Metro is seeking input on “Phase 2” of Lynnwood Link Connections. In Phase 1 they gathered input on what the public wanted, and now they have taken those ideas and proposed a restructure. There are several themes common with this proposal, which are listed after the map.

Fewer Routes and Less Coverage

After the Northgate restructure, there were 5 express buses from the north end. Now that is down to just one — the 322. It is the only bus to go over the I-5 ship canal. Buses will instead connect to Link. This reflects a move away from expensive, peak-only express routes, towards a more all-day system.

But that isn’t the only place where service is being simplified. Several corridors will no longer have coverage. The 73 is gone, which means no service on 15th NE between Pinehurst Way and 75th. 5th Avenue NE, between 120th and Northgate Way (served by the 75 and before that the 41) will no longer have service. The 346 is gone, and with it is service on Meridian between 130th and 200th. There are more, but the most controversial change (to me, anyway) is the loss of service along Lake City Way between Ravenna Avenue and Roosevelt Avenue.

More East/West Service

One of the big suggestions to come out of phase one was to improve east-west travel in the area. Several routes help accomplish this goal. The 61 replaces the 20, linking up Greenwood with Northgate and Lake City. The 65 now covers the 125th/130th corridor, connecting Bitter Lake with Lake City and 35th NE (making a trip from Ingraham High School to Nathan Hale High School a one-seat ride). Instead of going north, the (3)72 heads west, to the station at 148th. Riders can continue to Shoreline by taking the 333 further west. There is now coverage along 175th (via the 334) while the 336 and 348 go over 185th. Finally, the 333 runs along the county border, connecting the Mountlake Terrace Station with Aurora Village and Shoreline Community College.

Routes are Split Based on Demand

The 372 is split into two routes: The more frequent 72, and the less frequent 324. The 75 ends at Lake City, which means it is largely a coverage route for Sand Point Way. As a result, it is slated to run less often (30 minutes outside of peak). The 331 is more or less split into two, with the eastern half (the 334) running a lot less often than the western part (the 333).


Overall, I consider this a strong step in the right direction. I have ideas for changes, but I’ll make that another post (along with comments here). Survey ends March 10th.

293 Replies to “New Metro Restructure Proposal for Lynnwood Link”

  1. Can somebody remind me whether 130th St
    Station will be open when this restructure goes into effect, and if not immediately, when? The new 65 really needs that Link connection to achieve its full potential.

    1. ST wants to open it within a couple years of Lynnwood Link’s opening but I haven’t heard a target date yet. It made the decision very late so it didn’t have enough time to complete it with the line. It’s building the parts that touch the track now so the line won’t have to be interrupted to finish the station.

      1. Meanwhile, TransLink will tunnel, install track, build stations, and have the entire Broadway extension operating in something like a year and a half.


      2. @Glen in PDX,

        The Broadway extension was approved for construction in early 2018 with actual construction beginning in 2019 with utility relocation. Completion is now expected in 2026, assuming no more delays, of which there have been many.

        So, depending on when you want to start counting, that is between 7 and 8 years of active construction. Sort of like most systems around the world. Sort of like Link.

    2. Yeah I’m kind of surprised that Route 65 ends where it does, actually. It does add distance to the route, but an easy fix is simply to end it at Shoreline South/148th Link. Then the opening day for 130th won’t matter.

    3. I haven’t heard anything. Lynnwood Link got delayed, which may mean the time between opening the rest of the stations and 130th has shrunk. Metro has a few choices:

      1) Do a restructure for Lynnwood Link before 130th; then (a few months later) do another restructure.

      2) Just do the complete restructure, even though there won’t be a station at 130th for a while.

      3) Hold off on any restructure until 130th Station is complete.

      If Metro takes that first path, it would make sense for the restructures to be very similar. This could be as simple as sending the 65 to Northgate for a few months.

      There is a lot to be said to just doing the restructure early. As Mike mentioned, you get a lot out of the 65 even without a Link connection. A few riders lose their connection to the Northgate Station (with no station in return) but only a few.

      I could also see just delaying the implementation of the restructure. The existing network still has a lot of connections to Link. The existing 347 goes by the 148th station, while the existing 348 goes by 185th. The ST bus on SR 522 Stride is independent and operated by ST, so it will go 148th when the station is ready. Meanwhile, a lot of existing buses would just keep going to existing stations (like Northgate). It is not ideal, but it would reduce churn.

      Without knowing exactly how long the gap is (which we may not know for a while) it is hard to choose the best option.
      A lot of the other buses go to Northgate.

  2. It’s a real shame to see how Metro is moving away from all-day, all-week frequent service and instead redefining “frequent service” as being weekdays only, and peak/midday only. Very few of the routes shown as frequent service in the map are actual all-day/all-week frequent, and the route 75 is even shown as being frequent despite no longer being frequent service at any time. The combined 345/346 corridor is also losing frequent service, and the 347/348 corridor is losing frequent service outside of weekday peak/midday hours. It seems the only routes gaining frequency in this restructure are the 333 (replacing various Shoreline routes) and the 61 (replacing the 20, which had weekday-only frequent service.

    When the U Link restructure happened in 2016, and with the original Seattle TBD service increases, it seemed like Metro was really interested in following best practices for transit service, going to a simplified network of (generally) all-day/all-week frequent routes. Northgate Link added back in a bunch of low-frequency routes, some of which completely skip weekend service, but at least left most of the frequent service intact. Now this proposal for the Lynnwood Link restructure seems to indicate Metro has given up on the idea of frequent transit outside of the busiest routes.

    1. Seattle’s TBD was reduced in 2020. The proposal may reflect the driver shortage and the post-covid ridership revenue decrease. Evening frequency beyond RapidRide wasn’t Metro’s; it’s provided by the TBD for the most part. The TBD also expires in 2025 I think, and Metro can’t count on it being renewed until it is.

    2. I don’t think the timetables are meant to be set in stone. I believe they are aimed more at giving people a rough idea of what is to be expected. It is almost as if they have different classes of routes, which is quite reasonable. The 72 is meant to run a lot more often than the 324. How often each runs remains to be seen. Not only do you have the driver shortage, but you also have the possibility of more funding from the county and the city.

      That being said, there is a disconnect between what is shown on the map for 75, and what the timetable (and description) says. It is clear when you read the information for the 75 that it is meant to run less often than most of the buses in Seattle. And yet it is shown in red (the same as buses like the 65 and 72). I think they made a mistake, and the 75 should be in green.

    3. Yes, Metro will increase service if it has more drivers or money than it anticipates now, especially where it intends higher frequency than this proposal has. Metro Connects is still a general goal; it just depends on resources that don’t currently exist.

      “It is clear when you read the information for the 75 that it is meant to run less often than most of the buses in Seattle. And yet it is shown in red”

      It probably is a mistake that will be corrected soon. Other proposals often have similar mistakes. There are a lot of variables to keep track of. Reducing the 75 midday may have been a last-minute decision to add service elsewhere, and the left hand updating the table may not have talked to the right hand that changes the color.

    4. I’m not sure whether Metro really said Frequent would included evenings and weekends or if people just assumed it based on RapidRide and other cities. But Metro Connects and other documents since at least 2018 have said Frequent is weekdays until 7pm. This is a way to claim more routes are “frequent”. Metro wants to extend frequency into the evenings and weekends — and does so when it has resources — but this is a way to avoid overpromising and to say it has several frequent routes.

      The same thing happened with night owl. It used to start at 2am, then midnight, and now 10pm. This allows it to count a lot more routes that have always ended between 11pm and 1:30am.

    5. Another way of looking at it is, if Frequent is 15 minutes until 10pm every day (the RapidRide standard), then Seattle has a very long way to go to get to the Metro Connects vision. If Frequent is only until 7pm weekdays, then much of Seattle is already there. That makes a big difference in the vision’s politics, funding, and how useful the network would be when it’s complete.

      But as I said, Metro wants more frequency than that, as is shown by 15-minute evenings on the 5, 10, 45, 49, 62, 65, 67, etc. All that started after Metro’s newer performance metrics kicked in in 2012 and Seattle’s TBD funded them in 2016. Metro wants it but doesn’t want to promise it, so that it can say it delivered in its promises.

      1. The editorial in The Seattle Times today noted Seattle is estimated to have a $140 million general fund budget deficit each year for the next four years. Move Seattle is up for renewal in 2024. The main sources of general revenue in order are B&O taxes, retail sales tax, and property taxes. Other revenue sources include the beverage tax, short term rental tax, and by far the biggest the Jumpstart tax on employees earning above a certain threshold. Then there are levies including low-income housing, preschools and transportation. Utilities alone contribute $3 billion. Altogether total general fund tax revenue is $7.4 billion. The capital budget including roads and bridges is separate.

        As I have noted before, I think the $140 million deficit figure is low (and in fact previous estimates have been closer to $160 million which is also probably low because the drop off in sales taxes on commercial development, and because I imagine office owners will initiate appeals to lower the assessed value on buildings). B&O and retail sales tax revenue, along with declining property values for commercial and residential, will likely decline further in the future with WFH, which could also affect the Jumpstart tax. I see less future federal subsidies.

        Since 2013 Seattle City tax revenue has grown 94% while employment has grown by 19% and population has increased 22% and the CPI has increased 31% (although it is unlikely CPI will be that low in the future).

        The debate is whether to raise taxes further or look for efficiencies and cuts. Voters will decide on voter approved levies. I doubt a SB5528 levy would be a good idea right now. According to the editorial a common frustration is that despite such large tax increases things don’t seem to be better in Seattle. In fact, a poll by the parks dept. shows Seattleites gave the parks system worse grades every year since 2016, after the department began spending more levy dollars.

        So the question is how much tax revenue can Metro reasonable expect going forward, especially if farebox recovery declines? I always thought one benefit of Link and Link sucking out so much transit tax capacity is Metro’s costs would decline because of truncation. At least that is what many on this blog claimed.

        The Times recommends no new taxes. At least three councilmembers have stated they will not seek election, and my guess is the budget deficits are the reason why. Money and funding more than anything determine Metro coverage and frequency, and whether a “grid” is affordable, certainly a frequent grid. I think this proposed transit restructure, and the eastside transit restructure, may need further restructuring in the next few years. Look for “equity” to be a big factor in those discussions.

      2. “I doubt a SB5528 levy would be a good idea right now.”

        Nobody has proposed an SB5528 levy, or even outlined what it might do. It’s just a general tax authority at this point. To be used, somebody would have to outline a specific proposal of what projects it would fund, there would be a public debate on whether that’s worthwhile and the best use of it, and then it would take six months to prepare a ballot measure and vote on it. None of that has been started.

        I haven’t read the Times article yet, just the headline of the editorial. It probably says don’t raise taxes, but we also need to look at the consequences of not funding needed things.

      3. “I always thought one benefit of Link and Link sucking out so much transit tax capacity is Metro’s costs would decline because of truncation. At least that is what many on this blog claimed.”

        If anybody said that they were mistaken. The intention was to reallocate those hours to frequency, grid routes, and more coverage. Not to shrink Metro. Metro is below its Metro Connects vision and peer cities.

      4. The grid is here to stay. It’s how you serve the most riders with the fewest resources. Equity translates to more frequency in grid corridors where lower-income people live. That means Redmond-Eastgate and Renton-Bellevue for instance. Some questionable expresses may remain like the all-day 114 proposal, but most of the equity investment will be in increasing recent grid routes. The Eastside has already gotten closer to a grid in the 2010s, as has South King County. That makes it easier to just add frequency to existing routes.

      5. The amount of transit service is important, although i think a healthy restructuring needs to be mostly fixed, and somewhat scalable depending on the available funding from one year to the next.

        I think it would be informative for Metro to show both base and enhanced frequencies (based on available subsidies) to demonstrate how things might change once the system is on the street. It’s a lot of work to change signs and pavement markings and that’s beyond teaching riders about a new network. The public should know that any new route structure won’t keep changing based on available subsidy.

        In other words, I think the network structure should be intended to work no matter what the status of the TBD is.

      6. Mike, I am assuming a future world in which transit funding is not limitless, and likely will decline while costs increase. So the choice is either coverage (grid) or frequency. If I am wrong then there will be no need to prioritize. If I am right my guess is “equity” will lead to coverage cuts while maintaining frequency in high equity (ridership) areas. After all, I live in a city of 26,000 with almost no intra-city Metro transit three miles outside downtown Seattle. I always assumed that was due to equity, and the cost to serve an undense, car-oriented, topographically challenging area. Otherwise we would have some transit. Transit budgets always drive coverage and frequency. You can have an extensive grid with low frequency, if schedule reliability is good and you don’t need a transfer, which is why the bus intercept on MI will be problematic.

      7. A Seattle based proposal for increasing transit funding would likely pass easily. Last time it passed by 82%. Generally speaking, the problem is that the state won’t allow the city to increase taxes as it would like, and that we are limited on the type of taxes. An income tax would pass easily in the city (although it would make way more sense in the county, and it would have more trouble there).

        Anyway, Al is right. Any restructure has to be able to handle the ebbs and flows of funding (and driver shortages). I don’t see that being a problem with this network. “Frequent” could mean a bus running every ten minutes, or every fifteen. Either way a bus like the 44 (or 65) works.

      8. But grid and equity are increasingly coinciding. Lower-income people are concentrated in multifamily and commercial areas. They tend to work in other non-downtown commercial areas like hospitals and warehouses. Some of these corridors are longstanding needs that the agencies are only now addressing. Crossroads has been lower-income since I was a kid, but Redmond-Eastgate service was only addressed in the 2010s. South King County has lots of corridors like that, which also only started getting addressed since the 2010s. Mercer Island has no local Metro-funded service for the reasons you said: it’s single-family, low equity, ultra-low ridership. The 630 is funded by Mercer Island as far as I can tell, so it will remain as long as Mercer Island wants it. There are no other routes like the 630 in the Eastside or South King County that I know of.

        If ST and Metro have to cut service significantly, your 554 Issaquah-Seattle suggestion would be the first to go, and the 322 not long after it.

        Metro is already proposing to eliminate all fixed-route service east of 164th. That’s the area I grew up in. It suggests replacing it with Crossroads Connnect, an app-taxi system. So that’s one non-equity area that would lose out.

  3. I think Metro is trying to do three things: (A) propose innovative concepts and see how much blowback it gets, (B) use extensions and detours to minimally add trip pairs it can’t fund an additional route yet, and (C) continue a two-phase reduce+kill on routes it wants to delete.

    Metro throughout the 1980s through 2000s was too timid: it kept too many legacy parallel milk runs to downtown, and when it did suggest a change, the county council would veto it if even one person complained about losing their status-quo route. That changed with the RapidRide C and D restructure in 2012, and with the recession making the county council realize it could no longer afford to micromanage service based on squeaky wheels.

    In the U-Link restructure, Metro boldly deleted the 71/72/73X and all-day 43, and bet heavily on a new 65th-Fremont-SLU corridor (62) and the 35th corridor (making the 65 full-time frequent).

    Several of the concepts show our advocacy making a difference. We pushed for many of the 10 priorities Metro is basing it on, like east-west service, connecting to Link stations, frequency, and minimizing peak expresses on I-5. We asked for Lake City to have access to Link and Aurora at 130th, Link at 148th, Greenwood at 85th, east Northgate Way, and Bothell after Stride/522 stops serving south of 145th. We identified that Lake City has hardly any service to Aurora and needs it. When Metro proposed to consolidate the east Northgate Way and 5th corridors to just 5th, we said east Northgate Way needs coverage (e.g., the mosque at 15th, businesses at 10th, lower-income residents). Metro responded by adding the 20, although that did two things we didn’t like: it replaced a route 61 proposal, and it overserved Latona.

    Now Metro is consolidating east Northgate Way and 5th the opposite way: on east Northgate Way, and it’s deleting the Latona segment. This can be seen as two things: lingering impacts from our advocating for east Northgate Way, and the second phase of a reduce+kill on Latona. Northgate Link reduced Latona, and now Lynnwood Link kills it. Metro is waiting to see how much blowback it receives from Latona residents.

    In Northgate Link several far-north to downtown expresses were redirected to First Hill or SLU. Now they’re consolidated into one. That can be seen as a three-phase reduce+reduce+kill now in the second phase, or simply reduce+reduce if it intends the 322 to be permanent. Metro did promise the Northshore communities that another express would replace the 522 to downtown, and it may feel a 322 is needed long-term. Bothell Way has a lot of ridership, and Stride alone may not be enough capacity. There are no other east-west arterials in the area, and the resulting congestion may make them more amenable to taking transit. They were very enthusiastic for Stride and getting in into ST3, moreso than most suburbs are about transit, approaching how Northgate and Ballard feel about it.

    On the other hand, the 324 (Bothell Way) may be the first phase of a reduce+kill, if Metro wants to delete it. If it’s 30 minutes, that shows that either Metro thinks Stride will be more popular and it has sufficient stops, or that it wants to have 15-minute service but doesn’t have the systemwide hours or drivers to do so. We can’t tell which it is, unless Metro either tells us or later deletes the route.

    I expected the 75 to serve 130th to Shoreline CC, and the 65 to serve Shoreline South station and 155th to Shoreline CC. Instead Metro has the 65 serving 130th and terminating at 145th & Aurora. The 75 just terminates at Lake City. Shoreline College requires a transfer at Shoreline South to the 333 (via 155th). This suggests to me Metro doesn’t have enough money to do its former 65 and 75 plans.

    The 334 looks pretty bizarre, going from Kenmore to LFP, north to Mountlake Terrace, and south to Shoreline CC. But it’s similar to the current 331, which goes north to 205th and west to Richmond Beach on its way to Shoreline CC, so it will probably be faster. It will also add new east-west service to 175th (the Shoreline library).

    I missed the loss of service on 15th and Meridian. That sounds like another budget limitation, or a belief that Roosevelt is close enough to 15th. Metro tried to kill 15th (route 73) in the U-Link restructure but feedback argued to keep it. It looks like Metro still wants to kill it, or it’s waiting to see if the blowback will be still be as strong as it was last time. There could be an argument that Lynnwood Link makes 15th less necessary. I’m not sure that’s relevant. Most of the ridership on the 73 is not long-distance but to in-between stops Link doesn’t serve, and Lynnwood Link doesn’t make Roosevelt any closer to 15th than it was. On the other hand, when I rode the 73 a couple times during the height of the pandemic, I was the only one on the bus. Even the 50 in Seward Park had more riders than that. I’m not sure if the 73’s ridership still hasn’t recovered as much as other routes, but it might.

    I find it hard to keep all the evening route frequencies in my head, so I focus on the ones I use, which are from the south. So I can’t quite keep track of how much frequency loss there is in Shoreline, so I’ll leave it to others to assess that.

    I wish there were more 15-minute evening service throughout, but that depends on a larger TBD, a good revenue climate, and an end to the driver shortage.

    1. [Metro] may feel a 322 is needed long-term. Bothell Way has a lot of ridership, and Stride alone may not be enough capacity.

      That would be crazy. They are spending a bunch of money on fancy BRT, but don’t have enough buses? As tempting as it is to blame ST for this, I don’t think that is the problem. They only plan on running the buses every 15 minutes. This isn’t like the old 312 which ran every few minutes, and helped the 522 shoulder the peak load. I think ST ordered enough buses (especially since this was planned before the pandemic).

      I think a simpler answer is that Metro won’t give up. This takes the best pieces from what is a fundamentally flawed approach. I would imagine the bus performs well, for the same reason the 41 would perform well if they brought it back from the dead: People like a one-seat ride to downtown. If you compare this express to other expresses, and even just buses in general, I’m sure the numbers look great. But that isn’t the point. In other cases there isn’t a good alternative. In this case there is, which is to simply end at Northgate (or avoid the corridor completely since it is covered by other buses).

      I should point out that while this bus does serve First Hill, it is also an express to the south end of downtown. It makes no stops between Northgate TC and 5th & James. This is clearly an express to downtown. Holy cow, this makes the old 41 seem like a milk run. Just think, from Northgate the bus gets on the freeway and makes no stops until it is a block away from the largest building in downtown Seattle! Of course it is popular. But that doesn’t mean that it makes sense from a network standpoint. It is simply poaching Link ridership.

      1. I think this may be a common issue for more suburban areas.

        Suburban transit riders generally are not as sophisticated when it comes to transit as urban riders. They don’t have three different transit apps on their phones, and if you do it means there is a problem with reliability. They often take one bus to one destination and back each day, and don’t use transit outside of their work commute. Plus they have to be someplace at a time certain. They treat transit like driving a car: A to B. With transit they have to get to it, wait, get on. If they have to repeat that on their trip that makes transit not worth it, for them.

        Transit experts tend to look at a grid. Transfers, especially with Link, are part of the trip. So is waiting. And waiting. Full time transit riders are as patient as Job, and read a lot of books each year. The wait to get on a bus, get off a bus and to a train platform, and onto a train is part of the grid for them, even the experience, even if the train is not going where they are going (e.g. Northgate Link to UW, Capitol Hill, Westlake, then downtown) and will be slower than a bus continuing onto their ultimate destination, usually downtown Seattle or Bellevue.

        Link frequency has a lot to do with it. After East Link opens if frequency on Northgate Link to downtown Seattle is 3.5 minutes that helps, but still there is the transfer and unnecessary stops along the way. The bus is just faster and more convenient. It is hard for these riders to understand why transit is “better” if it becomes slower and less convenient. Transit might be better for someone who does not have to be anywhere by a time certain, and who rides transit because they enjoy it, but that is not these riders.

        This is a reason private shuttles like Microsoft are popular, and probably will be after East Link opens. The riders are all going to one place: Microsoft, unless they drive to the 3 million sf parking garage.

        The 554 is just one of these buses. Most of the folks on the 554 are going to Bellevue Way (which East Link does not). Folks from Issaquah going to downtown Seattle will simply drive to one of the park and rides serving East Link. No transfer. It made no sense to have the 554 truncate at East Link and have those riders going to Bellevue Way transfer. Same with the 630. ST thinks the solution is to spend $4.5 billion to build Issaquah Link and transfer these riders from Issaquah to NE 12th, but I don’t. ST just thinks light rail is so intrinsically wonderful folks will love it even if it is worse transit, and post pandemic it sometimes is worse transit.

        There probably won’t be a lot of these buses, but there will be some. I suppose it depends on the subarea’s finances, and the pull of the cities. East King Co. has been paying $64 million/year for ST buses so keeping a few ST express buses that duplicate Link after East Link opens won’t be a big deal. Especially if they have very few stops in N. King Co. before reaching downtown Seattle. These will be buses generally originating in a “suburban” area like Lake City, Bothell or the eastside, probably at a park and ride, with the vast majority of riders going to one destination (downtown Seattle or Bellevue). They don’t want to go to UW, Capitol Hill, et al, otherwise they would transfer at Northgate. They want to go to 5th and James, which still includes a walk for most.

        If the number of these riders to downtown Seattle continues to dwindle from WFH then truncating the bus might make sense. Some may drive south to a park and ride along East Link. Some might switch to an eastside job over the next decade. Some might just drive depending on parking costs and subsidies.

        The fundamental problem with these non-expert transit riders is they have a hard time understanding how transit can be “better” after a “restructure” if the trip now includes a transfer and is slower. Transit regulars and advocates love the puzzle of the grid (I can see this fascination in the posts on this thread), but these riders don’t give a damn. They don’t care that the region spent a fortune on Link if it is slower and less convenient because of the transfer. Only their trip counts to them. Every one of these riders would rather be driving if they could, so that is the standard they measure transit by.

        The best outcome is if these riders no longer need to take this trip, and over time that looks likely. For those who can’t WFH find a similar job without this long transit trip and transfer. That is the goal of the PSRC in the 2050 Vision Statement: work close to home, because live close to work has not worked. For Metro, I think budgets will be a big part of the decision, but for ST I think it is stubbornness: ST spent a fortune building Link, so folks will ride Link even if it means transfers and waits. Or they won’t. M&O budgets for ST, depending on subarea, are also going to be an issue, especially with maintenance. Having escalators out slows trips, and for many makes trips impossible.

        I thought the eastside transit restructure — which does not go into effect until East Link opens in full which I agree with — was pretty realistic except for the number of buses accessing MI, except I think work commuters will continue to decline over the next decade along with peak ridership, and Metro’s budget will continue to become more stressed, so I see definite future changes in the eastside transit restructure, mostly as Ross calls it reduce+kill, maybe even before East Link opens in three or four years. A lot of areas are going to need less coverage and less frequency based on the number of riders and budgets, and Metro will have to prioritize budgets and service in a huge undense area.

        People will decide what works best for them when it comes to jobs, where to live, where to work, where to travel, and how to travel. A rider could change where they live to make their trip or commute easier, or find another job, or another mode to get there and back, and I think we will see more of that. Metro’s job is to do its best to serve that with the money it has. Personally, I think that will end up being focusing on schedule consistency and reliability rather than frequency. Based on its 80% subsidy cutting a bus saves 80% of the cost. ST’s route is fixed so hopefully ST chose correctly. Its only remedy is less frequency (and I guess the Issaquah to S. Kirkland line).

      2. “Transit experts tend to look at a grid. Transfers, especially with Link, are part of the trip. So is waiting.”

        Yes, waiting is part of the trip. But in fully-gridded comprehensive networks, the trains come every 2-6 minutes, and the buses come every 5-10 minutes, so any waiting is minimal. The problem here is frequency isn’t at that level so the experience starts to get strained.

        A grid network still serves more trip pairs than a one-seat ride network. For every person who loses out, multiple people gain. You just need a good grid and good frequency to make it optimal. I’m generally in favor of grids and transfers but you can’t take it to extremes; e.g., terminating just short of a major destination, or forcing two transfers within two miles. But it’s a judgment call where those thresholds are. I say three miles (the distance of downtown to the U-District). The basis of these peak expresses is a longer threshold, as somebody judges it.

      3. “Suburban transit riders generally are not as sophisticated when it comes to transit as urban riders. They don’t have three different transit apps on their phones, and if you do it means there is a problem with reliability.”

        Classist and elitist much? I only use one transit app myself: Google Maps. I have found it to be more accurate than OBA and Metro Trip Planner combined, honestly.

