The buses in the north end of the county will be restructured with the arrival of Lynnwood Link. A big part of this is the new Stride S3 route (also known as Stride 522). Some have called for a “shadow” of this new frequent and fast, limited-stop route.

What is a bus shadow, anyway?

The term “shadow” is a bus that makes all the stops, while the other bus does not. A good local example is how the 101 “shadows” Swift Blue. Swift sometimes has very long distances between stops — well over a mile in some cases — while the 101 makes a lot more stops.

The 372 and 522

Currently, the 372 and 522 follow much the same pathway from Lake City to Bothell. The 372 makes more stops, but not a lot more. The Stride S3 will make even less, and it won’t go to Lake City. Metro is proposing to do away with the 372, and replace it with two buses — the 72 and 324. While the 324 does other things, it also operates as a shadow for the S3. In the following I break down the S3 bus stops into sections to see what stops might be missed without the 324.

148th Station to Lake City Way

The proposed 72 covers this section. Even if Metro alters their plans, it is highly likely some bus will run here.

145th to Ballinger Way

There are only two bus stops that the 372 covers that Stride will not. The first is a southbound-only stop at Bothell Way & 39th Avenue NE. This bus only carries 3 riders a day (on average). The other is very close to the Ballinger Way stop (about 200 meters) and is not covered by the existing 522.

Ballinger Way to Kenmore Park and Ride

The S3 will continue to use every bus stop in this stretch. Even if it didn’t, the 331 (or its replacement) will cover this section.

Kenmore Park and Ride to 96th Ave NE (Waynita Way)

This is where things get interesting. There are no planned S3 bus stops along this section, while there are four existing 372 stops, and one 522 stop. Prior to the pandemic, these stops served about 150 riders a day. I think it is fair to say that most of these riders would walk quite a bit farther to a bus stop if there was no bus along that stretch.

96th Ave NE to Bothell

There are no S3 stops between Kenmore and 98th Avenue NE. Fortunately, the 230 meets Bothell Way at 96th Ave NE (Waynita Way) then heads northeast towards Bothell. The 239 crosses the river and the highway on 102nd Avenue NE, before covering the heart of downtown Bothell. Basically those two routes have it covered.

Conclusion

While seen as a “limited stop” bus, the new S3 will make almost every stop along its route. The one area that lacks service is between Kenmore and Bothell. The 230 and 239 cover some of this, leaving only the section between 68th Avenue NE and 98th Avenue NE needing coverage. That is the only section where a shadow would make sense. This could take the form of a 331 or 225 extended eastward from Kenmore to Bothell.

48 Replies to “Does the Stride S3 (522) Need a Shadow?”

  1. Stride must fill in the gaps from Kenmore P&R to Juanita Way. From a transit nerd’s perspective, it makes sense for the bus to make limited stops. From a rider’s standpoint, it’s a poor customer experience to take away service and force people to walk long distances. I think a compromise between the BRT philosophy and serving actual customers is placing two more stops between 73rd and Juanita Way.

    1. As to your first point, I don’t think there is anything fundamental about a BRT having huge distances between stops. They do tend to follow more European style stop spacing (400m) rather than American (100 to 200 meters). But really long distances (like Swift) are relatively unusual (e. g. RapidRide doesn’t do that). In this case, neither does the S3. The large distances are more the product of the street itself than the particular bus.

      For example, there are no stops between 61st and 68th. It is a very long distance between stops — about a kilometer. This is well beyond typical European stop spacing, let alone U. S. stop spacing. And there are apartments and shops along the way. What it lacks is road crossings. If they add stops, they will only help in one direction. So they don’t bother. My main point is that the S3 is more like RapidRide in its stop spacing than it is Swift.

      With the exception of this area: https://goo.gl/maps/yxffGoBpLMScFhUS8. That is an awfully long distance with no bus stops. Fortunately the 230 covers part of it, but that still leaves this section: https://goo.gl/maps/7YaZesY1p65KYWkJA. Again, that seems too long without a stop. It should be covered, and the cheapest, easiest way to do so by extending one of the buses from the west that end at the Kenmore Park and Ride.

    2. 68th becomes Juanita Drive. 96th becomes 100th and Kirkland’s Market Street. I don’t remember a Waynita name along the latter, so it may be a recent name or it wasn’t prominent on the signs.

