people spend way too much trying to give their precious little child an edge. Then they saddle them with huge student loans to similarly overpriced colleges. None of that means the public schools are bad, only that they bought into the same BS as item number 1 there. Al’s point (which is a very good one) is that it has no relation whatsoever to property values for the vast majority of people.

        3. I agree some who work from home will want to live in an urban core. Oh, so you agree that Paris will be popular after people will work from home. How very white of you.

        4. in this state rising property taxes are making that more difficult. Taxes aren’t rising. Property values are. This pretty much kills your entire premise. If cities really are becoming unlivable (we need a man like Herbert Hoover again) than why are downtown condos selling for millions? Why are townhouses — in the heart of the Central Area — going for over 3/4 of a million? Just look at it: This is not a big house, with a big lawn. You share a wall, with some random stranger. It is right in the heart of the city — I guarantee you I can find someone within walking distance sleeping on the streets. This is the “heart of the ghetto”, as Garfield cheerleaders used to chant. And yet, a simple townhouse costs a fortune. That’s because it is *in* the heart of the city. What you consider a concrete jungle is actually a very nice place to live. The very aspects of the city you find objectionable are what others find attractive. There are people, lots of people. Some good, some bad. That is what a city is. It is what makes it attractive.

      30. “3. I agree some who work from home will want to live in an urban core (and probably already do), depending on cost and whether they have kids, but overall WFH will reduce urban populations, and probably significantly reduce work commuters who are a big factor for retail density and retail vibrancy.”

        Not after Adam Smith’s invisible hand comes in. If a product has an excess of supply, relative to demand, the price drops until the two are equal. Even if some people move from city to suburb, rents and home prices will adjust until others move in (and there will be plenty of latent demand to respond to the price drops; that’s why rents are higher in the city than outside to begin with). You’re not going to have tons and tons of vacant units, while the rents stay fixed.

      31. “[Bellevue] is in the middle of the favored quarter.”

        “Right, but that is only because of software. It is favored because of software, software didn’t arrive there because it is favored.”

        Yes it did. The favored quarter was established in the 1940s and 50s before Bill Gates was born and when he was a kindergartener. He grew up in Laurelhurst and could have established his adult home and Microsoft in Seattle, but like many mid-century people he headed to the suburbs. The Eastside before the bridges was very rural and had a mixture of farms, oil refineries, coal mining, and affluent people’s country houses, but by the 1960s and 70s it had become the most prestigious burbs to move to, and had the best public schools. He comes from a wealthy family and went to Lakeside School, so it’s natural he’d choose Medina/Redmond if he didn’t want to stay in Seattle. It’s not very likely he’d choose Renton/Kent or Shoreline/Lynnwood in that time period or now. It’s because the Eastside was where people like him tended to move to, and that’s what the favored quarter means.

      32. @Mike — You are ignoring the history of the East Side and the region as a whole. People moved there because land was cheap, and new freeways made getting from the cheap land to Seattle much easier. When places like Blue Ridge and Magnolia became expensive, Bellevue provided a good alternative. Mercer Island was the only upscale part of the East Side, largely because of the convenience. It was essentially just part of the same high end housing found on the east side of Seattle (in places like Mount Baker). Even then, it wasn’t like Laurelhurst. With the exception of Mercer Island (and similar areas close to the water) the East Side was not anything special.

        I’ve read about Gates move to Bellevue, and there is nothing about schools, or anything of that nature. My guess is it was simply arbitrary. I’ve talked to a lot of small business owners, and they all do the same thing. They don’t wait around, to find the perfect spot — they get what it is available. They didn’t have the money to get a big place downtown, or even in the U-District, so they got a cheap place in Bellevue. It was close to the freeway, which was a bonus. The idea that a couple of Lakeside kids would choose Bellevue because they thought the schools were better is just absurd. At the time, all the best schools were in Seattle (both public and private). The major university was in Seattle as well. But if you can’t get a place next to the UW, or in South Lake Union, or downtown, you settle on Bellevue.

        Once they established themselves in Bellevue, they expanded to Redmond. They decided to go with the “campus” setup. They wanted some place with lots of land, instead of renting out a skyscraper. They liked driving, I guess. I’m sure the fact that they were already on the East Side played a part in their decision. But Redmond just had a lot of land — if Shoreline had similar opportunity at the time they could have built there (it would be way closer to Lakeside). To suggest that Redmond had better schools then Seattle back then is absurd. It is even crazier to think this played a part in their decision making. They wanted a sprawling, out of the way location, and Redmond had the best land available for that at the time.

        It is hard to say why they wanted that, given that most businesses thrive on communication. My guess is it has to do with their history. Software rests on hardware, and hardware has always been in out of the way places. Seattle Computer Products — a key partner in their early development — was in Tukwila. In other words, they weren’t doing business with people in big downtown buildings, but were doing business with hardware makers in out of the way factories. Then there is IBM, to which their fortunes became tied. From the 30s to the 60s, IBM was headquartered in downtown Manhattan. But then in 1961, they moved to Yorktown Heights, about 40 miles north of Manhattan. They moved to Armonk a few years later — still well outside of the city, let alone the business district. They’re still there. Thus the idea of locating your business in the boonies was nothing new to Microsoft, and probably influenced their decision to do the same.