        To call any group of transit users/advocates more sophisticated than any other is unhelpful and counterproductive. It has no place on a transit blog such as this.

      4. “After East Link opens if frequency on Northgate Link to downtown Seattle is 3.5 minutes”

        3 minutes peak, 5 minutes off-peak, if I remember a chart last week. (Where was it?) I think part of the problem is the public can’t internalize it until that happens. They’ve never experienced this frequency here so they picture waiting will still be as bad as it is now. Some people have experienced it in other cities, but they have a hard time translating it to here.

        The same thing happened with the initial Link segment in Rainier Valley. “Save Our Valley” opposed it saying the valley didn’t need it, and many travelers couldn’t picture Link’s benefit, just its negative impacts. After it opened and a year or three passed, some of them started trying Link out one by one, and some are now impressed with it and use it whenever they go downtown.

        The same will happen with ST2 Link and a good bus restructure. Of course, we don’t fully know whether the bus restructure will be good or bad. (“Good” meaning more frequent; “bad” meaning less frequent.) The proposed 15-minute service and 15-30 minute service (day-evening) is still only an estimate, and we’ve seen in the past how expected frequency increases get swallowed by a recession or a driver shortage.

      5. “The bus is just faster and more convenient. It is hard for these riders to understand why transit is “better” if it becomes slower and less convenient.”

        In many cases the status quo is better for some riders but worse for other riders/non-riders. You’re looking only at the subset of riders who will lose, who are often one specialized trip pattern. I’m talking about Link restructures in general, not any specific part of the Lynnwood restructure. We’re still evaluating the impacts of this particular set of routes.

      6. “This is a reason private shuttles like Microsoft are popular, and probably will be after East Link opens.”

        Of course they’re popular. ST/Metro will never have a one-seat express ride from Wallingford to Microsoft or Greenwood to Microsoft. It’s beyond transit’s scope to have such specialized services. ST/Metro/ST ideally provides a busway on 45th and the 542 to Microsoft. Anything more must be provided by Microsoft or private operators. Or Microsoft could pay Metro to run custom routes, as Boeing does off and on.

        But part of the appeal of Microsoft shuttles is something transit can’t do: it’s inside Microsoft’s non-disclosure-agreement zone and operated by Microsoft contractors, so workers can do confidential work en route and include the commute in their work hours.

        Microsoft contractors can’t use the shuttles, so they don’t have a choice between shuttles and transit.

      7. “onto a train is part of the grid for them, even the experience, even if the train is not going where they are going (e.g. Northgate Link to UW, Capitol Hill, Westlake, then downtown) and will be slower than a bus continuing onto their ultimate destination,”

        Not necessarily. Link will be faster than express buses between downtown, Bellevue, and Redmond. It will be the same or faster than peak-hour express buses to Lynnwood, and maybe Federal Way, even with the extra stations. When I redid the calculation last month, Link had caught up to Tacoma Dome’s peak traffic congestion. Federal Way I don’t remember for certain, but Link may have caught up there too peak hours. And there’s a substantial number of people going to Link’s non-downtown destinations that will get immensely better with Link.

      8. “ST thinks the solution is to spend $4.5 billion to build Issaquah Link and transfer these riders from Issaquah to NE 12th, but I don’t. ST just thinks light rail is so intrinsically wonderful folks will love it ”

        You speak as if Eastside politicians and business leaders played no role in bringing East Link and Issaquah Link. They were the ones that shaped the network and convinced ST to do it.

      9. I think some of the comments in this thread could have been phrased more tactfully, but much of the point is valid.

        This is a blog for people who are very well versed in transit matters and are already frequent transit riders. The blogs and comments here are nuanced discussing various factors that go into a well-run transit system.

        In contrast, the people I’ve spoken with in our suburb are generally commuters. They have a specific target (e.g. be at the office in downtown Seattle by 9am) and their primary – if not sole – concern is what time they need to leave the house to get to the office on time. They generally aren’t thinking about frequency or building a grid, or the various other factors discussed here. Anything that changes to require them to leave the house earlier means a loss of service.

        The most common negative comment I’ve heard from my neighbors is that their travel time increased when Roosevelt Station opened and the 522 was truncated there. Their previous 1-seat I-5 express lane bus is gone, and taking a bus to a train just can’t compete with that. The fact that the bus is more frequent, or the train could get them to several other destinations just isn’t important for them. They are still clamoring to restore the 522 to downtown and Sound Transit sending it to Shoreline is just rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic rather than addressing their core problem.

        Now of course people that gained from the restructure tend to keep quiet – nobody is shouting from the rooftops about how happy they are. I very much disagree with that sort of narrow view. I think the drastic increase in frequency and reliability on route 522 more than makes up for needing to transfer to Link. But it is the view of many “hesitant” riders. And it is a view which will become more relevant as Link – and the resulting bus restructures – make their way further into the suburbs.

      10. “I thought the eastside transit restructure — which does not go into effect until East Link opens in full”

        The restructure is not decided yet. What we last saw was a phase 2 proposal, like we’re seeing now for Lynnwood Link. It will likely change somewhat before the final proposal, and again before the legislation is submitted to the county council. It depends on how Metro views the feedback from phase 2. Sometimes feedback convinces Metro to make changes or reverse course, sometimes it doesn’t, we won’t know until the next proposal comes.

        The 554’s Bellevue routing is probably more certain, because it’s a much smaller number of routes, follows a simpler mandate (“regional transit’), and the 554 reroute meets multiple ST goals. (More frequency, backfilling Bellevue Way service, backfilling the 556, and an all-day Renton-Bellevue express.)

      11. “Ross calls it reduce+kil”

        That was my phrase. :) It’s a pattern I’ve seen since 2009, with the 42 (MLK), 17 (32nd Ave NW), 71 (NE 65th Street), 30 (NE 55th Street), etc. I think Metro may be applying it to the downtown expresses that were redirected to First Hill or SLU, although I’m not sure.

      12. “I think the drastic increase in frequency and reliability on route 522 more than makes up for needing to transfer to Link.”

        ST intended an even bigger increase on the 522. That would have mitigated the travel-time problem more. It got swallowed by the driver shortage. That means when ST can find enough drivers, it will come. If revenue shortfalls don’t force ST to contract by then.

      13. “To call any group of transit users/advocates more sophisticated than any other is unhelpful and counterproductive. It has no place on a transit blog such as this.”

        A Joy, I live among these folks. They don’t think transit sophistication is a quality. I can assure you that they would not consider me calling them transit unsophisticated to be elitist or classist.

        Please don’t use the “ist’s” to cancel out discussion as though you are an arbiter of any of the “ist’s”. Different people are more sophisticated than others in different fields. I have friends whose jobs require them to fly frequently. They are much more sophisticated flyers and travelers than I am. I don’t find that to be elitist or classist. I know others who are more sophisticated gardeners than I am. Some more sophisticated when it comes to wine, music, food, many areas. My kids are much more sophisticated than I am when it comes to electronic gadgets and social media. Do you really think all humans have the same level of sophistication (knowledge) in every field? If so why do we go to school or study?

        If an agency, or company, like transit does not understand the different levels of sophistication of its customers it cannot provide the best service. For you to write, “I only use one transit app myself: Google Maps. I have found it to be more accurate than OBA and Metro Trip Planner combined, honestly” as some kind of self-deprecating comment is humorous because it means you feel you are so familiar with all three apps you actually know which app is the most accurate for you”, and thus the better app., so you are the most sophisticated when it comes to transit apps.

        I am talking about folks who have NO transit apps on their phone, and don’t even know they exist. They don’t want to have to consult a transit app. to get to where they need to go, which usually is A to B. Of course, we all have navigation apps on our phones, like WAZE and Siri, and in fact those work much better and more reliably than transit apps (although in many ways Google Maps powers both).

        Rather than getting hung up on the “ist’s” maybe identify how to get unsophisticated transit users to use apps, of God forbid improve schedule reliability so the apps are not so critical, or have Metro/ST come up with an app that truly works and is intuitive, like WAZE. Or forget about the unsophisticated transit user ever using transit outside their A to B route because that would be classist and elitist.

      14. I’m not really sure what you are trying to say with your comment Daniel. It is very long, and wanders from topic to topic (PSRC? East King County financing?). We are discussing this restructure, so I’m not sure how the following sentence is relevant to the point you are trying to make, but I do know that it is false:

        Most of the folks on the 554 are going to Bellevue Way (which East Link does not).

        The stops along Bellevue Way got decent ridership, but the main Bellevue Transit Center got more. The five stops on Bellevue Way, combined, got about 850 riders, while the BTC got about 1,200.

        But again, I’m not sure what your point is. It appears that you are suggesting that suburban riders are not as sophisticated as urban riders, or that urban riders are more tolerant of transfers or waiting. Interesting theory, but I don’t think you have any evidence to back it up. I’ve read a lot of studies, and never come across anything like that.

        There is evidence to suggest that the longer the trip, the less frequency matters. Is that what you are trying to say? If so, then yes, absolutely. This is why half hour frequency between cities is considered great, but for in the city it is considered terrible.

        There is also evidence that suburban transit tends to be more peak oriented. This why commuter rail gets away with running only a few times a day. If you look at the curve for riders, the peaks around rush hour are a lot bigger for suburban travel.

        But I’m not sure what any of this has to do with the topic at hand, which is the 322. I can guess, but it isn’t clear what you are trying to say.

      15. ST intended an even bigger increase on the 522. That would have mitigated the travel-time problem more. It got swallowed by the driver shortage. That means when ST can find enough drivers, it will come. If revenue shortfalls don’t force ST to contract by then.

        If we have a driver shortage, then buses like the 322 make even less sense. It is more cost effective (from a service standpoint) to shuttle people to Link, rather than duplicate what Link is doing.

        That is why I specifically wrote “buses”. Stride will have its own brand, which means buses a different color. Maybe they will be the same as ST express, but they certainly won’t be the same a typical Metro bus (like the 322). This means that transferring service isn’t that easy. But again, I seriously doubt that will be a problem. I think they ordered enough buses.

      16. “A Joy, I live among these folks. They don’t think transit sophistication is a quality. I can assure you that they would not consider me calling them transit unsophisticated to be elitist or classist.”

        And I lived in North Bend, finding many of the people there to be impressively transit savvy. Our anecdotes only go so far.

        I stand by my words. ST as a regional system belongs more to these suburban transit users than it does to those within our sparse urban cores.

        “Do you really think all humans have the same level of sophistication (knowledge) in every field? If so why do we go to school or study?”

        I do not equate sophistication with simple knowledge. To me sophistication implies an ability to manipulate and maneuver within a system, not just rote knowledge of it. I have been riding Metro since the 1990s, yet there are many destinations/areas within its service I have never gone to. Yet I am confident in my ability to use it to successfully go to those places despite my lack of knowledge about them.

        And honestly, I feel we need to move away from the transit apps entirely. Same with Metro/ST Twitter usage. It requires the use of the internet, and those who need that information the most are the least likely to have smartphones. Transit information needs to be physically placed at effected stops for those of low income. The system as it is being driven now is also classist.

      17. I did not know the thread was limited to the 322 Ross. So I apologize.

        My point was that for suburban riders — who generally do have longer trips — transfers to and from Link will be a bigger deal. Like Larry noted, they have an A to B mindset. So my guess — which I have stated before — is even after East Link, or Lynnwood Link, opens ST will run some buses that duplicate Link’s route depending on the finances of the subarea, like the 554, or continue buses that go directly to the ultimate destination like 5th and James and eliminates a lot of stops on Link, or cities will subsidize buses like the 630, mostly from suburban areas to downtown Seattle although as you note on paper that looks like a waste of money.

        I get the concept: these folks lose their one seat ride because it saves money, we spent a fortune to build Link, even though the trip may be slower and the inconvenience of the transfer, although I don’t know if a work commuter will be happy with that decision forced upon them (and my guess most won’t know until the day their bus truncates at Link). Especially if ST opens a limited East Link segment to bail out Balducci even though it is a huge waste of money.

        That is why the market generally offers alternatives. WFH, a job closer to home, move to housing closer to the job, move closer to a Link station, drive, carpool, private shuttles, etc., depending on how slow and inconvenient the transfer to Link is. A rider should have a choice, if not whether to transfer to Link but whether to take transit at all.

      18. The most common negative comment I’ve heard from my neighbors is that their travel time increased when Roosevelt Station opened and the 522 was truncated there. Their previous 1-seat I-5 express lane bus is gone, and taking a bus to a train just can’t compete with that. The fact that the bus is more frequent, or the train could get them to several other destinations just isn’t important for them. They are still clamoring to restore the 522 to downtown and Sound Transit sending it to Shoreline is just rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic rather than addressing their core problem.

        Yeah, sure. You can definitely say the same thing about the 41. Even before it opened there were comments about Northgate Link killing the 41. It actually goes back further. When Link barely got across the ship canal (in a very deep station) the 71/72/73 were eliminated. Many people — including folks who know a lot about transit — never thought it would happen. Not because truncations are a bad idea, but because the UW station is so inconvenient (better to wait until U-District Station). But they did it anyway. But despite all of the complaining, ridership actually went up. It didn’t hurt that this happened at the same time that we increased funding for Seattle buses (across the board) and that these buses got a lot more frequent.

        There is bound to be complaining. I get it. Back in the day, I rode a bus that went down 125th to Lake City, then down to the UW, and over to Bellevue. I called it my private bus. It was great, but it wasn’t efficient. It sucked when they got rid of it but these things happen. Years later I figure out why they cancelled it (it wasn’t efficient) but at the time, I just cursed Metro.

        But I got over it, just like other riders will get over there transfer to Link. Keep in mind, Community Transit plans on eliminating the entire fleet of express buses to Seattle. This is a major part of CT’s system. More people board “Commuter” buses than board any other type (Swift, “Corridor-Based”, “Local Feeder” or “Suburban/Rural”). By my estimation it accounted for around a third of ridership before the pandemic (see page 30 of this: That is a lot of people who will have to transfer, and many won’t like it.

        But they’ll get over it. No one likes to transfer, but sometimes the alternative is worse. Long express buses are simply taking service away from somewhere else. At the end of the day, you have to look out for the greater good, instead of worrying too much about existing riders who don’t want change. Despite all of the complaining by former 41 riders, Northgate Link is doing quite well. So much so that I rarely read complaints anymore. I miss my private bus to downtown Bellevue (and I’m sure others do to) but we can’t base our system on the relatively small number of riders who were better off with the old network.

      19. And I apologize if I focused too much on East King County. It’s just that it’s easier to illustrate equity and non-duplication there, because the network is simpler, there are a small number of equity-emphasis areas, I’m deeply familiar with Bellevue, and it’s what Daniel is most concerned about. The far north has more density, more routes, and lower-income areas, so it’s more difficult to keep all the impacts and route possibilities in your head. Practically the entire area between 110th and 145th has equity-emphasis pockets all over.

        But the increasing association of grid routes and equity applies to both, and the issue of not having too many peak expresses. Lower-income people disproprtionately live in multifamily areas, and work in non-downtown commercial districts, and shop in nearby villages. They don’t go to Bravern boutiques, they go to the nearest Target or QFC, and they need a bus or train to get there — because lower-income areas are less walkable than downtown Seattle or Bellevue. They work at non-peak shifts at hospitals, warehouses, restaurants, and other non-office things. So they need transit connecting all the villages and commercial/multifamily areas. That’s the same thing as a grid structure. Seattle’s grid will not be strictly north-south/east-west because the villages aren’t arranged like that and there are physical barriers, but it will approximate it. In our case, Lake City to Northgate and Bitter Lake and Bothell and the U-District especially.

      20. My point was that for suburban riders — who generally do have longer trips — transfers to and from Link will be a bigger deal.

        I don’t think that is the case. If anything, it is the opposite. The longer the trip, the more tolerant you are of transfers. It is why they don’t truncate all the West Seattle buses in SoDo. You are too close to your destination.

        The 322 is very similar to the old 41. It goes from Lake City to Northgate, gets on the freeway and goes downtown. The northern tail doesn’t fundamentally change the dynamic. If anything, it hurts it. Stride will make a faster connection to Link (presumably — otherwise ST really screwed the pooch on that one). This means that while people may generally prefer the express, the connection with Link on the feeder bus will be considerably faster. There is no “express to Link” replacement with the 41 — it just got truncated (like the 522 got truncated).

        It is worth noting that the 322 may very well be the only bus in our entire system that goes across the I-5 Ship Canal Bridge. I have a hard time believing that there is something special about those riders — or that corridor. I think it is simply that Metro doesn’t want to give up on the general concept, even though they are willing to give up on the other four that did the same thing. Likewise, Community Transit (and Sound Transit) are eliminating them as well. Express buses are great — but they are very expensive.

      21. “I have a hard time believing that there is something special about those riders — or that corridor.”

        The special thing is how far east of Link Northshore is. Metro is not keeping the Meridian express or the Richmond Beach express, just the Bothell Way express. It’s the same as how Metro is reluctant to ever truncate the 101 but is more willing to restructure the 150. South King County is a wide area, and 16th (99), 68th (West Valley Highway), and 104th (Renton and East Hill) are far enough apart that funneling everything to Link feeders is problematic. The justification for parallel routes increases the further east you go. Northshore is debatably in a similar situation. Plus it’s generally lower-income than the central Eastside, so maybe more of an equity issue, and a higher number of First Hill/Cherry Hill medical workers.

      22. The special thing is how far east of Link Northshore is.

        Yet Bothell is farther east, and doesn’t get this service. Besides, it is just as far to the freeway as it is to Link. I agree, sending all the buses to Link is a problem. I could definitely see the value of having an express bus from say, Bothell to the UW (using 405 and 520). But that isn’t this. This offers a slower ride along the shared corridor, followed by a slower, longer ride to the Link station.

        I don’t think distance matters. Community Transit has express buses that go for miles and miles before they get on I-5 and go past Lynnwood. Pretty soon, those buses will be truncated at Lynnwood. These will be extremely long commutes — somehow they’ll manage.

        I think it is just a hodge-podge, last ditch effort to try out a concept that has failed. It won’t get that many riders from Kenmore or Lake Forest Park, but maybe it will get some riders headed to Northgate from Lake City (poaching riders from the 61). The combination (along with those that love the express to downtown) may be enough to get numbers that are good enough to justify the route. But when you break down where those riders are actually going — and how much time they are saving versus the cost — it just won’t be a good value. Then, like the other routes, it will be eliminated.

        I will add that I won’t fight it. I think that is futile. I’ll just let this run its course. I feel more strongly about the 324. This bus will run maybe 8, 10 times a day (each way). The 324, in contrast, is slated to run all day long. That service can be more easily pushed to other, more needy routes.

      23. Mike, The East Link Connections project has published P2 and P3 networks; East Link is delayed. Metro has not sent the ordinance to the Council. The Lynnwood Link project has just published its P2 network; P3 will come later.

    2. On the other hand, the 324 (Bothell Way) may be the first phase of a reduce+kill, if Metro wants to delete it.

      That’s what it looks like to me. I just don’t see how this bus performs well. It is the opposite of a bus like the 322 (which is designed to poach Link). It will run infrequently, doesn’t connect to Link, and is slow. It is an infrequent bus that isn’t worth waiting for. The Stride line serves the most popular bus stops (of course it does) but it isn’t an express. Many of those who who are closer to a 324 bus stop will simply walk to a Stride bus stop. About all the 324 does is provide a one-seat ride to Lake City, but even those folks may end up taking the Stride/72 combination. Let’s say you are in Lake City and want to get to Kenmore. You stand by the bus stop, and the first bus you see is the 72 (heading north). You are definitely going to take it. Then you’ll walk over to the Stride bus stop (which is different from the 324 bus stop) and wait for the faster, more frequent bus. Even for those taking trips from say, Lake City to Bothell, it will have competition.

      It isn’t cheap, either. It takes a while to get to Bothell, even if you don’t pick up any riders. I applaud Metro for taking the first step and separating the high performance part of the 372 (the part in the city) with the low performance part (outside the city). They should just skip to the next step, and get rid of the largely redundant 324.

      1. I don’t think the 324 will be well utilized because of its lack of frequency. But without it, there is a service gap. How does someone efficiently get from LFP/Kenmore/Bothell to Lake City/U Village/UW after Stride opens?

        Currently it’s a 1 seat ride on either the 522 or the 372. And anecdotally, in LFP more people board the 372 than the 522 along SB Bothell Way. But since ST isn’t releasing any data, it’s hard to know. After Stride opens, the S3–>72 transfer option gets worse because Stride won’t stop at the obvious transfer point – LCW/145th. So you’ll have to take S3 to at least 30th Ave and then backtrack along the 72. Going northbound that means dealing with multiple unnecessary left turns just to continue going north.

        The 324 at least partially maintains this service gap between LFP/Kenmore/Bothell and Lake City/UW Seattle. It would be interesting to know what UW thinks about it becoming harder for people to commute between UW-Bothell and UW-Seattle.

        On paper, the 334 bus looks ugly with lots of zig-zagging in order to serve both Mountlake Terrace and 185th Street stations.

      2. “It is the opposite of a bus like the 322 (which is designed to poach Link).”

        It’s not “poaching” Link. It’s a statement that the Link+bus travel time to First Hill is unacceptable. The average American commute time is 20-25 minutes, and when it gets longer than 30 minutes people get increasingly dissatisfied. By 45 to 60 minutes people are really dissatisfied, and think about changing jobs or homes, and if it’s on transit they complain a lot and demand a one-seat ride. That’s what’s happening with the 322. Northshore to First Hill is approaching 60 minutes without the 322, and now it’s a three-seat ride. Given the distance, 30 minutes is not realistic, but commuters are looking for the lower end of 30-60 minutes. The argument is that that can’t be done with a Link combination, because both Northshore and First Hill are too far east of Link.

        I’m not saying they’re definitely right. I’m just saying they have somewhat of a point since a 60-minute trip is long. And getting healthcare workers to hospitals is a social priority.

      3. It’s a statement that the Link+bus travel time to First Hill is unacceptable.

        I don’t buy it. First of all, it runs express to downtown Seattle — not First Hill. That first stop — the main value, if you will — is a block away from the city’s biggest skyscraper. If the focus was on improving travel time to First Hill, they would increase frequency on other corridors. This only serves a small subset of the populace headed to First Hill. There is no Aurora to First Hill express. If anything, that would make *more* sense, as it might relieve some of the pressure on the E, while taking a similar amount of time. But there is also no service from South Lake Union, or Queen Anne. This doesn’t even benefit the vast majority of riders who are actually close to a Link Station, or find themselves taking Link anyway. What about riders from say, 185th who need to get to First Hill? Are they supposed to transfer at Northgate? What about getting from the UW to First Hill? Where is that express. This is a relatively arbitrary connection made for some unknown reason.

        Oh, and this doesn’t help riders outside of peak. Nurses and other staff routinely work other times — but you know who work 9 to 5? Yep, business workers. Good thing this stops downtown.

        Sorry for being so cynical, but I think this is just Metro refusing to let go of this process. To a certain extent I get it. It is really cool to get on the freeway in the express lanes and quickly get to your destination. If that is what we wanted to build — a bus-based system — then routes like this would be worthy. But it isn’t. We are spending a fortune on the train (not our buses). Our precious bus dollars better be spent wisely, and this is not a good value.

      4. How does someone efficiently get from LFP/Kenmore/Bothell to Lake City/U Village/UW after Stride opens?

        For sake of argument I will call everything north of 145th along that corridor “Northshore”. First off, if they are headed to the UW, then Link is a fine substitute. Northshore to Lake City would involve the 72, but I don’t see it being especially bad. 30th is very close to SR 522. It is annoying to have to deal with turning buses when you want to stay on the same corridor, but we can’t fix Stride. At least the crossing of 30th is OK. No one wants a two-seat ride, but my guess is not that many people rode it when it was a one-seat ride.

        You do lose some connectivity to other Lake City buses. For example, Northshore to Children’s is a three-seat ride, likely involving Link. Well, join the club. I’ve found that with Northgate Link, 3-seat rides are common. Sometimes these take longer, but it is less annoying if there is very little waiting.

        If they could find layover space around 145th then I would send the 75 up there. One option would be to have the bus go up 30th, and layover just shy of 145th (there appears to be space there, and places that might work as a comfort station; more or less where the truck with the canoe is parked: But that would make sense if the 75 ran more often, opposite the 72. That way, riders would have double the frequency for the trip to Lake City, as well as U-Village and the UW (if they wanted to go that way).

        No matter what, I would get rid of the 324. I don’t see it having the ridership to justify high frequency, and with low frequency it provides very little coverage (and will suffer from even lower ridership).

    3. I expected the 75 to serve 130th to Shoreline CC, and the 65 to serve Shoreline South station and 155th to Shoreline CC. Instead Metro has the 65 serving 130th and terminating at 145th & Aurora. The 75 just terminates at Lake City. Shoreline College requires a transfer at Shoreline South to the 333 (via 155th). This suggests to me Metro doesn’t have enough money to do its former 65 and 75 plans.

      Yeah, that caught me by surprise as well. I prefer sending the 75 on 125th/130th because it means one less turn. But I can see the advantage of what they did. First there is ridership. The 75 has more riders than the 65. This should come as no surprise, but I figured the general speed advantage of the 75 would help make up for it. Looking at (old) data, the 65 performed better, but not that much better. Given that the 65 ran more often, and the two buses weren’t on the same street (bizarrely), they look like a wash to me.

      I can also see another reason for doing it this way. The 324 runs infrequently, and may be eliminated soon. This means that the 372 is essentially truncated. If it is truncated at the Lake City Fred Meyer, it does not connect to the 522 Stride. Those that used to ride along the corridor would have a three-seat ride. By extending the 72 up to 145th, you give those riders a good two-seat ride. If you extend the 65 or 75 as well, it costs money, and you get diminishing returns. If I had to pick one bus (between the 65, 72 and 75) to send to the 148th station, it would be the 72.

      I had other things in mind (that involve a replacement for the 522) but this is a reasonable choice.

      As far as the 333 goes, I would end it at Shoreline Community College (SCC), and send the 72 there. I don’t see many riders taking the 333 from north of SCC to Link. It is too big of a detour. On the other hand, I see plenty that want to go to the college from either end.