  2. There are multiple different BRT philosophies: one is an enhanced local route with slightly fewer stops, the other is a limited-stop route with stops every 1-2 miles. Both kinds of transit are needed in metros 60 miles wide or with long distances between activity centers. Without limited-stop or express transit it takes too long to get to activity centers so people drive or decline job offers. Without local transit the areas in between major stops are left out.

    Highway 522 is different from I-5 or I-90 for obvious reasons: it’s an arterial with housing and jobs all along it, like the Bellevue Way segment of the 550. So it needs compromise stop spacing or a shadow route. Swift is limited-stop and has shadow routes. Link is limited-stop and has partial shadow routes at least.

    Highway 522 is also different because it doesn’t go on forever to ever-more cities. It goes a shorter distance to Bothell, where density drops too far for BRT beyond that. So nobody is trying to get in a straight line from the equivalent of Oak Tree (100th & Aurora) to Edmonds or Everett or Marysville: they’re going only to Bothell or Woodinville. So S3 can have more stops than Link or Swift, because the worst-case travel time for people’s trips is still less than half an hour.

    1. “nobody is trying to get in a straight line from the equivalent of Oak Tree (100th & Aurora) to Edmonds or Everett or Marysville: they’re going only to Bothell or Woodinville”

      Do you have the numbers to support this assertion, or is it intuition? And do you have concrete evidence of that not being the case even if the transit improves to be more grid-like and to better connect to other rapid transit like Link? Asking because in the past the belief here on the blog has been that both of those things can help with more trips that would otherwise be done by car, so I guess I am wondering what makes Highway 522 special in that sense.

      In particular I am curious what Ross thinks, as he is a strong advocate of the limited stops-only setup (with no local shadow) to allow for resources to be reallocated to improve the grid instead.

      Thanks to both!

      1. I think Mike is simply pointing out how much longer Swift Blue is compared to the S3. It is quite reasonable in both cases to ride the bus the whole way. But Swift Blue is 17 miles, while S3 is about half that. You could extend the S3 farther out, but density drops very quickly once you leave Woodinville, making it considerably different than Swift. With Swift Blue you have downtown Everett as one anchor, and a fairly well populated part of Shoreline on the other (which just so happens to connect to the most popular bus stop in the state). Eventually Stride will extend even further, to make a connection with Link (at another reasonably dense neighborhood). S3 isn’t like that.

        Another difference is that Swift Blue covers an area that is very “spiky” with regards to ridership. There are clearly areas with lots of demand (hospitals, community colleges, large apartment complexes, major transit connections) as well as areas with obviously very little demand (empty lots). Thus the combination of a limited-stop express along with a “shadow” is quite reasonable. If you are going to follow that model, this is a very good place for it.

        My main point though, is that S3 does not follow this model for most of its route. For almost the entirety of the route, it makes all of the stops. Every single one. A shadow would be pointless. It would be like having a shadow for the RapidRide E. It simply isn’t needed, because the E makes all the stops.

        The one exception is for the area that I called out. This needs coverage, while the rest of it does not.

      2. I’m saying that Highway 99 and and I-5 beyond that form a straight corridor with city after city for dozens of miles, and people expect to make trips all along it. It can’t all be the same route, or even all the same frequency, but some people will be traveling longer distances and need something that takes less than three hours. In contrast, 522 is a 12-mile corridor that drops off to practically nothingness. There’s nothing like Lynnwood or Everett beyond Woodinville. It’s a spur corridor that just stops. Monroe is small and is Community Transit’s responsibility. Stevens Pass needs a different kind of rural intercity transit. The 522’s travel time from 145th to UW Bothell is less than half an hour. It matches the average American commute time (20-25 minutes) and is within the window where Americans get increasingly bothered by travel time (30-60 minutes). Many trips do go beyond that corridor to, e.g., downtown Seattle, so their total travel time is longer, but the fact that 522 is a spur rather than the primary north-south corridor means it’s not as important to weigh travel time beyond it, unlike the situation with E+Swift+201/202 between Seattle, Everett, and Marysville.