        It was also popular back then. Similar technology office parks sprouted up all across the country in the 1980s. Perhaps it was all just a manifestation of white flight. Or maybe it is just tax policy. Who knows? What is clear is that it has made things worse in this country. A big reason why so many people drive is the lack of office centralization. Calgary is a sprawling Mountain West city, the type of place where everyone owns a car or truck. It is also an oil town; not exactly the type of place where people ride transit because its good for the earth. And yet a higher percentage of people ride transit to work than in Seattle. Hell, a higher percentage ride transit to work than Boston! The main reason is because the business district is so centralized (and parking is expensive). It is relatively cheap and easy to provide decent transit downtown and they do. In contrast, it is extremely hard to provide transit to dozens of businesses in the boonies.

        Gates and Allen’s embrace of what became a fad (suburban office parks) and choice of the East Side was just random choices back then. Without it, Bellevue would not be upscale (it would be like Shoreline — more expensive than Auburn, but nothing fancy) and Redmond would be still a bunch of farms.

      33. I don’t think you understand how and why the Eastside grew so much. I grew up there and have had ties there ever since. In the early 20th century the suburban population expanded north and south. But in the 1960s the Eastside overtook them as the primary destination for middle-class people wanting the suburban dream and fleeing Seattle’s school-integration busing. By the 1970s the Eastside and Northshore schools were perceived as the best. That might not have been fair to Seattle schools but it’s what people believed. My parents came in 1972 and at first lived downtown and in Haller Lake, but were looking for “the smallest house in the best school district” and ended up in Bellevue. (My elementary school was originally in the Lake Washington school district but was part of a boundary change that switched to the Bellevue school district while I was in 4th grade.)

        I don’t think Bill Gates moved to the Eastside because of schools, but many, many other families did, and still do.

        “Once they established themselves in Bellevue, they expanded to Redmond. They decided to go with the “campus” setup. They wanted some place with lots of land, instead of renting out a skyscraper.”

        That was the trend at the time. They didn’t just make up the idea of a Redmond campus. They were following the trend of corporate headquarters in suburban office parks. That particular Redmond location maybe wasn’t inevitable, but it was a big opportunity, and it was on the planned 520 extension. Other places it might have chosen are Eastgate or Kirkland. Maybe Bothell, although Bothell was smaller and more isolated then. But I don’t see them looking in Renton, Tukwila, Lynnwood, Tacoma, etc. That was the industrial past, and they were the industrial future.

      34. “When places like Blue Ridge and Magnolia became expensive, Bellevue provided a good alternative.”

        I assume you mean the western view side of Magnolia and the north side of View Ridge. I don’t think eastern Magnolia or the part of View Ridge where the D and 45 run were different or more expensive than other neighborhoods like Queen Anne or Greenwood. And nothing was expensive then, although that’s before my time. I understand there was a housing shortage after WWII and prices probably went up, but that was nationwide/regionwide, and I don’t think it was stratospherically unaffordable like it became in the 2000s. In any case, Microsoft needs to think about most of its middle-wage workers, not just its high-paid executives. And while workers got stock options, it wasn’t guaranteed that they’d be as lucrative as they turned out to be.

        Mercer Island was the only upscale part of the East Side, largely because of the convenience. It was essentially just part of the same high end housing found on the east side of Seattle (in places like Mount Baker). Even then, it wasn’t like Laurelhurst. With the exception of Mercer Island (and similar areas close to the water) the East Side was not anything special.

      35. But in the 1960s the Eastside overtook them as the primary destination for middle-class people wanting the suburban dream and fleeing Seattle’s school-integration busing.

        Mandatory busing didn’t start in Seattle until the late 70s. The East Side grew the same way the other suburbs grew. It was just your typical sprawl, influenced by cheap land and freeways. There was nothing special about it, nor was it ever “the nicest part of town”, even if residents felt that way. One of the things that makes Seattle nice is that everyone has a different opinion as to the nicest part of the city. Areas to the west have the spectacular views, but they sit farther away from the freeway. Areas by Lake Union and Lake Washington are nice, and some are fairly close to big destinations (downtown and the UW). Green Lake draws people in, and is one of the more convenient locations around. Speaking of convenient, there are people who bought houses in the Central Area, and saw the property values go up faster than anywhere else in the state as the white people realized that black people aren’t that scary after all. Laurelhurst (where Gates grew up) and Windermere became synonymous with expensive, fancy housing given its views of the lake and proximity to the UW. Oh, I almost forgot Queen Anne — holy cow, it is easy to argue that is the nicest part of the city, and has been for a very long time. To suggest that Bellevue was ever anything special is a big stretch, and revisionist history. Values skyrocketed because of the businesses there, not the other way around.

        They were following the trend of corporate headquarters in suburban office parks.

        That’s my point. They adopted a fad. They didn’t do what Amazon did — build in the city, to attract the best workers. It worked out for them, in large part because they became a monopoly. But there is no reason to assume that it was inevitable. Imagine if Safeco had taken the same approach. Instead of selling of their land in Redmond, and concentrating in the U-District, they could have done the reverse. Then Microsoft could have bought up that building, and been located right where they wanted to be — next to the UW. Eventually, Bill could have had lunch with his parents :). Safeco would have continued to be Safeco (a medium size insurance company) while Microsoft would still have been one of the biggest companies in the world, only located in the U-District. Eventually they would have been the company driving growth in South Lake Union instead of Amazon.