    4. I don’t think the 322 has anything to do with Stride capacity (there will be plenty) but instead about where Stride is not going: the 322 maintains the connections between Kenmore & Lake City that goes away when ST 522 is eliminated. It provides a useful Lake City and Northgate connection that was served by the 320 (also to be deleted). What makes no sense to me is why the 322 would get on the freeway; maybe Metro thinks 322 can only go away only once Madison BRT is open to provide a good enough connection between Link and First Hill?

      What also doesn’t make sense is the 322 as an express that ends at Kenmore, and then the 324 as an all-day between Lake City and Bothell (filling in for the 522 & 372 going away) … seems like it would be better to have a 32X that just ran from Northgate to Bothell all day, rather than splitting the baby with these two routes. The hours saved not running on I5 during peak might be enough to then run Bothell-Lake City-Northgate all day (rather than just Kenmore-Lake City all day)

      If Metro insists on two routes, at least truncate 322 at Northgate TC and use those hours to extend the 322 to Bothell to completely, which then eliminates the 324 during peak.

      1. Ah never mind, I missed the 61 as a frequent connection between Northgate & Lake City.

        – Delete the 324
        – Run 322 peak only Bothell to Northgate TC; covers 324 during peak
        – Off peak, run every other 61 to Kenmore. Covers 324 off peak, and also means the 61 doesn’t get struck in rush hour traffic outside Seattle.

      2. Maybe:
        – Delete the 324
        – Run 322 peak only Bothell to Northgate TC; covers 324 during peak
        – Off peak, run every other 61 to Kenmore. Covers 324 off peak, and also means the 61 doesn’t get struck in rush hour traffic outside Seattle.

        I could maybe see the peak-only 322 (to Northgate TC) since it would reduce crowding on the 61. Then again, I’m not sure there will be a lot of crowding on the 61. It isn’t the fastest way to get to Link from Lake City (130th is). If they run a bus down Lake City Way to Roosevelt, going to Northgate would be the third fastest. There are bound to be people headed to Northgate from the north end of the lake, but they could transfer to the 348.

        I think the fundamental problem is that we don’t have a layover at 145th. If we did, the 61 would just end there, as would the 75. At that point, transfers to get to Lake City would be trivial, with all the buses going along that corridor. Extending a bus like the 61 further north would be nice, but ultimately a waste of service hours, as relatively few are headed that way (and are instead headed to the bigger destinations served by Link).

      3. Sorry, I should have written “Lake City Way and 145th”. This is an important spot, in that it is where the 522 Stride will turn. It is also where ridership drops quite substantially. Right now buses layover by Fred Meyer (where there is a good spot) which is at about 130th. Ideally they would go to 145th & Lake City Way.

        With this proposal and a layover at Lake City Way & 145th you could send the 75 and 61 there. That would increase frequency on one of the more densely populated areas, and make additional connections at very little additional cost.

    5. The 334 looks pretty bizarre

      There are three sections to that route:

      1) Kenmore to Mountlake Terrace Station.
      2) Mountlake Terrace Station to 185th Station.
      3) 185th Station to Shoreline CC.

      I think the first two are fine. They could be split in the future, as I see hardly anyone riding past the Mountlake Terrace Station, but there is nothing fundamentally wrong with combining a couple routes. My only issue is with that third section. It appears that Metro is trying to replace north-south running coverage lines with east-west lines. I think there are better alternatives, but I’ll go into that later. In general though, I don’t like running on 175th, as it is very busy street that doesn’t have many destinations (making it the worst of both worlds).

      1. Connecting North City to Shoreline CC seems useful. What served that previously, and how did that route preform?

      2. Nothing did, really. Or at least, nothing I’ve ever heard of. Right now you have to go up and around, via the 348 and then the 331. The 348 doesn’t perform especially well*. It is about in the middle for “suburban routes” (buses that don’t go downtown or to the UW). The area has grown, and of course, Link will certainly help the performance of the bus. The 331 performs even worse. It isn’t quite a suburban underperformer, but it is close.

        You could go south and then take the 330, but it is very infrequent. Surprisingly enough, that bus performs well (better than average for a “suburban” bus).

        * Pre-pandemic data:

      3. Perhaps the 334 could just continue along route 104 all the way to the Edmonds Ferry Terminal, along a much underserved corridor, instead of meandering all the way to Shoreline College, as the 331 also does now? Or perhaps CT 130 could continue to Kenmore instead of terminating at Lynnwood?

      4. Thank you for including the link to your earlier post regarding the CT proposed routings in the King/Snohomish border areas.

    6. “They are spending a bunch of money on fancy BRT, but don’t have enough buses?”

      That’s how ST Express works. ST funds a baseline of all-day service with some peak additions, and Metro fills in if more capacity is needed. That’s part of the the reason the 21x supplement the 554, the 19x supplement the 577/578, and the 4xx supplement the 51x. All of Metro’s previous plans have expected at least three routes on Bothell Way peak hours. There’s no other east-west arterial in the area, and Northshore riders seem to be more willing to take transit than average suburbs.

      1. Fair enough, but ST express buses are just regular buses. They don’t have off-board payment and special stops. These will. It seems crazy to spend all the money on all of this infrastructure, and then not order enough buses for peak.

      2. Mike, I’m not sure that’s entirely true. The 21X have different tails than the 554, which takes advantage of the fact that the demand on the 554 is heavily weighted towards Seattle-Eastgate. ST could just run the 554 more at peak, but that would overserve the 554 route Eastgate-Issaquah HL TC and miss out on the chance to serve the various 21X routings.

    7. “They only plan on running the buses every 15 minutes. This isn’t like the old 312 which ran every few minutes, and helped the 522 shoulder the peak load”

      The old 522 was also every 15 minutes peak hours. It had a funny asymmetrical period, with one of the peaks ending at 10am and the other starting at 2pm or something like that. I used to see it on the schedule when I’d take the 522 or 372 southbound at 130th: 15 minutes during these odd peak periods and 30 minutes otherwise. The 574 also has an odd operating period, 2am to 10pm.

      1. I meant the 312 ran every 3 minutes. To be honest, I don’t remember the combination, as the schedule listed both. But combined they ran every three minutes. Anyway, my point is that the 312 ran a lot (especially if the 522 only ran every 15 minutes). In contrast, this will run only every 15 minutes. As a way to relieve pressure, this doesn’t make sense, as the 522 Stride will run every ten minutes. The fact that ST doesn’t adequately fund for peak — despite spending a fortune on this corridor — is simply annoying.

      2. I think you are misunderstanding ST’s plan for service. They will run 10 minutes at peak AND run buses to meet their service standards, which state that ST should run more buses the buses exceed certain load levels.

        Think of the 550 – it ran much more often than 10 minute frequency because it needed to handle the peak loads, right?

        I don’t think Metro is trying to help shoulder peak load, unless in way that allows for a more complex service pattern than just running the primary route more frequency.

      3. I thought the 550 was 10 minute peak pre-pandemic. The reason the MI park and ride was popular was: safe, easy access from I-90, great grocery stores, and 5 minute peak frequency to Seattle with the 554 and other cross lake buses, ten minutes with bunching.

        When East Link opens the issue with MI as an intercept is bus frequency is much lower than Link and different buses go to different areas and park and rides. So, as before, the park and ride will be very popular (zero wait, drive straight home on I-90 or to grocery stores) as well as S. Bellevue park and ride for the same reasons.

        If cross lake travel resumes East Link will definitely be popular, except not with a feeder bus. Driving to a park and ride serving East Link eliminates driving to a park and ride serving a feeder bus and the wait and ride on the feeder bus. I think this is even more important going home on the Eastside where workers and folks just want to get home, or do a few errands on the way.

        The irony is frequency westbound from MI will go down because East Link will be 8 minute max.

        So East Link good if cross lake travel returns, feeder buses bad.

      4. Before covid I heard about drivers trying Mercer Island P&R first and finding it full, then South Bellevue and finding it full, then Eastgate. They tried Mercer Island first because it was the shortest bus trip.

    8. “I should point out that while this bus does serve First Hill, it is also an express to the south end of downtown. It makes no stops between Northgate TC and 5th & James. This is clearly an express to downtown.”

      That’s where the express-lane exit is. The whole point of the route is to use the express lanes, and that’s the closest exit to First Hill.

      1. Sure it is, but my point is that because it stops downtown, a lot of the riders simply use it as an express to downtown. It is easy to say this is all about better connections to First Hill, but much of the ridership (what little there is) comes from people taking the fast express to downtown.

    9. Thank you so much for advocating to slowly kill service on Latona!

      If 26x was simply extended to Lake City instead of restructuring to become the 20 which has shown really low ridership, it probably would be fine as a standalone line with people riding between Lake City, Northgate and Fremont and also riders heading to the Seattle Center and Downtown.

      1. The 62 should be modified to go on part of Latona, as they proposed way back when). Unfortunately, SDOT needs to improve the road to make that happen. I have no idea when that will happen.

        The old 26 can be thought of as having three pieces:

        1) Northgate to 85th &Wallingford.
        2) 85th &Wallingford to 45th & Stone Way.
        3) 45th & Stone Way to downtown.

        Few people used that middle section (2). Plenty of people used the first section, but it has largely been replaced by Link and the pedestrian bridge. The only section that could get a lot of people is that express from Stone Way to downtown. I could definitely see that, as an express overlay for the 62. If nothing else it could run during peak.

        I wouldn’t send it up to Northgate though, as that duplicates Link too much. I see two possibilities:

        1) It just goes on 45th all the way across and ends inside the campus on Memorial Way.

        2) It follows Latona up to 65th, then cuts across to Roosevelt/12th, and then onto Lake City Way to Lake City.

        I think both these ideas have merit, but only when we have more money. Both duplicate the 62 a bit too much. The 26 only ran every half hour. Half hour buses work best as coverage buses, and this wouldn’t be providing much coverage. The first approach would work well as a bidirectional peak-only bus — it makes more sense that the 322. But in general we are moving away from buses like that. In the middle of the day I don’t think it works well unless it runs every 15 minutes, which would be a big increase in service. That seems hard to justify — it might make more sense to run the 62 every 10 or 12 minutes instead. (Of course you would increase the frequency on the 44 and a lot of other buses before you did that.)

      2. The area between Green Lake/Woodland Park and I-5 is wide enough that there’s going to be a pretty high number of homes outside of easy walking distance to transit unless you run two buses through there. For someone living east of Latona near I-5, going up the hill and over to Meridian/Kirkwood is a bit of a hike. Move the 62 over to Latona and now the people closer to the lake experience a similar issue.

        The area is also narrow enough that a second bus will struggle for ridership, as we’ve seen with the 20. A good chunk of Latona’s walkshed is an interstate highway, another chunk of it overlaps with the 62’s walkshed, and the rest is a largely single-family neighborhood (with smaller-than-average lots, but still relatively low-density).

        So while the 15-minute Route 20 was overkill for the Latona corridor, a 30-minute coverage route would seem appropriate to me, similar to what other neighborhoods of similar density receive. In fact we already have a 30-minute Route 79 that goes basically from Roosevelt Station to U-District Station via Sand Point. Tacking Latona onto this route and making it into more of a loop would add relatively little distance to this route, while preserving some transit coverage for that neighborhood. I think I remember seeing something like this in one of the earlier drafts for the Roosevelt restructure. Maybe worth considering again?

      3. I feel like this is a way to get SDOT to move on the work necessary to alter the 62. That solves the coverage problem while making the 62 faster. This is basically Metro saying to the neighborhood: “If you want coverage, talk to SDOT”.

        Otherwise, I wouldn’t add a second route. There are similar areas with coverage routes, and similar areas without them. For years the 17 covered the west side of Ballard, now it doesn’t (outside of peak). There are other, similar areas that haven’t ever had coverage. It is maybe a tad more densely populated than those areas, but there still wouldn’t be that many people that would have to walk a long ways to a bus, even without moving the 62.

        But again, I would definitely move the 62 — let’s hope SDOT can make it happen (and Metro follows suit).

  4. I have reservations about eliminating service on 5th between 130th and Northgate Way. The east side has several apartment buildings, and it’s a long walk to any other route. I thought the 5th/125th path between Northgate and Lake City had more service than east Northgate Way/LCW because it had higher ridership. But now Metro is saying east Northgate Way/LCW has higher ridership?

    1. I have reservations about eliminating service on 5th between 130th and Northgate Way.

      I have a solution to that. Eventually I’ll make a map, but here is the basic idea:

      1) Combine the 67 and 348. Basically get rid of the 67 and have the 348 continue south on Roosevelt to the UW (instead of turning to Northgate). Riders along that corridor lose their one seat ride to Northgate, but they gain a one seat ride to Roosevelt and the UW (a much bigger destination). Riders from 5th lose their one seat, looping ride to the UW, but it is only a five minute walk to Roosevelt. This saves a considerable amount of money, while keeping the buses moving quickly (fewer turns means fewer delays). The only major drawback is that you have fewer buses on 5th.

      2) Replace the 46 with this: It would live loop through the parking lot, or layover there. The bus would make the fastest connection between Link and Northwest Hospital, while still connecting Northgate with the hospital. This would run frequently (unlike the proposed 46). It would run opposite the 61 for double the frequency along 5th (e. g. 7.5 minutes) which is still very good. Thus you not only cover 5th NE, but you backfill frequency along 5th, making the changes described above more palatable. This would result in more frequent service to the hospital, while keeping just as much coverage.

    2. I would suggest having route 67 cut over to 5th and on up to 130th Station. With Northgate Mall gone, why have the 67 double back to Northgate Station when it could get to Link at 130th?

      That said, most of what there is to serve on 5th is within a couple blocks of Northgate Way. I can see why Metro would want to cease serving the single-family section north of 115th. The point would be to give riders along the rest of the route the most sensible connection point to the 1 Line.

      The 67 would take care of 5th north of Northgate Way. The 348 would take care of 15th. But there still would not be a same-stop transfer for those trying to continue along 15th, which makes at least a weak argument to continue the 67 up 15th to 125th. So, maybe I’m talking myself into agreeing with Ross for once.

      1. “With Northgate Mall gone, why have the 67 double back to Northgate Station when it could get to Link at 130th?”

        Metro probably hasn’t thought of that. If enough people agree with this, we can put it in our feedback and make a collective statement. Most of the things I went to the mall for are gone. The remaining retail that’s still popular is further east around around 5th and Roosevelt, closer to where a 67 extension would be.

      2. Also, will the 67 still run between U-District and Roosevelt Stations once the Rapid Ride J opens?

  5. I see NW Hospital as a glaring poorly served destination. Route 46 serves it but that’s not a frequent route. It is notable that much of far north Seattle single-family areas will have frequent routes – but not this medical center.

    I don’t have a clear solution in mind. Maybe Route 65 should circle by there. Another possibility is to terminate Route 67 there.

    1. I’m not a fan of route 46 in general. This is a route that you can’t take in a straight line for more than a mile or so, often less than a mile. Pretty much any trip that involves riding this bus for more than a mile (in some cases, even shorter), you have better options, such as Link, the E-line, or in some cases, the 65 or even 333.

      Thus, the ridership of the 46 is dependent on people riding it for very short trips in the 1/2-mile range. But, the 46 is not going to be frequent, and half a mile is a short enough distance that it will, more often than not, be quicker to just walk directly to where you’re going than to walk to the 46, wait for the 46, ride the 46, and walk from the bus stop to final destination. Today, the sidewalk on 145th is awful, and I can see how some people traveling (particularly at night) might put up with the 46, rather than walk down it for safety reasons, but my understanding is that Shoreline is supposed to be building a new sidewalk that’s wider, further from the street, and better lit, to make the walk safer.

      So, when I see a route like this, my first inclination is mentally delete the 46 from the map, ask myself what service holes this creates, and if there’s some better way to fill them. College Way, south of Northgate Way is fine – the 40 still serves there, plus the option exists to walk to either the 61 or (via the bridge) Link directly. Northwest Hospital is left with no service closer than 115th/Aurora – I’ll consider that a hole. The Haller Lake area is a short walk from both the E-line and the proposed extension of the 65, on top of the option to walk to 130th St. Link Station directly, and the part of the Haller Lake area that scores highest on both density and demographics is the part closest to the E-line. This area seems fine. Next is the stretch of Aurora between 130th and 145th. The E-line is right there, plus the option to walk to the 65 if you’re near 130th St. This area also seems fine. That leaves only one section left, which is 145th St. itself. Eliminating the 46 would leave no service on 145th and leave the area around 145th/Aurora with no east/west service without either a long walk or an annoying short-distance transfer. I’ll consider this another service hole to address.

      So, putting the two together, if we take the network as proposed and drop the 46, now that we have identified the service holes – Northwest Hospital and east/west service on 145th – we can start thinking about what to add back to fill them. For example, the 145th St. hole could be plugged by extending the 72 westward to either the 65’s turnaround loop or (better) Shoreline Community College.

      For Northwest Hospital, simply running the 345 as it is today is one option, but I don’t like it because it’s slow, full of detours, and redundant with other proposed routes, such as the new 65. Also, a route focused solely on Northwest Hospital is not going to get enough riders, as the hospital is just one destination. To do it right, you need a route that is not only useful for getting to the hospital, also for general northwest/southeast travel between Bitter Lake and Northgate, for example, this: This bus serves the hospital (I propose adding bus stops on 115th, rather than detouring into the actual hospital parking lot), but it is also a huge opportunity for people living in the area around 5th and Northgate (lots of high density housing there) who want to go in the northwest direction. With the proposed network, you’re stuck either walking down Northgate Way all the way to Aurora, detouring to Northgate Transit Center and transferring to another bus, or taking the 348 north, which is also a detour, and still require a transfer. With the bus route that I propose, you ride just one bus, straight to Bitter Lake, in about as direct a route as the street grid will take you, with transfers available to the E-line if you want to go further north. Unlike the proposed 46, this seems like a route that could actually be worth waiting for at 30-minute service frequency, rather than simply walking to another bus. I don’t have high hopes that Metro would actually adopt such a route, but hey, one can dream.

      1. I could see that working. One alternative to ending at Greenwood & 145th is to keep going up Aurora, and then turning on 145th and ending at the station ( Now you’ve covered 145th (more or less). I could even see a split, with one branch going to Four Freedoms House (and ending there). That way the hospital gets 15 minute service, while Four Freedoms gets coverage. (I’m not sure the split would work, since one section is much longer than the other. Nor am I sure a bus could layover at Four Freedoms, although it could certainly turn around.)

        The only drawback to that approach is that you are sending buses on the busiest part of Northgate Way. There is a similar problem with sending buses across 175th and 145th. These are all very busy streets. There are destinations along Northgate Way, but I’m not sure it is worth it. Asking people to walk over to Fifth might be a better bet.

      2. I understand Metro’s reluctance to run a bus on this stretch of Northgate Way due to congestion, but it’s important enough from a grid perspective that I think they need to just suck it up and do it anyway. After all, Denny Way is also often congested, yet Metro still runs the 8, and riders are much better off with the 8 than without it, in spite of the congestion.

        It’s kind of the same thing here. Without a bus down Northgate Way, the only alternative to detouring to Northgate Transit Center and transferring is to walk west. The crossing of I-5 is already problematic – lots of ramps, wide turns with slip lanes, and drivers zooming around the corner who don’t bother to yield to pedestrians. Then, when you reach Meridian, the only bus options are the 40 and 46. If you’re going northwest, the 40 is only useful with an additional transfer to the E line (which you can avoid by walking further west to Aurora, but now you’ve walked over a mile in total), and the 46 is held back by a forced detour to Northwest Hospital to go anywhere else, plus 30-minute frequency, which on top of a 3/4 mile ugly walk (longer if the real starting point is Northgate and Roosevelt, rather than Northgate and 5th) with a dangerous freeway crossing…this is getting to be too much, and starts to reach the point where people start declaring the bus a failure and opening up their Uber apps.

        I think it’s important from a grid perspective that something go straight on Northgate across I-5, it’s just a question of what the rest of the route should do, and going northwest diagonally seems to be best as it both adds hospital coverage that would otherwise be awkward to achieve and minimizes duplication of other routes.

        That said, I do think your other option for the 46 – 5th to 130th, then heading back south to the hospital on the other side of I-5 is already better than Metro’s proposal, and could be considered if coverage on 5th Ave. is important. But, there are some things about it I don’t like. It sacrifices connectivity to Aurora and Bitter Lake in favor of coverage to single family homes around Haller Lake. And also, a trip from Northgate to Northwest Hospital, while one seat, is extremely roundabout, and including wait time for a 30-minute bus, might not end up being much faster than walking. While my 46 might be 2-3 minutes longer to Northwest Hospital than Metro’s 46, it’s still a reasonably direct path where the bus takes the same route that you would take if driving. There’s an extra 500 feet of walking from the street to the hospital entrance, but it’s flat, has good sidewalks, and still quicker than a roundabout bus route providing front door service.

        Another note about Haller Lake – it’s marked as an “equity priority area”, but a quick glance at satellite imagery shows not all parts of the Haller Lake are equal. Nearly all of the “equity points” probably comes from the trailer park just east of Aurora/125th. The single family homes by the lake do not look at all low income, and are simply benefitting in Metro’s score sheet from being part of the same census tract. What the people in the trailer park need is good, frequent bus service on both Aurora and 130th, not an infrequent milk run going by the single family houses by Haller Lake itself.

  6. Let’s say Lynnwood Link is running, and you’re near 3& Pike and want to go to Aurora Village TC, do you take Link+bus, or do you take the E Line?

    1. For this particular trip, I think Link+bus will be faster, as the E-line has a lot of lights and a lot of stops, and SWIFT is supposed to be frequent. That said, the E-line will still remain a hugely important route. Lots of trips along Aurora that don’t go anywhere near downtown, plus if you’re starting from further south (e.g. 45th or 85th), the E-line will likely remain the fastest option to downtown.

      1. Even if I were up at 145th & Aurora and wanted to go downtown, I think I’d still opt for the E Line. For me, which is faster wouldn’t even be part of the decision (to a point). The decision would be made on which is less of a hassle. Maybe north of 145th I’d consider getting over to a Link station, but I’m not sure.

    2. It depends on what basis you make your decision.

      If you make your decision based on the availability of “extracurricular activities”, then by all means take the E-Line. Because Aurora offers lots of “extracurricular activities”. It’s famous for it. After all, that is where the “E” in “E”-Line comes from.

      But if you base your decision on transit issues like speed, reliability, and comfort, then take Link and transfer. Because Link will be in Shoreline before RR-“E” even makes it across the Ship Canal.

      1. I think it’s a bit more nuanced than that. The E is scheduled to take between 45-55 min to travel between Aurora Village TC and 3rd & Pike depending on which time and direction you’re going. It’s hard to say exactly how long Link + bus will take, but a rough estimate might be: 5 min walk to Westlake station, 28 min Link to 185th, 5 min transfer to Swift, and 8 min Swift to Transit Center for a total of 46 minutes.

        As you pointed out, there’s intangibles such a “extracurricular activities” on the E and better ride quality but frequently broken escalators/elevators and an extra transfer for Link. I for one hate transfers, so I might opt for the E if the time penalty ends up being minimal.

      2. I’m not sure what “extracurricular activities” you are talking about.

        Anyway, I think it is a wash, like Justin wrote. In terms of comfort, the E is probably the best bet, but it depends on how crowded the bus is. Midday you can probably go to the back, find a good spot, and hang out until the end. In contrast, with Link you have the transfer. The E has views over the ship canal (on the Aurora Bridge) while Link has views as it pops out of the tunnel north of the canal. I think the E is plenty reliable (as reliable as Swift) so again, that’s a wash. In terms of how long it takes, it depends on where you are downtown. 3rd and Pike is pretty close to both the bus and the station, but there are a lot of places that aren’t. The E is more frequent than Swift.

        It would not surprise me if a lot of the people headed downtown just keep riding the E. Link goes to a lot more places though, which is why it will have plenty of riders. If you are trying to get to the UW from Aurora Village you’ll take Swift and Link.

      3. @Justin and Mike Orr,

        Link on this route will have clear time and customer experience advantages over RR-E.

        The Link travel time table lists the Westlake to 185th travel time as 20 mins. This is an estimate at this point, but it is unlikely to be off by 50%. So a clear time advantage to Link.

        And the walk time to Westlake would be closer to 2 to 3 mins, depending on what side of the street you start on.

        Plus the wait time for Link will be less. Link will be operating at 4 min frequency (peak interlined) whereas RR-E will be operating at 6. So time advantage to Link again.

        But I get the local reluctance to do transfers. This area traditionally has little experience with reliable, high frequency transit. Traditional Metro routes were low to moderate frequency, and schedule reliability wasn’t very good. The result being that even the best timed bus-to-bus transfer could become a 30 min nightmare for even the smallest of reasons.

        But that won’t be the case here. A rider arriving at 185th and wishing to continue to the Aurora Village TC will have 2 bus routes to serve their needs – Swift and the 336. The result being that the rider can take either, and the wait should be moderate. Plus both are unlikely to be experiencing problems at the same time. It should be an easy and reasonably quick transfer, and that is something people aren’t used to around here!

        So, ya, I’d take Link. No contest. Not even close.

      4. Plus the wait time for Link will be less. Link will be operating at 4 min frequency (peak interlined) whereas RR-E will be operating at 6.

        I think you missed the original question. The goal is not to get to 185th, but to get to Aurora Village. On Link that requires taking Swift, which is less frequent than the E. It is really several steps:

        1) Walk to the station.
        2) Walk down to the platform.
        3) Wait for the train.
        4) Ride the train.
        5) Get off at the station and walk to where the buses are.
        6) Wait for the bus.
        7) Ride Swift to Aurora Village.

        In contrast, riding the E will require:

        1) Walk to the bus stop.
        2) Wait for the bus.
        3) Ride it to Aurora Village.