      3. A route does not have to be used by many riders end-to-end to be effective; consider L-shaped routes 40 and 62. Effective routes have short waits and connect riders to markets to which they want to go. The load may turnover along the route; see lines A, B, C, D, E, F, and routes 545, 255, 271, 44, etc. I think ST has made a mistake in not extending Stride3 to/from Woodinville; it is a place with some density, retail, and transit connections. It would follow the historical pattern: Route 307, Route 522, Stride3. The role of Stride could be a trunk line; not all riders will want to reach the South Shoreline station; many will want to make intra Northshore connections.

      4. “A route does not have to be used by many riders end-to-end to be effective; consider L-shaped routes 40 and 62.”

        Yes, but the 40 and 62 aren’t the primary north-south route; that’s Link and the E.

        “I think ST has made a mistake in not extending Stride3 to/from Woodinville; it is a place with some density, retail, and transit connections.”

        I remember ST hosting input sessions on Stride and Woodinville. I think ST said it couldn’t afford to extend Stride to Woodinville, and it asked with Woodinville wanted instead. I think the alternatives were a frequent route to Stride or an express to Bellevue, and the Woodinville feedback preferred the latter.

      5. Even if the S3 was extended to Woodinville it wouldn’t change Mike’s point. From Woodinville to Link (via SR 522) is much shorter than from 185th Station to downtown Everett (via SR 99). Even with an extension, S3 is much shorter than Swift Blue. Swift Blue also has much stronger anchors on both ends. Both connect to Link at the south end, but downtown Everett is a much stronger anchor than Woodinville.

        Speaking of Woodinville, ridership there was fairly weak. Bothell had over twice as many riders, while Kenmore almost three times as many. Seattle (outside of downtown) of course dominated ridership, with about five times as many riders. Sound Transit basically punted when confronted with the traffic issues involved with getting to Woodinville; but if you just look at it from a ridership standpoint, ending your major transit investment in Bothell (which also provides the key connection to the other Stride line) is a sensible, cost effective choice.

      6. [I think you made comments on the wrong post. Please copy your comments to the relevant spot (whatever that is).]

        https://www.portseattle.org/blog/sea-airport-then-and-now

        Here are some statistics on SeaTac airport. Around 23% of Seattle’s total population passed through SeaTac every day in 2019, nearly 50 million passengers per year. I think current traffic through SeaTac is 14% lower than in 2019 but recovering quickly despite a loss of business travel.

        Right now the port is studying an entirely new airport rather than new lanes at SeaTac.

        According to the port current airport use rather than future growth estimates require an entirely new airport which naturally no community wants. Personally I am always surprised at the number of daily travelers at SeaTac and figure it must be an important hub for transfers. From what I read flying is only going to increase in the future.

      7. [Same idea. Please copy your comments to the relevant spot after David does (or now if it is relevant).]

        Daniel, only if domestic routes can be electrified successfully. I agree that inter-continental flight will resist electrification permanently; the power-to-weight issue with batteries is simply too great for flights over a few hundred miles, and even “green hydrogen” won’t help much because of its lower energy density.

        Which means that coast-to-coast travel will return to the three-leg version from the era of Constellations and DC6’s.

        Traveling overseas to Asia directly will be a heavy burden on one’s Lifetime Carbon allocation and undertaken only for important journeys. However, Gander and Reykjavik may have a mini-boom echoing the ’50’s. Buy Icelandic Airways stock now, before it goes all Bitcoin profile.

      8. Electric airplanes aren’t here yet, and they may be as long away as driverless cars or cold fusion, which are always twenty years away. They might become mainstream in the next twenty years, but we shouldn’t count on them until they do. Driverless cars will have a niche in fleet vehicles on a limited number of streets, but are not yet the answer for every random dude living in a random house on a random street in Issaquah.

    2. I’m not a statistics expert. It’s a physical fact that there are no large cities east of Woodinville, and what does exist is Community Transit’s responsibility. Highway 522 is unusual because the grid can only extend a few blocks on either side because of the lake and hills. Kenmore and Bothell have decided where to support crosswalks, and the 522 and S3 follow this. If there are any particular important stops missing on the S3, that’s what this article is asking. But stops without crosswalks are impractical.