        They also could have simply moved to downtown Seattle. Even from a suburban location, the East Side was not inevitable. No, it wouldn’t have made sense to move to Renton (not with the existing industry and Boeing). But Burien wouldn’t have been crazy, especially if they had located in Tukwila earlier (to be close to Seattle Computer Products). Also just as likely is Shoreline, or surrounding suburbs. Gates and Allen both grew up in the north end of Seattle. It would have made a lot of sense to build their suburban campus further north. My guess is there just wasn’t land available at the time, so they build in Redmond.

      36. “Mandatory busing didn’t start in Seattle until the late 70s.”

        Mandatory school busing started in Seattle in 1972.,district%27s%20students%20were%20being%20bused%20for%20racial%20reasons.

        School busing at this time was also implemented in cities like Detroit and Boston.

        Mike is correct “white flight” (really wealth flight) began in earnest from Seattle to the eastside around 1970 because the writing was on the wall. The eastside was quite rural back then, and it is true there were few “good” eastside schools (because there were few schools at all), but like the Pilgrams the dream was control of your own school district would lead to better schools than in Seattle, which were seen by many as failing and unsafe.

        Since this was well before McCleary and a district could bond or levy for both general education and capital improvements the dream soon became a reality, and the eastside schools have generally outperformed Seattle K-12 schools ever since, and were able to create large rural feeling campuses. It is an indictment that 22% of Seattle K-12 students go to private schools, and many more would if their parents could afford the very steep tuition.

        The eastside during this period remained fairly rural. Factoria mall was a drive-in movie theater. Issaquah resembled the Issaquah–Hobart road toward Ravensdale. People lived in suburbia but worked in Seattle. But at the same time downtown Seattle was pretty grim and depressed during the 1970’s –2000’s, and many may remember the sign “Would the last person leaving Seattle please turn out the lights” after the Boeing layoffs. Lots of strip bars and porn theaters in downtown Seattle back then, and a skid road atmosphere.

        “They were following the trend of corporate headquarters in suburban office parks.

        “That’s my point. They adopted a fad. They didn’t do what Amazon did — build in the city, to attract the best workers. It worked out for them, in large part because they became a monopoly.”

        These comments miss an important reality: this was not a development “fad”, it was the reality that tall Amazon style buildings in Bellevue or on the eastside back then were not economical. There was not the population or business to support them. Even today only a small part of Bellevue can support this kind of commercial office building. Even in the future the development west of 405 will be the only true A class property.

        Microsoft moved to its Redmond campus in 1986 shortly before going public. (I joined Bill Gates’ dad’s law firm in the summer of 1987). The decision was not some kind of overhang from the suburban office park, but in fact a complete rejection of that concept: it was designed to mimic a university campus.

        The founding members of Microsoft obviously did not envision a suburban office park with this amount of land. They envisioned a university like campus and saw tall steel and glass buildings with endless cubicles like downtown Seattle today as the death of intellectual curiosity and collaboration. Not surprisingly many other large tech companies have adopted the campus approach throughout the U.S., in large part because they are recruiting workers from college campuses.

        “Speaking of convenient, there are people who bought houses in the Central Area, and saw the property values go up faster than anywhere else in the state as the white people realized that black people aren’t that scary after all.”

        Uh, not quite. Upzones and gentrification of the Central District displaced Blacks. In 1970 85% of the Central District was Black whereas today 15% is. Seattle remains a segregated city, with most of the white residents living north of Yesler and most of the Black residents living south of Yesler. Just like gentrification moving north into Harlem, gentrification continues to move south of Yesler today into places like Georgetown and Columbia City.,the%20%E2%80%9Cabsence%20of%20available%20parking%E2%80%9D%20in%20the%20neighborhood.

        Seattle and most urban centers boomed during the period 2000 (post dot com bust) to 2019, except for the years of the great recession. This was helped by tech moving to urban centers, and a Millennial generation marrying later. It is why Microsoft was so interested in rail from Seattle (Capitol Hill) to its Redmond campus in 2004. But the Millennials grew up and got old(er) and many settled in SFH near Redmond, mostly for the schools, same old theme.

        Bellevue’s realization occurred when the new I-90 bridge was being built and eliminated the exit and entrance at the west end of the span that served Daniels’s restaurant. At the time that part of Leschi had not been totally gentrified and the road from Capitol Hill to the water was seen as sketchy, so the owner figured this was the end of his restaurant chain.

        Kemper Freeman suggested the owner open a restaurant in Bellevue, but the thinking was eastsiders wouldn’t go to a high-end restaurant in Bellevue (and at the time Seattle had much better dining). When the Bellevue Daniels and the Keg in Factoria were the top two grossing restaurants in King Co. Bellevue realized there was huge wealth on the eastside, but it was going to Seattle. All Bellevue has done is capture the eastside worker and money from going to Seattle, and businesses are following their eastside workers who don’t want to commute to Seattle anymore.