        If we assume that the walk to the station is similar to the walk to the bus stop, that leads to:

        2/5) Walk to and from the platform — 5 minutes?
        3) Wait for the train — 3 minutes (average midday)
        3) Ride the train — 21 minutes
        5) Wait for Swift — 5 minutes (average midday)
        6) Ride Swift from Aurora Village — 5 minutes

        Compared to:

        2) Wait for the bus — 4 minutes (average midday)
        3) Ride it to Aurora Village — 45 minutes

        That is 39 versus 49, or ten minutes of savings. This again goes to what I wrote earlier — it depends on where in downtown you are. If you are in Belltown, the bus is faster. But most everywhere else, Link+Swift is usually faster.

        It also depends on what time of day it is. The 336 is largely irrelevant either way. It isn’t a typical Seattle Metro bus. Look at the map — most of the routes are red (frequent). It won’t be. At *best* it will run every half hour. From a frequency standpoint, it is Swift versus the E. In the middle of the day the E is more frequent, but not enough to make a huge difference. At night and weekends it could. Swift runs every 20 minutes on Sundays (ouch). In contrast, the E runs every ten minutes.

      5. @Rossb,

        I think it is important to not assume that all transit riders are fools. They will figure out the system pretty quickly and they will figure out the best way to use it to meet their needs.

        So why will a savvy user take Link-bus instead of RR-E? Because it will be quicker and more reliable, and time and reliability are typically the two most important things to transit riders.

        Riders will figure out pretty darn quickly that a short 2-min walk to the Link station at Westlake will save them an easy 10 to 15 mins in total trip time, even with the transfer. Remember, RR-E on this route is 55 mins at peak. That is pretty darn easy to beat with Link.

        And the transfer to Swift at 185th St Station will be one of those rare bus transfers that is actually highly predictable and reliable. Why? Because Swift will be starting its northbound run exactly from 185th St Station. So it will be highly predictable and reliable – something a savvy transit rider also values. And there is always the 336 as backup.

        But hey, if the rider hasn’t ridden the route before and/or is generally clueless, then they will probably still end up on Link-bus. Why? Because that is where the trip planning apps will send them. The data favors Link-bus as the quickest route, and the apps generally rank routing options by speed. So the apps will also direct people toward Link-bus.

        Game, set, match. Link-bus wins.

      6. The transfer from Link to Swift won’t feel predictable because not every Link trip will have a Swift bus waiting for it. Best case is every other Link trip. Most likely is one out of three Link trips. Average wait time will be somewhere over 5 minutes, but not predictable, unless they are watching their apps closely.

        That’s assuming Swift can maintain headway. I don’t think their headway control is as elaborate as Metro’s RapidRide control center. But even then, there is the driver having a bad day who takes an extra 15 minutes of recovery time and pulls out right behind another bus, so he can avoid picking up passengers. I know that happens with RapidRide because I’ve seen it. That’s not a critique of ST, so I don’t expect much rebuttal from lazarus.

        I am curious, though, what ST does when a headway ruiner picks a Link schedule. Do they get booted from the schedule after enough warnings?

      7. If you are heading northbound from downtown the E is very reliable. It starts down at Yesler and runs mostly on Third (the transit mall). I doubt that will be big factor. I think people will pick their mode based on where they are, what time of day it is, and what their phone says is the fastest way. Regular users may just have a particular preference, not based on what is quickest.

        The other direction is interesting, as I think that is where you will have the biggest variance. This is the tail end of Swift, and there are plenty of things that can delay it (traffic in Everett, missing lights, etc.). It seems quite possible that someone will see the E and just grab it, figuring it is better to move than wait. I’ve done that before in a similar situation and it resulted in a trip on Link. I was standing outside the bus stop across the street from the Roosevelt Station. I wanted to take the 73, but I was going to have to wait a while. So I ended up taking Link, then a bus. Even though I can choose several buses to my destination, the Link+bus trip ended up taking longer. (I could track the 73 using One Bus Away.) This is common. People hate waiting more than anything.

      8. The transfer from Link to Swift won’t feel predictable because not every Link trip will have a Swift bus waiting for it.

        No, but I think what Lazarus is getting at is that if you ride it all the time, you can time it. The train is very consistent, so you get on the one that matches the departure time of Swift. Going the other way, Swift might be late, but there is nothing to time. Link is frequent enough that it doesn’t matter.

        That being said, for a trip like that, the E is very reliable. It leaves Aurora Village at a set time. There is very little variance out of downtown northbound. I don’t see reliability being an issue.

        I think it is mostly be a personal preference thing. Lots of people hate transfers. I get that. From a comfort standpoint, I would take the E. Southbound I could go to the back of the bus (to the corner spot, my favorite) and just relax. I would be in Seattle soon enough.

        Unless I’m feeling impatient. Then I want to move, and northbound, certainly, I would choose the train. It may take me a while to get to the platform, but I’m always moving. There is very little wait and then I’m moving again. By the time I get to 185th, the trip is almost over. With ten minute headways most of the time I don’t imagine it being a terrible wait (the type of wait that pushes me to “Never Again” territory). That will only happen late at night and on Sundays.

        It is going the other direction that my impatience could get the better of me. If I see an E ready to leave do I take it, or wait for Swift?

      9. @Brent White,

        Predictable does not imply synchronized. It just means that the Link arrivals and Swift departures from 185th will be known with near certainty and little variation. Therfore a rider can rely on this data with high certainty when planning their trip.

        Frequent users will quickly adapt to this by selecting their departure time to minimize their transfer time. Commuters already do this everyday across the existing system.

        Infrequent users will probably use their trip planning apps, which will again pick the best route to minimize time. And remember, in reality their are two different transfer points and 4 different bus routes that will take the rider to AVTC, so one of those is sure to have a reasonable transfer time.

        And remember, the Link speed advantage is huge. Roughly speaking if a Link LRV and a E-Line bus leave downtown at the same moment, the LRV will be pulling into the 185th St Station at about the same time that the bus is approaching Green Lake. The transfer would have to be abysmally bad to negate that speed advantage, and it won’t be.

      10. Only two or three E riders get on or off at Aurora Village per run. Some of those only take it because there was no express bus stop north of 45th except at 145th which was very hard to get to. Now there’s the 512 to Northgate, and soon Link will be a much better way to get to Snohomish County. Another reason to take the E+Swift is to get to Edmonds Community College, which isn’t on the 512. Soon there will be Swift between Lynnwood Station to Edmonds CC. So the only people left using the E will be those who live close to it, going to a destination on Aurora, or are going to Snohomish County from north of 105th.

      11. @Mike — Yeah, Aurora Village is not a major destination for Swift or the E. In contrast, Edmonds Community College is (for Swift). This is another big reason why it upsets me that Community Transit is serving it, instead of just having a stop on Aurora (for those who want to travel along SR 99 between the E and Swift). This will delay transfers substantially, and delay Swift as well.

    3. The E takes 45 minutes, and Justin says 55 minutes peak hours. (As I said the E needs full BAT lanes in Seattle.) Link is 15 minutes to Northgate, 28 minutes to Lynnwood, So 18-20 minutes to 185th. Swift is fast but not especially frequent, so you might have to wait 10-20 minutes. That puts an end-to-end trip at around 25 minutes at best, 45 minutes at worst.

      But few people currently take the E between Aurora Village and downtown. Only three or four people get on the bus at Aurora Village. 90% of the riders gets on between 200th and 45th.

      1. Another factor, the E is scheduled at 55 minutes peak, but could easily end up taking longer, depending on congestion. Swift to Link, I think, travel time will be more consistent.

        Or course, where within downtown you are going definitely matters. Belltown, I think the E line wins. But, the premise Sam gave was specifically 3rd and Pike.

        Another factor to consider is what bus happens to show up first at Aurora Village. If it’s SWIFT, taking it is a no brainer, but it will most often be the E, which runs more often. In that case, I guess you check OneBusAway to see how long the wait for SWIFT is and decide.

      2. @asdf2,

        Sam’s little thought problem had the rider starting from 3rd&Pike, so the “which bus departs AVTC first” question doesn’t really factor into it.

        But even if you were going the opposite direction (into Seattle) the user would still want to wait for a bus to 185th St Station. The time savings and reliability improvements with Link are just that substantial. And the rider might get lucky with a 336 bus too, saving even more time.

        And a really savvy Seattle bound rider might do something counterintuitive – take the 333 to Montlake Terrace Station and catch Link there. The travel distances on the bus are about the same as going to 185th St Station, the 333 is a frequent bus, and the added travel time on Link is fairly immaterial.

        So, ya, lots of options involving Link.

      3. Lazarus, thanks, that’s thinking outside the north-south box. It’s ALSO fodder for Ross’ wish that the Swift would stay on Aurora to 185th. If there’s a frequent bus to Link from the TC that relieves Swift of the responsibility.

      4. @Tt,

        Swift Blue is a SnoCo bus. The reason CT proposes extending it to 185th St Station is to give SnoCo residents easy, single seat access to Link from the SnoCo part of Hwy 99.

        I.e., it is about giving their citizens the service they pay taxes for.

      5. Swift connecting to Link at 185th obviously benefits CT taxpayers and fulfills the promise of transfers between Link and other routes. Swift Blue has no other Link station since it misses Lynnwood Station, and the future Everett stations are half an hour away.

        CT asked its constituents whether Swift should continue to serve Aurora Village or be routed on Aurora Avenue. Most of us said Aurora Avenue for continuing on the E without detouring, and because Aurora Avenue has a lot more destinations than Aurora Village. But some lower-income Snohomans said they shop at Aurora Village so it became an equity issue to serve it. We wanted a station at 192nd & Aurora, but that wasn’t a priority for CT.

  7. I think it’s useful to look at this restructuring process in comparison to those underway for East Link as well as recent ones for Northgate Link and even U-Link.

    Kudos to Metro for getting closer to an adopted restructuring in what appears to be about 2 years ahead of opening date. (I realize that it may be earlier — but given the East Link light rail vehicle access needed I’m pretty skeptical about that.) I think Metro is not going to be rushed to finalize a network.

    It’s also noteworthy that shifting Downtown Seattle travel to Link is not concerning to a broad segment of the riders. Far north Seattle and Shoreline are so far from Downtown that little blowback from one-seat riders is likely.

    Fortunately, the 145th and 185th Stations will have bus transfer areas that aren’t terribly punitive to use as long as escalators and elevators are working (as opposed to those for SE Seattle stations). (I’m still disgusted by removing down escalators at the last minute but that’s a whole other topic.) There are no scary lanes of traffic to cross after a block or two of walking in the elements.

    1. With Lynnwood Link, there will be fewer bus routes shadowing Link (like Metro route 106 and the A Line) for riders needing the (only?) elevator, which is broke down up to 5% of the time, and still within contract, to ride to the next station and double back or get the bus from the previous station.

      I hope by now that elevator redundancy for each platform is mandatory for all new stations. And that the elevators don’t automatically break down simultaneously, Beacon Hill style.

  8. We still need somebody to cover the Snohomish County part of the restructure. I haven’t even had a chance to look at the Community Transit part and see if they have a new proposal yet. Can somebody in Snohomish County monitor the proposals and open houses and give us a local’s opinion on the impacts as they become apparent?

    1. I am surprised to see that the only Community Transit route included here is Swift Blue, since CT has also proposed many route changes when Lynnwood Link opens, most notably better and more frequent service to Edmonds and Mukilteo.
      Think of ST, CT, and KCM as a three-legged stool.

      1. Yes, it would help to see that CT also plans to have a route between Aurora Village and Mountlake Terrace Station. Perhaps Metro is relieving some pressure on CT’s unambitious frequency plans where only Swift runs more often than 30-minute headway, and most routes are slated to run hourly, even after the disappearance of the commuter routes.

        If Metro plans to run a bus from Aurora Village to MTS four times an hour and CT plans to do so twice an hour, why not just have a single bus route do that 6 times an hour (or more)? I would nominate the E Line for that job.

      2. The map shown is made by Metro (since this is a Metro project). For whatever reason, they only chose to show Swift, and not other Community Transit routes.

        The Community Transit changes are part of a different project ( Mike wrote a post about both the CT changes as well as Everett Transit here: I don’t think anything has happened since then (it appears that CT planning is a bit behind according to their timeline).

      3. If Metro plans to run a bus from Aurora Village to MTS four times an hour and CT plans to do so twice an hour, why not just have a single bus route do that 6 times an hour (or more)?

        They go on two different corridors. The proposed 333 takes a relatively direct route (using 205th/244th). This replaces CT’s 416. Meanwhile, the proposed 130 is unchanged between the two transit centers, and covers 76th and 228th.

        I did have a proposal that would combine the routes:

      4. Unfortunately, the map simply lists routes, but doesn’t bother to say when or how often any of them run. For an area like this, I feel you almost really need three separate maps to show what the service network will look like in rush hour, weekday midday, and weekend. For instance, if the “express” is the only service to Mukilteo, does that mean Mukilteo is losing all service outside of rush hour, or will the express run all day? If the latter, it would be a huge improvement over today, if the former, it would be a big step backwards.

      5. Unfortunately, the map [of the proposed CT restructure] simply lists routes, but doesn’t bother to say when or how often any of them run.

        No, but if you select a route it will tell you the expected frequency. So go to the main page ( Pick a region you are interested in (e. g. “Northwest”). Now pick a route (e. g. 201). It shows it running every 30 minutes all day on weekdays (which means the 201/202 combination runs every 15 minutes).

        As for Mukilteo, the 902 is slated to run every 30 minutes weekdays, from 5:00 AM to 11:00 PM (presumably timed with the ferry). Mukilteo will also get service from Everett Transit (which is confusing, since that is a completely different project).

      6. I’m having trouble finding where to click to select a route, but 30 minutes all day on weekdays is better than I was expecting. A direct route from Lynnwood, well timed with ferries could make some transit trips to Whidbey island feasible that weren’t before.

        That said, I hope Mukilteo isn’t losing all of its weekend service. Does the page bother to mention weekend service at all? If I personally were to ride this route, it would most likely be on a weekend.

      7. I’m having trouble finding where to click to select a route

        That’s surprising. Maybe I wasn’t clear in my description. How about this:

        1) Go to this site:
        2) Scroll down to the “Learn More” section (this is after the map).
        3) Check on the checkbox that reads “Southwest: Mukilteo, Edmonds, Lynnwood, Mountlake Terrace, Everett”.
        4) With that checkbox checked, you should see a bunch of routes with checkboxes.
        5) Select the checkbox for 902.
        6) The route description should appear, along with expected frequency.

        If that doesn’t work, it could be your browser or browser settings. Let me know if you still have a problem.

      8. Got it to work. I was confused by the fact that I had to start the process of preparing to leave feedback to Community Transit just to see how often the bus comes. I wish they did what King County Metro did and used color or thickness to identify lines in the system map by service span and frequency, rather than making you click extra buttons…

        In any case, Mukilteo is indeed getting 7 day/week service on a bus that takes a much more direct route that present. This will be a significant upgrade.

        Looking at route spans and frequencies overall, improvements are not earth-shattering, with no individual route except for SWIFT ever running more often than every 30 minutes, and many second routes running only once an hour. Community Transit also seems much more weekday-oriented than King County Metro, even outside of peak. In King County Metro, there is no longer the huge difference in level of service between noon on a weekday and noon on a weekend that was the norm 20-30 years ago. Community Transit, however, it kind of still is, with lots of routes running half as often on weekends vs. weekdays. But, at least CT runs at all 7 days/week, which was not the case just a few years ago, for those that remember.

      9. Thank you. I remember well when CT had No Service on Sundays/Holidays.

        When Swift Orange starts running in a few years, I expect that it will greatly improve both frequency and area coverage.

  9. Indeed, I think this really needs to be looked at through the lens of a joint map.

    Eg: right now CT 130 also connects Aurora Village TC to Montlake TC, but using a different route than proposed for the 333.

    Ideally it sure seems like a bunch of these routes on both sides of the invisible force field at 244th would be better off they could go through. Eg, maybe travel patterns are better suited to a Metro route that goes to Edmonds from the 185th Link station, and maybe CT 130 is better off going to Shoreline CC.

    Obviously, the political reality is a barrier that runs down the middle a continuous suburban tangle, over which buses must only cross under special circumstances or if an express to downtown Seattle.

  10. “The 331 is more or less split into two, with the western half (the 333) running a lot less often than the eastern part (the 334).” I believe you have these the wrong way around, the 333 is the more frequent part.

  11. I took a look at the satellite views of 130th, 148th, 185th, and Mountlake Terrace stations. Lot’s of single family homes neighborhoods next to the stations, yet, I’m not seeing the same level of outrage from the comment section that’s routinely directed at Surrey Downs.

    1. It would be easy to facetiously say that “income level matters to the blog commenters”, but at some level it’s true. Those areas are all more likely (for political reasons) to be upzoned, and more likely (for economic reasons) to have the upzoning be taken advantage of. So the disapproval is, to some extent, related to the fact that Surrey Downs is much more likely to remain frozen in stone, relative to the areas you listed above.

      Whether this is fair, by whatever definition of fairness, is up to you. But I can see a justification for it that I can accept, at the very least.

      1. Please note that Lynnwood Link and the FWLE are in the I-5 envelope. There is little development next to I-5 today. It is not surprising that the station areas at NE 130th, 145th, and 185th streets look the way they do. It may be added later. There probably would have been more development along a SR-99 Link alignment, but we will never know; see Yogi Berra about forks in roads.

    2. The difference is that Surrey Downs is adjacent to downtown Bellevue, and is in the way of more people being able to live in the most walkable part of the Eastside.

      145th is on the periphery of all the surrounding villages, so it doesn’t matter as much what happens to it. It’s not preventing anyone from living near anything.

      130th is needed for bus feeders from Lake City and Bitter Lake, regardless of any houses in between. The city is nevertheless supporting a minor upzone in the station area, which hasn’t happened yet.

      185th is in a residential suburb which prefers density in a hollow rectangle. It is planning growth on 185th.

      Mountlake Terrace is to serve the city, and is less than a 10-minute walk to the city center through the wooded park east of the station. MT is upzoning its downtown and the street east of the station as I understand it.

      1. If someone wants to live in the “ most walkable part of the Eastside” then live in downtown Bellevue, which is huge, has a 660’ height limit, and has massive amounts of current and future multi-family housing. If you want walkable you want Lincoln Square, not Surrey Downs. Real urbanism. That is the whole mistake of a station near Surrey Downs: the area really isn’t walkable to retail.

        Or buy or rent a SFH in Surrey Downs although I am not sure how “walkable” that neighborhood is compared to the main retail centers in downtown Bellevue.

        If someone thinks upzoning Surrey Downs means they will get a cheap or affordable rental unit they are mistaken. If you have the money and want walkability on the Eastside rent or buy a place on Bellevue Way, Old Main St., or anywhere east of there until 112th, or a planned unit in The Spring District or Wilburton. Even north to NE 10th. Or the medical/SFH zone starting at NE 12th.

        If you can’t afford a condo or apartment in one of those massively upzoned multi-family zones you won’t be able to afford a place in Surrey Downs after a mild upzone.

      2. “If someone wants to live in the “ most walkable part of the Eastside” then live in downtown Bellevue, which is huge, has a 660’ height limit, and has massive amounts of current and future multi-family housing.”

        Those are all full or will be soon.

        “Or buy or rent a SFH in Surrey Downs”

        Those are full too. And there are only a few of them there, because they’re single-family. It was fine in the 1950s when Bellevue was much smaller. but not when it’s a major downtown now. If they want a single-family house, they can go to Somerset or Phantom Lake or Woodinville.

        “If someone thinks upzoning Surrey Downs means they will get a cheap or affordable rental unit they are mistaken.”

        Nobody thinks that. Prices would be the same as the rest of downtown Bellevue, But each unit would be less than a single-family house in the same location. So the people would be wealthy but not quite as wealthy.

      3. Also, not everybody who wants urban living wants to live in a 20 story highrise, where you have to wait multiple minutes for an elevator to go anywhere. Surrey Downs is still close enough to Downton Bellevue’s retail to be able to walk there, but you’re closer to the ground. Plus, you’re closer to Link and have a nice neighborhood park (which Sound Transit blocked access to from the “TOD” on the Eastside of 112th, probably at the behest of Surry Downs residents who don’t want to share their park with riffraff who are not as rich as they are).

        Of course, if the area were upzoned to allow for townhomes or row houses, people with 30% or 50% AMI would still not be able to afford to live there. But, if the affordability cutoff becomes 150% AMI rather than 250% AMI, that’s still an improvement, and makes all the difference to a lot of people.

        A lot of these upzoning discussions, some people make it sound as though anything that doesn’t make homes so cheap that a person in poverty can live there is a waste of time. It’s not. People with 100%, 120%, 150% AMI need more options too. And there’s also the trickle down effect since every person has to live somewhere where if you build more housing at the upper end of the market, you reduce competition for the next level down, and so forth.

      4. “But each unit would be less than a single-family house in the same location”.


        People say the same thing about new Shoreline housing still being expensive or not very affordable in the upzoned areas, so how can anyone claim it will help the goal of affordable housing? Well, right now, having more housing is more like “defense”, to not become like San Francisco with astronomical rents/mortgages. SF is a prime example of what would have happened to Seattle if it refused more upzones in the past.

        If Seattle or its inner suburbs permitted less development, housing prices would have gone up much more. Modest upzoning from the past cannot be viewed as an “offense” strategy to force housing affordability – it’s not even able to keep up with current demand. Only later when enough housing stock has been built, relative to demand, can farther upzoning be viewed as a proactive measure to maybe encourage cheaper rents.

        And I expect housing demand to continue or go up in the north Line 1 cities, once the 6 minute frequencies happen. That is really a game changer. Many others besides transit enthusiasts, will eventually and fully appreciate the convenience of living near high frequency, reliable transit.

      5. asdf2 says: “Also, not everybody who wants urban living wants to live in a 20 story highrise, where you have to wait multiple minutes for an elevator to go anywhere.”

        By that logic, not everyone who wants urban living wants something other than a fully SFH family, so we should allow Surrey Downs to remain SFH for those who want that.

        I’m not sure I buy it, but then by extension the argument about why not just live in downtown Bellevue seems equally strange.

      6. “By that logic, not everyone who wants urban living wants something other than a fully SFH family, so we should allow Surrey Downs to remain SFH for those who want that.”

        It’s not just those few people in Surrey Downs who have a voice; it’s everyone in the metropolitan area. A lot more people want to live in downtown Bellevue or a similar walkable neighborhood than those in Surrey Downs houses. If Surrey Downs were further away from downtown Bellevue it wouldn’t matter as much, but it’s four blocks from the center of the second-largest downtown in the state in a city of 150K. It’s not reasonable to keep an area like that single-family only.

      7. “That is the whole mistake of a station near Surrey Downs: the area really isn’t walkable to retail.”

        What? The problem is there’s no supermarket on Main Street? Put a supermarket on Main Street then. There used to be a Lucky there, on 108th if I remember. There could be a new supermarket on the bottom floor of one of these towers, like the Safeway at 23rd & Madison.

      8. Mike Orr: “It’s not reasonable to keep an area like that single-family only.”

        A large number of people (judging by the number of asylum requests) might suggest that it’s not fair to keep the United States closed to asylum seekers, beyond what international law requires. Should they have a say in the matter?

        This is, in some sense, the fundamental question, I think – at what level of society should freedom of association be dictated. Different people may reasonably disagree on this; at some point majority voting (either directly, through ballot measures, or indirectly, via representative government legislation), may change the status quo. I am not sure that I would call it “unreasonable” that people living in Surrey Downs may prefer the status quo, though, or even that people in Bellevue might.

        For another example: many here on the blog point out that it is not reasonable for people in other parts of the state to dictate how Seattle (or King County) should choose to raise or spend money. It is, in some sense, a similar sort of problem. I don’t think that consistency is necessary (i.e. one may well hold the opinion that Bellevue, or Surrey Downs specifically, should not be able to choose its zoning if the rest of King County or the state wishes otherwise; and yet also that King County should be able to choose how much money to raise, even if the rest of the state wishes otherwise). I can think of ways to square that circle, from a consistency perspective, even. However I think that it is worth each of us consider why we hold those beliefs, and how we should square them, for ourselves.

      9. Zoning is city policy, not Surrey Downs’ absolute authority. A reasonable zoning would gradually taper down from the Main Street highrises to lower and lower, and finally reach single-family somewhere maybe around SE 20th Street. The problem is these abrupt cutoffs of density so close to the center, both at Surrey Downs and at 100th Ave NE, in Mt Baker, Beacon Hill, California Ave W, etc. Cities should look at what’s best for the entire population of the city and its share of the metropolitan area, and suburbs should not be able to exclude people or keep their density artificially low to skim off the cream of the crop and leave everybody else scrambling. Cities should have middle housing in a large thick ring around the center like sensible cities do, and maybe single-family neighborhoods in a distant periphery.

      10. Mike, I respect your opinion, and generally agree with most of what you said. However, I do strongly believe that it is opinion, not fact. For example, taking your comment that “cities should do what’s best for the entire population of the city” – that is a strong argument that Medina, Clyde Hill, Mercer Island, et al. should maintain their current zoning, since that is very likely “what’s best” for the people who live in them right now. However, that is generally not what is argued on this blog; most people believe that they should upzone, specifically so that people _not_ living in those cities now may benefit from certain advantages they have.

        The problem, of course, is that part of what makes those cities desirable is in fact the current zoning. There are plenty of people who want Seattle to be more like Manhattan, and Bellevue more like Seattle; however there are plenty who do not. When the majority of the population in a specific city, say Bellevue, does want to make it more like Seattle, there’s no problem with it; it can pass a vote and everyone can move on. However, when the decision is made at a higher level of government (e.g. by imposing it state-wide), that fact is less clear, and some of the people who live in such cities chafe a bit. Are they a majority? We won’t know, if the decision is made in Olympia, instead of Bellevue.

      11. “That is the whole mistake of a station near Surrey Downs: the area really isn’t walkable to retail.”

        From the station platform, there is a PCC, a Target with food and a Trader Joe’s within 1/2 mile (once the Main St bridge reopens) on 116th Ave. It will be even closer to the new towers going where Red Lion is today.

        I get how Surrey Downs as single family frustrates some people. However there are plenty of other single family enclaves near many Link stations in Seattle. It just is.

      12. “– at what level of society should freedom of association be dictated. ”

        It depends on what problem you are trying to solve. Context matters.