      1. If you look at census data (or just maps in general) it is pretty clear that there is very little along Highway 522 between Monroe and Woodinville. There are (low density) housing developments, but those tend to be away from the highway. There is no crossing bus service, either. Monroe is it, and Monroe isn’t that big or that dense. That doesn’t mean that there shouldn’t be a bus connecting Monroe to Woodinville, but it does mean that it shouldn’t be part of this route.

  3. Kenmore and Bothell have had only part-time 372 and 331 service for decades, so the 522’s spacing is the normal spacing evenings and weekends. I don’t know whether the community needs more, but we should check before assuming it does. The 372 doesn’t go north of 130th weekends. The 331 terminates in Kenmore and doesn’t do evenings.

    1. Good point. Service along this section has never been great. My overall argument is that if you are going to have a shadow, it should only be on one (relatively small) section. But you could definitely make the argument that you don’t need a shadow at all. I’m not so sure.

      One issue is that ST is basically extending this gap. Right now the 522 makes no stops between 80th and 180th. But the stop at 80th is going away. Riders will have to walk to 76th. It isn’t that far, but it is farther (it may be the “final straw” if you are approaching from the east). Likewise, the stop at 180th is going away. The bus will turn on 180th/98th, and not stop until it is by the library, just north of Main. That makes the gap considerably bigger. I think there is a case for coverage here, but I don’t know how that compares to other parts of the county that lack coverage.

      I wouldn’t necessarily assume that coverage has to consist of running along the highway, either. I could see this: https://goo.gl/maps/qSaaRqvzGXmJnfTU6. This gets you much closer to the high school and cuts through various neighborhoods. It complements coverage provided by the 230. The only issue is turning on and off of the highway, but they could always add a traffic light (there is a turn lane, but no light right now).

      1. The King County Metro Equity Priority Areas map might tip the scale in favor of shadow service in that area.

    2. It is true that the evening span of Route 331 was cut in fall 2014 in the service reductions. That does not mean that the reductions or that particular one were sound.

  4. NE 145th Street: if ST had continued to serve a stop pair at 25th Avenue NE, Metro service might not have been as necessary. ST plans 10-minute headway; the Metro budget will be tight. Can Metro afford to spend hours atop a 10-minute ST service given many other service demands? Note that the network under review does not serve the segment of the current Route 522 between Lake City and Roosevelt station. ST assumes Metro will provide shadow service atop Route 522. Note that Stride buses will be delayed by Metro buses stopped at any stops provided at 17th, 20th, and 25th avenues NE.

    Another issue for ST, Metro, and STB: what stops will Route 522 and Stride serve next to the LFP mall. Originally, Route 522 served two pair at SR-104 and NE 170th Street; the former served as a transfer point for Route 331; ST deleted that pair a few years ago. The Stride map shows parking at the mall, but it is postponed.

    The ST text for Route 522 is vague about the east terminus with Lynnwood Link before the line is branded as Stride. The Stride plan includes an ugly transfer point under I-405. It is not clear how ST talked itself into taking service away from Woodinville. The ST3 plan was flawed by splitting service between two termini: UWB and Woodinville; ST then decided their own plan had reliability issues due to its two termini; a better answer would have been to spend more hours and extended all trips to/from Woodinville. Will the transfer point under I-405 be open with Lynnwood Link?

    See: https://kingcounty.gov/~/media/depts/metro/programs-projects/link-connections/lynnwood-link/pdf/routes/route-brt522.pdf

    Note that ST promises some additional outreach. Rides might lobby ST for additional stops. In the segment that has BAT lanes, perhaps they need not have the monumental Stride stations planned elsewhere; perhaps a regular in-lane stops might be provided at SR-104 or east of the Kenmore lot.

    In the near term, there will little rider demand to reach the NE 130th Street, South Shoreline, or North Shoreline Link stations for reasons other than Link itself. Riders will want to reach Link and its frequency, speed, connectivity, and connections with several congested urban centers. But now, there is no there there at those three stations. A there may develop next to North Shoreline if the Shoreline School District redeveloped the former Shoreline High School site. So, would Lake City riders really care much whether a bus route reaches Link at NE 130th Street or South Shoreline?