        Mike is correct that it is hard to overestimate the impact Kemper Freeman has had. During the great recession he bought Lincoln Square north, then built Lincoln Square south, I think bought the Hyatt complex, and has been the number one booster for Bellevue and its business friendly policies. He also donated the land on Bellevue Way and 10th for the new performing arts center.

        Bellevue’s current development has more to do with Seattle’s policies than Microsoft. As Mike notes Microsoft has been a powerhouse on the eastside for decades, but only recently has Bellevue taken off and attracted unheard of development and business locations, although many Microsoft employees over the years have moved to the eastside as they aged. Again the factors are pretty obvious: people (especially aging Millennials) want to live in a SFH in a good school district they feel they control, and want public safety. Plus Bellevue’s policies are business friendly, certainly compared to Seattle’s. There is simply no reason a city with all the advantages Seattle has should be losing out to Bellevue on so much development and business location. IMO Seattle is one of the worse “urban” cities in the U.S. with hardly any density, and retail/housing density spread across its 70-mile length. Bellevue in some ways was lucky: it had to go very tall within its commercial zone since the surrounding SFH cities control their zoning. So at least Bellevue got — or is getting — some kind of actual retail and urban density.

        How the pandemic affects Seattle and Bellevue who knows, but at this point I think the displacement will be significant. Younger people my son’s age are wondering do they want this kind of life, in which you fight like a cockroach to live in a dense urban area and afford the taxes and spend your life in a cubicle and steel and glass building, or riding a bus to an urban center M-F packed with a hundred other bus riders all coughing on one another. They are also rethinking the enormous commitment marriage and kids are, and the high costs of just about everything that make having kids a scary decision, if you want to raise them well.

        I just think businesses like Amazon where you work until you are exhausted, and urban centers where you scramble like a cockroach to survive, are not going to appeal to the younger generations, or even Millennials, even if the large blue cities in the U.S. get their shit together. It just isn’t fun to work and live in large cities anymore, or at these blood sucking large corporations. The labor participation rate has plummeted during the pandemic (which is why unemployment rates look good) and real inflation is above 10% when you include food and energy, and none of that looks good if you plan on Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid. The one good thing about the pandemic is it forced business to go online (good for work but not really society) and so more and more someone can work from anywhere, and the kids in college looking at majors are factoring that in. If you can live anywhere where do you want to live? Not here is what many are thinking.
        Large urban jobs centers won’t have the monopoly on jobs anymore, and that is going to impact tax revenue significantly. It is a brave new world.

      37. The Eastside is the favored quarter as Christopher Leinberger [1] described the term. King County channeled growth to the Eastside in its 1960s and 70s plans. Bellevue’s highrise downtown was planned then too. I didn’t realize it when I lived there because I moved to Seattle in 1985 and the highrises started appearing in the 1990s, but I later learned that that was planned all along; it just takes decades to build out.

        The Forward Thrust subway proposal in 1968 and 1970 went from Seattle to Bellevue and Redmond, Renton Boeing, and Lake City. It conspicuously didn’t go to Tukwila, SeaTac, Kent, and I don’t think even Northgate, because those weren’t the growth areas at the time.

        “They adopted a fad. They didn’t do what Amazon did — build in the city, to attract the best workers.”

        It’s what almost all corporations did for fifty years. The back-to-the-city movement started growing in the 1990s and came to its own in the 2000s. Amazon is from that era so it chose Beacon Hill and then SLU. Microsoft and Amazon later established large offices in downtown Bellevue, but that’s almost like Seattle so it’s still “back to the city”.

        “The decision was not some kind of overhang from the suburban office park, but in fact a complete rejection of that concept: it was designed to mimic a university campus.”

        “Office park” is a usually-lowrise cluster of office buildings, parking lots, open space, and nothing else: “towers in the park”. In the 1970s and 80s they were usually one- or two-story like the Bellefields office park and some of the buildings on NE 20th Street. To me, Microsoft is an office park. It may have been slightly taller than others: I don’t know if those 4-6 story buildings were originals or they replaced 2-4 story ones. I had recently graduated from UW, and I always avoided working at Microsoft or those NE 20th Street companies because of their office parks and isolated locations, so I don’t see how Microsoft can be like a “university campus”. It’s 20th-century suburban hell. It has gotten better since then as Redmond and Overlake have grown and it has become a transit hub, but it wasn’t like that in the early decades.

        “IMO Seattle is one of the worse “urban” cities in the U.S. with hardly any density, and retail/housing density spread across its 70-mile length.”

        I’d say Seattle the city is in the top quarter. It didn’t decay as far as many other American central cities. It retained a large downtown workforce. It still has a significant pre-WWII walkable core with small streets, corner shops, vertically-oriented lowrise buildings, etc. As for Pugetopolis as a whole, it is 70 miles long, but thankfully it doesn’t have six-lane arterials every mile or the most extreme unwalkability like you find in Texas, Georgia, California, etc. I’d say it’s in the upper third on an American scale.

      38. Mandatory school busing started in Seattle in 1972.

        OK, technically that is true, but that involved very few students, half of which were volunteers. It only involved four schools, three of which were majority white. That meant that only one set of white kids were bused, and a lot of those kids were volunteers. Hard to see that as a major cause of white flight.