        If that problem (housing) impacts the larger metropolitan area, maybe that Seattle Metro Area should have some input on a decision which, in aggregate, profoundly effects all of us.

      13. Cam: Yes, maybe. It gets tricky though, IMHO.

        Water scarcity is a big problem in the SW. Washington and the Great Lakes states currently have an abundance of water; should the SW states have a say in how WA, MI, etc. use their water supply? Should they be able to force WA, MI, etc. to reserve space for water pipelines to be transported into the SW?

        It’s a genuine question. I can see an argument for it, and it may even pass constitutional muster with some contortions under the commerce clause. There’s no doubt that it would make people’s lives in the SW better, as a result. So I don’t think it’s a straw-like argument in the facetious sense; I am genuinely trying to understand what are the implications.

      14. Let’s not forget MI zoning already accommodates GMPC housing targets through 2044. MI is one of the few cities to have not only met but exceeded the GMPC 2035 housing targets.

        Some of this additional housing will be infill development in the SFH zones (subdivisions and DADU’s); some in the multi-family zone that will likely be new development replacing older and more affordable housing; and the rest in the town center in mixed use developments because that is what the PSRC suggested because:

        lot sizes are large enough to pencil out for a developer;

        regulatory limits are higher than the SFH;

        affordable housing set asides are available in exchange for greater height;

        it is possible to build different sized units (studio to 3 bedroom) and prices per sf are much lower than in the SFH;

        it is near walkable retail; and

        it is the only place on MI that is not just within walkable transit but has ANY transit.

        But why get confused by facts.

    3. The zoning around 148th and 185th has already changed. It is highly likely it will change around 130th. It is highly unlikely it will change around Surrey Downs. That is the difference.

  12. Surrey Downs is different because East Link was never suppose to stop there. If ST is stupid enough to run East Link to an area bordered by a freeway and SFH zone and then put a station there that is ST’s problem.

    The other neighborhoods or cities north of Seattle are actually built along I-5 and hope Link and upzoning their town centers will gentrify some town centers that desperately need gentrification. That is why they voluntarily accepted GMPC housing targets higher than legally required while most Eastside cities fought to reduce their housing targets. Surrey Downs is an Eastside SFH zone a stone’s throw from probably the region’s most vibrant and wealthy downtown with very high property values that has zero need or desire to rezone to accommodate transit and transients.

    It doesn’t help that ST refuses to patrol Link or enforce zones while Westneat is writing that maybe the Seattle crime fever may be breaking.

    Bellevue has upzoned nearly every commercial zone along East Link to 660’. That makes Capitol Hill look like Hunts Point style zoning. If East Link can’t find the ridership in that massively upzoned area then East Link was a mistake.

    1. “rezone to accommodate transit and transients.”

      A rezone to allow duplexes or townhomes will cause the area to become overwhelmed with transients…good grief.

      1. Yeah, the notion that apartments attract transients has to be one of Daniel’s worst takes that I’ve seen.

        And it is so far detached from reality as well. I have lived in an apartment complex in North Lynnwood since October 2020 and in my building, many of the people living there have been there at least as long as I have. And I don’t think there’s lots of turnover either.

        Also, if you owned or managed an apartment building, wouldn’t it be in your best interests to ensure that the people living there would be there long term? I’d imagine that that would be much better because then you’d be assured that you’ll be getting rent payments rather than none if they’re sitting empty after someone moves out. Also you probably would prefer not to go through the hassle of having to frequently find and vet new tenants.

      2. Evin,

        I lived in one apartment building in Seattle for about 12 years. In that time, there was almost complete turn-over in the building (only one resident remained who had been there when I moved in, out of 21 units). In general, about a third of the units were occupied by long-term residents like myself and the other long-timer I mentioned, while the others stayed for about 2 years then moved on. This was true, as far as I could tell, at various ages (ranging from students to retirees), levels of income (fixed vs. tech workers), family type (singles, couples, families).

        Not sure which anecdote is more typical; I suspect that there is a big range, but in general I would not assume that the longevity properties of home ownership (whether SFH or condos) are the same as those of rentals. Certainly not everyone lives in forever homes, but at one point the average tenure of home ownership was 7 years; my personal experience suggests that rental tenure is lower (and even your own anecdote implies it, as your tenure is around 3 years and you did not suggest that a majority of residents were there for more than twice as long).

        I assume that different property owners have different strategies for dealing with long term residents; the building in Seattle which I was in generally encouraged it by keeping rental increases low, both during downturns and periods of growth. As a result, my rental costs went up only about 25% over that period of 12 years (from start to end). Another complex I lived in (also in North Lynnwood, as it turns out) did the opposite, explicitly increasing rental costs each time the lease was up by large amounts to encourage transience; in that place, my costs went up by 30% over 3 years. So, it depends. Needless to say, as a renter, I would not recommend that one in North Lynnwood :)

      3. I should add that my “7 year” average tenure is old, and unsourced, unless you consider my father a reliable source. I do, obviously, but I do not expect anyone else here to trust him quite as implicitly as I do :)

      4. Evin, two years is a very short time, and I am sure your building has had several tenant changeovers during the last two years. I have had some of my neighbors for decades. I lived in rental housing for years. I know what is like.

        Mercer Island does allow any SFH to have an ADU or DADU. However if renting out one of the units the owner must live onsite. The goal is to avoid absentee ownership. Most homeowners renting out an ADU/DADU screen prospective tenants very closely including a criminal report and credit report plus references because that tenant lives next door.

        Mercer Island also has a town center that allows mixed use buildings with the majority being housing (mostly rental) and a large multi-family zone. Of course the turnover in that housing is much higher than in the SFH zones. And there are SFH for rent as well.

        Seattle and virtually every regional city is the same except maybe Tacoma, and Seattle I believe prohibits criminal reports which is scary if I lived in a multi-family complex.

        Why someone like you would want to live in a SFH zone let alone suburban SFH zone is beyond me. Not a lot of single people to meet, the “town center” is closed by 9pm, and there is little transit (like none) in the SFH zone so bring a car.

        The duplex argument is the stupidest IMO because as I noted any of the 7000+ SFH lots on MI can already have a ADU/DADU, and in Seattle three separate dwelling units. A duplex in Seattle is going backwards. The regulatory limits for a SFH are the same for duplex or triplex or house + DADU. On MI the screening will be very tough for an ADU/DADU, and in my experience young single males rarely are selected unless you are a priest, have perfect credit, long term high paying job, no criminal history, loads of references, and have lived at your prior residence for several years and was never late on a rent payment. Even then a DADU that can be up to 900 sf will cost more than an apartment in the town center and you will need a car. But if you really want to live in a MI SFH neighborhood that is the way to do it.

        99.999999999% of Islanders don’t care about your living issues. They too were young, lived in crummy apartments when in graduate school or starting out, and wonder why you are not doing the same if you are young and single. Like my son. A SFH zone is for later in life when you are settled down and probably have a spouse and two incomes to get into a SFH. You have to make a ton of money to buy or rent a SFH on your home and will need a very large down payment. Or rent one of the three legal dwellings on a Seattle SFH lot with up to 13 unrelated tenants if you want the SFH zone experience.

        The idea upzoning SFH zones would produce a lot of multi-family housing or it would be remotely affordable or have any transit service is absurd. Metro’s restructure can’t even serve Lake City Way.

      5. @Anonymouse:

        I won’t dispute that people who live in apartments are less likely to stay in one place for as long as someone who owns a home.

        To me, temporary or transient housing is a place you would live in for less than a year. Many people stay at one apartment for at least a year (that’s almost always the length of a lease), so for Daniel to imply that apartments are for transients (which he later clarified that he means living somewhere temporarily) was just so off base that I was as appalled that someone would make that claim.

      6. Evin:

        Thank you for your comment. Your reaction to Daniel’s comment is a great example of why I try to define my terms carefully (and why I ask others to do the same). It is, I think, becoming apparent that you and Daniel read different connotations in the term, and that can lead to pretty strong negative reactions which end up making communication more difficult, both in the short term and in the long run, as reputation is established (for better or worse) and beliefs become entrenched.

        Thank you also for engaging in an interesting discussion.

      7. Daniel, you say two years is a short time, but you and I both know that as we get older time goes by quicker, so it’s understandable that at your age you think two years is not a very long time. But I’m much younger than you (I’m in my late 20s) so 2 years feels a lot longer to me than it would for you.

        And as I started previously, I view transient/ temporary housing as being a place you’d live in for less than a year. Basically, the idea behind it is if someone moves to this area for a job and they don’t know anyone that they could stay with, they can live in this form of housing while they search for an apartment or house to live in.

        Also I don’t understand why you’re asking that I’d want to live in a SFH zone. I don’t, and especially not on Mercer Island. Nice place to visit though…

        Also not sure why you brought up duplexes.

        Anyway, that’s all I have time to respond to at the moment.

      8. Sorry Evin for the tone. Upzoning the SFH zones is a long running issue on this blog, and emotions get high. The duplex instead of DADU’s or three dwelling units in Seattle is from other posts.

        If the issue is transit ridership or walkability or affordability or creating (condensing) housing and retail density I think upzoning the SFH zones is counterproductive.

        My neighbors think allowing rental multi-family housing into what admittedly are privileged zones (although most of us bought at much lower prices, and prices for all housing are cooling) will destroy that character (impervious surface limits, GFAR limits, yard setbacks, trees and vegetation) and the irony is the current upzoning bills allow cities to maintain the SFH zone regulatory limits that on MI are large sf lot minimums and low house to lot area ratios.

        The number of “multi-family”units a developer could build would be two, same as a DADU, and since the “units” would be owned by one person the owner would have to live in one of the units in order to rent the other.

        Affordable housing is clearly an issue in the 30-50% AMI category, but living alone is really exacerbating that in a city with a $115,000 AMI.

        I lived in many different multi-family units in my 20’s and that was a great time. Next thing you know you fall in love, the lines on the pregnancy tests are blue, and you are living in a fixer upper in the suburbs. The suburbs are very female oriented.

        I shouldn’t have vented at you. When you are 63 you will wonder where did the time go but hopefully will look back and think it was well spent. Pete Townshend wrote I hope I never get old. I look at my 21 year old son and am glad I am not his age starting all over again. God, where did I get that energy back then.

    2. I don’t like the way you call people without a house “transients”. It seems quite condescending to reduce a group of people to an adjective like that.

      1. Transient was probably a poor choice of words because some conflate that with homeless . I should have said temporary.

        The purpose of a SFH is to raise kids. The houses are larger because more than 1-2 live there. I raised a family of four in a 2800 sf house including garage. Seattle on the other hand has the highest percentage in the U.S. of folks living alone, over 50%. Much of the housing affordability crisis is a crisis of living alone.

        The primary goal of a SFH is safety. That comes home owner occupied housing. . I have two neighbors who were neighbors when we moved to MI in 1970. You get to know your neighbors and their kids. There are no strangers in a cul-de-sac.

        A SFH neighborhood does not want temporary housing, which means strangers. This includes short term rentals, Airbnb, hotels, or really any multi-family rentals.

        If you want to live in a SFH zone buy or rent a house. If you can’t afford that get a partner, spouse roommates, although I don’t understand the fascination of single urban males living in a SFH zone., and that always raises suspicion. We all lived urban lives long ago — I have lived in big cities around the world — and we didn’t choose a SFH zone when single. If you can’t afford Surrey Downs there are thousands of SFH zones in the three county region.

        If you want walkable urbanism — which unfortunately does not include downtown Seattle today — the Eastside has thousands of multi-family units of all stripes: 60 story towers, 30 story towers, 20 story buildings, 7 over 1, two story motor court style buildings, duplexes, ADU’s (no DADU’s in Bellevue), or just rooms to rent in a SFH of every price.

        It is sad though that a Seattle urbanist feels they must now go to the Eastside for safe walkable urbanism, although I think it is pretty suburban urbanism, which is ok if your 63. It would not be my ideal urbanism when I was younger and single.

        But don’t show up as a single male at an Eastside SFH neighborhood and flash your ORCA card like a badge and bitch that you can’t afford to live there so they must change. Get a spouse (and these neighborhoods have lots of kids with two daddy’s or two mommies),some kids, and come back when you can and a SFH zone makes sense. You don’t see us demanding Capitol Hill — or Bellevue Way — de-densify, although Capitol Hill is pretty anemic density. . Live and let live.

      2. “The purpose of a SFH is to raise kids. The houses are larger because more than 1-2 live there.”

        That was in the 1950s and 1970s. Many childless couples own houses now and a fair number of single people do. The shrinking of families occurred in suburbs as well as cities. Many childless people buy houses because they want a house, or they think it’s the normal way to live, or to invest in an appreciating asset and protect themselves from future large rent increases.

        Houses are designed for a couple and one or more kids, but that’s become problematic as households have evolved away from this. The houses aren’t designed for adult lodgers, with too little privacy and flimsy doors, and non-walkable locations so the lodger needs a car and parking space too.

    3. Downtown Kirkland is very walkable; the street grid is tight. Several suburban cities are encouraging development in their cores: Shoreline, Kenmore, Bothell, Woodinville, Redmond, Bellevue (downtown and Bel-Red), Renton, Burien.

  13. Someone else may have mentioned this, buy why in the world would the 65 be terminated south of Shoreline CC. Extending it gives a one- or two- seat ride to the college from everywhere north of the ship canal except the strip between 8th and 15th NW. The current design is like the Third Avenue Shuttle: you have to transfer within sight (almost) of your destination.

    1. Metro’s 2025 plan suggested extending the 65 to 148th Station, 155th Street, and Shoreline CC. The 75 was to go west on 130th to Shoreline CC. The Northgate Link restructure shifted the 75 to 125th in preparation for this. But suddenly in this proposal Metro moves the 65 to 130th and terminates it at 145th. We don’t know why. Both Ross and I were surprised at this. I still think one of the two should go to the college at least.

  14. The best way to improve the overall quality of this and other route restructures is to have more operators available to staff them.

    Consider what ST/Metro/CT are up against:

    1. ST, in a recent update, said the biggest hurdle to being ready for Link extensions is having enough operators. They noted that ST/Metro would have to double its current hiring rate to be ready for the current schedule(s).
    2. Lynnwood to Downtown Redmond will be, by far, the largest increase in staffing requirements ST has ever needed. Whereas the original Central Link line was ca. 35 minutes in schedule length, the 2 Line will be roughly twice as long.
    3. That surge in staffing needs will kick in with full-schedule testing, months ahead of the opening, before the restructures free up operators.

    That said, if I were an operator, and tired of facing maskless riders at the door all day, I’d jump at the opportunity to pick a Link operator schedule.

    And, so, ST will probably have no trouble staffing Link, but Metro will have to cut a lot of bus service temporarily to bridge the gap. And then, go small on the actual restructures. For getting Metro to put STX schedules in the Pick, they just have to pay Metro enough to do it.

    And so, doing obvious things like terminating route 566 at Downtown Bellevue Station will impact operator availability for having frequency on northeast Seattle routes.

    1. @Brent White,

      Hiring will be a big problem for all agencies, but it is not the only problem ST is facing. Consider:

      1). Hiring operators and O&M staff will be an issue, and a Big Bang opening of Lynnwood/East/Redmond Link will make this problem worse.

      2). Lynnwood Link will probably be ready before East Link, but without access to OMF-E.

      3). Passenger load on an in service Lynnwood Link can’t be met with just the 1-Line. Lynnwood Link essentially needs an interlined 2-Line to function properly.

      4). Increasing frequency on the 1-Line to solve #3 will exceed LRV storage capacity at OMF-W and produce reliability issues in the RV.

      What’s a transit agency to do?

      The only solution I can think of that addresses all of the above is to implement a phased (stepping stone) approach to opening the entire system. Basically start with a short, interim 2-Line segment in the Seattle CBD while actually reducing frequency on the 1-Line. Something like this.

      1). Add an interlined segment of the 2-Line with revenue service from IDS to NGS. A small hiring bump is required. This could be done now at current base frequencies. No construction is involved.

      2). When Lynnwood Link enters demonstration phase testing REDUCE the base frequency system wide. The reduced frequency reduces the number of LRV’s required so that hopefully OMF-W storage constraints are not exceeded, while the pre-existing interim 2-Line segment (still just IDS to NGS) hopefully adds enough interlined capacity to meet passenger demand at the peak screenline (should be between UWS and CHS). Detailed analysis required. Again, a small hiring bump is required.

      3). When OMF-E access is assured, move the system back to the target base frequency and store the extra LRV’s at OMF-E. A small hiring bump is required.

      4). Extend the interim 2-Line segment all the way to Lynnwood. A small hiring bump is required.

      5). When East Link enters demonstration phase testing, a small hiring bump is required.

      6). When Redmond Link enters demonstration phase testing a small hiring bump is required.

      7). All done.

      Something like the above phased approach is the only reasonable option I see that would allow for opening the various segments as they become ready, while simultaneously smoothing out the hiring and training requirements.

      Hopefully someone out there is thinking along the same lines, because letting Lynnwood Link sit fallow for a year waiting for OMF-E access is not an option, hiring for a Big Bang opening would be highly problematic, and trying to operate a standalone 1-Line all the way to LTC would be nearly impossible just by cranking up frequency mindlessly.

      1. Passenger load on an in service Lynnwood Link can’t be met with just the 1-Line. Lynnwood Link essentially needs an interlined 2-Line to function properly.

        I’m not so sure. It is true that CID to Redmond is farther than CID to Federal Way. So even if it was possible to run trains every 4 minutes in Rainier Valley that would require more trains (and drivers). But running every 6 minutes would likely make up for the difference. In other words, running trains every 6 minutes from Federal Way to Lynnwood costs about the same as running trains every 8 minutes on each branch.

        I think trains running every six minutes should be able to handle the load. I wouldn’t expect crowding to increase dramatically as the train gets to Lynnwood. Most of the peak-period riders from the north end are already on the train. Going from 8 minute headways to 6 increases capacity by a third, which is likely more than enough. If we were running trains every 6 minutes now (because of capacity issues) then I would be worried, but we aren’t.

        Storage may be a problem though. I would imagine the agency is look at all of this.

      2. I think another way to implement Lazarus’ solution is as follows:

        1. When Lynwood opens, run as many trains as possible, given staffing and/or vehicle storage constraints.
        2. If crowding occurs in Seattle (likely between U District and ID), run some trains Lynnwood (or NG) to ID (or SoDo), reducing frequency between downtown & Angle Lake to have the same overall deployment of staff & fleet.
        3. As staffing constraints ease, run more trains.

      3. @RossB,

        It’s not a cost issue, it is a capacity and hiring issue.

        Adding 33% capacity by cranking frequency also increases LRV storage capacity by almost the same amount, and they are already near their storage limit.

        And the real pax capacity need is between UWS and CHS. All those extra, high frequency LRV hours you add to address UWS-to-CHS just get wasted near the termini, while making the hiring wave and LRV storage issues just that much worse.

        And the big jump in hiring to support going to high frequency on the entire 1-Link all at once would is still problematic. They can sort of split the difference by keeping 8 min headways during demonstration phase testing and then going to 6 mins at start of revenue ops, but it really doesn’t make that big of a difference.

        Plus you have all the schedule reliability issues of running Link in the RV at 6 min frequencies.

        And I have it in high authority that 6 mins is not enough. So that is three strikes.

        Na, my proposal is to do something a bit more nuanced. Use a short segment of the 2-Link to add pax capacity just where you need it (NGS -to-IDS), while slowly expanding the system to even out the hiring and training waves. Essentially interline just where you need the added pax capacity, while reducing base frequency system wide to address the LRV storage problem and even out the hiring waves.

        Hopefully the base frequency of the entire system can be reduced enough to meet LRV storage constraints, while the short interlined segment operating at twice that frequency would have enough capacity to address the choke point.

        Detailed analysis is required. Someone at ST has a desktop scoping tool. They should be able to crank out an answer pretty quick.

        And starting now with a short 2-Link interim line allows ST staff to gain experience running the interlined, two line system before committing to a Big Bang opening. That is an additional bonus.

      4. @AJ,

        Correct. And that is effectively baked into my proposal in steps 2 thru 4.

        Basically I’d propose staying at the reduced frequency and short interim 2-Link until such time as OMF-E access is assured for overnight storage and maintenance. This keeps the Westside storage requirements at the minimum required per operations. .

        Once OMF-E access is obtained ST could either restore base system frequency first, or extend the interim 2-Link all the way to Lynnwood first. Which one you choose really depends on how close you are operating to your secondary choke points and where those choke points are in the system, but doing it in two steps helps even out the hiring requirements.

        But basically the goal is to slowly ramp up hiring while gaining operational experience and (hopefully) staying within your LRV storage capability.

        Detailed analysis required.

      5. @AJ,

        Oh, and the reason to run a short interlined segment of the 2-Link IDS-to-NGS is that it actually starts to mimic the way the final, two line system will look, feel, and operate.

        If ST was to split the north and south parts of 1-Link into two separate lines with different frequencies, it would be an odd ball configuration that doesn’t incrementally get ST to its final operating state. That is the goal here, to incrementally approach the final operating configuration while gaining experience and smoothing out the hiring wave.

        And I’m pretty sure operating two segments of the 1-Link at different frequencies would be an operational nightmare. Probably not even possible.

        But interlining is. That is the way the system is designed to operate.

      6. It’s not a cost issue, it is a capacity and hiring issue.

        No one said it was a cost issue. My was simply pointing out that running every six minutes requires fewer drivers (and trains) as running on both branches every eight minutes. Here is the (rough) math*:

        Lynnwood to Federal Way — 73 minutes (144 round trip)
        Lynnwood to Redmond — 60 minutes (120 round trip)

        Lynnwood to Federal Way, 6 minute spacing: 24 trains
        Lynnwood to Federal Way, 8 minute spacing: 18 trains
        Lynnwood to Redmond, 8 minute spacing: 15 trains

        So running every six minutes actually requires fewer trains and drivers. Storage may be a problem — as I mentioned — simply because they planned on storing some of these trains on the East Side. That could definitely be an issue.

        It doesn’t increase capacity as much, but we don’t need that much new capacity. A 33% increase in capacity is more than enough. Do you honestly think peak ridership will increase more than that because of this expansion? If so, why? Where will these riders be coming from?

        As far as reliability goes, I doubt it makes any difference. Either way you are running trains from Federal Way to Lynnwood. Running another train from Federal Way six minutes later versus running a train four minutes later from Redmond is a wash. This is also a temporary situation. Once East Link opens up it can go back to the way they planned all along. Oh, and this assumes that East Link opens later — I’m not so sure of that.

        * This doesn’t count the extra trains (and drivers) needed to turn around. The train doesn’t just immediately go the other direction. But still, this would be the same with either system.

      7. Also, all the scenarios have Federal Way opening last, so it’s really 6 minutes on Lynnwood to Angle Lake, not L to FW, right?

        FW Link has its own issue with needing to pivot to a long span bridge for a segment, so I don’t think ST planning staff needs to thinking through L to FW frequency without East Link in full operation.

      8. @RossB,

        I’m a bit confused about what point you are trying to make. If your point is just that operating 1-Link will take less resources than operating the entire Current+Lynnwood+East+Redmond+FW Link system, well then duh. That is obvious, but also irrelevant to the problem at hand.

        The problem ST will face first is that Lynnwood Link will be ready (current estimate) well before East Link, but Lynnwood Link effectively can’t operate without an interlined East Link. The line doesn’t have the capacity (even at 6 min headways), and OMF-W is too small.

        One course of thought is just to delay the opening of Lynnwood Link. Finish it, but let it sit unused until East Link comes online. Then do a Big Bang open of the entire system all at once.

        I find that solution to be unpalatable, and the hiring wave a Big Bang opening would create for ST would be more like s tsunami.

        My suggestion is meant to be a more nuanced approach that would ease the LRV storage problem by reducing frequency on the main 1-Link (ALS to LTC) while adding a short segment of the eventual 2-Link (IDS to NGS) to provide the required capacity across the capacity choke point in the system. A side benefit would be that the hiring tsunami is broken up into a series of smaller hiring waves and ripples.

        Detailed analysis required. But it has nothing to do with Federal Way Link.

      9. I appreciate lazarus and others offering up ways to smooth the hiring ramp-up for Link and the maintenance facilities. Raising pay ought to also be analyzed.

        I won’t waste any breath debating whether Lynnwood or Redmond should get Link first. If anything I say is construed as taking sides, that was not my intent. I just want it all to happen smoothly.

        I’m not convinced an interlined short 2-Line is necessary to handle ridership when Lynnwood Link opens for service (before the eastside). It certainly won’t be off-peak. Short runs will continue to be necessary after major events. Short runs could also be added during peak, just as has always been done, but with increased peak frequency. Maybe a slow ramp-up rather than jumping immediately to two-line mimickry.

        From what I’ve seen though, having braved a few train rides recently, capacity is not an issue and will not be until the pandemic is actually over. If ST continues to encourage general masklessness on trains, ridership is going to remain much less than it could have been if ST gave a darn about the health and safety of its passengers and work force. I pray that my ranting on this topic becomes moot sooner rather than later, but ST is not helping that happen.

        Limiting effort to surface hygiene theater in the face of the overwhelming evidence that the virus is transmitted from one person’s exhalations to another’s inhalations, and that masks are the best tool to prevent catching and spreading the virus, is, well, quite aggravating. If ST wants ridership back, it can add wearing nose-and-mouth coverings to the passenger code of conduct.

      10. I’m a bit confused about what point you are trying to make.

        I’m not sure why you are confused. I’ve written this several times. Here, I’ll write it in bold: There is enough capacity if the trains run every six minutes.

        That is a 33% increase! The trains aren’t crowded now (otherwise they would run them every six minutes). So to have a problem you not only have to increase ridership around 33%, but you also have to get to the point where we actually have crowding. You keep claiming that there won’t be enough capacity, but you don’t explain where that gigantic increase (in peak ridership) will come from. The only substantial increase in peak ridership will come from Snohomish County bus riders. But many are taking Link already. But there is an more important phenomenon worth mentioning: Peak ridership has dropped substantially, especially from the more distant suburbs. The 510 has dropped to 27% of what it was in 2019. The 511 — which forces a transfer — is even worse. It has dropped from 50k to 12k a month (10/19 to 10/22). The 512 has been more resilient, showing that all day ridership has recovered much faster than peak ridership.