    1. if ST had continued to serve a stop pair at 25th Avenue NE, Metro service might not have been as necessary

      Maybe, but I think it is just incrementalism. Some sort of bus has to cover Lake City Way between 125th and 145th, and it happens to be the 72. Once it gets to 145th, it needs to find a place to turn around and layover. The existing one is so close to the station that they figure they might as well go there. There are other buses that will layover there as well, which means you avoid transfers. It is unlikely someone would go from say, 125th & Lake City Way up to 148th to take Link. But to transfer to a bus heading north or east? Definitely. (Personally I think the 72 should go all the way across to Shoreline Community College, taking over that part of the proposed 333, but that will be discussed in another post.) Speaking of which:

      Note that the network under review does not serve the segment of the current Route 522 between Lake City and Roosevelt station.

      That will definitely be the focus of another post. Expect it to be done in a few days.

      Note that Stride buses will be delayed by Metro buses stopped at any stops provided at 17th, 20th, and 25th avenues NE.

      Yes, that is true throughout the entire route. That is an argument against any “shadowing”. That being said, network considerations trump that concern, in my opinion. We need some sort of bus between 125th and 145th along Lake City Way, and once the bus gets up there, it can’t turnaround (unless it did a loop using 30th) and would need new layover space. Likewise, between Ballinger Way and Kenmore Park and Ride the S3 will use *every* stop, but there is no good layover/turnaround spot for the 331 (or the future equivalent). There will be overlap, and sometimes we just have to put up with it.

      What stops will Route 522 and Stride serve next to the LFP mall.

      The S3 will stop just southwest of Ballinger Way, according to the latest roll plots: https://www.soundtransit.org/sites/default/files/documents/lfp-public-outreach-roll-plot-sheets3-and-4.pdf. The southbound stop is where the current 372 stops, while the northbound stop is across the street (in between the current 372 and 522 stops). It means that the northbound 331 stop remains where it is today (just north of Ballinger Way) and is not shared with the S3. Other stops between there and Kenmore Park and Ride will presumably be shared.

      perhaps [the S3] need not have the monumental Stride stations planned elsewhere; perhaps a regular in-lane stops might be provided at SR-104 or east of the Kenmore lot.

      I don’t think they need to do anything for SR-104. I could see them adding a stop or two to cover the big gap. Specifically this gap is between the proposed stops east of 73rd (shown here: https://www.soundtransit.org/sites/default/files/documents/kenmore-public-outreach-roll-plot.pdf) and 96th (where the 230 kicks in). As it turns out, there are no crosswalks between 83rd and 96th. Thus a stop at 83rd is the best you can get from a coverage standpoint (there is no point in adding stops east of there). It would be a ways from there to the stop at 73rd, but not a crazy distance (roughly 500 meters). Just one stop would be adequate, and you wouldn’t really need a shadow at all. Yes, it could be a scaled down bus stop, similar to how Metro has “stops” (without all the trimmings) and “stations” (kiosks, ORCA reader, etc.). Metro should push for this along with the neighborhood. One stop, and there is no need for a shadow at all.

      By the way, the 80th stop (which is actually closer to the Kenmore Park and Ride stop) gets around 50 riders a day, which is more than what the 165th stop gets (which they are definitely adding). It really doesn’t make sense to shortchange that particular section in the way they did.

    2. So, would Lake City riders really care much whether a bus route reaches Link at NE 130th Street or South Shoreline?

      No, but it isn’t just about Link. Assume for a second you have the following routes:

      76: Starts at Green Lake Park and ride and goes north on 12th until it becomes Lake City Way. Follows Lake City Way north until 30th Ave NE, and follows that until 145th. Then it makes a live loop, returning to Lake City Way. It then follows that south until it gets back to Roosevelt and then the Park and Ride.

      72: Ends at the Fred Meyer in Lake City (like the weekend 372).

      That’s it along the corridor (no 324). That is a very lean operation, saving a considerable amount of money on the 372 and 324, which may very well pay for the new 76. It still works for getting to Link. If you are on 145th, you go to 148th Station. If you are on 125th, you go to 130th Station. In between (and south of 125th) you go to Roosevelt. So in that respect it is adequate.

      But you still have awkward three seat rides. For example, a trip from in between 125th and 145th (on Lake City Way) to Shoreline Community College would involve two transfers. We may have to put up with things like this, but it would be nice to avoid them.