        In the mid-seventies the district implemented the “magnet” programs, which was a voluntary program designed to lure students to other schools with special programs. It wasn’t until the late 70s that they implemented mandatory busing at anything other than an experimental scale. From that same article:

        The action made Seattle the largest city in the United States to voluntarily undertake district-wide desegregation through mandatory busing. … It went into effect in September 1978

        I remember this not only because I was a student then, but because my mom was on the school board. They wrote a book about the board’s actions ( I was in high school at the time and had been voluntarily bused since first grade. Through middle school we had school buses, but at least one of the years in high school we took Metro buses. That is why Judkins Park is still associated in my head with the bus — it is funny to think that in the future a lot of people will associate the park with the train.

        By the way, I recommend the experience. A lot of people assume that busing only benefits racial minorities. That is how it started, or course, but there have been studies showing that busing is good for people of all races. I agree. Back in the day it was common for wealthy Americans to send their privileged kids overseas, to experience a different culture. The same thing can occur within our own lands, simply by visiting a different neighborhood (or, in many cases, simply going to your local public school). Diversity (of both race and class) is a good thing.

        The impact of busing on suburban sprawl in Seattle is exaggerated. The so called “white flight” was real, but played a small part in sprawl. By the late 70s there were only so many openly racist families unwilling to have their kids mingle with people of color. The idea that they would submit themselves to a much longer commute just so their children could avoid one also didn’t make sense. Feminism was on the rise then, with more women working outside the home. The bus was essentially free day care.

        Sprawl to the East Side occurred for the same reason it occurred everywhere in the region and still occurs: cheap land and the automobile. Look at the sprawl that has occurred over the last 20 years. None of it has anything to do with busing. Lake Stevens has 30,000 people; Mill Creek has 20,000; Marysville has almost 70,000. It isn’t hard to see why. I remember driving by Lake Stevens not that long ago and seeing the signs for brand new houses at 100K. Obviously this is tempting. At the same time, many of the cities implemented zoning policies which restricted development, which meant that the only affordable houses were in the ‘burbs, or in traditionally red lined areas (AKA “the ghetto”). In a different time or a different country there would have been a lot more small houses on small lots in the city, along with row houses. It isn’t too surprising the region sprawled, and continues to sprawl, given land use policies that continue to encourage it.

        Of course anti-urban policies pushed nationally (first by Nixon, then later by Reagan) didn’t help. A lot of people thought cities — especially the parts of cities with lots of people of color — were slums filled with crime. Some still do. Given that, it isn’t too surprising so many fled for the “safe” suburbs (even though you are probably safer in the city —

        For the most part, suburban sprawl has followed a more international flavor now. The rich people live in the city, the poor live outside. The transition isn’t complete, and there are complications, but that is clearly the trend. The East Side is one of the complications. It behaves a lot more like a city, not a suburb — in part because of the employment in Bellevue and Redmond. Can’t afford a house in Bellevue or Redmond? Move to Renton, Fall City or Carnation. This is a “Drive Until You Qualify” pattern, simply skewed towards the jobs in the east. The effect is amplified because much of the East Side houses have huge lots (the average lot size of a house in Seattle is half that of a house in Bellevue — It wouldn’t matter as much without the boom in East Side employment (Shoreline has big lots too) but it is an amplifier of East Side housing costs. Then there is the historic effect of redlining (land to the south is cheaper). There are other factors of course, but those are the main ones.

      39. “A lot of people assume that busing only benefits racial minorities. That is how it started, or course,”

        Diverse schools and workplaces benefit everybody, by generating ideas that wouldn’t occur otherwise, and by letting people see how similar others are. But school busing is not ideal: it’s a symptom of segregated living patterns. Ideally your neighborhood would be diverse and you’d walk to a nearby school.

        Busing to magnet programs is inevitable because unique music or language-immersion or alternative-teaching methods can’t be everywhere. That’s no different than adults going to the best pizza place or a certain yoga teacher elswhere in a large city. But routine busing across town to mitigate residential segregation or not enough schools in an area is unfortunate.

        “None of it has anything to do with busing.”

        But it has to do with parents’ perception of the quality of certain school districts or individual schools. And bias against high-tax bureaucratic cities.

        “For the most part, suburban sprawl has followed a more international flavor now. The rich people live in the city, the poor live outside. The transition isn’t complete, and there are complications, but that is clearly the trend. The East Side is one of the complications.”

        It’s getting more normal — the rich in the city, the poor on the fringes. Bellevue has gotten less white and more diverse than Seattle. But that gets into multiple interpretations of demographics. The purpose of focusing on nonwhite areas is to counteract discrimination and lack of opportunities. That fails in Bellevue because many Asians are high-paid tech workers, not people running a hole-in-the-wall restaurant and scraping by. So Bellevue is more nonwhite and diverse, but that doesn’t mean it’s an equity emphasis area. Seattle has become richer because lower-income people have been displaced to South County and Pierce and Snohomish Counties. But it still has lower-income pockets that mustn’t be forgotten, and people who have been displaced should have an opportunity to return, and people who want to live in Seattle but never tried because they assumed it’s too expensive should have the opportunity. Wanting to live in a large city like Seattle is a reasonable expectation, in a way that wanting to live in a tiny rich town like Medina or Beaux Arts is not. And of course, Bellevue and Issaquah and Snoqualmie have lower-income pockets too.

