This is a followup to my proposed bus restructure after RapidRide G. In that proposal, I struggled with the 12. The existing 12 overlaps the future G more than any other route; the only unique coverage area is on 19th Ave East, north of Madison.
I came up with several options for the route, each of which has its own map. As with previous maps, you can see a full size map by clicking on the corner. Once in its own window, you can select the route number on the sidebar, or the line itself to highlight the route.
The goals for each proposal remain the same. The expected frequencies are based on pre-pandemic levels, although most of these proposals would require a small increase in funding. The exception is the last proposal, which would be able to retain or increase frequency on each route, while also adding the new 106 extension.
The following are some of the options I came up with, along with the advantages and disadvantages of each:
The Previous Proposal
The biggest advantage of the previous proposal is that it keeps the 12 much like it is today (it is identical east of 16th). One advantage of the proposal is that it forms a fairly good split, or branch. Bus frequency west of 14th would be double that of each route, which seems quite reasonable. Madrona and Miller Park have far fewer people than Pike/Pine. Giving riders at the tail ends of the route 15 minute service while the combined sections get 7.5 minute frequency seems appropriate, and a nice improvement.
One disadvantage is that the 12 overlaps the G. This is less than ideal, as riders of the 12 may take longer to board than those on the G. This could cause the G to occasionally be delayed. I see this as a minor problem (and one that will occur also with the 8) but it is worth mentioning.
The 2/10 Split
This proposal is similar to the previous one, except that the 10 heads south and joins the 2. The 12 then takes over some of the work of the 10. This eliminates the problem mentioned earlier (there is no overlap with the G). There are also fewer turns overall.
This would come with a service shift. The 12 would have ten minute frequency, while the 10 gets fifteen minute headways. That creates the same 7.5 minute frequency on Pike/Pine (east of 14th) as the default proposal.
The 10/12 Split
This creates a branch on 15th and Thomas. As with the previous proposal, service would shift. The 2 would get ten minute frequency, while the 10 and 12 would have fifteen minute headways. Frequency west of 15th and Thomas would therefore improve (to 7.5 minutes).
Send the 10 to Jackson
This is most radical of the various proposals, and the most like a grid. The 12 is sent to downtown (via the current path of the 10) while the new 10 is sent south. It would skirt both Seattle University, and Cherry Hill, filling the biggest north-south service hole in the area. It would still provide a one-seat ride to downtown, largely because once the bus reaches Jackson, downtown is the nearest layover location (it would layover where the 106 currently lays over). One and two seat rides would replace awkward three-seat rides, including fairly natural ones (like Swedish Cherry Hill to Kaiser Permanente). As with most of these variations, there would be a shift in service. The 10 would run less often (every fifteen minutes) while the 12 would run every ten minutes.
There would be no increase in service anywhere, unlike every other proposal (which comes with increases due to branching, if nothing else). I consider this to be the biggest drawback with this version.
Eliminate the 12
This proposal eliminates the 12 altogether. It also eliminates service on MLK, north of McClellan. It is a simplified network, requiring some riders to walk farther to a bus. But coverage is still fairly good, and the benefit is more frequent service. According to my estimates, this network would be significantly cheaper to operate, even with the additional frequency of the G (6 minute headways in the middle of the day) and the new 106 to Uptown. These savings could easily pay for running the 2 every ten minutes, using pre-pandemic levels of funding. If funding improves, other improvements could follow (e. g. increasing frequency on Yesler).
There are other variations, of course, but those are the ones I would consider ideal. I have my preferences, and will add that to the comments. Please share your thoughts there as well.
35 Replies to “The 12 after RapidRide G”
I should start by saying I would be very happy with any of these networks, just as I would be happy with the long-range-plan Metro suggested for this area a while back. (The old link to that network is no longer valid, and it wasn’t backed up on the Internet Archive.) In all of the cases it creates two key things that I think are very important:
1) Better frequency. This is done largely through consolidation.
2) More of a grid. Chief among these is new service on Boren.
These go together. The routes that form important parts of the grid (e. g. service along Broadway) would see a dramatic improvement in frequency as a result of consolidating bus and streetcar service there.
With that in mind, I do have a favorite: the last one. It eliminates service on several streets, but makes up for it with increased frequency. I believe it is the most resilient. As much as I would like to think otherwise, I believe that transit funding will wax and wane. At times we will have plenty of money for good frequency; other times we won’t. This option is the cheapest, which means that we avoid poor frequency on core routes. Even before the pandemic, the 2 and 11 only ran every 15 minutes at best. That is fine on the outskirts, but shouldn’t happen through the heart of the city.
If we get additional money, then frequency can increase in various routes. I believe that Yesler should have 15 minute service, at least to MLK. If a layover can be found there, there could be two different versions of the 27 (just as there are two different versions of the 3) which be fine. I still think a split (with the creation of the 39) is better, since it both provides coverage on MLK, while giving Yesler decent frequency.
If we get enough funding to provide what I consider to be appropriate service on the various routes, I would look into running the 12 to Jackson. Like the bus on Boren, it would not have to run that frequently (every 15 minutes) to dramatically change the network. This would reduce the huge transfer penalty (which often involves initially going the wrong direction) that exists for a fair number of trips. There are fewer trips involved than those helped with service on Boren, but they are still enough to warrant a route, as long as the core routes have decent frequency.
My favorite of these proposals is sending the 10 to Jackson. However, I believe 14th between Yesler and Jackson has been one-way since the streetcar was built. It probably shouldn’t be too difficult to reconfigure this stretch of 14th for two-way buses, though. Additionally, I wonder why you increase the frequency of the 12 through Summit to every 10 minutes, given that your proposal still keeps the 47. I think your new 2 should be bumped to 10-minute frequency instead, although that would be more expensive.
Yeah, I should have mentioned that sending the 12 on 14th would require some work. There are two things that would need to be done. First, you need to get rid of some curbs that prevent a vehicle from continuing southbound on 14th (https://goo.gl/maps/yKPNri2bDUquEB8v8). This looks like minor work (no utility work needed). You change the sign only slightly (Do Not Enter — Except Transit).
Second, you have the stops themselves. Right now the streetcar stop on 14th is in the middle of the street (https://goo.gl/maps/pqiMFEJrjUxbckPE7). Southbound the work would be trivial (just add a bus stop curbside, across from the streetcar stop). Northbound you have the bike lane, so you would need to add a stop/bike stop there (like the ones added years ago at Dexter, and now common on Roosevelt).
So basically just concrete and sign work — no moving of utilities.