    3. “Will the transfer point under I-405 be open with Lynnwood Link?” -this transfer point will be constructed before Stride opens; one of the primary sources of delay in Stride 405N opening is allowing to WSDOT to rebuild the 522-405 interchange and then ST to build the proposed transit center in the NW corner of the interchange. These two projects in Bothell are completely independent of Lynnwood Link.

      1. The 522 will continue until Stride starts. After Stride there will be some kind of Woodinville-Stride feeder. I haven’t kept track of which alternatives are currently favored. It may be an ST Express route, a Metro route, or ST’s main contribution may be a Woodinville-Bellevue peak express.

  5. The Stride3 stops are an awkward spacing — shorter than S1 and S2 and Link but longer than a local bus route.

    If there is a shadow route, would it make sense to have the Stride3 service stop a fewer stops, making it go faster?

    1. Stride 3 (or S3) does not have shorter stop spacing than the local bus route, except between Kenmore and Bothell. That is the only place where the stop spacing is “awkward”, as it leaves a big coverage hole. It could have less stops, but that would be a bad idea. Ridership would go down, while overall costs go up (as you need more of a shadow). I would argue the opposite makes a lot more sense. Just add a stop at 83rd and you don’t need a shadow anywhere on the route. A big part of the project is off-board payment, which minimizes the delay for a bus stop. Skipping more stops is unnecessary and counter-productive.

      As it is, the stop spacing (for all buses) along most of the corridor happens to be quite large. I mentioned that in a comment up above (https://seattletransitblog.com/2023/01/23/does-the-stride-s3-522-need-a-shadow/#comment-903415). It does not follow international standards, let alone U. S. convention. The stop spacing happens to be large just because there aren’t many places to cross the street.

      The S2 and S3 have large stop spacing for much the same reason. These are freeway based routes, and you only have so many freeway stations. RapidRide E is probably the closest thing to BRT in the region. The stop spacing is a hybrid. For the north end, it is very close to international standards. South of 65th though, it makes very few stops, because Aurora basically operates like a freeway there.

      As for Link, the stop spacing is way too large, and it will forever hurt transit in the city. Imagine a Link station at First Hill and 23rd & Madison. Think how many riders would benefit and how it would help the overall network. You can stop too often, but Link’s problem is that it doesn’t stop enough.

      1. Many years ago we looked at renting an apartment along that corridor between 61st Ave NE and 96th Ave NE (at the time, at least, there were a few, either right along Bothell Way or farther up the hill towards Horizon View). The problem was exactly what you mentioned – the lack of good places to cross, so even though I would have had a direct bus to my work place at the time, I would also have had a very long walk from the stop in one of the directions to home (or vice-versa), no matter which apartment we would have picked. It was just a very frustrating experience for non-drivers like me, and in the end we chose to go elsewhere because of it.

        I believe that by now they made it a little easier to cross Bothell Way and added a couple of stops to fill in one of the super large gaps, but it’s still not ideal by any means.

      2. Ross said Link’s stop spacing is too large. Look at Link through the Rainier Valley. Link can’t survive on its own in the RV. It also requires two other layers of transit to support it to work. The route 106 shadows Link the entire way down MLK, and Via is required to drive Link riders between their homes and the stations.

        So if large stop spacing for Link requires a variety of other modes of transit to support it and shadow it, why wouldn’t Stride’s large stop spacing also require it?

      3. I think that I would look at it as balancing cost vs. outcome, i.e. is the ridership supporting it, and are the demographics of the ridership such that the longer stops are a true inconvenience. I think that through RV the ridership is large enough – totally possible that along Bothell Way that’s not the case, though as Kenmore and Bothell continue to grow, that may start to be the case in the future.

        Having said that, it is a chicken-and-egg problem. I had the luxury of being able to live elsewhere with better transit, so I chose to do so. It’s possible that improving the area with an additional local shadow would drive more ridership; for me, it would have helped only if the local shadow were frequent enough to make the connections to something like Stride seamless on both ends, or if the local shadow took me where I needed to go so I wouldn’t have to switch.

      4. Check the King County Metro Equity Priority Areas map. A large section of MLK in the RV are in equity priority areas, and a large section of Stride S3 between Bothell and Kenmore are in equity priority areas. Equity considerations are no longer an afterthought. It’s at the front of the line when making these kinds of transit decisions.