      40. “Bellevue in some ways was lucky: it had to go very tall within its commercial zone since the surrounding SFH cities control their zoning.”

        Single-family zoning in Surrey Downs, Wilburton (south of NE 8th Street and 124th), Lake Hills, and east of Crossroads is Bellevue’s fault. It can’t blame Kirkland and Newport Hills for being too lowrise and single-family, or Clyde Hill or Beaux Arts for that matter. Following my contention that the most critical areas to upzone are those close to existing downtowns, Surrey Downs and Wilburton should be the first to go up. As should southeast Kirkland (108th). The tiny towns like Clyde Hill are a side issue: they shouldn’t have been allowed to incorporate or keep multifamily/commercial out, but they’re so small we can ignore them. The biggest issue is to upzone more of central Bellevue and southeast Kirkland, and to get those buildings in downtown Redmond taller and with less surface parking. Who cares about Beaux Arts and West Lake Sammamish Parkway?

      41. Mike’s right; here’s a history of “tall buildings” in Bellevue. As Mike points out it was the foresight of the City Council to create the high rise zoning that distinguished Bellevue from Redmond and Kirkland. The first big wins were PSE and PACCAR. It wasn’t until after the post real estate bust and Seattle’s left turn that software became a player in DT Bellevue. The neighborhood association’s fight against up zoning and the City Council’s wisdom in concentrating the growth DT is what lead to Bellevue soaring above it’s neighboring cities.

        MSFT drove up housing prices but it didn’t create DT Bellevue. The Gate/Allen desire to have a collegiate atmosphere was the opposite of what was on offer in DT Bellevue (or Seattle). RossB is correct that what lured many to the eastside was cheap land. I live in a relatively upscale part of Bellevue and the family originally purchased 10 acres back in the late ’50s. in the 60’s a doctor/lawyer (upper middle class) was able to buy a parcel that allowed their daughter to have a barn and a pony for about the same amount as an upscale house in Seattle.

        In the 80’s knocking on any random house you’d be much more likely to find a Bellevue resident that worked for Boeing than MSFT.

  12. Also, ridership should get a boost with an Aurora routing in 2023/2024 given the 700+ new multifamily units in two projects adjacent to the 192nd Park & Ride.

  13. The issues of boarding policy and branding can emerge in a cross-county restructure. Some riders get confused by seeing buses from another county at their stop. Can they ride it? Will the fare differ?

    I’ve seen rules where operators can let people get on but not off when outside of this area — or vice versa (Golden Gate Transit in San Francisco). I’ve seen other cross-district services get branded differently to highlight that full rider privileges are available in both service areas (Dumbarton Express). Obviously full access is best, but operators don’t like losing riders to another operator.

    With Orca, it’s less of an issue with fare payment. However, it remains an issue in addition to boarding policies. I’m sure there will be times when different fare rules will exist on KCM and CT. What’s the process for resolving this?

    1. I don’t see this as a problem, because of ORCA. People get on Sound Transit, Metro and Community Transit buses interchangeably. Sure, there are different fares, but that has been going on for a long time now.

      1. The fare issue comes into play with transfers between systems.

        Regardless, there are boarding rules that sometimes get imposed that have nothing to do with fare payment.

      2. The fare issue comes into play with transfers between systems.

        Yes, which has existed for a very long time now. They all have different fares. Community Transit has two different fares, depending on which bus you take. The train sometimes charges a bit less, sometimes a bit more. Yet people transfer between them all the time, and have been doing so for a very long time. It is really fairly simple — you get charged the maximum fare. This can occur across agencies, or within the same agency — you get charged for the most expensive trip.

        there are boarding rules that sometimes get imposed that have nothing to do with fare payment.

        Like what? I have taken Community Transit, Sound Transit and Metro. I’ve never noticed anything different between them. Like the fares, there are larger differences between the buses than between agencies. RapidRide has all door boarding, a typical Metro bus doesn’t. Riding a Sound Transit bus is a lot different than riding Link. I really see nothing new.

      3. From the CT web site:

        Fare restrictions.
        “King County Metro Transit tickets and transfers are good on Metro buses only. Community Transit does not accept Metro tickets or transfers. If you use both systems, consider getting an ORCA card.“

        Boarding restrictions.
        “ Community Transit buses inbound to Seattle stop in King County at the request of on-board customers only. For travel within King County, please rely on King County.” In other words, you can’t board a CT bus at a King County stop headed further into King County.

        So a CT route headed into King County cannot pick up someone at a stop in King County. To implement Ross’ suggested routes and carry riders internal to King County, the rule would need to be changed.

      4. King County Metro Transit tickets and transfers are good on Metro buses only

        Yes, and it has always been that way. You can’t use the tickets on Link. You can’t use it on a Sound Transit bus either. Right now Community Transit buses go downtown, in the heart of where those tickets are used. Yet somehow people know that they can’t use them.

        So a CT route headed into King County cannot pick up someone at a stop in King County. To implement Ross’ suggested routes and carry riders internal to King County, the rule would need to be changed.

        The routes have nothing to do with it. You are saying that *every* Swift route would require a rule change for travel within King County? If Swift goes ahead with its plan, and drops people off at Aurora Village, they won’t pick anyone up if they are headed to 185th. Fair enough. So change the rules. That doesn’t sound especially challenging.

        It doesn’t change my argument one bit. No matter what, the Aurora routing makes the most sense. Even if the Swift stop on Aurora and 192nd is only used for travel to Snohomish County, it adds value. The routing of the 130 benefits riders, even if all of the trips involve Snohomish County. Moving the 331 to Lakeview and 76th is ideal as well (especially since riders from both counties would be able to use it).

        What it does is suggest that CT change its silly rule. I get why they don’t want to provide service within downtown or the U-District (which is probably why they added it) but still. It is crazy to think that if I’m standing here, at what appears to be a regular bus stop, the bus won’t stop for me: That bus is in King County, headed towards King County, but it won’t stop. I should try it sometime, just out of curiosity. My guess is I can get the driver to break the rules :)

      5. The more riders CT collects, the more the revenue share of the ORCA fare. As far as I know, the more riders they get, the better the income from federal operating grants.

        So it seems like it would be in their best interests to add riders to routes already going past a stop, as the added operating cost is almost nil. Especially considering that we are talking only a few blocks where virtually nobody will be getting on or off, so it’s not as if people will be struggling to get to the doors through packed aisles. It’ll be people get on to get to Link, and the next stop is Link.

      6. @RossB

        “That doesn’t sound especially challenging.”

        BwaHaHahahaha… ha… ha…

        Wait, how long have you lived here?

      7. I can’t seem to find it but I believe that there have been FTA or other rules limiting revenue bus service outside of a district. I believe there is a buffer on stops allowed too – like 1/2 or 1 mile from a district. It may only be that the operation must hand over the collected fare revenue. I’m quite fuzzy about this — but it may be an issue bigger than just CT.

        As I said at the outset, this is an issue that must be addressed — not that it’s a fatal flaw. I’m just putting it on the radar screen. Getting new cross-county routes adopted is more complex than making route changes within a service area.

      8. Don’t discount a bit of tribalism with this.

        I knew a IT manager who was involved with implementing ORCA, (he worked for CT), and the biggest snag was each agency wanting the design to reflect their particular model. Lots of negotiation going on, and given the PNW’s penchant for Analysis Paralysis in Designing anything, it’s actually pretty imressive they got it up and running at all.

      9. @Jim — Oh, I expect plenty of tribalism. That’s what this post is about. If each side hunkers down, and ignores travel outside their county, we’ll end up with crap. On the other hand, if they cooperate, it could be better for all involved.

        For example, consider the tail of the 347. The bus goes on 48th and 236th before it ends at Mountlake Terrace Transit Center. It goes out of its way to serve Snohomish County riders. But if CT just ignores the interest of King County riders, then why bother? It could just take a direct route to Mountlake Terrace. Or it could ignore it altogether. The 347 could just end at the 185th Station, while the 331 took over coverage there, like so: That’s not ideal from a rider’s standpoint, but it does save a considerable amount of money by not serving Snohomish County. The 130 is left to its current path, which means Edmonds has a slow connection to Seattle (still). Going from Swift to RapidRide E or Link is much slower than it needs to be.

        Or imagine the two agencies actually work together on this. Swift goes along Aurora (which is better for everyone). After much negotiation, they also add a stop at 192nd. This benefits a lot of King County riders who stay within the county, but it also benefits some people who don’t. I’m sure there are a lot of people on that part of Aurora who work, go to school or visit places to the north. There are some who visit the businesses and the YMCA there from Snohomish County. If this requires a little contribution from King County, so be it. Meanwhile, the 331 serves 76th/Lakeview, connecting those riders to a lot more places. Edmonds gets a faster ride to Link (and thus Seattle).

        “That doesn’t sound especially challenging.”

        BwaHaHahahaha… ha… ha…

        To be clear, I was referring to a policy that is probably ignored most of the time, and may not even apply here. One interpretation of that section (which I can’t find on the website) is that it only applies to buses heading to Seattle. In that case, it doesn’t apply in the example I gave (a bus headed to Bothell) nor would it apply here (since the bus never goes south of Shoreline). It applies downtown and it applied in the U-District, which means it will be outdated soon.

      10. The purpose of the boarding rule probably is traceable to CT running buses that have multiple stops in Downtown Seattle. It keeps CT from carrying intra-Downtown transit trips.

        Curiously, this very rule likely helped to set the stage for ST Express to eventually operate — ignoring county lines.

      11. “ One interpretation of that section (which I can’t find on the website)…”

        It’s printed in the supporting notes on route schedules that enter Seattle.

      12. @Al — I still can’t find it. It isn’t under “How to Ride”, “Rules and Policies”, or anywhere else where you expect to see it. I looked for it in the giant “Bus Plus” guide and couldn’t find it either. Nor can I find it under any of the 400-series schedules (e. g. What is the URL for it? What did you select to get to that URL?

      13. Thanks.

        OK, that is literally the only place I can find it. I can’t find it on any other route. None of the other 400 routes have it. Nor does the 105 or 106, even though they provide good travel options within King County. It isn’t on any generic page either (e. g. “How to Ride”).