As far as the frequency of the 12, I assume you are referring to the 2-10 split. To a certain extent, it is to retain the existing frequency to the 15th and John area*. Right now the 10 provides ten minute frequency. By sending the 10 to Pine, it drops to every fifteen (to form a good split). To compensate, the 12 is bumped up to running every ten. Riders on 19th would get better frequency than riders on 15th, but I don’t see that as being that big of a deal. Mainly it is to retain similar frequency that exists for much of the neighborhood.
Which brings me to the 47. It hasn’t had much service for years, and thus jumping to ten minute frequency might be considered extreme. I could definitely see service there going up to ten minutes. I could also see both buses that converge on that corridor running every twelve minutes, for a combined six minute frequency.
This brings up an interesting item. I did some number crunching, and it turns out that it is very difficult to get really good timing on a spine unless you have lots of routes, or they are multiples of each other. You create a situation where a user may get lucky, but the longest potential wait is pretty bad. With two routes, the worst case scenario equals the more frequent route. For example, if a 10 minute and 15 minute bus converge, then no matter how you time the buses, twice an hour there is a potential for a 10 minute wait. Same with other combinations (10/12, 12/15). It gets a bit better with three or four buses, but you still have counter intuitive worse-case scenario. For example, three 15 minute buses can give you 5 minute headways, while a 10/12/15 combination leads to 8 minute waits three times an hour.
All of this is to say that it would probably make more sense to just run both the 47 and whatever bus goes up to 15th and John at the same frequency. If that is twelve minutes, fine. If that is ten minutes, even better (it certainly doesn’t seem excessive).
* I don’t know of a good name for that area. As a kid, we often referred to it as “Up by Group Health”.
I think the idea of extending Route 10 southward is great! Would the wires not be used?
Rather than turn at Jackson, I would consider turning it a few streets north at Yesler. That would add service for Yesler Terrace, and would not require redesigning 14th between Jackson and Yesler.
Then there is the option of pushing Route 10 even more southward to be more of a crosstown. For example, going southward on Rainier (or on Yesler to 20th to Judkins to 23rd) to Judkins Park and the turning east up College to Beacon Hill station. That would close the Cherry Hill service gap to both Judkins Park (2 Line) and Beacon Hill (1 Line), as well as the Rainier Ave (Metro 7/106) to Cherry Hill service gap. With so many nearby routes connecting directly to Downtown from 15th Ave, the Route 10 riders will likely be those wanting to go to other non-Downtown places instead or they would just walk to a nearby route to get directly Downtown.
Certainly, we are armchair service planners here. I think the bigger issue is just getting Metro to open the restructuring again post-RapidRide G for community discussion. It’s obvious that some restructuring is needed, and that it’s going to take a few iterations. The reality during the 2016 restructuring was the huge unknown impact of Link and the absence of RapidRide G. I think area residents see their transit travel differently now.
Finally, the East Link delay pushes it closer to having an opening day almost simultaneous to RapidRide G opening. I could see postponing any East Link changes in Seattle to match the RapidRide G opening instead. I’m not even sure if East Link will ultimately be able to open before RapidRide G does at this point.
First impressions. The “Split” terminology doesn’t work for me because I think of splitting as the opposite of interlining. I’d call it branching; as in, Pike/Pine would have more or different branches.
The “2/10 Split” I’d call “Restore the 10 to its Pre-2016 Routing”. That has two advantages over “The Previous Proposal”. When Metro move the 10, many riders switched to the 11, showing that Pine/15th service is more valuable than Olive-John. (Although I’m biased in that: Pine/15th helps me, and I lost my closest 10/47 and 8 stops in stop diets. Previously I lived north of the 8 so Olive-John would have helped me.) The other advantage as you said is it sidesteps any objections ST/Metro might have over trolleybuses at the 17th/Madison Station. There’s no reason trolleybuses can’t overlap a RapidRide line for several stations, but in this case it’s only one station and not Link station, so Metro might say it’s not worth the hassle.
“Send the 10 to Jackson” is intriguing; it’s kind of like a “Greater First Hill Streetcar” (“greater” in the sense of outer). It nicely adds indirect service for the 12th Avenue corridor. However, I could see people on northern 15th saying the don’t want to go to Jackson, it would take half an hour or longer to get downtown, and it misses Capitol Hill Station. That makes me think it would not be approved.
“Eliminate the 12” sounds like Metro’s default plan, so it’s likely. Metro seems ready to withdraw service from 19th (north of Madison) and MLK (north of Mt Baker) until it has money for a phase 2 expansion a decade later, and which point they’d be part of additional coverage routes.
Anthony Devera, your name sounds familiar for some reason. Did you write STB articles several years ago or did we have comment discussions then or were we in a Python user group together?
The “10/12 Split” I lean slightly against
The terms “split” and “branch” are often used in transit circles, and mean much the same thing. Jarrett Walker tends to use branch more often, but still sometimes calls it a split (https://humantransit.org/2012/02/one-way-splits-as-symbolic-transit.html). I chose “split” somewhat arbitrarily (it has fewer and skinnier letters). I probably should have used “branch”. I would edit this post, but I can’t. I can change the titles on the maps, but that would seem silly at this point. Sorry for any confusion.
As for your preferences, I feel much the same way. The “10/12 Split” is very Link focused, but loses everything else. It barely made the cut — but I figured I would put it in there, as it does have some advantages.
I also agree that sending the 10 to Pine is better than sending the 12 there (the default). It would be a bigger change, but would restore something that I’m sure many miss. It would also require less work by Metro. Notice that the buses are on Pine both directions, which means that Metro doesn’t have to run wire on Pike. This forces the 2 to dogleg twice (outbound) but you make up for it by reducing turns for the 10 (it only has one turn inbound, for example). The default proposal (the “2/12 Split”) has the 12 making two turns on Madison each direction, which I expect to be difficult. The plans are designed to make travel for the G very good, at the expensive of other traffic. Turning onto Madison, or off of Madison could take a while.
Interestingly enough, in Davis Lawson’s proposal from way back (https://seattletransitblog.com/2013/08/19/your-bus-much-more-often-no-more-money-really/) he has much the same combination, but with no service on 19th. Thus riders have to walk a ways and pick up the 8 if they are heading to Link.
I could see people on northern 15th saying the don’t want to go to Jackson, it would take half an hour or longer to get downtown, and it misses Capitol Hill Station.
I could definitely see that. This is the drawback with building a grid. Some riders lose their one-seat connection to downtown (or in this case, it becomes tedious). In general, I would say those riders lose more than they gain. The advantage is that other riders gain way more. From Swedish Cherry Hill to Kaiser Permanente it is a 40 minute bus ride or a 20 minute walk (https://goo.gl/maps/rsVsHWVhE4TVEXYX7). I also think that many of the riders that would not like the new 10 will switch to the 12.
I did consider running that bus to 19th (https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/edit?mid=1z77_UZ0p-jIhfys48pONPThtomml2x42&usp=sharing). This means the 10 stays the same, but the 12 goes south, to serve 14th. That would probably be easier, politically, than moving the 10. I could also easily see eliminating service on 19th (while frequency increases) then adding back this new 12. I initially thought that would mean more turns, but now that I’ve looked at it, there would be the same number. It just spread them out differently.
Grids are worthwhile but Seattle has particularly spiky clusters of density and non-residential destinations. San Francisco, Vancouver, and Chicago have more even mixed-use density along all their arterials, so any crosstown route serves a wide variety of destinations and a large number of people. Seattle’s businesses and most multifamily units are clustered in arbitrary urban villages which often don’t follow grid lines.
So you can say, “Who goes downtown?” A lot of different people for a lot of reasons, both destinations and transfers. “Who goes to Broadway?” Most of the people who live in East Seattle because it’s where most of the retail, recreational, and medical services are, and it also draws from South Seattle and elsewhere. “Who goes to northern 15th?” Only people who live there and the modest crowd that goes to its small scale of shops. “Who goes to 12th or 15th in the CD?” Mostly only people who live there or are going to Seattle University. “Who goes from Kaiser Permanente to Swedish Cherry Hill?” Well, does anybody? Kaiser Permanente is an HMO so it’s mostly its members, and they don’t go to non-Kaiser facilities as much as people with other insurance do. Do nurses work or intern at both Kaiser Permanente and other hospitals like Swedish on the same day? I don’t know, but I doubt it. It’s not like having classes at two different colleges, or flying to SeaTac and taking a shuttle to Paine Field for a flight that leaves from there. I think people go either to Kaiser Permanente or another medical center but not both.
There are other examples. On paper a 15th Ave NE route from UW Station to Mountlake Terrace Station looks like a good grid route, and it serves the U-District that a lot of people go to. But it misses the other nearby pedestrian concentrations along the way: Roosevelt, Greenlake, Northgate, Lake City, the Crest Cinema area. Those are where people by and large are going to, not to some apartment or drugstore on 15th, and if they’re going from Shoreline to UW they might not want to take the slow 15th Ave NE bus.
The 48 has a similar problem: how many people go to 23rd? How many people have to travel along 23rd because that’s where their closest route the 48 goes, but where they really want to go to is Broadway.
Grids are worthwhile but Seattle has particularly spiky clusters of density and non-residential destinations.
But this is not a spiky area. Not anymore. That is my point. Look at an aerial view of the area: https://goo.gl/maps/j3DLTdaHHYS9DwSb7. There are skyscrapers well east of the freeway. Where there aren’t skyscrapers, there are lots of wide buildings that contain lots of people. If there aren’t buildings, there are holes, where there soon will be. This density spreads north and south — your eye is drawn where there isn’t density. Then you remember what is there. Yesler Terrace, in the process of being rebuilt. Seattle University. Swedish Cherry Hill. Consider that last one. It seems like it sits in the center of the only low density area west of 23rd. But zoom in, and look again. To the north there are new apartments (https://goo.gl/maps/Kcqqys91RVXtzakW9) and old apartments (https://goo.gl/maps/CqP9QWWy3SSYbEZk6) tucked in pretty much everywhere. This continues well past Madison, to John and beyond. It extends south, with apartments old (https://goo.gl/maps/ixbdrBu2ME15FC1p7) and new (https://goo.gl/maps/XQyjx8r6GSRWr48B7).
The same goes for destinations. Restaurants, bars, universities, clinics, public and non-profit centers — they are all there, scattered about. This is not spiky. This is not Bellevue. This is the heart of the city.
The aerial view is confirmed with other data. If you look at residential density, or employment density, there is a lot of it here. If you look at the bus routes in the area, they all perform extremely well. It isn’t everyone just headed downtown, either. The 8 performs really well, and I would expect other crossing buses to do so as well (especially since they would be faster). There are just too many people not to.
Of course I wouldn’t expect service on 14th to perform as well as on Broadway. But 14th runs very close to Seattle U. (and largely at the same level) as well as Swedish Cherry Hill and Kaiser. By the way, Swedish is affiliated with Kaiser (e. g. https://healthy.kaiserpermanente.org/washington/health-wellness/maternity/find-hospital/swedish-first-hill) so of course people travel between the two hospitals.
The big question is whether you can run a bus on 14th/15th while having good frequency on most of the other routes. I don’t think you can. Not right now. But someday, if the rest of the buses are running frequently, a north-south bus through the area would do really well.
The 48 has a similar problem: how many people go to 23rd?
Quite a few, I’m guessing.
How many people have to travel along 23rd because that’s where their closest route the 48 goes, but where they really want to go to is Broadway.
Not many, for the same reason. I suppose if you are on Montlake it would make sense as your first step, but if you are on Thomas or anywhere south, you wouldn’t take the 48 to get to Broadway. You would take an east-west bus (like the 8, 2, 3/4, etc.). If you are far enough north, you would transfer to Link. So for one tiny section of the 48 (Montlake) you have riders who have to transfer to get to other parts of town. Big deal. There are plenty of people who are headed to other destinations on 23rd, like the high schools, and the increasing number of shops along the way (e. g. the Midtown Plaza). More than anything, as with any grid route, it connects neighborhoods.
Imagine if it didn’t exist. Better yet, imagine it and the 8 didn’t exist either. Holy cow, what a disaster. To get from Garfield to Franklin you would have to go downtown first (or make a three-seat trip involving the streetcar). Transit would be unusable for many trips, making owning a car a necessity. This is not only a financial burden, but one that encourages car use for other trips. Ridership goes down, and with it frequency on the remaining routes.
Of course there are trade-offs with grids. Despite what many people think, they are not that effective for long distance trips in suburban areas. For the same reason, frequency has less of an influence on longer distance travel. But for an urban area (like the area covered by the 48) a grid is the way to go.
Just look at Vancouver: https://humantransit.org/2010/02/vancouver-the-almost-perfect-grid.html. SkyTrain has close to half a million riders. But their buses carry over 750,000. They have way more riders, even though the city is smaller. They simply have a much better *network*. Their most popular bus doesn’t go downtown — and neither do all of their trains. It isn’t because there is density everywhere, either. Look at Artubus Ridge, or Shaunessy. These are residential areas, quite close to downtown. If anything, Vancouver is spikier than Seattle! Yet they have what Jarret Walker calls an almost perfect grid. Of course it would be much tougher for us to build the same thing (our street grid wouldn’t allow it) but we should aspire to the same sort of network. Enabling anywhere-to-anywhere really does work.
For some time in 2017, I posted an article on Page 2 once a week. In my article titled “A Little Bit About Myself (Last Regular Post)” (https://seattletransitblog.com/2017/09/21/little-bit-last-regular-post/), I stated that I would be taking a break from posting on STB because I had exhausted all my restructure ideas in Seattle, and I would focus on posting on chitransit.org. Ever since then, I occasionally comment on other people’s STB posts. I tried to post my own recently, but for some reason the site isn’t working for me (https://wordpress.com/post/seattletransitblog.com). I don’t think we’ve ever been in any Python user group together, although it’s funny that you mention it, I actually do a fair amount of work with Python.
I do agree that changing the 10 might be controversial, especially if it no longer goes to CHS. But I also think that if the new 2 doesn’t get 10-minute frequency, there should be another route to supplement it on Pike/Pine, and the 10 would be a good candidate for such a route.
With regards to removing service on 19th and MLK, I had a crazy idea that doesn’t make a lot of sense but keeps coverage on both streets. Have a route that runs like the current 8 between Mt. Baker and 19th/Thomas, then take 19th to 19th/Galer. I would call this route the 38 and run it every 20-30 minutes.
You might try this URL: https://seattletransitblog.com/wp-admin/post-new.php. That is the one I use to post my Page 2 essays. There is a new policy though, in that it has to be approved before it gets posted. Thus you might want to just contact Martin Duke about it. If you don’t have his email, I would just go through the front door (via the “Contact Us” address on the “About Us” page — https://seattletransitblog.com/who-we-are/).
Oh, and as far as your idea for serving on MLK and 19th, I considered that as well. I think I had it in one of my previous proposals. I’m afraid it is a bit too “pure coverage”, if you will. On the one hand, that is nice, in that you can run it every half hour, and not worry about an important section that should have better service. I feel like Yesler is in this boat. The tail of the 27 is weak, and drags down the rest of the route. In this case, running the bus every half hour wouldn’t be the end of the world, as riders could always walk over to catch a more frequent bus.
The problem is, I think they would. I think ridership would be abysmal. If the bus runs every half hour, then most of the time, riders would be better off just walking to catch the 48.
In contrast, with my proposed 37, at least it does something different. The main benefit is increased frequency on Yesler, but there are bound to be people who like the one-seat ride from Yesler to MLK.
“The terms “split” and “branch” are often used in transit circles, and mean much the same thing”
How are they similar? Branches have a common segment at one end, sometimes half the route. A split usually has little or no overlap. They may have no overlap like the 7/49 or 124/A that meet at a single stop or around the block from each other, or a small overlap in a central neighborhood like the 45/48 or 43/44.
One of the meanings of the word “split” is to divide into two or more. For example: “West of Garden City in southwestern Kansas the trail splits into two branches” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santa_Fe_Trail). Take out the word “branch”, and it is pretty clear what is going on. In this context, “branch” is the noun, while “split” is the verb. But one of the definitions of “split” as a noun is “a product of division by or as if by splitting”. Thus it is quite reasonable to refer to this as a “split”. “West of Garden City in southwestern Kansas the trail splits into two. This split occurs …”
Here is a good example from a transit perspective: https://pedestrianobservations.com/2015/02/04/the-wrong-kind-of-branching/. The author uses the word “split” to mean the same thing as “branch”, for example:
In this post, I’d like to focus on the opposite kind of branching, which I am going to call reverse branching, when one outlying line splits into two core routes. … Transport for London’s need for capacity will make the split inevitable once the Battersea extension opens, ending the reverse branching practice. … The transfer between the E and F would be located at 74th Street in Queens, several kilometers east of the split, which is located just to the east of the westernmost express/local station, Queens Plaza.
You get the idea. The author used the word “split” 28 times. Mostly as a verb, bus sometimes as a noun (as in that last case). As I wrote before, the word “branch” is used more often, but they mean the same thing. I’ve used the word “split” many times with transit professionals, and never had any confusion. Nor did they ever suggest I stick with the word “branch”. Looking back, I wish they had, then I wouldn’t be writing this. :) Everyone understood it to mean the same thing as a branch. I consider it a fairly intuitive meaning.
I’m still not sure what you mean by your use of the word “split”. The 7/49 through-route at night. I’m not sure what the 45/48 have in common (other than service in the U-District).
One thing to keep in mind is that I can’t edit this. Once it is is published, that is it. Many times I wished I could go back, and correct small grammatical mistakes, or just “punch up” the wording a bit. I can’t. Otherwise I would change the wording. But I think the meaning is fairly clear, and compared to previous corrections I wish I could make, not a big deal.
That’s the normal meaning of split, one thing diverging into two. The Northern Line in London splits into two branches. It’s the common thing that’s splitting, and it’s the common thing that’s most important (that’s why it has double service). In the case of the 10/12 proposal, you’re not splitting the 10 and you’re not splitting the 12: you’re doing the opposite, joining them into a common trunk. It’s the trunk that splits, not the individual routes or branches. When you say “10/12 split split, that gives no indication of where the trunk would be (the most important part), or even that a trunk would exist at all (in which case the phrase is nonsensical).
A split is what happens to the common part. A branch is the unique tail it diverges to (as in a tree branch), or it can refer to a route that comes from the trunk’ s common end to the unique tail. You can say the route “splits off” from the trunk, but that’s not what a “10/12 split” implies, especially when the 10 and 12 are currently in two different corridors.
“I’m still not sure what you mean by your use of the word “split”. The 7/49 through-route at night. I’m not sure what the 45/48 have in common (other than service in the U-District).”
I meant they were split at a certain point in the past. The 7 used to go from the U-District to Rainier Beach, then it was split in half into the 7 and 49.
OK, I see where the confusion lies. You are focused on the change, not the result. Back in the day, the 7 and 49 used to be one route, but then they split.
In contrast, the 347 and 348 currently split from each other. There is a common trunk (much of the route) and then two branches. They split from each other, which is why it is fairly common to call the current situation a “split”.
That is the situation for all of these “splits”. It isn’t about the history. It isn’t about the change. It is about what we are left with. The two buses would operate much as the 347/348.
When you say “10/12 split”, that gives no indication of where the trunk would be (the most important part), or even that a trunk would exist at all (in which case the phrase is nonsensical).
That’s not true. Read the post. This is from the first use of the word “split”:
One advantage of the proposal is that it forms a fairly good split, or branch [I then link to the term]. Bus frequency west of 14th would be double that of each route, which seems quite reasonable. Madrona and Miller Park have far fewer people than Pike/Pine. Giving riders at the tail ends of the route 15 minute service while the combined sections get 7.5 minute frequency seems appropriate, and a nice improvement.
I clearly lay out the meaning of the word “split” in this context (it means the same as “branch”). I also clearly specify where the split (or branching) occurs. I even go as far as explaining what this means in terms of frequency. This is a fundamental part of each of the proposals that includes the word “split”. In the second proposal I write:
This proposal is similar to the previous one, except that the 10 heads south and joins the 2. This would come with a service shift. The 12 would have ten minute frequency, while the 10 gets fifteen minute headways. That creates the same 7.5 minute frequency on Pike/Pine (east of 14th) as the default proposal.
Thus I specifically mention the point at which the two routes diverge, as well as the importance of matching frequency on each line.
Or the third proposal:
This creates a branch on 15th and Thomas. As with the previous proposal, service would shift. The 2 would get ten minute frequency, while the 10 and 12 would have fifteen minute headways. Frequency west of 15th and Thomas would therefore improve (to 7.5 minutes).
In this case, I even use the word “branch”. Again, I explain where the routes diverge, and what the frequency would be on each section.
This is important. The point at which they merge is clear by reading the explanation, as well as simply by looking at the map. But the frequency matching is also critical. It is the crux of every proposal using the word “split”, and would be the crux if I used the word “branch” (which I explained clearly means the same thing in this context).
In contrast, when the 10 is sent to Jackson, there is no mention of a split or branch. That is because it really doesn’t matter. There is a “spine” on Jackson, and the 10 splits from there (forming a branch) but that is largely irrelevant. I would make no attempt to match frequencies.
Look, I get why you don’t like the use of the word “split”, and would prefer “branch”. But by your own admission, they mean much the same thing. I also clearly state that in this context, they mean the same thing. When I came up with these ideas, I wasn’t going to give them any name at all. They were simply going to be numbered. But I find a term like “10/12 Split” or “10/12 Branch” to be much easier to understand, especially if you are flipping between them and have some familiarity with the existing routes. This means the 10 and 12 follow the exact same route, and then split from each other (forming branches). I could have written “10 and 12 branch at 15th and John” but as it is, the titles are too long for the Google Maps, since it includes “Restructure after Madison BRT”. I could leave that out, but then years from now, when I’m looking at these maps, I would have no idea what they are. I need the base title (“Restructure after Madison BRT”) as well as a *short* subtitle. These are titles, not full explanations. Brevity is important.
I think there’s another term for the 347/348 situation and the comparable 131/132 but I can’t remember it now.
Re this restructure, what’s important to me is where they diverge from the common segment and how many routes overlap. Because that determines frequencies, what’s the easiest to get to, and where one might want to live or work to be near the overlap. (You can see I don’t trust Metro to have 5-10 minute frequency on every branch, thus making the overlaps more important.)
Pine Street has long has several routes overlapping to Bellevue Ave, fewer routes to Broadway, and earlier it had two to 15th. So that’s how I think about it, and the tails go on from there. In your proposals there may be different overlaps to Bellevue or 15th depending on the proposal. There may also be overlaps on Olive-John depending on the proposal.
Yes, the overlaps are critical. Each proposal is based on it. Frequency shifts around because of it. The variations mostly involve new pairs (one trunk splitting into two branches). The 27/37 combination is also new, and common to most of the proposals (it was mentioned in the previous post). It is essential that these two routes have the same frequency (even if it means reducing the frequency on the tail). It took me a while before this dawned on me. For example, consider the 347 and 348, both of which run every half hour, but are synchronized to provide service every 15 minutes along a shared corridor. Wouldn’t it be better to increase the frequency of the 347, even if the 348 stays the same? Not really (at least not along the shared corridor). If you ran the bus every 20 minutes, then once an hour a rider would have to wait 20 minutes. Another couple times they wait 16 minutes. This is at best. You’ve also created a very messy schedule on the core (instead of the fairly easy to understand “every fifteen minutes”). The only way to improve the core is if you increase the frequency together, or run one of the buses every 15 minutes.
There are also spines that include more than two routes. This is where it gets tricky. I was surprised to see how poorly a mix of frequencies do. I couldn’t find any information on it (although I’m sure some mathematician has done the work) so I wrote a program to run through the combinations and look for ones that are “ideal”. I only used common frequencies (i. e. factors of 60). I would first minimize the largest gap. For example, with a combination of 10, 12, 15 the smallest gap possible is 8. Then I would look at the number of times it reached that gap, and a gap of 7, etc. Eventually I came up with some patterns, and it wasn’t as good as I expected. For example, using that criteria, here is one of the optimized set of bus routes for the 10, 12, 15 combination:
0, 7, 10, 12, 20, 22, 24, 30, 36, 37, 40, 48, 50, 52
Sometimes it is great. Often times it isn’t. You would be much better off if they all ran every 15 minutes. For that matter, you would be better off if two of the routes ran at 15, and the other ran at 10. The good news is that it is unlikely we would have this sort of pattern (three bus routes all converging at different frequencies). It does mean that whenever possible, the buses should be synchronized, even when you have three of them forming a spine.
For example, imagine we go with just eliminating the 12. I would run the 2 every ten minutes, and the 10 every ten minutes (as it runs today). Those get synchronized, while the 47 is just a bit offset. That leads to schedules like this:
0, 2, 7, 12, 15, 17, 22, 27, 30, 32, 37, 42, 45, 47, 52, 57
Ideally, you increase the frequency of the 47, which leads to a gap of 3.33 minutes. You could make all the routes have 12 minute frequency, but I don’t think it is worth it (in this case). That is just one of the trade-offs. In the real world, it is tough matching schedules. Buses through-route, and form other spines (in this case, on Queen Anne). The more buses you have on a corridor, the less it matters. On Third Avenue, it doesn’t really matter how many buses are running there.
Still, for simpler cases, it should be a consideration. Whenever possible, we should try to minimize the wait time on shared corridors.
Would it be feasible to send the 10 a little further north and cross I5 at Roanoke to serve Eastlake? I would love to see a better connection between Eastlake and Capitol Hill
I definitely think it would be a good thing if there was service connecting Eastlake with Capitol Hill. It is tough to pull off, though. Part of the problem is just the geography, both man-made and natural. There are a limited number of crossings. One is Belmont and Lakeview. Once you cross, you have to head south (you can’t go north). North of there, the crossing is at Boylston. Once you cross, you can’t head west until you go as far north as Lynn (https://goo.gl/maps/armVZPbzeGsQiBiQ6). If you are coming from the northeast, that means a lot of backtracking (https://goo.gl/maps/bmMam2jK26UqWVyDA). Thus that crossing only makes sense coming from the south, on Lakeview. The next crossing is at Roanoke. At this point you are not that far from Harvard and Eastlake, where the routes converge.
Since Eastlake is part of a peninsula, you can’t go any further west, which means a bus coming from the east has to either go around the south end (via South Lake Union) or double up service, and head to the U-District. This plan covers the two South Lake Union routes. Adding another east-west route means either competing with the 8, or doubling up service on one of those corridors. The latter is quite reasonable, but I don’t see a natural branch. Adding service on Eastlake has the same issue. It also struggles with those crossings. Even if you want to send a bus from Capitol Hill to Eastlake to the U-District, those crossings make it difficult, because you end up serving relatively little of Eastlake, while having the bus spend much of its time crossing the University Bridge and going through the U-District.
The other alternative is to just end at Eastlake. This works, but would provide relatively few people with direct connection. Making matters worse, a lot of the two-seat rides wouldn’t work that well, as riders would either take the 49 or the 8. With all of that in mind, here are some ideas I had in mind:
https://goo.gl/maps/GBm1LbVnmVc2dbmu7 — This provides an east-west route along Aloha, and connects those riders with South Lake Union and Uptown. It has plenty of good two-seat rides, but it competes with the 8. I like it, but it doesn’t seem like a natural branch of either the 8 or the new 106.
https://goo.gl/maps/L7h2V9Yi4mmkEcDs7 — This is an extension of the 47, which is a good thing in its own right. I see value in this, but I could also see this instead: https://goo.gl/maps/ggffZ37N6gxQ2oED7. Both have many of the same advantages (more coverage for the 47, and a connection to a bus headed to the U-District) but the latter seems cheaper.
https://goo.gl/maps/FNCCSxwAo3pSdQgG7 — This works, but I just don’t see that many riders north of Aloha. You do have some extra coverage, but not a lot. In contrast, consider an extension of the 47, like so: https://goo.gl/maps/DD43oK2oA4d58fHE8. That covers way more of the city, while providing that east-west service on Aloha.
You still have some awkward transfers. Right now a trip to the east side of Volunteer Park is a real pain from Eastlake: https://goo.gl/maps/DtfmUBVgm1KmTd4S7. It would be nice to fix it, but I don’t think it is a high priority. If the city enacts wide-spread zoning changes, and the area around there becomes more dense, then I could see it happening. Otherwise, it is just one of those problems that is too costly to fix.
I replied to your comment, but it is stuck in moderation for some weird reason. Maybe it is because I had a lot of links to Google maps. Anyway, the short answer is that I would love to see Eastlake connected to Capitol Hill, but it is hard to pull off. There are a number of things working against it, including the need to add more wire, the lack of crossings, and the destination once you get there (either it ends in Eastlake or doubles up service to the UW or South Lake Union/Uptown). It would be great to have, but there are things I would add first. For example, I would like to see service to Boyer, and east-west service on Aloha (which could go together).
@RossB: Extending the 10 to Roanoke/Eastlake is EXACTLY the kind of job that IMC trolleybuses would be capable of doing.
Again, we no longer need to shackle Trolleybus routes to the current extent of Trolleybus wire.
Good point. I could also see a small section of wire used for the layover, if going all the way down to Eastlake and back proves to be too much.
I think the fundamental problem with an extension is that it doesn’t get you that much compared to alternatives. Consider an extension of the 10 to Eastlake. The first leg is obvious, along 15th until it becomes Boston. At 10th and Boston, things get tricky. You can backtrack on Harvard, using Lakeview and Boylston and then go down Lynn (https://goo.gl/maps/ycJR7huBXtNKTQm27). This would likely take a while, and the right turn from Harvard to Lakeview might not be possible. Roanoke is more straightforward, although it still isn’t ideal (you’ve got one-way streets). That is probably the best you can do.
This does get you several things. You connect to the 49, giving riders from the north part of 15th (e. g. Aloha) a better two-seat ride to the UW. They would still have to transfer, but they would at least be going the same direction. You also provide additional coverage (along 15th and Boston). Some Eastlake riders would have a one seat ride to Capitol Hill (the whole point). Other Eastlake riders would have a decent two-seat ride. The main benefit is for those who don’t want to backtrack. Given that the 49 connects at Harvard, that means the section between Harvard and Roanoke.
Compare it to extending the 47 east, along Belmont, Roy and Aloha, until it reaches 23rd (https://goo.gl/maps/6zkzZd3e8MqTdcYJ9). The benefits are similar. You give some riders a better two-seat ride to the U-District. Some riders would get a one-seat ride to downtown (as well as the places along the way). This includes riders who currently take the 49 downtown. It could also include current 12 riders, if the 12 is eliminated, or doesn’t go downtown. You also connect to Montlake. Montlake has fewer riders per block, but you would be connecting to a bigger area.
They are similar distances and have similar functions. But with the 47, a lot more people would benefit. Not that many people live along the 15th/Boston corridor north of Aloha. It is mostly houses, and there is a lot of green space (as well as a cemetery). In contrast, the Belmont/Roy/Aloha corridor has a ton of people. Eastlake has a bunch of people, but a lot of them would just continue to transfer to the 8.
To be clear, I would love to see an extension to Eastlake. It makes sense from a grid perceptive. But there are so many things working against it, like bad crossings and weak coverage along the way. I’m afraid there are other routes (or extensions) that make sense to add before it.
@RossB: IMC tech currently requires a minimum of about 60% route to be wired, but advancements are in the process of bringing this down to just 25%. Given that the ETB’s aren’t going to be replaced in a major way for another decade, it’s better to keep that latter figure in mind.
I would imagine a lot depends on hills. It also helps if you can charge up while laying over. I have no doubt that the 10 could reach Eastlake without being on wire. Getting back might be an issue. On the other hand, if it could charge up again at the bottom, then it might be OK.
Connecting up at the layover spot has the advantage of not delaying riders. At the end of the run, the driver pulls up, opens the doors, and then the bus to the wire. Right before leaving again, the bus is disconnected. No is delayed there, which means you only have the delay where the wire picks up again, which is the current layover anyway. The same is true if simply runs off wire for a while and then lays over.
On the other hand, on-again, off-again running isn’t the end of the world, but ideally you avoid it, especially in busy areas. The process doesn’t take that long, but there is always the potential for a time consuming glitch.
This subject really deserves more coverage. My understanding is that Metro is very conservative when it comes to running off wire (basically they won’t do it on a regular basis). This wastes time and money. Little changes that would provide a lot of benefit are needlessly delayed, and in other places (e. g. the RapidRide replacement of the 70) we’ll put in wire that may only last a few years.
In the previous post, there was a very good comment that I didn’t get a chance to reply to (comments are now closed) — https://seattletransitblog.com/2022/04/28/bus-restructure-after-rapidride-g/#comment-894045.
I suggested combining the 49 and 36 using the 60 path because I thought the streetcar would already cover service on Broadway, and many people use the 60 to get to the hospitals along its route.
It is all about frequency. The streetcar covers Broadway, but it can never cover it with 6 minute frequency, unless we buy more streetcars. Even if we did that, we would be paying quite a bit for service along Broadway, while also running buses every 10 to 15 minutes a block or two away. That is just not efficient. Spread out over a whole system, you end up with what we have now (or did before the pandemic) which is infrequent service along key corridors. For example, the 60 only ran every 15 minutes, at best (and ran every half hour evenings nights and weekends). This was before the pandemic (when we had more service than ever before).
In my opinion, a lot of our routes are simply outdated. Back in the day, there was very little on First Hill, other than the hospitals and some apartments. Now, it has everything. Going back and forth to serve the major destinations was reasonable in the past; it isn’t any more. Again, this goes along with frequency. The faster a route, the more frequent it can be. Of course riders don’t want to walk far to their destination, but if you overdo it, you end up with people having to walk much further, or wait a really long time.
I suppose the 106 on Boren could also replace the 60 on 9th, since Boren is also close to many of the hospitals on 9th.
Years ago, the 10/12 were through routed and ran all the way to 1st before going back up the hill.
Sometimes it sure seems like it would be nice to get something more on 1st again.
it sure seems like it would be nice to get something more on 1st again.
I agree. It’s a bit off topic, but I’ll share my opinions anyway.
I think there are a few things to consider. There are through-routing and layover issues. There is also the issue of wire, although as mentioned, the bus should be able to run off wire for a while. These go together. The 2, for example, could be split up into two bus routes, each of which ended downtown. But we couldn’t have the 2 through-route with the 101, for example. For the sake of discussion, I will assume that this would all work out. Similarly, I assume that buses have no trouble climbing the hill a couple blocks, or making 90 degree turns.
Another issue is how much of First Avenue to cover. Ideally you cover plenty of First Avenue (Jackson to Denny would be ideal). But you also want to make it easy for riders to transfer from a bus running on First to a bus running on Third.
At the south end this isn’t much of an issue. By the time you get as far as south as Jackson, it is very easy to transfer to a bus going up Third. That means that a bus running on Jackson (e. g. the 36) could be sent there, as could the 27 (from Yesler). Another option would be to have a 4th Avenue South bus (e. g. 101) run on First.
To the north it is trickier. At Denny you have the 1, 2, 13, 24, 33 and D. Outbound, they all share the same stop at First and Broad (although you would need to add a stop for the D). Inbound it is harder, and you would have to add bus stops to make for a good connection.
Another alternative is to send the Queen Anne part of the 3/4 down First. That would connect to all of those buses, although you might have to add a bus stop. There are buses that run on Battery/Wall and Blanchard/Lenora.
It is also possible that we have buses from the south going through downtown on First and just ended at the north end. We could have a combination of through routed and buses laying over in the north end forming a spine. If I had to pick a combination, it would be the following:
Have the 101, 102, 124, 131, 132, 150 run north on First. I think the best bet for layover and turn around is using Lenora/Blanchard. There are several buses that layover around there (64, 320, 554). This would mean decoupling some routes. Specifically the 28, 24 and 33. Ideally we just live with the overlap. If that proves too expensive, I would would send the 24 and 33 south on First. That would force some riders to work their way up to Third (or transfer around Denny) but it would mean the cost of this change would be minimal. Decoupling the 28 wouldn’t cost much, since it runs every half hour. Moving the stops of the 101, 131 and 150 would be minimal as well.
This would cover more of First Avenue than the proposed streetcar. It would cost less in service, yet provide better frequency. Not counting the express route (102), you’ve got four buses that run every 15 minutes (if you count the 131/132 pair as a single route). If paired up for ideal headways, that is less than 4 minute headways. Even if they run randomly, you are likely to get 5 minute frequency, which is the best the streetcar ever hopes for along there. This would be just one good option for service on First, as soon as they add BAT lanes there.
I am not sure I understand the benefit of adding bus service to 1st Ave., which already is a CF when it comes to traffic congestion.
I thought the plan was to create a “transit mall” on 3rd Ave., because 3rd Ave. was close enough to 5th and 1st so any rider could walk the two blocks from 3rd to either. Many on this blog don’t seem too concerned that East Link is 10 Bellevue blocks uphill from Bellevue Way, but think walking from 3rd to 1st is too far.
The other benefits of a single transit mall along 3rd through downtown is it increases frequency, at least until your route branches after downtown, and it concentrates the blight from the transit mall to 3rd Ave. which I thought would be relieved with Link. Why don’t more buses truncate before they reach Seattle, which would probably make 3rd much more pleasant and vibrant.
I agree the street car is a terrible waste of money and terrible transit, unless you are looking for some kind of Disneyland like attraction (along 1st Ave. of all streets). One would have thought the city would have learned the lesson with the other street cars. Seattle has already seriously compromised north/south traffic through downtown with unused bike lanes and dedicated bus lanes on 3rd, and bus stops on other Avenues, so why make it worse with a dedicated BAT lane on First.
If the goal is to make driving a car downtown so miserable no one wants to do it, ok, have those folks work or shop or dine in Bellevue, but I am not sure that is Harrell’s goal, or having a city without revenue from those who drive a car will be a very vibrant urban setting. Seattle’s existential problem right now — and I mean existential — is the absence of the work commuter and shopper, in part because street safety depends on the number of eyes on the street. Forcing them onto transit simply to go south to north through Seattle when Seattle is seen by many as unsafe is not going to fix that existential problem.
The reality is with the lower volumes of workers and shoppers going to downtown Seattle we need less, not more, transit in this area, and can’t afford more or what we have now (although there is more parking capacity if you can get to it). Get the number of workers and shoppers up and then worry about more transit, because transit’s existential problem is the same as Seattle’s although I am not a lot of transit advocates understand that. At least they seem to understand it in New York and D.C.
This would be just one good option for service on First, as soon as they add BAT lanes there.
Then you wrote:
I am not sure I understand the benefit of adding bus service to 1st Ave., which already is a CF when it comes to traffic congestion.
The BAT lanes would eliminate the traffic issues. Obviously. I guess I shouldn’t write “obviously”, since it wasn’t obvious to you. It was literally the last phrase I wrote, and somehow you forgot about it when writing your comment.
As for service on First as well as Third, you are right, it is debatable whether we need it. But it would be nice for some riders, especially those that expected the streetcar. If a few buses are moved to First (as I suggested) there would still be enough buses on Third to provide for excellent frequency. It might improve average speeds. There is a sweet spot when it comes to a “spine”. You want lots of buses, but no so many that there is congestion.
As for you other ramblings, I won’t bother commenting on them, as they are the usual anti-transit claptrap you’ve become known for.
Ross, I understood the BAT lanes, but there is traffic on 1st other than buses, and even today the traffic is terrible on 1st. Since around 10% of trips are by transit (and this was pre-pandemic and included the peak commuter to Seattle) I think it makes sense to consider other forms of transportation on 1st if Harrell hopes to turn Seattle around. I would start with the businesses on 1st to see what they think of BAT lanes. Do we really need another 3rd Ave. in Seattle?
Where we disagree is I don’t see the need for new BAT lanes or a lot of the current transit to and through Seattle in Seattle’s current state because the ridership is not there. I would estimate that right now over 50% would not take transit from the eastside to Seattle if their lives depended on it. Hence 33% of office workers have returned. I don’t see that changing, so why increase transit in downtown Seattle or restrict other forms of transportation folks will take to Seattle with BAT lanes for what, four buses? Who is going to ride it? Is this what the Pike Place Market vendors want: two lanes of 1st devoted to four buses, from wherever?
I understand some think transit exists on its own, and is its own good, or can create urban and retail vibrancy. I don’t. I think transit serves folks needing to go from A to B, and often are not able to afford another form of transportation. But they need to want to go to B.
Yes, it would be wonderful to have full transit coverage and frequency despite a steep drop off in transit ridership, but that is not how it works. It isn’t transit’s fault the rider has left, but still transit coverage and frequency need to have some correlation to the number of riders and where they need to go, and I think at least Harrell understands that.
BAT lanes on 1st don’t seem like a good idea to me, at least not now, but maybe they will to Harrell or his new head of SDOT, if he ever gets around to hiring one. Return the work commuter and downtown retail and restaurant vibrancy, and make 3rd Ave. vibrant so fewer businesses don’t think transit is the cause of 3rd Ave., so folks want to go to 1st and then let’s talk BAT lanes on 1st.
One 3rd Ave. is enough at this time, IMO.
You think we should try and encourage more cars through downtown Seattle, instead of transit? Sorry, but that’s nuts. There will always be bad traffic in downtown Seattle. There are just too many people. The focus should be on moving those people, and only public transit can move them in sufficient number.
As for the transit ridership, it did get hammered by the pandemic, but it has rebounded. Peak ridership is down more than all-day service. It is important to understand the relationship between ridership and frequency. To a certain extent, they are independent. A bus can lose half its riders but still run just as often. Doing so often makes sense, because the alternative (e. g. going from a bus every fifteen minutes to every half hour) is terrible on the riders. But sometimes a bus runs very frequently to deal with crowding. For example, the 312 used to run every couple minutes on Lake City Way (during rush hour). The only reason it ran that often was because of crowding. It is this peak ridership that has been hammered the most, and it is this peak service that is most dependent on ridership. That is why it is the only major type of service that has seen a reduction. There are fewer buses going downtown — but only during rush hour. This comment thread (and this post) is focused on all-day service. This change in the number of buses going downtown during peak periods doesn’t change the dynamic at all.
Downtown is a “spine” (https://humantransit.org/2018/09/dublin-what-is-a-spine.html). Buses from all over the region converge upon the avenues downtown (mostly Third) providing very good frequency along that section. So much so, that there are excess buses along there. As long as you have decent frequency on all the buses that converge there, you will have a good spine. Unless you cutback overall service, or send the buses somewhere else, there will continue to be lots of buses going through downtown. So much so that you can have a bunch running on Third (providing great frequency) and several running on First (providing good frequency).
Downtown Seattle continues to grow. Not only in terms of employment, but especially in terms of housing. There are an increasing number of people who want to get around *within* downtown. The Third Avenue spine does provide that, it is just that there is hope we can improve upon it. For very little money, you could provide something that makes it easier to get around downtown. That is what would happen if you just moved the buses a little bit.
I realize the pandemic downturn has fulfilled your 70’s era anti-urban fears, but the reality is that cities continue to grow. They continue to be attractive to people as a place to work and live. Seattle is undergoing a major renovation as we speak, which will make it more attractive than ever. Downtown Seattle — like most major urban centers — will rebound as strong as ever. The only areas that will struggle are the rust belt cities, and even many of them have improved since their low point (reinventing themselves by embracing their industrial heritage, even if they lack those jobs). People will need to get around, and for that, they will use public transit. The existence of buses — quieter and cleaner than ever — along a street like First makes it more attractive, not less.
The Seattle Times has an article stating Seattle needs to adapt as a tourist/entertainment destination because it is beginning to look like the work commuter is not returning. I remember about a year ago an urban planner from Toronto predicting this. The recent census population figures seem to corroborate this as well, and not just for Seattle.
The problem with tourism is it is seasonal, although it produces a lot of tax revenue and few social costs. Seattle’s advantage is the temperate climate, including cruise season.
Tourists and shoppers are different than work commuters because they are 100% discretionary. You have to entice people with money to take the effort to get there when they really don’t have to, and there are alternatives.
I am not so sure the Seattle Council knows how to “sell”. Too ideological and arrogant. But they will need to learn to sell.
The key for transportation planning is to determine the best modes to get folks to make that discretionary trip to downtown, which in the past generated around 2/3 of the city tax revenue.
Getting people through Seattle shouldn’t be the focus. Peak demand will be down and it looks like car traffic, but other than tourists that is still how most shoppers with money get someplace, something Kemper understands.
Obviously lane use needs to be allocated based on use, and whether that use serves the goals of downtown. Bike lanes serve very few people for the road space dedicated to them, although they have a very loud political voice. Light rail is nice because it is underground. Ideally it would remove more buses from the downtown core.
I think it is a mistake to design a transportation plan for downtown based on ideology or class warfare. Remember. Seattle has to sell now; the commuter slave is gone. Transportation is just one element, along with safety and cleanliness, and most of all retail density.
If Seattle gets it wrong yes, it won’t need nearly the road capacity it has. Or transit frequency. That is what we see today. Continuing to hope everything returns to pre-pandemic patterns — when Seattle was still struggling — is not a good strategy
I agree with Ross that Seattle needs to get more people living downtown, but disagree that is a given, or regional population levels will always grow. If better transit, or bike lanes, will do that, and increase the discretionary trip to Seattle then do those things, although retail dense areas like Bellevue Way and U Village don’t subscribe to that.
If it wasn’t for the lost tax revenue, businesses and jobs downtown it wouldn’t really matter if transportation planners got it wrong, but unless someone knows a way to make up the list tax revenue I would suggest getting it right, even is your may disagree with how people choose to get around.
So to answer Ross’s question, YES downtown Seattle needs more cars today, because it needs more people. Ideally it needs more buses and trains too. But the reality is today it does not. Even with road diets and many other disadvantages from a pre-pandemic era it is pretty east to drive though downtown today. Too easy.
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