      5. “Look at Link through the Rainier Valley. Link can’t survive on its own in the RV. It also requires two other layers of transit to support it to work… So if large stop spacing for Link requires a variety of other modes of transit to support it and shadow it, why wouldn’t Stride’s large stop spacing also require it?”

        Again, the context of a line and stations matter. Rainier Valley is higher density, walkable, with a wider range of destinations, more low-income people, greater interest in using transit, an urban street grid, and a grid that continues for miles around Link. All that translates to a larger percent of the population using transit for a wider variety of purposes, and going to in-between blocks that they need last-mile transit for.

        On Highway 522, you can’t go to destinations that don’t exist, or cross the wide high-speed highway where there’s no crosswalk. The suburban superblock street network is harder to navigate. Businesses and multifamily housing mostly concentrate at large intersections, which are the most likely to have Stride stations. The areas with the largest gaps are particularly low density, so few people live there or go there. Or are they not? So all limited routes should maybe have a local shadow route, but its necessity is relative to the context. And even if a shadow exists, it can’t be as effective as it would be in Rainier Valley because of the context.

        “Via is required to drive Link riders between their homes and the stations.”

        Is Via still running? Crossroads Connect is gone. In any case, Via serves a different purpose. It’s for taking people to houses perpendicular to the line, where bus routes are incomplete or infrequent. Places like eastern Rainier Valley, Rainier View, Skyway, and Renton. While you can technically take it to MLK & Eddy (one block from Graham and on the 106), most of the trips aren’t to there and that’s not its primary purpose.

        The issue of Link shadows will become more complex with Link extensions. Right now the Link shadows are roughly the A, 106, 49, and 67. The 106 runs directly along Link and is the most quintessential shadow. The A runs where Link should be and will meet it at three points. Only locals will readily know the 49 connects Westlake, Capitol Hill, and U-District. And that still leaves out several stations and station pairs. UW Station is on the 48, Beacon Hill on the 46, and Stadium and SODO on the 131/132 and busway routes. There’s no route between Rainier Beach and TIB, but you can get from downtown to TIB on the 124. As Link gets into Snohomish County, are shadow routes even applicable there? There’s no local street along I-5. The travel patterns are along 99 and 44th. So it makes more sense to just keep the local bus routes in the area, and treat Link as unshadowable there.

      6. So if large stop spacing for Link requires a variety of other modes of transit to support it and shadow it, why wouldn’t Stride’s large stop spacing also require it?

        Because S3’s stop spacing is identical to whatever bus would shadow it, except for the one section between Kenmore and Bothell. I wrote this post mainly to point out that fact.

        I also wouldn’t say that bus service on MLK “supports” Link, either. They basically run independently. There is no evidence to suggest that riders are using the 106 as a feeder to Link. Quite the contrary. There are very few people who get off an inbound (northbound) 106 at the Rainier Beach Station. This would be the place where folks would transfer. You ride the bus, get off at the train station, wait for your train and hope that it gets downtown before the bus. Except very few people do that. They just keep riding the bus. It is not really a feeder, but more of a shadow, except that it stays on Rainier, while the train goes in a tunnel to serve Beacon Hill and Sodo before meeting up with the bus right about where it terminates (at IDS).

        Anyway, S3 is different, merely because the stop spacing is different.

      7. As Link gets into Snohomish County, are shadow routes even applicable there? There’s no local street along I-5.

        Exactly. The same is true for S1 and S2 (freeway running Stride lines). There is no need for shadows because the bus serves every bus stop. The whole point of a shadow is it pick up the stops that the other bus/train skipped, and there simply aren’t any. If WSDOT adds more freeway stations (to shrink the distance between stops) Stride will definitely serve that stop (otherwise it isn’t worth building). It is a completely different dynamic between that and Link on Rainier Valley, or Swift on SR 101.

  6. When I read the post, my first thought is that the 225, at least on weekends, runs hourly with a whopping 55 minute layover at Kenmore Park and Ride. In theory, this bus could be extended to Bothell without adding any additional buses or drivers to the route, at very low marginal cost.

    But, after thinking further, I developed some reservations about the idea. On weekday daytime hours, the 225 is half-hourly, so the extension then would probably still require one additional bus. I also produces a real zig-ziggety pattern that makes the extension less useful to riders than idea. For example, someone traveling all the way from Kirkland to Bothell would not be riding the 225 end-to-end – they would get for sure faster on the 230 or possibly even a little bit faster on the slower 239.