        I don’t have data for CT “commuter” buses (the buses that go to Seattle during peak) but there is no reason to believe it follows a different pattern. Overall weekday ridership is about half of that it was (20,000 trips compared to 38,000) while weekend trips are almost back to normal ( It would stand to reason that most of the ridership loss is due to folks no longer commuting into Seattle.

        If this was 2019 we might have a problem, but it’s not.

      11. I also appreciate Lazarus’s posts on this issue.

        The article in the Times pits this as a Bellevue vs. Lynnwood fight, which probably is not good for Lynnwood.

        But as Lazarus has pointed out, the issue with opening Lynnwood Link first is too many riders. The issue with opening a segment of East Link from S. Bellevue to Overlake first is too few riders, although the OMF is on the Eastside.

        I think the East Link segment is to bail out Balducci with Eastside developers. The Times’ article seems to miss the fact East Link does not actually go to Bellevue, and development along the route will be delayed several years due to market conditions and interest rates.

        I still worry about capacity across I-90 on East Link when it opens. Opening Lynnwood first and figuring out how to manage capacity is a better move as Lazarus has argued.

        I also think ST needs a win, now, and needs to let SnoCo and Pierce Counties their tax dollars will result in service. Opening a segment of East Link by definition is a loss. East Link could be delayed until 2035 and I doubt the Eastside citizens will care transit ridership is so low. East Link will need a revitalized downtown Seattle to really work and that is years and a new council away. The spine from Lynnwood to Federal Way should open first. Those folks need the transit.

      12. The Lazarus operations scenario is a reasonable approach. I’ll add that an early Westside 2 Line can’t be easily operated until the 2 Line plinths are fixed just south of the line split to allow for easier reversal. In theory there could be other ways to reverse trains south of Stadium on the third track or through the original OMF (although SODO street blockages maybe aggravating) but the outcome requires real-world testing.

        Still, this is an operations challenge. This is why rail transit agencies hire senior staff who understand train loads and operations and can adjust trains in the field from one day to the next in crowded systems around the world.

        First off, the peak direction loads after Lynnwood Link opens must be fully understood. If a train can carry 600-800 people and there are 10 trains in the same hour, that’s getting to 6K to 8K riders an hour capacity. We shouldn’t have to crunch the numbers. ST operations management should.

        A reasonable solution then becomes adding occasional short-turning trains. Those trains may only have three cars depending on OMF-C storage capacity and the level of overcrowding. It could be that the overcrowding could be solved by simply having a few trains (with drivers) on standby at one end and a savvy dispatcher knowing when and how to send them into service during the very peak times. This also works for more game day service, when crowding is at its worse. It doesn’t have to be full 2 Line operation. It may only be needed an hour a day in each direction.

        Then the next opportunity comes when full Line 2 testing begins. It opens up OMF-E but it also may carry some operations challenges depending on how the testing works. Without sounding too pessimistic, we still don’t know whether testing will find more problems or not. Even though we don’t expect problems, that shoe could easily drop and really delay things.

        Another note is that with the 2 Line there are new destination signage and train control systems involved. ST needs to get ready for this in addition to opening the new 2 Line stations. This too must be tested and made to work flawlessly. Signal systems have caused some recent opening month/ year delays in other transit systems. I’d rather that ST get the new system confirmed well before a full 2 Line opening.

        Finally, what happens if overcrowding materializes? Is it morning or afternoon? What about waiting riders at intermediate stations? Riders simply have to wait one or two or three trains before squeezing on. If a rider has to wait two trains it’s an added 12 minutes of travel delay maximum. That’s when ST should employ crowd management staff to monitor station platforms.

        I believe that delaying Lynnwood Link opening because of overcrowding is the last desperate solution, especially once Line 2 testing starts. There are plenty of ways to manage crowds in the field. Boston and San Francisco have managed crowds with much shorter light rail trains for decades. So let’s not let ST staff laziness and stupidity in train crowd management (covered up with excuses that they are already rolling out in the press) create a delay in starting up our public investment to Lynnwood. I refuse to let the staff off the hook so easily.

      13. @RossB,

        The article states that Lynnwood Link will add 40,000 new pax, which is a 50% increase over current levels.

        And I have it on high authority that 6 mins won’t be enough. Sorry, I can’t say more.

      14. The estimates are for long term ridership, not what we should expect in the next couple years. It also includes people who simply shift where they catch the train. You keep ignoring this very salient fact: Peak suburban ridership is way down.

        We simply don’t need that many trains. Just do the math. Seriously, where are all these peak riders going to come from?

      15. @Al.S,

        A few things to consider.

        1). ST currently adjusts frequency a couple of times a day. That process involves adding and removing LRV’s at OMF-W. The procedures for doing this are in place and are in use already. They are fully FTA approved and with trained personnel in place. Ditto for using the tail track at NGS.

        As for how to handle the turn backs for a short, interim 2-Link, I’d start with these already approved procedures and trained staff. Operating a short, interim 2-Link line wouldn’t be that much different than what ST does today at frequency shifts, except it will just be more continuous.

        2). As per the two interlined lines crossing the street grid in SoDo and mucking up traffic, keep in mind that this isn’t any different than the situation that would exist anyhow if the base frequency of standalone 1-Link was to go to 6 mins or less as some people propose.

        Additionally, the crux of my concept is that the base frequency of 1-Link would go down. So if the base frequency was at 10 or 12 mins, then the interlined section in SoDo would see crossings at 5 or 6 mins in each direction. Probably still not desirable, but survivable given the small number of crossings and short duration of the concept.

        3). Revenue service for the interim, shortened 2-Link would need to end at IDS. This would mimic the final config and get the user base a bit more experienced with two line operation, but would mainly need to be done for event reasons. Aka, you wouldn’t want crush loaded LRV’s going out of service to do their turn at OMF-W after a Seahawks game. All those pax would need to be kicked off the 2-Link train at SoDo Station, but the next train coming would be a crush loaded 1-Link with no room for them to get back on. You’d quickly end up with thousands of drunk and angry pax standing around at SoDo Station. And that would not be good.

      16. Oh, and here is another very important point. If Community Transit — the only possible source for a major increase in ridership — were in the least bit worried that about crowding on the trains, there is an obvious solution: Delay the restructure. If CT doesn’t restructure, peak ridership will barely increase. Riders will simply continue to take the express buses.

        Where else would the ridership come from? Very few people are going to walk to the these stations. Even fewer will get off the bus and take the train (those riders already take an 800 series bus). The 510 can be truncated in Lynnwood and it is rounding error. The Metro express buses obviously don’t carry many riders, which explains why Metro is cancelling them. The one express that will exist will actually poach ridership from Link. The only place where we could have a substantial increase in peak ridership is from CT buses, and CT could always continue them (although again, ridership is way down, so if ST increases the trains even a tiny bit there is nothing to worry about). Going from 8 to 6 minutes is not a tiny bit.

      17. Ross raises a question I have: how sure are we crowding will occur after Lynnwood Link opens if East Link is not operating on either the east or west side? I imagine any crowding would be peak. How many folks from Snohomish Co. and Lynnwood are taking Link to areas south of Northgate during non-peak times? ST express bus ridership is way down. Lazarus notes he has propriety information, but if it comes from ST and has anything to do with future ridership estimates I have my doubts.

        Why not open Lynnwood Link without the gymnastics of interlining Line 2 just on the west side, with 6-minute frequencies. East Link will have at best 8-minute frequencies when it opens, and according to ST (pre-pandemic) will be able to handle 53,000 riders/day, mostly peak hours. Probably like Lynnwood Link it is ST’s ridership estimates that will be wrong, and false estimates have caused a lot of grief (at least on the eastside) for years.

        Skip opening a limited East Link segment altogether. That is a bad idea without pitting it against Lynnwood Link. I also think it would be a terrible message to Pierce, S. King and SnoCo if a low ridership limited segment of East Link opened that doesn’t even serve any developed areas today when there will be very few riders and the demographic is not excited about Link anyway. Opening a limited section of East Link that will have very low ridership will open ST up to ridicule.

        I still don’t think an eastside only segment for East Link makes sense. I would prioritize opening Lynnwood because SnoCo needs to see Link will actually serve it after paying taxes for a long time, and opening Lynnwood Link completes a very long run of Link, including to the airport and downtown Seattle, and would relieve costs on CT. Plus a lot of cities and areas along this route of Link have accepted higher than required GMPC housing targets and have plans to uzpone in place around Link stations, whereas the eastside is either upzoning so massively the projects will take many years, or no upzoning at all.

        What is the worst that could happen? Link 1 during some parts of the day will actually be crowded, like ST always predicted. If the riders appear I am sure there are ways to manage the capacity with Lynnwood Link although I have my doubts capacity will be an issue. If capacity is actually an issue in some ways that is a win for ST.

        The real issue is priority. If Lynnwood Link is ready open it. East Link has at least three more years, maybe more, and without a lake crossing to downtown Seattle makes little sense to us eastsiders. We drive if going east. We can wait, both for East Link to fully open and downtown Seattle to become a destination we want to go to again.

        Lynnwood needs and deserves Link, and the northern cities along the way. Let’s hope capacity is an issue, but I have my doubts it will be so start with 6-minute frequencies and see if the riders appear. The Seattle Times just had an article noting how much traffic congestion has declined since 2019, because folks are just traveling less on all modes.

      18. Ross presents one way to abate potential overcrowding: simply delay the restructuring.

        Ross also points out that its peak ridership that has lessened more than daily ridership has.

        Crush loads will never exist for more than an hour or two or maybe three in each direction even with the 40K riders that Lazarus mentions. That’s not a reason to have no service, and is instead a reason to have supplemental service at peak hours.

        Not opening Lynnwood Link at all before East Link remains to me a giant staff-manufactured excuse. It’s a contrived problem because ST senior staff are basically incapable of running a crowded system in real-time — but they are also too arrogant and lazy to admit their incompetence and prepare solutions.
        Meanwhile, dozens of crowded Metro systems around the world have managed overcrowding in real-time for decades. Face it: ST senior staff are being lazy here and not solutions-oriented.

        I’m even wondering if the tacit objective of senior staff is to never open Link fully — because they keep their “authority” status as long as it doesn’t open. One just has to look at the initial hype over pretty new stations that have failing vertical conveyances to understand that ST defaults to selling a dream and not a reality to see what I mean.

      19. Lazarus, the 40K estimate for Lynnwood Link assumes that the 2-Line runs through to the Eastside. It’s not going to be 40K simply because the 10-20% of those Lynnwood Link riders headed to the Eastside won’t be using Link!

    2. Well, this is certainly an off-top thread. I’m as guilty as anyone in adding to it. I hope to have an open thread soon, where we can rehash these same arguments.

  15. Hopefully not too far adrift on topic, but I’d like ST to figure out a plan for paratransit rider assistants, which could conceivably be done by station security or fare ambassadors, with proper training.

    As Link gets longer, there will be more transfers from paratransit bus to Link to paratransit bus (as opposed to really long rides on a single paratransit bus that ends up taking over an hour due to traffic, and may involve the same bus deadheading back toward their base).

    For some paratransit riders, this could involve an assistant meeting the bus at the bus transfer facility, escorting them to the platform, assisting with securements or finding a seat, if relevant, and having an assistant waiting at the other platform to escort the passenger to the bus transfer facility, with communication from the first assistant including a photo of the passenger, which LRV the passenger is on, and whether securements need to be returned. The paratransit bus driver generally has to stay within sight of their own bus, which is why assistants are needed.

    Some paratransit riders, though, have to have an escort with them at all times, for various reasons, so a fare ambassador might need to switch to ride-along duty, and then can pick up with their main job after handing the passenger off to the second paratransit driver.

    1. For what it is worth, ST is definitely aware of issues involving disabled riders. I was riding Link the other day and the trains stopped a while at Roosevelt while the driver announced that the elevators at Northgate were out. Those that couldn’t ride the escalators (or walk the stairs) should get out now and ride the elevator to the surface, where a van would take them to Northgate.

      They could probably do more, but I was impressed that the word had gotten out, and they were going out of their way to deal with the situation.

    2. I think it’s an excellent point about assisting riders in need.

      However, I think the overarching prevailing attitude at ST is to only do what the law (ADA) requires and spin the effort as if it’s enough or even spectacular! It pervades the agency from doing the minimum in early design (lack of redundant elevators even when additional ones appear easy to add like at Mt Baker Link) to artificial maintenance targets (set at 95% regardless if there is redundancy or not — which is still 18 days a year singularly and is 72 days a year if four elevators are required for a single trip) to staff training (narrow job descriptions rather than more general station agents doing a variety of tasks).

      Most agencies with appointed boards have at least one member who is mobility challenged. Is there an elected ST Board member who is?

    3. Glenn, there is a bigger shortage of healthcare assistants than bus drivers. I don’t see a transfer to Link making sense. The most time consuming and laborious process is getting an individual into and out of para transit, especially if a wheelchair is involved. Where would the assistant meet the patient, and who would pay for the additional labor. A lot of times someone who has had major medical treatment doesn’t want to be in public.

      Most para transit trips are during non peak times and qualify for HOV lanes. The liability to transfer someone to Link, ride with them, and then get them back onto para transit for last mile access is not worth the cost, time and liability, especially with elevators and escalators sketchy in Link stations. My guess is paratransit vans and shuttles will remain A to B without a transfer to Link.

      1. Yes, there are paratransit riders for whom van-to-Link-to-van does not work. There are others for whom it would work. There are many categories of paratransit riders, and medical appointments are just one of the many places to which paratransit riders go.

        Saving money by not having to have an operator transport someone from Lynnwood to Federal Way is part of the point. Making that ride smoother than it would be on a van, and more enjoyable, is another part of the point. Smoother rides reduce liability.

        That said, Metro/ST/CT could look at this and decide there isn’t a large enough use case to bother setting up a program like this.

        Also (to another commenter), trains may be disabled. People merely have disabilities, and different abilities.

  16. Ouch. I live at Lake City Way and NE 85th St, and this restructure is going to make it much more miserable to take transit. Right now I can get to or from Roosevelt Link by taking the 522, 322, or 73. I can take the 73 directly to the U District. I can take the 522 up to Lake City Fred Meyer. After this restructure, getting to Link will involve walking all the way up to Roosevelt to take the 67, or walking down to 25th to take the (3)72, then doing the long transfer walk at UW. Getting to Lake City will require walking down to the (3)72 and carrying groceries back up the hill. Getting to the U District will involve slogging through campus on the (3)72 instead of the direct route on the 73. Yikes.

    1. I agree, and I think this is by far the biggest problem with this proposal. I plan on writing up an editorial post about it. There are several possible solutions, but ultimately that corridor should have frequent service (which is loosely defined as buses running every 15 minutes in the middle of the day).

      Prior to the pandemic, ridership around that area was very high on the 522 (where stop numbers were easy to access*). Around 400 people used that stop, which is more than any stop outside Seattle. Even the Kenmore Park and Ride (which was by far the most popular stop north of Lake City) had fewer riders. All of this was before the construction in the area which increased the number of homes substantially. It was also before they ran buses frequently in the middle of the day, which tend to increase urban ridership more. It is a bad idea to abandon such a densely populated area.

      It is also worth noting that with the loss of the 73, this increases the service hole on the east side of Maple Leaf. The 372 does not stop on 95th. This leads to very long walks to the nearest bus stop (, This is to the nearest bus stop going anywhere.

      There are a number of solutions, the cheapest of which would be a bus from the Lake City Fred Meyer to the Roosevelt Station. This would run opposite the 72, providing very good combined headways for one of the most important corridors in the north end. It wouldn’t cost that much, but would be invaluable to a lot of riders.

      * See page 102 on

    2. While keeping route 322 serving Roosevelt Station doesn’t solve the problem of losing all-day local service along lower Lake City Way, I would suggest that the service hours would be better used providing all-day local service, to Roosevelt.

      The 320 may be getting decent ridership right now from Northgate to South Lake Union, because Northgate is currently a major transfer hub. But when Lynnwood Link opens, Northgate’s major-transit-hub-ness will be over. Maybe there are riders along the 322/522 corridor wanting to get to Northgate-area jobs, but the same is true of Roosevelt, and Roosevelt is still a faster path for those wanting an express route downtown, or a transfer to Link to get to the stations closest to their downtownish jobs.

      Regardless, the proposed 322 is hard to stomach when lots of local service is being lost. The real solution for connecting to First Hill from points north is amped-up local service from Capitol Hill Station.

      1. Brent, yes, Route 322 was a poor service investment with Northgate; the Lynnwood P2 version is weaker; the pathway via Northgate will be slower. The need is for two-way all-day service between Lake City and the Roosevelt Link station via SR-522. RossB points out that it duplicates Link by drawing riders to 5th Avenue only two blocks from Link. Today, Capitol Hill station and First Hill are connected by Route 60 and the FHSC; the DSTT stations and First Hill are connected by routes 2, 3, 4, and 12; the G Line will added in 2024.

  17. Now Mountlake Terrace Station has these HOV bus-only ramps that will never be used anymore.

    Or will they?

    Mountlake Terrace Station is now the perfect location for a regional bus hub. With light rail, it makes no sense to run a bus to Lynnwood or Seattle, but it makes tons of sense to use those ramps for a bus to Bellingham or Portland. Renting out space to these private regional providers allows us to keep this expensive infrastructure in use, while giving a central location for regional travelers to transfer to local buses and Link

    1. I’ve pointed this idea out before.

      The big challenge is apparently some state law that precludes having private transit vehicles stop at transit centers so I’ve been told. It’s terribly ironic in that public ownership of transit systems didn’t become widespread until the 1960’s and other prominent US transit centers today (Salesforce TC, Grand Central Station, DC Union Station, LA Union Station) have healthy relationships with private transit vehicles as well as retail vendors.

      I only have to point out that airports are large publicly owned entities that are de facto transit centers and rely almost exclusively on private transit vehicles. Imagine an airport with no vendors and no airlines and no private ground transportation. No one would want to fly.

      1. Greyhound and Amtrak don’t seem to have any issues stopping at Everett or Mt Vernon, which are owned by the transit agencies in those places.

      2. They aren’t active transit centers if no bus is using them and the network structure makes it likely that no bus will again.

        I don’t see intercity buses not continuing to downtown Seattle. And they can’t stop at the freeway station and immediately turn around or layover; they have to continue further to another exit.

    2. Private charter busses can pay for their own infrastructure on property they possess. Giving away public resources to them is the worst kind of public-private “partnership”.

      1. If they charged a rent equal to costs incurred, private organizations would never use it. Food trucks aren’t charged competitive parking rates for the spots they use, for example. It is just a scam to give private business an under cover handout. No thanks.

      2. Even private buses are much better than people driving SOVs because there aren’t enough buses. There are no public buses similar to Greyhound or the charters, so they aren’t competing with them. The only way to get from Mountlake Terrace to Mt Vernon or Bellingham on a public bus is to take one bus to Everett, wait for another bus to Mt Vernon, and another bus to Bellingham, at the infrequent times and spans they exist. There’s no public bus between Bellingham and Vancouver; people have pieced together trips that require walking a mile from the border to the nearest local bus stop. Public buses are about to vacate the Mountlake Terrace flyer station, so it will sit empty decaying if no other buses use it. CT taxpayers get no benefit or lower tax rate if it sits empty. The marginal cost of securing the station because private buses are using it is minimal. You can charge private bus companies for that service, but you can’t charge them a quarter of the entire cost or debt of the station. The station wasn’t built for them; it was built for another use that will soon be obsolete. Taxpayers paid for that other use, and got the full benefit of it. They should maybe have thought before building a flyer station over the freeway that would only be used for a few years.

      3. “If they charged a rent equal to costs incurred, private organizations would never use it.”

        Depends how you define “cost incurred”. The actual construction cost is a sunk cost, so I would define “cost incurred” to the additional cost to Sound Transit to have somebody use the bus stops vs. have them locked up and mothballed. As long as the lease is sufficient to cover stuff like electricity and repairs for vandalism, it sounds sufficient to me. And that seems like a small enough number to fit within Greyhound’s budget.

    3. Yeah, this has been discussed before. I’m not sure if I’ve ever read anything about it, other than what we’ve discussed here. I could see it being used by vanpools. Snohomish County has an extensive vanpool system. It doesn’t cost them much because they don’t pay for drivers. I could certainly see this being a useful stop.

      As far as regional buses go, that could work, but I think Lynnwood makes more sense. Lynnwood is a major regional hub for Snohomish County (bigger than Mountlake Terrace). With Link it connects to much of the north end of Seattle. Mountlake Terrace doesn’t really add to that.

      1. Good point. A suburban terminus should be at the northern end of Link, in the largest and most central city in the area.

      2. Yeah, I could easily see a Greyhound-type bus doing this: Vancouver, Bellingham, Mount Vernon, Everett, Lynnwood, Seattle, Federal Way, Tacoma…

        Obviously that isn’t an express, but it is quite reasonable in my opinion. It offers many riders a substantial time savings over either transferring in Tacoma/Everett, or backtracking from downtown. It has been a while since I’ve ridden Greyhound (or anything similar) but I seem to remember stops which lasted a very short time. Federal Way and Lynnwood would be stops like that. (They do take a little longer than a regular bus stop because they have to get the luggage out.)

      3. It takes Amtrak’s thruway bus quite some time to get to Everett and then extract itself once it gets there. Stopping at Montlake Terrace would add almost nothing to the travel time, and could save people a lot of time. The slow crawl from Montlake to downtown Seattle is a significant time sink that goes away with the ability to transfer to Link.

        I’m sure many would prefer to take the slow way of staying on the bus for an hour and not have to deal with their luggage. I’d rather not run the risk of missing my connecting train with Link sitting right there.

      4. One warning about the Mountlake Terrace freeway station – the acoustics are terrible, and all the concrete around acts as a sound chamber, amplifying the noise of I-5. Anyone waiting for a bus there with any kind of regularity had better be wearing hearing protection, or they *will* suffer hearing damage.

        I made the mistake of waiting for a bus there without protection once, and my ears were still hurting 30 minutes afterward. I vowed never to use that stop again, if I could possibly help it. By comparison, Other Puget Sound freeway stations, such as Yarrow Point, Evergreen Point, etc. even Montlake station (before it was demolished), I haven’t found to be as bad.

      5. If the acoustics at the freeway station are bad and there isn’t a strategic use, it makes since to just demolish the soon-to-be painfully loud albatross.

      6. What makes the acoustics that much worse than the dozen other freeway stations in the region? I used Eastgate flyover station regularly and it was loud but never bothersome.

        Maybe as a part of the fee to repurpose the station (it is very important to A Joy that we minimize private profit), Greyhound or whomever can invest in some sound dampening? It becomes their station so presumably they’d be interested in a better customer experience.

        To borrow terms from a recent post – regional buses should probably just stop at Lynnwood, but intercity buses would benefit by stopping at an interline station rather than Lynnwood or Everett TCs.

      7. Will there be any public buses using the Mountlake Terrace Freeway Station once the train station is open? Does the train station have similarly bad accoustics, several stories above the current freeway station?

        Has ST/CT pondered a good re-use of the freeway station once buses are out? Like having vanshare programs picking up and dropping off passengers?

      8. I’ve used Eastgate Freeway station several times; the acoustics are not nearly as bad as Mountlake terrace.

        My best guess why is that Eastgate Freeway station is elevated, providing some separation from traffic, whereas Mountlake Terrace, the cars zooming at 70 mph are just a few feet away.

        Another really bad acoustic spot, albeit without a freeway station, is I-5 through downtown, with all the sound bouncing off the concrete. If you’re in an enclosed vehicle, the sound is muffled and you don’t notice it too much, but I once did the Emerald City bike ride down the I-5 express lanes, and the volume was painful, just from traffic on the regular lanes, even with the express lanes nothing but bikes.

        Of course, during normal operation, I-5 has no bikes, but it does have motorcycles. And I don’t know how anyone who regularly rides a motorcycle through I-5 downtown for a few decades still has any hearing left.

      9. Stopping at Mountlake Terrace would add almost nothing to the travel time, and could save people a lot of time. The slow crawl from Mountlake to downtown Seattle is a significant time sink that goes away with the ability to transfer to Link.

        But it offers very little compared to Lynnwood. There are really three options with regard to serving Mountlake Terrace:

        1) Stop at Lynnwood only.
        2) Stop at both.
        3) Stop at Mountlake Terrace only.

        Lynnwood is much better than Mountlake Terrace, so option three is out. I don’t think it is worth stopping at both. Mountlake Terrace is not special. Yes, it is easy to serve, but with Greyhound the time is spent coming to a complete stop, opening up the luggage rack, etc. This would be in addition to the stop at Lynnwood (where much the same thing would happen). Meanwhile, for those who live in the north end of Seattle (like me) the difference is minimal. Using the stop at Mountlake Terrace might even take more time than Lynnwood (depending on how far it is to walk between the bus stop and train platform). The only people who would save significant time are those who walk to the Mountlake Terrace station, or those who take connecting buses. It just isn’t worth serving so few riders.

        The only reasonable approach is that first one. Just serve Lynnwood.

    4. I had dreams of a private pick-up point for BoltBus just outside of Lynnwood Station being the southern terminus for the Lynnwood-to-King-George (replacing Seattle-to-Vancouver) route, until it went bust. I’d still love to see Greyhound have such a route, with several trips all day.

      Being able to walk to nearby eateries with decent restroom facilities is key. Mountlake Terrace Freeway Station is not that, and the Greyhound buses take waaay too long to board to have them block MTFS. Being next to a brand new high-rise Marriott helps, too, though I would have preferred permanent workforce housing there.

      1. I agree. It would also eventually be nice to have a Bellevue->Vancouver bus for eastsiders, as having to go to Seattle first to board the bus adds considerable door to door travel time. Such a bus could also serve Lynnwood, also picking up riders from north Seattle taking Link to the bus. With Mountlake Terrace, such a route would simply not work.

    5. Donde: Mountlake Terrace has center station and not center access ramps. If Link had been provided on SR-99, the MT center station might have been used by a Everett to Northgate fast bus via Lynnwood. But ST took a different fork in the road.

  18. I don’t have the link on me, but the urbanist recently did a take that shoreline wants to build their own ped bridge over I-5 connection the Link station to the neighborhood to the west. This will provide a good number of homes between I-5 and Aurora an alternative over waiting up to 30 minutes for the 46. I used to know someone who lived there that commuted to the UW, who could have really used this. At the time, their best option was to take the E line to 85th and transfer to the 48 (now, the 45 after the U Link service restructure). Decent frequency on both routes, but still quite slow.

      1. Will there not be a safe pedestrian path over I-5 along NE 145th St?

        And will this pedestrian bridge be used as an excuse to make the 145th bridge all about cars moving fast?

      2. Read the article?

        Sounds like the new 145th bridge will be an improvement – The Urbanist is grumpy about lack of a dedicated bike facility on 145th, but otherwise they sound positive. Changing the intersections to roundabouts with median refuges should be a big improvement in pedestrian safety, and the bridge will have wider sidewalks.

      3. @AJ,

        Ya, the 148th St Ped Bridge is a city of Shoreline project that has been in the works for awhile now. It would cross I-5 at 148th and then connect to a new ped/bike way that would roughly follow the property line between the two churches on the west side of the freeway, connecting with all the new construction in that area.

        I generally prefer the design over the one at NGS. I tried to get my in-laws to purchase their townhome in that area and one of the things I stressed to them was the eventual Ped Bridge at 148th. They would have been perfectly located.

        But the price point was a bit high, so they bought near 185th St Station instead – no ped bridge required!

        A ped bridge at 130th would go unused. Too few riders in that area and no up zone.

      4. A ped bridge at 130th would go unused. Too few riders in that area and no up zone.

        Wrong on both counts. 130th essentially sits on a plateau, which connects to the west. This includes the various neighborhoods (Haller Lake, Ingraham) but also the Interurban. In contrast, 148th is down the hill. Thus biking over 130th would be at least as popular as biking over 148th. As far as places nearby, eventually the 130th area will be upzoned.

        The challenging part for 130th (other than funding a bridge) is what to do for the street itself. Some bike riders want to change 130th into a three-lane road (one lane each direction and a center turn lane) along with bike lanes. While this would benefit bike riders it would hurt the buses (presumably). I think a better approach is to create a bike lane on 128th (3A on this map) along with fixing up Roosevelt between 1st and Aurora (6 on the map). At that point, the crossing is not a big deal, even if it isn’t ideal. At worst you walk your bike across the sidewalk, from 1st to 5th. More about the plans are here:

      5. As someone who walked and biked frequently over I-5 at both 130th (when travelling to the Aurora coridor/Interurban) and 145th (when catching the 512 or when I felt mildly suicidal), I agree. Crossing 130th is a much more pleasant experience, mainly because of the lack of a northbound freeway on-ramp.

        The quiet (though non-shoulder) Roosevelt Way diagonal should really be a greenway. It’s the obvious route between I-5 and Aurora for non-motorized users in the area.

        145th is an absolutely nightmare for everyone. Peds, Bikes, Kids, Dogs.

        I would hope they really throw a full complete-streets treatment onto 130th. Those kids at Ingraham deserve better.

      6. It’s not that I didn’t take 128th, I just always regretted it, once I hit Aurora.

        Unless they are going to provide vast improvement to that intersection, which is highly unlikely given how close to 130th it is, it’s simply unusable for those who have a will to live.

      7. @Cam — This is being discussed right now, on the NW Greenways Google Groups (an email list — It is the first thread. We are forming a group to make sure a lot of these issues get addressed by SDOT. Let me know if you are interested (don’t put your email here — I can look it up if you are interested in joining the group).

        It is a long thread, but I think I can summarize it: SDOT is going to add a traffic light at Ashworth ( This is great. They are also planning on turning 130th into a 3-lane road (with bike lanes). This is controversial. I fear it would screw up bus travel, the main reason they added the 130th station.

        There are alternatives. Instead of fixing up 130th, we would fix up 128th (which includes a crossing over Aurora) and fix up Roosevelt Avenue between 1st and Aurora (at a minimum make it a Greenway). That would provide bus paths that in my opinion are better than a 130th bus path. It means that the buses don’t interfere with the bikes, and vice-versa. East of the station is a trickier nut to crack.

        That leaves the section between 1st and 5th (the station). I would close 3rd, north of 130th, in the same way that Ashworth is closed south of 130th. It is a dead-end for cars, but bikes and pedestrians can walk through. (You would need approval by the neighbors, but many would prefer it that way.) At worst that means you at least have a safe way to travel there (by riding on the sidewalk). Ideally you add a new pedestrian/bike bridge. You could add bike lanes for that section, but you would need BAT lanes, to ensure that the buses don’t get stuck in the merge.

        I have ridden that area, and right now, all of it sucks. I tried Roosevelt because it is supposed to be better but I hated it. I’m just not an aggressive bike rider any more (I don’t like sprinting). I’m not fond of Haller Lake either. If anything, the small section over the bridge was the least of my worries. The area definitely needs work, and the city has several proposals that are worth building ( My main concern is that they don’t slow down the buses in the process.

      8. @RossB,

        The 130th St Station makes the Bellevue East Main Station look like the best idea ST ever had.

        Comparing the two stations is sort of like comparing Hatten (WA) to Manhattan (NY). On paper the names appear somewhat similar, but anybody who has actually been to both places will tell you they are very different!!!!!

        And a lot of the area around the 130th St Station doesn’t even have sidewalks.

      9. @Lazarus — You are not new to this blog. This subject has been covered, over and over again. You keep repeating the same argument, while ignoring the reason the station is being built in the first place. Let me go over this again, this time in bold: The station is a bus intercept. In other words, the vast majority of riders will arrive by bus. This is true of most of the new stations. It is definitely true of 145th. Without this restructure — you know, the one that we are supposed to be focusing on — ridership on 130th and 145th would be abysmal. They would be the lowest performing station in our entire system. There simply aren’t going to be that many people who walk to 130th or 145th. It is just the unfortunate product of building the station so close to the freeway.

        As for the bridge(s), the main purpose is to improve bike and pedestrian travel. Relatively few will walk over either bridge and take Link. More will ride and take Link, but many more will just keep going on their bike. Shoreline has done a very good job building bike infrastructure, and this is an important part of it.

        You also seem to assume that the area around 145th will change, but 130th will not. That is simply not true. It is simply a matter of time before the area around 130th gets upzoned and they build there. I don’t think anyone who has been looking at it feels otherwise. It is just a matter of when, and how much.

      10. Just in case someone doesn’t know what the area around this 130th Link station looks like (link below). True, there will be almost no walkups to this station. And many people near Aurora will take the E Line to downtown, and many people in south and north Lake City will be taking buses up to either Northgate station or 148th station, there will be some people in central Lake City who will take a bus up to 130th station. But, the real value will come in a couple of decades, when the desolate station area starts to develop, much like 14th and Market will develop if a Link station is placed there.,-122.32595855,154.14802948a,862.21949022d,35y,45.18395989h,59.97072221t,0r

      11. But, the real value will come in a couple of decades, when the desolate station area [around 130th] starts to develop, much like 14th and Market will develop if a Link station is placed there.

        Sorry Sam, but you are wrong. The real value is in connecting people who live on this corridor with Link. It is remarkably similar to 145th. Consider the potential for walk-up ridership:

        1) Golf course nearby.
        2) Parks nearby.
        3) Next to the freeway.

        All of these eat up potential development. There will never be a lot of walk-up riders. The same is true of 145th.

        The vast majority of riders at both stations will arrive by bus. The reason this is true for 145th is obvious, so let me explain (once again) why 130th is special:

        1) It is the fastest way to get from Lake City to a Link station. Northgate is full of twists and turns that will only get worse when they redevelop the mall. Roosevelt works but it still takes longer (if they even build that). 145th would involve backtracking for many (something people tend to hate).

        2) It is a much faster way to get from the Bitter Lake neighborhood to a station. So much so that Metro is simply abandoning the (infrequent) Bitter Lake to Northgate bus (the 345). If you are in Bitter Lake and want to get to Link, 130th is your station.

        3) It isn’t just these two neighborhoods, it is the entire corridor. It includes stops at Pinehurst (15th NE) as well as Ingraham. The corridor doesn’t end at Greenwood, either. It extends up Greenwood Avenue to 145th and even loops around to the area close to Linden. Much of the corridor is likely to grow. I get why people are excited about the development on the other side of the 148th bridge, but these are town houses, not towers. I’m all for missing middle housing, but my point is that similar increases in density are likely to happen on the entire Lake City to Bitter Lake corridor.

        4) Not everyone is heading downtown. Yes, it is true, people headed downtown will continue to take the E. But if you are headed elsewhere, then you will take Link. Look at the current ridership. The only station that has fully recovered is Capitol Hill. Every other station has fewer riders. Overall UW ridership is up though — it has just largely shifted to the U-District station (a better station). People are taking fewer trips downtown, and more trips to other places.

        5) South of 185th it is the fastest way to get from Aurora to Link. Some riders will end up taking a two-seat ride to Link this way. Imagine you are at 175th and Aurora, and want to go to Capitol Hill. You stand there, waiting for the 333, knowing that it will eventually get you to Link. But an E comes by, and it is literally going your direction. So you hop on. At this point there are a number of different options, but the fastest one is to get off at 130th. It is also the one that takes you farthest along your journey without backtracking. Riders tend to favor combinations like that. This won’t add up to a huge number of riders, but it will add up.

        The only thing that would kill ridership around the 130th station is if Metro doesn’t run buses frequently along that corridor. 15 minutes is barely adequate — it should be 10. But then the 44 should run 10. Running the proposed 75 every 12 minutes, and the 44 every 10 seems quite possible. But so does something much worse. The people of Seattle want to spend more money on transit, but that doesn’t mean it will happen.

      12. There are already apartments starting at 8th, three blocks from 130th station. The upzone will add more. But the primary purpose of the station is for feeder buses from Lake City (Seattle’s fifth-largest urban village) and Bitter Lake (an emerging village with recent senior housing and significant redevelopment potential). A bus from Lake City to 130th Station would be much faster than a meandering bus to Northgate, and better than a bus to 148th (slower, out-of-direction, less dense pathway, and a freeway-entrance car sewer). There should be buses to all three, but the main and most important feeder is to 130th.

        I don’t see the point of a ped bridge at 130th across I-5. Isn’t the sidewalk itself adequate? West of I-5 is single-family houses if I remember, and I don’t think the upzone area includes that.

        I’ve only walked once on the 145th sidewalk between 15th and Jackson Park to tour the trail around the golf course and small wetland. I remember it being bad but I don’t remember if it was dangerous.

        There are two other dangerous places I remember: Kent-Des Moines Road where I worried about cars jumping onto the narrow sidewalk, so I walked right next to the wall, hoping drunk drivers would at least manage to stay away from the wall, the other was at 1st Ave S around 124th, a wide high-speed stroad with no sidewalk and no crosswalk. I looked at an adult family home there but didn’t take it, partly because if I crossed that a couple times a month I’d eventually get hit by a car. (Also the 131 is half-hourly and unreliable and there’s no bench at the stops.) 145th didn’t seem as dangerous as either of those, but it did seem bad.

      13. Actually, there’s scattered apartments all through the areas near these stations. I expect the area will change a bit as the stations start operating. It’s not like the strict single family zoning of certain other locations.

      14. This is great, Ross. I spent years helping scout, advocate and map for Lake City Greenways, and was happy to see much of that work bear fruit, even though I moved before much happened.

        NWGW was nascent back then, but looks like a solid team working on things now. Great to see! With Gordans energy, you are in good hands. I am focused on Tacoma’s many issues these days, but wish you all tons of luck!

        I can see your concern for 130th and buses, but 125th E of I-5 survived the conversion without much impact (except improved safety) with similar, and some points much higher volumes.

        Are they really planning a bike/ped bridge over Aurora at 128th just a stone’s throw from an existing one, that I rarely saw anyone use? Those types of bridges are just too high a barrier, when an at-grade option exists, even that option involves a beg-button or a risky frogger dash.

      15. “I don’t see the point of a ped bridge at 130th across I-5. Isn’t the sidewalk itself adequate?”

        It’s a scary experience for pedestrians. It’s extraordinarily dangerous on bike. I’ve had someone threaten to shoot me for taking a lane on 130th crossing fifth onto the bridge over I-5. I told him it would be much easier lower-risk to just to run me over. So you have to ride precariously across a no-buffer no-barrier, narrow sidewalk. One slip one way and you are in traffic, the other way you are on I-5.

      16. “East of the station is a trickier nut to crack.”

        It was, until the the majority of 125th got the 4->3 conversion. Not ideal, with no buffering, but it is much, much better and safer. Just finish it all the way to the station.

        The alternative would be to improve some of the residential roads south of the golf course. One idea would be to follow 130th, then bushwhack and improve a bike/ped path along the Thornton Creek fork, across 15th and past Olympic Hills.

      17. I don’t see the point of a ped bridge at 130th across I-5. Isn’t the sidewalk itself adequate? West of I-5 is single-family houses if I remember, and I don’t think the upzone area includes that.

        There are houses to the west of the station at 130th, and they are definitely within the area they are looking at for upzoning. Hard to say what will happen, but I expect that area to upzoned sooner rather than later. The city is looking at places that are within a ten minute walk. Even a five minute walk would include houses to the west.

        It is more of a “nice to have” compared to the bridge at 148th. The station at 130th will be very close to 130th. In contrast, the station at 148th is not that close to 145th. I would say it is more biking than anything else. It is unpleasant to walk or bike over the walkway. With more people walking it, this would make biking really difficult. As bridges go, it wouldn’t be that expensive, but it would probably rank below a lot of other projects.

      18. I happen to think 130th won’t be a busy station for quite a long time. I think only time will help. A lot of time. Maybe I’ll be proven wrong. We’ll see. I also believe that about a few other stations, like East Main and Bel-Red/130th. It will take years for them to become busy stations. I hardly think that’s a controversial thing to say.

      19. Sam: at many of the less than ideal MAX stations (see SE Foster Road / Lents) it took about 10 years for big new multi-family buildings to appear. Right next to I-205 so there are similarities. On the side opposite the freeway, where access is difficult due to the entrance ramp traffic, nothing has changed even some 15 years after the line opened.

      20. “I think 130th won’t be a busy station for quite a long time.”

        Maybe, but folks who live in Lake City aren’tvprimarily dilettante WFH coders. And there are a lot them. Lake City is dense. And they actually work for a living. Riding crushload 522s out of LCW for 5 years suggests to me you will be more wrong than right. Those LCW buses are vanishing, and are being replaced by the worst possible option. A slowboat to Northgate. The 18 minute shot to Westlake on offer is going to be popular. As long as you don’t put up too many barriers to access, people will come.

      21. Cam, all Lake City Link riders won’t all be headed for the 130th station. North Lake City residents will gravitate to the 148th station, and south Lake City residents will head for Northgate station. It’s only the middle portion of Lake City that will opt for the closer 130th station. Remember, Lake City boundaries lines up with three different Link stations. The route 522 picked-up the northern, middle, and southern parts of Lake City residents on its way to Seattle. So, not a good comparison.

      22. Agreed. And a lot of those riders on the 522 were coming from the northshore. Now a lot of those folks will be frustrated by the loss of their 1 seat ride and doubling of their commute, and so they either drive all the way, or park and ride at 148th. Making a very. very bad road, 145th, even faster, even more congested, even more evil, and a thing to be avoided if you can. I was always shocked to see people actually living on that road. It was like living on the craters-edge of an active volcano.

        The trip to Northgate is a slow winding painful one, which ends in congestion.

        I think people will gravitate towards 130th station. It might take a while because transit users will have had 2 years to build habits to 148th and Northgate, but it will be pretty obviously the better choice when it comes on line.

      23. Transferring to Link will not double one’s commute time, certainly not with Link running every 4 minutes. Worst case, maybe it takes an extra 5-7 minutes compared to a one-seat bus, in that extremely rare event where the one-seat bus encounters zero traffic on I-5. But, I can’t imagine any scenario short of a Link service outage where the transfer would double the trip time.

        Of course, in the afternoon trip, buses can be late, but with the one-seat ride, buses coming out of downtown can also be late. All in all, I would expect a bus truncated at Shoreline to be more reliable than a bus coming all the way from downtown.

      24. “I happen to think 130th won’t be a busy station for quite a long time.”

        Define “busy”. People keep saying one station won’t be busy, or another line won’t have enough passengers to justify the line, but they never say what their threshold is. How full does a train run have to be to justify itself? How many boardings per run counts as a busy station? I think people are overestimating the necessary thresholds.

      25. You may be right. I guess I was imaging what would happen to those in central Lake City, and projecting their doom on north shore.

        522 was routinely a 20 minute commute downtown from the stop at 125th. Rarely delayed because of hov express lanes and a dedicated transit exit.

        I can’t imagine the 61 to Northgate with a transfer won’t be very close to double that.

      26. The current 320 is like the future 322, so you can calculate the travel time:

        Southbound at 7:14am: 320 (125th-Northgate) 12 minutes + Link (Northgate-Westlake) 15 minutes = 27 minutes plus transfer time.

        Northbound at 5 pm: Link (Westlake-Northgate) 15 minutes + 320 15 minutes = 30 minutes plus transfer. (Assuming you board the 320 at 5:17pm.)

        The current 20 is like the future 61. Its southbound travel time is 12 minutes at 7:20 am; northbound is 18 minutes at noon, 21 minutes at 5:30pm.

      27. I was thinking of people coming from Kenmore or Bothell, who would be connecting to Link at 145th St., bypassing Lake City.

        Lake City, itself, gets the 65 to 130th St., but until 130th St. station opens, things do temporarily get worse, it looks like.

        That said, I do have a suspicion that the removed service along Lake City Way between Lake City and Roosevelt will be a common cause of complaint and that the final version of the restructure will end up adding it back. That would leave Lake City to downtown service essentially unchanged from today.

      28. Hmm, the 322 could go to Roosevelt Station instead of Northgate. That would help Cam Solomon’s commute, but not off-peak trips. It would save some service hours for, what? How far would it go toward a Lake City – Roosevelt route?

      29. I can see your concern for 130th and buses, but 125th E of I-5 survived the conversion without much impact (except improved safety) with similar, and some points much higher volumes.

        There are some heavily congested areas though. The bus manages to get through the worst of it by leaving the corridor and going on 125th. Going the other direction the bus uses a BAT lane to skip to the front of the traffic. That is basically what I’m getting at with this. It is important that buses be given consideration when it comes to these projects.

        Are they really planning a bike/ped bridge over Aurora at 128th just a stone’s throw from an existing one, that I rarely saw anyone use?

        No, that is for a signal, not a bridge. Right now you can’t cross there (legally). I have jaywalked there, and it was exciting. Put a traffic signal there (with a beg button) similar to other crossing of Aurora, like 100th, or better yet 92nd ( Notice how cars can’t go straight, and even turning onto the street is discouraged. This is one of the safest places to cross Aurora. There is no reason why 128th couldn’t be similar.

        One idea would be to follow 130th, then bushwhack and improve a bike/ped path along the Thornton Creek fork, across 15th and past Olympic Hills.

        That could work (I think that is 9 on the map). This could be paired on the other side with something on 125th (since there will be no buses there) or 123rd. That keeps you up on the plateau, while still allowing for a connection heading east. There was talk of adding a bike path underneath the train (north of Northgate). I haven’t heard anything since, but this could play into this. For example, you could get from the Interurban over to Pinehurst this way: Go across Aurora via the new light, and then pick up the new bike path that connects to the park. Head north on 1st (also in a bike path) until 130th. Go on the north side of the street (to avoid the cars getting on the freeway). Then pick up the bike path under the train, and you can go pretty much anywhere.

      30. Are they really planning a bike/ped bridge over Aurora at 128th just a stone’s throw from an existing one, that I rarely saw anyone use?

        No, that is for a signal, not a bridge. Right now you can’t cross there (legally).

        It’s perfectly legal to cross there. Like any other intersection without a sign prohibiting pedestrian crossing, Aurora and 128th is a legal crosswalk and drivers are required to stop for people crossing the street at that location.

        Legal or no, it’s currently not safe to cross there because most drivers are either unaware of the unmarked crosswalk law or choose not to follow it.

      31. “This could be paired on the other side with something on 125th (since there will be no buses there) or 123rd. ”

        Other side of 15th? I would hope there would be buses on 125th. Isn’t the 65 going to feed 130th? I’m sure I’m misunderstanding.

        Keeping high is always something to prioritize, though honestly, I don’t remember having too much success anywhere on the south side of 125th. Connectivity was bad east of Pinehurst, IIRC.

      32. Other side of the main arterial (125th/130th). Technically it is 125th/Roosevelt/130th, but few people write it like that. Anyway, that is the main transit arterial. I would like to see the city focus on assuring that buses can move quickly through there.

        For bikes, I envision a less direct, but safer and more pleasant set of routes. I would have bike paths north and south of the main arterial. These converge on the bridge (which would hopefully be wider). These corridors are listed on the map. Northwest of the station you have Roosevelt (6) as well as 137th (7). Southwest you have 128th (3A). Northeast you would have the sort of thing you just wrote about (9 or 9A). Southeast, at a minimum, you would have 117th and 25th (listed on the map as “funded projects”) along with a bike path that goes under the train. Some of these projects would need very little work. Others would be more involved (128th needs a traffic light as well as additional pavement, etc.).

        [Edit] I should mention that southeast of the station it is a plateau. There are minor dips, but going south, then taking a sharp turn east on 117th doesn’t involve much up and down. The big problem right now is crossing 117th, but the city may fix that any day now.

  19. Sam, what are you using as a walkable distance to get to Link for the 130th station? I personally don’t think folks will move close enough to an interstate to walk to Link, even if they plan to ride Link. Most comments on this blog have put the distance a transit rider will walk on flat surfaces at 1/4 mile. That would mean very tall towers right up against I-5 to create any kind of density for walkups, probably with little or no retail vibrancy in that community.

    Have we seen massive increases in housing density along Line 1 in the 20 years it has been open? Not really. Downtown has 4-5 Link stations if you include SODO and is not near a freeway, and yet if anything the number of folks living there has declined for other reasons despite population increases over that period. Population in the UW has to do with the UW, and same with Capitol Hill. Very little in S. Seattle where it was supposed to occur. Link might be more convenient than a bus, but I don’t see Link creating dense housing in its walkshed, especially if along an interstate. That is a ST myth.

    People always want the same thing: they want an interstate like I-5, or light rail like Link, (or an airport), but they don’t want to see it or hear it or be near it unless underground. If Ballard Link is at 14th that might be a problem right there. Even — especially — at 15th and 20th Ballard residents want it underground.

    I could see some high-end condos or apartments next to a Ballard Link underground station being popular but that is because they would be new and because they hopefully will be in a vibrant part of Ballard. Those same units would be just as popular if buses served the area, or no transit. Same with the 2300 new high-end units near U Village. People in this region pay a huge premium to live on the water, which by definition has almost no transit service, and for the most part Puget Sound or Lake Washington are not that usable.

    The claim about TOD and future density in this region is predicated on very high population growth estimates. But even then the PSRC estimates most of that new population will disperse into suburban and rural areas outside king Co., and some in S. King Co. Without that population growth we are just moving folks from one housing unit to another in a huge ST taxing district, and I doubt “TOD” along a freeway will be popular or incentivize folks to move from where they live now to a 1/4-mile walkshed at 130th and I-5.

    No doubt folks will want to use Link. But they would prefer to not live near it if along freeways, or like Ballard even if not near freeways if above ground. Transit is just not a key consideration when it comes to housing for most folks, even transit riders. Better to put up with feeder buses in a nice, quiet, tree lined North Seattle neighborhood than live next to I-5.

    1. Many people don’t have a choice of where they live. If the housing is by the freeway and it is the only thing they can afford because it’s less desirable, then people will live there.

    2. Again, the context of the station matters. You’d have to spend time in North Seattle as a bus rider and pedestrian to understand why 130th is important. Apartment dwellers live at 125th/130th if they can’t afford the higher rents in central Seattle, the U-District, or Northgate. There are already several unusually-dense lower-income apartment buildings in Lake City, and working-class jobs, and Fred Meyer and other retail, and a lot of room for growth. The car-dealership lot owners are even talking about building multistory housing on top of car dealerships. Ha ha. Or just build a multistory car dealerships like the ones in SODO and Roosevelt in the U-District. Bitter Lake has recent senior housing and the decaying K-Mart and Ross(?) lots ripe for redevelopment. So this is the BEST place to serve a large, lower-income, transit-using population, with significant room for growth and less opposition to it. Better than Crossroads, which is somewhat similar but is smaller and doesn’t have as much job or growth potential or willingness to upzone. Other comparable areas like Lynnwood and Federal Way are much farther out. Look at it as Link in Seattle serving the rich dense area (downtown to Northgate), a lower-income more residential area (Rainier/Beacon), and a lower-income are with room for large job installations (110th to 145th). The ST2 stations are at the edges of this area, while 130th station will be in the middle.

      1. As examples of the above, just take a street view stroll down Highway 99 (which is no quiet residential street) through Shoreline.

        Or take a look at the apartment buildings on the north side of 185th about 1/4th mile west of the station. There’s no reason those couldn’t exist on 130th.

      2. What was the original big-box store in the northwest corner of 130th & Aurora, across the street from K-Mart? What was thew building built for?

    3. Continuing re the context. I-5 at 130th is along 5th Ave NE — like it is in the U-District. Apartments already exist between 8th and 10th. I assume the upzone is 5th to 10th or so. The U-District has taller apartments along 5th and 8th than further east. (Although the upzone will change that; it’s centered on Roosevelt.) Obviously people don’t like to live near freeway noise or views. But people do because it’s presumably lower cost and higher availability than around Brooklyn and 15th. Why do people live in the apartments at Ash Way P&R? Wouldn’t they rather have local retail rather than just an express bus and nothing else? But lower middle-class and lower-income people don’t have that choice. The more desirable villages are full and cost more. So they live along 5th or in Lake City or at Ash Way P&R. The population is so high that units there fill up.

      Ideally we’d improve all neighborhoods with excellent walkability and retail choices, and put a lid over the freeway and silence it, and put Link on arterials like Aurora and Pacific Highway instead of I-5, or replace the freeway with a boulevard. But the politicians and public aren’t there yet. So we do the best we can. We get Link stations in or near all urban villages, even if the stations have to be on I-5. We upzone the villages AND the I-5 station areas. We mitigate the freeway noise as best we can. Developers know how to do that with thick windows, etc; they’ve been doing it ever since the Sea-Tac airport expansions, and we can have regulations to make sure they do here. We make sure there’s an east-west bus every 10-15 minutes. we watchdog ST’s station-entrance locations. We ask for the station to span 130th so there are entrances on both sides, or at least a good overpass or crosswalk/bike lanes.

      Bike lanes reminds me, Shoreline is planning a bike/walking trail along 5th under the track. 5th continues straight south to Northgate Mall, and Seattle has talked about continuing the trail through. Maybe not as expansively as Shoreline does, but hopefully something. (I-5 and Link detour west to 1st between 125th and 75th, so the trail would be away from the freeway there.)

      1. Bike lanes reminds me, Shoreline is planning a bike/walking trail along 5th under the track. 5th continues straight south to Northgate Mall, and Seattle has talked about continuing the trail through. Maybe not as expansively as Shoreline does, but hopefully something. (I-5 and Link detour west to 1st between 125th and 75th, so the trail would be away from the freeway there.)

        I think this would go a long way towards mitigating the need to add bike lanes on the 125th/130th corridor, where transit should be a priority. If you have a bike lane under the train from south of the 130th station, then you can intersect a bike path heading east. I think we should add more bike lanes on the residential streets. I think this was the mistake made by the last administration when they faced opposition to bike lanes on 35th. I would have called their bluff, and just added them on the residential streets. Make those streets one way for cars, with bidirectional bike lanes on one side of the street, and parking on the other. I would feel much safer riding on a street like that, then riding on an arterial where cars at any moment can cut in front of me (or into me) at a high speed.

      2. The western sidewalk of 5th is wide and has space next to it for a multimodal trail. I saw that on some part of 5th although I don’t remember where.

    4. There is no magic threshold for how far someone is willing to walk to a transit service. Someone may say “I won’t walk farther than 1/4 mile”, but when presented with a choice between walking 0.38 miles to a frequent bus that runs in a straight line to where they’re going or walking 0.17 miles to an hourly milk run only to ride it one stop to the other bus and have to transfer…of course, any sane person would just walk the extra 0.21 miles directly to the frequent bus.

      1. That’s handy if you can walk 1/2 mile (uphill) and don’t have to carry anything and it is dry but not too hot and safe and your time isn’t worth much. OR,

        You could get in your car in the garage that is 0.0 miles away.

        Not every choice is crummy vs sh$&%y transit service. Discretionary riders are not slaves.

        Is a rational person going to live right next to I-5 so they can be within a reasonable walkshed of Link? Of course not. That is why they don’t live there now. They will live someplace nice and take a feeder bus or drive. Or WFH. Or move.

        Like I said: if transit or freeway access were important to 99% of folks when choosing where to live Ballard and Magnolia and Windermere and most other places would be empty. Ballard is like living on the Plateau: like Pluto. But folks love living in both and property values reflect that.

        Transit has to go where the people are, which is tricky with fixed rail. God forbid we upzone all those remote SFH and reduce parking minimums. Then you will have powerhouses like Issaquah demanding all the Metro service from poor Seattle.

  20. Backing up a bit. Much of this proposal makes sense. Other parts are confusing to me. For example:

    1) The 336 is a coverage route, but between 185th Station and Aurora Village TC it overlaps other (more frequent) routes. Why? Is it supposed to give riders along that section of Aurora a one-seat ride to Link?

    2) Why is the 336 going on 155th, 150th and the backside of Lake City? I know it is a coverage route, but that seems like a waste. It would be especially annoying if you are on 5th, north of 155th (e. g. The Crest Theater at 165th). If you want to get to Link you have to take the bus north, up and around to the station. The vast majority of riders are heading the other direction.

    3) Why is the 333 between Shoreline Community College (SCC) and Mountlake Station frequent? It is hard to see the big use case. Aurora Village back up to Mountlake Terrace? I suppose, but this is a connection that simply doesn’t exist right now. Shouldn’t that be the responsibility of CT (not Metro)? If CT asked Metro to provide that, then were is the corresponding improvement (like extending the 101 along Aurora to 185th Station with stops along the way). A frequent bus to SCC? That could be it, but the only places with significant density are along Aurora. For that trip, the other part of the 333 (between 148th Station and SCC) along with the E seems adequate, if not superior. The only part that seems justified is between the 148th station and SCC, but I just want to make sure I’m not missing anything here.

    4) Why is the 46 curving around to run on Aurora? Is that to just connect the E with the hospital, or is there some other reason?

    1. Actually, the Aurora Village to Montlake connection is currently made by CT 130, but does so using a different route.

      That’s one example why there should be a more coordinated map of all this.

      As best as I can tell, that part of the 333 is just adding a little coverage to a short section of the county line.

      1. Oh, I know about the 130. But that follows a completely different path. It really can be broken down into sections:

        County line: 342, 416, 331. The 342 and 416 only run a handful of times a day, while the 331 runs every half hour.

        County line to Mountlake Terrace: Nothing.

        Aurora Village TC to Mountlake Terrace TC — 130. Runs every half hour.

        So this would represent a big increase in frequency along much of that route, along with a big increase in frequency (and speed) between the transit centers. I’m just trying to figure out why. I have a hard time believing that there are a lot of riders along the way, although I should try and gather the data.

        An express between the two transit centers might be driving this, but it seems hard to justify. I don’t think the train changes things. I don’t see anyone taking the train to Mountlake Terrace to get to Aurora Village (they would take the train to 185th and then take Swift).

        Even if you want to improve the connection between the two transit centers, it seems like you could just run the 130 and this portion of the 331 every half hour, opposite each other. Southbound, both would leave Mountlake Terrace every fifteen minutes while northbound both would leave Aurora TC every 15 minutes. They would arrive at the other transit center at different times, but that wouldn’t matter.

        It is also possible that this is simply being carried along with the rest of the 333, in the same way that Richmond Beach is supposed to get 15 minute frequency, simply because they are lucky enough to be at the tail end of the 348.

    2. Re: 336. I’m assuming it’s because the 336 is a chimera of existing routes. The 65 in Lake City. The 330 in SE Shoreline. The 347 along 5th. The 348 along 185th. The 348 will still exist, so I’m not sure what is gained by running a 30-60 minute bus between Aurora Village and 185th when Swift will do that section much more frequently.

      1. OK, yeah, I kinda get that. I was being somewhat facetious in saying I don’t understand why the 336 is going on 155th and 30th. That is coverage for existing routes. Fair enough. I don’t like it, but that is the mind set.

        But my first point still stands. If this is a coverage route, why duplicate the 333 and 348 (and E). If anything, it seems like it should turn on Meridian and cover that street (since Swift will not make any stops on Meridian). Better yet, just end at 185th and save the service hours.

        If, on the other hand, the goal is a one-seat ride to Link and North City for the tiny piece of Aurora between 185th and 200th, that seems like a waste. I don’t see that doing well at all. The other buses are just a lot more frequent. I could maybe see a peak-only route designed to serve the park and ride, but the Shoreline Park and Ride is going away anyway. There are plenty of people in between 185th and 200th, but I don’t see them catching a bus that only runs every half hour, when the E runs every 5 minutes (give or take) during peak, and every 7.5 minutes in the middle of the day.

        Overall, the 336 looks like it will perform really poorly. It makes lots of turns, which slows it down. North of 15th & 175th it overlaps more frequent routes. South of 15th & 155th it either overlaps more frequent routes, or runs so close to them that most riders will just walk to the other bus. The only significant bit of coverage is along 5th, and those riders won’t have an easy connection to Link. They will have to head north, up and around to the station at 185th (or take two buses). This, despite the fact that a station lies directly south, not too far away.

      2. Meridian is also important to serve because the Ballinger apartment complex is huge, and otherwise gets no service with this plan. 205th is much more difficult, and with nothing on the lake side of things it makes little sense to serve that part of 205th.

      3. Meridian is also important to serve because the Ballinger apartment complex is huge

        It is large physically, but it doesn’t have that many people. To be clear, I’m not saying that we shouldn’t have a Metro bus between Aurora Village TC and Mountlake Terrace TC (to go along with the 130). I’m just saying it should run every half hour, opposite the 130. If you live in those apartments and want to get to Mountlake Terrace, you would have 15 minute service each way. At worst you end up with the “slow bus”.

        It just seems weird to me to create a service hole on Meridian (between 200th and 185th) while turning around and saying we need 6 buses an hour between the two transit centers.

      4. It may not be that large in comparison to Lake City, but by comparison to most of the stuff in the immediate area it’s pretty good sized, and this proposal effectively eliminates bus service to it, because Meridian is vastly easier to cross on foot to a bus stop than 205th. That would be the nearest alternative, unless Community Transit can be conned into adding a Swift station somewhere in there.

      5. It is worth noting that the 130 isn’t going anywhere. The proposed 330 would have all the same stops between Aurora Village and 205th (which means all the stops on Meridian between 205th and 130th). It doesn’t really add coverage for the apartment complex. You add a stop at the northeast end (at 1st and 205th) but take away stops on Meridian, which means folks at the south end have a longer walk.

        To be clear, I am fine with the route — I just wonder why they are running it every 15 minutes, instead of every half hour (opposite the 130).

    3. #1 and #3 (Frequent 333 on Aurora between 200th and 175th; Local 334 on Aurora between 200th and 185th; both doubling up on the E). Community Transit declined to route Swift Blue on Aurora (that not being a priority for Snohomish County), so this may be in compensation. It looks like the 8’s detour to 23rd between Jackson and Yesler. That’s for trips to the retail district and library, so this may be similar. Aurora is where the retail is and apartments are. From a riders’ perspective, both routes seem to be about retail on Aurora, transfers on Aurora, and riders from Snohomish, North City, and Northshore to Shoreline CC. I don’t think riders from Lake City or the south will take those to the college; they’ll take the 130th route instead.

      #2 (Frequent 333 on 155th; total route Shoreline South station – 155th – Shoreline CC – Aurora Village – Mountlake Terrace station). That makes sense. 155th & Aurora is the center of the largest urban village in Shoreline, so a route on 155th is the most direct way between Shoreline South station to it and the college. Metro Connects had a 65 extension doing that (and terminating at the college), which I thought was an important route. The current infrequent 330 is completely inadequate. However, there’s a transit hole between Lake City and the college. A 65 extension would have solved that, while the current routing doesn’t. Still, the college’s cachement area is a fifteen-mile wide circle, not particularly Lake City. (My roommate in southwest Capitol Hill has taken classes at Shoreline and Bellevue College on the bus because he finds the teaching superior.)

      #4 (Local 46 on Aurora between 130th and 145th; total route Northgate station – Meridian – Aurora – 130th station). I was surprised at that too; it looks like the 8 detour again. It may be to connect that trailer park to 130th station, the businesses and hospital on Meridian, and Northgate. Also, the multistory senior housing is around 135th & Aurora, and seniors disproportionately go to the hospital and medical clinics. (I assume there are clinics around the hospital.)

      1. From a riders’ perspective, both routes seem to be about retail on Aurora, transfers on Aurora, and riders from Snohomish, North City, and Northshore to Shoreline CC.

        OK, I can kinda see that, but it just seems like it ignores the frequency and speed of the both Link and the E. Link will run every 4 minutes (once East Link comes on board). The E runs every 7.5 minutes (in the middle of the day). No one likes to transfer, but those are very frequent times. If I’m in Mountlake Terrace and I’m trying to get to Aurora Village I’m getting on the train and taking Swift. If I’m headed somewhere on Aurora, I’m doing the same thing, or maybe I’m taking the train followed by the 348 (followed by the E). Swift works for that too, although it means a little walk (from Aurora to the transit center). This is if I’m already at Mountlake Terrace TC. If I’m on Link I simply get off at 185th (no matter where I started).

        The case for that type of connection is a bit stronger for the 336. If you live around Crest Theater (165th & 5th) then this connects you to most of the local establishments. It just seems like riders would appreciate a faster connection to Link instead. I think a lot of people will be upset since the existing 347 goes right by the new Link station at 148th.

      2. 155th & Aurora is the center of the largest urban village in Shoreline, so a route on 155th is the most direct way between Shoreline South station to it and the college.

        I agree. I think that is what I’m getting at. Most of the northern suburbs have coverage service. Only a handful of places should have frequent buses. The E and Stride 522 — definitely. Other than that I would say:

        1) From Aurora & 185th to 185th Station.
        2) Up 15th Avenue NE, through North City and to the Station.
        3) Shoreline CC to 148th Station (via the 160th/Aurora/155th dogleg).

        That’s about it, unless I’m missing something. That is really the question — am I missing something? Is there some other section that should be frequent?

        If not, then there are some considerations. Obviously it makes sense to combine the first two, and this proposal does that. Richmond Beach just gets carried along for the ride. You could maybe have a branch towards the western tail (to cover something over there) but frequent service to Richmond Beach is fine. Lucky them.

        But if the only part of the 333 that really needs to be frequent is that third section, it seems like the tail is wagging the dog. That should be part of the 72. That still makes it shorter than the existing 372. That opens up the possibility that none of the other routes are “frequent” which means they could actually run more frequently. By that I mean, instead of pushing money into a 15-minute 333 that doesn’t get that many riders, maybe we run all of the coverage routes (including the rest of the 333) every 20 minutes. If there are other sections that should be frequent, then I’m just wondering what those are.

  21. I’m not quite clear on all the impacts for those living on or going to the current 347 and 348. The current routes both go from Northgate station to 15th & 145th. The 348 continues north to 175th, then turns west to 185th & Richmond Beach. The 347 detours west to 5th between 145th and 175th for reasons I’ve never understood, although it serves the Crest Cinema could-be-a-village-but-isn’t. It then continues northeast to Mountlake Terrace. I’ve always thought the 348 should do the 5th Avenue segment if it’s so important, because it’s going west anyway.

    So, the densest corridor is between Northgate and Pinehurst (where Ross lives). I think the density ends around 127th. The current 347/348 provide 15-minute service there, and the proposed 338 does too. The 338 also gives frequent North City-Northgate and North City-Shoreline service, for whatever that’s worth.

    The 5th Ave NE corridor is now on the Local 336. It’s really an east-west corridor from Lake City to Aurora Village. So it loses the connection to Northgate (or 130th station) and to Mountlake Terrace. I’ve never been sure where most of the people in that area or in North City were going, so I don’t know whether this proposal is better or worse there. Or maybe it doesn’t matter because there are so few people given the low density.

    What I’d want is a frequent route from Link to the Crest Cinema. Although I’ve never done that. But the reason I haven’t done that is the route is infrequent. Still, the Crest is not that important, the theoretical village around it still doesn’t exist, 15th may be better for the residents, and I’ve always thought the main route should stay on 15th to be straight, which this proposal does.

    1. The 347 detours west to 5th between 145th and 175th for reasons I’ve never understood

      I think it is just a coverage route at that point. It doesn’t pick up a lot of riders, but the bus runs pretty fast, and some of those riders would otherwise have a long walk to the bus stop.

      I’ve always thought the 348 should do the 5th Avenue segment if it’s so important, because it’s going west anyway.

      There is a trade-off, but weaving in that manner allows for transfers. It is a second-rate alternative to a grid. If there was a real grid, those buses would stay on those corridors, while east-west lines complemented them. Riders could take a two-seat ride to anywhere (

      Unfortunately, we really can’t build a grid in much of the region. A lot of east-west streets don’t go through. Ideally you want line spacing of around 1/2 mile, or ten blocks. Between 155th and 185th that is impossible. Even 185th (which does go east-west) can’t go east of 10th NE without making a bunch of difficult turns and heading into very low density areas. Making matters worse, a lot of east-west routes are filled with traffic. Generally speaking, these are the ones with two-way freeway access (80th/85, Northgate Way, 145th, 175th, 205th). In contrast, streets like 130th, 155th and 185th are relatively quiet.

      Thus the street grid supports more north-south travel, with rare opportunities to go east-west. One of those is 185th. I think that is why the old 347/348 was designed that way.

      1. In 2003, three routes were not affordable; Route 348 has a crosstown leg and a radial leg to/from Northgate; routes 347 and 348 both serve Northgate, Jackson Park, the library, and North City. Replaced Route 377 also served both 5th and 15th avenues NE.

        With Lynnwood Link, it would be great if Ridgecrest was connected well with the South Shoreline station.

        Ridgecrest was a nice village; its retail was nearly killed by I-5 and Northgate. It will now come back.

  22. Obviously this would add extra costs to Metro, but what about extending The E to Montlake? This gives riders from the north end of the E better connections to a larger number of routes (including but not limited to Link) than Aurora Village.

    Basically it provides a mirror image of what Swift is doing, in the exact opposite direction for trips to and from the opposite direction.

    I understand lots of people want to go to Costco, but I’m not convinced there are enough doing it by bus to make it a major transit focus. I think it’s more important to aim bus routes around actual travel patterns than a transit center that may not make sense even in today’s travel patterns, let’s alone with future travel patterns.

    I’m not sure Aurora Village is the best spot to end the E in that scenario, but I’m not sure what else makes sense other than a Link station.

    Edmonds actually has a fairly walkable and transit friendly downtown, with not much transit. If the county line didn’t exist I could see running the E to there instead.

    So maybe the 333 needs to be an east-west connector further south?

    Maybe evaluation of these routes without Aurora Vilage suggests the 346 does what it does today, but continues to Montlake Terrace instead?

    1. Re the E, I agree that its current northern terminus at Aurora Village isn’t great, and I’m assuming is only there because the 358 also ended there. I’m not a driver so maybe am missing something, but it seems like just leaving the E on Aurora to 244th SW/NE 205th/WA-104, over to I-5 briefly, and then layover in Mountlake Terrace would add a lot of value, plus be pretty fast (205th always looks like a death trap to me when biking). If Metro is worried about spending county funds outside the county, I would imagine most of the benefit would still be to people within King rather than Snohomish County, but hopefully the bean-counting won’t get in the way, or maybe Sound Transit could chip in to fund the extension since it would be helpful in feeding people into Link.

      People in Shoreline wanting to go south could choose to take the E southbound, or E northbound and transfer to Link, depending on where exactly they want to go and whether they are OK with a transfer. There could even still be a stop at Costco on Aurora; I know there’s a number of people taking the 131/132 in Seattle to the SODO Costco so I wouldn’t ignore the Shoreline one as a transit destination either.

      1. I don’t discount the Costco as a transit destination, but this plan plus the CT plan puts some 8 bus routes through there, with a few terminating there.

        The current system somewhat isolated the freeway expresses at Montlake Terrace from some of the Metro routes, including the E, due to the termination of Metro routes at Aurora Village. A few years ago, sometimes it was possible to get a 512 to 373(?) connection if you wanted to link freeway express to a local, but it wasn’t great because the UW to Aurora bus that went through there was only half hourly.

        Aurora Village probably will be a good transfer point for stuff like E to 130 or whoever, as well as serving the Costco, but it’s an intersection. It’s not Ballard. It’s not even The Admiral District. Every single route doesn’t need to be there, if a more convenient transfer point between most of them can be fount at Montlake, because that would have more routes still.

      2. I don’t think it would be worth it. First you have issues with the right-of-way. The E operates in bus or BAT lanes most of the way, and this would add a lot of volatility in the route. Going south there are HOV lanes on the on-ramp, but they are to the left, while the bus needs to use the right lane to exit (before it actually gets on the main part of the freeway). The other direction the bus can’t get on the freeway, and needs to use surface streets. This means if it acts like an express (skipping all the stops) it is not especially fast or consistent. If it adds stops, they are likely to be relatively weak. The E is also very long — there is a limit to how long a driver can operate a bus without a break.

        But there is just the cost. The E runs a lot of buses. Eight an hour in the middle of the day and more during rush hour. A relatively short extension would still cost a lot.

        I’m not sure how many riders it would get, either. I see the use cases, I just don’t think they add up to much. Mountlake Terrace is a transit center, but not a major one. Most of the buses that feed it run every half hour (if that) and have relatively few riders. There are also riders that would ride Link from Lynnwood to Mountlake Terrace, then head over to Aurora. Again, I just don’t see that many people doing that. A lot of Lynnwood Link ridership will come from feeder buses, and if you are coming from Aurora, it makes more sense to just take Swift. Likewise, a lot of the destinations on Aurora (including Aurora Village) can be accessed via east-west buses. The value would be based on the frequency of the E, which really can’t be justified.

        Community Transit in general just doesn’t carry that many riders. All the buses combine carried 36,000. Around a third of that is commuter buses. It is worth noting that Mountlake Terrace itself only got a handful of riders from the north. 26 on the 511, and 27 on the 512 (which includes Everett). There just isn’t much ridership between suburban destinations, even if the service is outstanding.

        I still think the only segment of the 333 that is strong is the piece between Shoreline Community College the station. I think that should be part of the 72. The connection from the north to the college has potential, but I don’t see it serving that many people. Many of the potential riders would be just as well off with the extended 72 and the E.

    2. In the 80s the 6 terminated in a triangle just north of the county border in the middle of nowhere. I think Aurora Village grew to several discount department stores and a P&R and then the terminus moved to there, and the Snohomish 99 route moved to there too.

      Since then Aurora Village has shrunk, and Costco accepts only members, and the P&R will be less attractive when the peak expresses are replaced by feeders (who drives to a P&R for a local feeder?), so the reasons for a transit center there have diminished, but Metro doesn’t seem to have reconsidered it.

      The E should definitely be extended to either Mountlake Terrace station or Shoreline North/185th station; e.g., for trips from far north Aurora northward, or even southward. This is a basic premise of a train-oriented network: routes should serve two stations at both ends if they’re close to them anyway.

      My ideal network would have Swift remain on Aurora to 185th with a station at 192nd, then turn east to 185th station. The E would be extended either south on Meridian to 185th or north on 205th to Mountlake Terrace. That way trips continuing north or south would have an same-stop in-direction transfer between the E and Swift at 185th. Swift usually has a separate station from other routes, but it can jolly well make an exception at 192nd. Snohomish residents continuing south on Aurora are CT taxpayers too, and there are a lot of destinations and transfers between 200th and 46th.

      1. The old Aurora Village mall was anchored by Fredrick and Nelsons and it died in about 1990. There was a debate about what should replace it. Big box won. We may have been better off with apartments and a street grid.

        When considering an E Line extension, the opportunity cost of the service hours, red buses, and special capital need to be considered. Local buses can connect with Link. Even Swift will connect with Link. The candidate pathways between AVTC and MT Link do not seem to warrant E Line service levels or capital; both could be used better elsewhere.

      2. Under the above plan, Link and Aurora village are already connected by Swift.

        Running the E to Montlake or wherever has nothing to do with Aurora Village, but the hundreds of other locations along the north end of Aurora that might need to connect to something else (Link, or any of the CT routes serving Montlake but not Aurora Village).

        E line ridership tapers off pretty significantly north of 145th, at least every trip I’ve ridden. Aurora itself remains pretty busy, as if the county line weren’t even there – because as far as transportation demand goes, it’s not there.

        Up until Northgate Link opened, if I was coming south through Everett on the Amtrak Thruway to Portland and wanted to stop to see my friend in Shoreline, the Google Transit Map recommended route was a two hour long slog on the 512 to downtown Seattle, and the E back north, because the connections between the freeway transit centers and the Aurora routes were really bad. Even with the restructure, they’re not great.

        Keeping the end of the E at Aurora Village means southern Snohomish County get better Link connections than northern Shoreline, especially if they want connections to the north.

        I would imagine that, just like Swift, the extended E would go from Aurora to Link without stopping. As you note, the local traffic demand east of Aurora isn’t great on 205th. However, there’s a probably a fair demand for better connections going north, just as there is for Swift going south.

      3. The distance is so short there wouldn’t be any stops on 205th, so the pathway isn’t important. What is important is that people going to/from the E and Link can transfer at Mountlake Terrace or 185th without a 3-seat ride.

    3. @Glenn — It is “Mountlake” Terrace, not Montlake Terrace.

      Anyway, I am disappointed with the service to Edmonds. I came up with ideas, but nothing came of it. The 130 isn’t bad, but with half hour service in the middle of the day, it is wanting.

      In the short and long term, Community Transit is focused on connecting Edmonds with Lynnwood, which is reasonable. It may be that there simply isn’t enough riders to justify better frequency between Edmonds and Seattle. It may be “elite projection”. We can imagine ourselves going there, but when you add up the number of people who actually want to travel between downtown Edmonds and Seattle it isn’t that many.

      CT also doesn’t have a lot of money. I don’t think Metro should backfill service there, unless there is some level of cooperation from Community Transit. I see none. It is Metro, not CT, that is adding stops in the other county. It really wouldn’t take much to extend the 101 (with stops) or have the Swift bus stop once or twice on the way to 185th (it might even be faster, assuming it went down Aurora to 185th). Lacking any effort on the part of Community Transit to do that sort of thing, I see no reason why Metro should pick up the slack. To be clear, ridership north of the border is lower. It is hard to argue that Metro should provide a good connection to Edmonds when there are a lot more cost effective things that it should add in the county it is supposed to serve.

      Ideally the counties should cooperate and scratch each other’s backs, so to speak. So far, that doesn’t appear to be happening.

      1. Yes, Edmonds. I was there on a Saturday a few years ago. Three bus routes connecting downtown Edmonds to the 512, all running once per hour, all leaving within two minutes of each other. Someone I was walking with actually had to call for an Uber because they had to be in Ballard in two hours, and with the bus, they weren’t going to make it. I’m not expecting premium service, what’s there today is pretty atrocious.

        30 minute service instead of 60 is definitely a big improvement, but of course, that improvement applies only during weekday daytime hours. When people actually have free time to shop, it’s the same hourly service Edmonds has always had.

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