        Given all that, this implies that this is *not* a generic policy. On most CT buses, if you want to ride within King County, go ahead. The examples given earlier (travel within Bothell, or downtown Seattle) are just fine.

        The 424 is unusual because it is an express that makes freeway flyover stops in King County. It is the only bus that does that. (The only I-5 flyover stop is in Snohomish County, so it isn’t an issue.) In the case of the 424, it will simply skip the stop entirely (inbound) if you don’t pull the cord. It is an express, after all. This really isn’t a generic policy, but one that applies only to flyover stops in King County. This explains why the asterisk is not for every King County stop, but only those flyover stops. That is an interesting tidbit (which is understandable now) but irrelevant to the buses listed here. It does speak to the issue at hand (maybe the 424 should stop at the flyover stops as a matter of course to better serve Woodinville and 520 riders) but given the number of trips it makes each day (2 each way) it doesn’t really matter.

      14. Back when the CT 8xx buses went all the way to UW, their timetables had a similar note to the 424, basically saying not to expect any pickup service along 45th or the Stevens Way loop in the morning. Not going to miss that snootiness, nor the Metro buses that got delayed behind the CT buses, which was even worse in the afternoon due to CT’s other barely-mentioned policy of not allowing a bus to leave a stop if even a single rider is still walking to a seat.

      15. Metro used to discourage riders from boarding express buses for intra-downtown trips. That may be where CT’s policy comes from. Metro hasn’t mentioned it for several years. But I think longer-distance Metro buses also don’t stop downtown near the end of their run if nobody is getting off. Routes like the 120 sometimes change their sign to “To Terminal” before their last couple stops.

      16. It happens in other contexts as well. If a bus is full, it won’t stop unless someone on the bus requests a stop. The lead bus in a set of bunched buses will do the same thing (these often go together). It can be frustrating waiting at the bus stop, seeing the bus go by.

        I could definitely see that here. It is quite possible that during rush hour, a Swift bus will be full, and only stop if someone requests a stop. But that is where the 301 comes in. If nothing else, the 301 will go from Aurora Village to 185th, and then over to the Link station. During rush hour, riders would not be dependent on Swift to get them from the north part of Aurora to Link. This could even be official policy for all I care. “Between the hours of 6:00 and 9:00 AM, Swift will stop in King County at the request of on-board customers only”. Fine.

        It is the rest of the day that matters. Otherwise, Swift is driving right by potential riders, for no good reason. It means that either this connection is not provided most of the day, or Metro spends money providing it with an additional route. This would be a huge waste, and bad for everyone involved, including Community Transit. It is likely they would more than make up for the cost to stop and pick up riders with fare revenue alone, even if Metro doesn’t chip in for the service. Metro could make some guarantee of minimum fare recovery, and if the riders don’t show up, they make up the difference. This is the type of cooperation that needs to occur here, unless we want to just live with crap.

      17. Are you suggesting that Community Transit add pull cords on all the SWIFT buses? Currently the SWIFT buses stop at all stations (just like light rail does). If you don’t add stop pull cords, how will somebody request a stop?

      18. Currently the SWIFT buses stop at all stations (just like light rail does).

        Ha, good point. I forgot about that. Yeah, it doesn’t make sense for Swift to skip stops in King County since they stop at every stop. The policy that exists on the 424 simply won’t apply here.

  14. Somewhere way up there ⬆️ is a comment or two about dealing with cross-border ticket and revenue distribution.

    I don’t know what ORCA II will bring, but I can tell you that TriMet’s hop readers can tell me not just which bus I borded and the time (just like ORCA) but it also tells at which stop I boarded.

    So, ORCA II might be able to help resolve some of the revenue sharing by giving the agencies an idea of how often the county line gets crossed so the revenue sharing could be set up to be reasonably equitable. You’d not get the cash fares, but it would provide some idea of the order of magnitude.

    1. Hop is so rational, and has all the bells and whistles that ORCA is waiting six years for already — multiple agencies with different fare structures, premium services, and universal transfers. But heaven forfend that Saint Seattle of App would buy some other city’s fare card system!

  15. Is this now an open thread seeing as the site is once again abandoned? Comments have gone way off of the original topic of bus routes in Lynnwood. and Metro/CT coordination.

    1. There are only so many hours in a day. With several STB volunteers with young kids and with schools across the country being a mess of omicron infections, closings and reopenings, you can’t expect life on this web site to be particularly normal just yet.

    2. I was thinking the same thing. The subject of this post has been pounded to death — it has gotten way more comments than it deserved (and I wrote it). It shouldn’t take too much effort to just throw out an open thread post, especially given the articles that have been in the paper lately. All you really need for an open thread is a picture of bus or a train and a few words saying this is an open thread.

      1. Or just drop a link to The Urbanist’s coverage of the WSBLE EIS and unleash the horde. STB can certainly still come back a few weeks later with a longer post once they’ve had a chance to be thoughtful.

  16. No article on STB for the past two years has been complete without He-Who-May-Not-Be-Named hijacking it with a screed filled with scorn for Seattle and its people, at least a dozen paeans to Bellevue’s superiority in all ways, and predictions of bankruptcy for Sound Transit.

    Now that this article has received its requisite regimen, nay two such screeds, it can safely be wound down.

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