    The route that makes the most geographical sense to provide Kenmore->Bothell coverage, I think, is unquestionably the 331. It’s already heading east, so having it continue east makes for more logical trips. For example, someone headed from Bothell to Shoreline would probably not take S3 to either Link or the 331 – they would just ride the 331 one-seat all the way.

    1. I think the 331 makes the most sense as well, but I also don’t think the 225 would be that bad. Sure, no one would take it end to end, but there would still be plenty of people who would benefit from the extension to Bothell (besides the folks covered with the new stops — the whole point of the extension). Basically everything north of where the 230 diverges. I don’t know the timing of the 230/225, but I think both buses run every half hour. This means that riders who just miss a 230 might find that a 225 is a better bus, even though it will take longer to get to Bothell. Still, the 331 would be ideal.

  7. It seems like the best option is to add sufficient stops such that there is no need to a shadow in Kenmore & Bothell, and then if there is a desire by Kenmore/Bothell/Woodinville riders & politicians for a more express access to Link, then advocate for an STX or KCM peak only bus that helps handle peak ridership and skips, for example, all of the stops in Seattle & Lake Forrest? During peak a rider may be willing to wait 5 minutes for an express run, but otherwise there is more value created in the reliability & navigability of a single frequent route that serves all stops.

    If there is confidence in the 72 being frequent, then I suppose the stop at 15th can be removed …. but removing a single stop in-line isn’t going to make much of a difference so probably not worth it.

  8. I think an inherent problem with S3 is that it is more of a RapidRide service design rather than a freeway express like S1 and S2 are. I think a good case could be made to call it something different than Stride.

    1. I think an inherent problem with S3 is that it is more of a RapidRide service design rather than a freeway express like S1 and S2 are.

      Why is that a problem?

      I think a good case could be made to call it something different than Stride.

      You mean like “Stride+”?

      The fact that one runs on a highway and the other runs (mostly) on the freeway seems like a meaningless distinction. Metro has buses that go on the freeway and buses that don’t, but they don’t differentiate between the two.

      The only reason that branding makes sense at all is because they have off-board payment. There is an assumption with a normal Metro or Sound Transit bus that you pay as you board. Branding is largely a waste of money in my opinion, but I can see value in having it for that reason. With Stride you pay at the reader by the bus stop, like you do for the train. To create a third brand (for just Sound Transit buses mind you) doesn’t seem like it would help anyone in any way.

      If anything, Sound Transit should just get rid of their branding and use Metro’s. Call these new routes “RapidRide”, because the fundamental difference between these and other Sound Transit/Metro buses is the off-board payment and fancy bus stops. The Sound Transit buses could just run with Metro livery.

    2. Stride, ST Express, and Link typically have limited stops every 1-2 miles. That doesn’t mean all routes have to in all segments. Highway 522 is not like I-5 or I-90; it has clusters of jobs and housing between what would be periodic freeway exits, just like Bellevue Way does. There are already too many brands:
      – Stride vs Swift
      – RapidRide vs Stream (and many people don’t understand the difference between RapidRide and Swift)
      – Metro/tram-like Link (1 Line) and streetcar-like Link (T Line)
      – T Line vs First Hill and SLU streetcars
      – Metro vs CT vs PT vs ET buses with overlapping route numbers
      – ST Express vs Metro express routes, seemingly arbitrarily (554 vs 255).

      ST understandably didn’t want to merge Stride with the
      Swift or ST Express brands, because they’re somewhat different services, and Swift is owned by a county agency. So now we have a new Stride brand. We don’t need to dilute it further into freeway Stride and arterial Something. By the way, Aurora is also in ST’s long-range plan for future BRT. Do you want that to be called Stride or a different 522-like brand.

  9. I have a prediction, Sam. Metro will renumber routes 1-4 to avoid overlap with Link’s 1, 2, and 3 Lines.

    The southern half of the 1 has already been renumbered to 36, et al. The 3 and 4 now have common routing throughout Queen Anne and beyond. Metro has been planning repeatedly to merge the 4 into the 3, so it could renumber it at the same time. I predict a two-digit number.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *