We have until this Friday, March 10th to comment on the Metro Bus Restructure for Lynnwood Link. I’ve written about the initial plan, made suggestions and explored ideas on the subject. Here are my recommendations, in order of priority:

  1. Run a bus on Lake City Way to make up for the loss of the 522. This is important from both a ridership and coverage standpoint. The simplest and cheapest way to do this is with a live loop through the Roosevelt neighborhood.
  2. Send the 348 to the UW, not Northgate. This eliminates the need for the 67, saving money. Riders lose their one-seat ride to Northgate, but gain a one-seat ride to the UW. The station at Roosevelt replaces Northgate for riders heading south.
  3. As a way to save money, eliminate the proposed 324 and cover the area between Kenmore and Bothell with an extension of the proposed 334.
  4. Extend the 72 to Shoreline Community College, and truncate the 333 there. This improves connectivity. This is also a more natural fit in terms of frequency, as the rest of the 333 is a coverage route (while the 72 is not).
  5. Straighten out routes to avoid long delays caused by turning.
  6. Avoid running infrequent routes that overlap or compete with frequent transit.
  7. Put the savings from the various cost saving changes mentioned above into better frequency, especially on east-west routes that run on the main transit corridors.
  8. Explore extending the 61 to 15th NW, with a live loop like so. The bus would then intersect every north-south bus north of the ship canal. This would be especially handy for trips to Ballard from Northgate and Lake City.

To visualize these changes. I came up with two maps, the first of which is oriented towards ridership:

While geared towards ridership, it actually provides better coverage in many places. From a baseline standpoint, most of the buses would run every fifteen minutes or better. The 75, 333, 334 and 336 would run every half hour. But since this has a lot less overlap, and a lot fewer turns, the buses could run a lot more often. East-west service (on buses like the 61, 72, 348, etc.) could be bumped up to 12 or 10 minutes. Some of the half-hour buses buses could run more often. For example, the 334 could run every 15 to 20 minutes to give Northwest Hospital more frequent service, while the 75 could be restored to its current service level (15 minutes).

The second map is geared towards coverage:

This is similar to the other map, but with a few changes. The 336 provides a lot of additional coverage. Service is restored in the Hillwood neighborhood (west of Aurora Village). The bus loops through the Briarcrest neighborhood, passing by a high school, middle school and several elementary schools. The 333 is extended to serve Four Freedoms House. Despite the extra coverage — more than the Metro proposal — it would still have better frequency, as there is less overlap and more efficient routing.

33 Replies to “Comment Soon on the Lynnwood Link Bus Restructure”

  1. I don’t live or visit these areas so I can’t say I have a strong opinion. I do think LCW deserves a frequent replacement when ST 522 becomes Stride and support this as the .#1 comment.

    I also like the notion of ramping up hours for east-west connectivity. Link (when both lines are operating) and RapidRide E seem to handle north-south movement with amazing frequency except for LCW.

    1. Link (when both lines are operating) and RapidRide E seem to handle north-south movement with amazing frequency

      Yes, exactly. This is a very big part of my thought process. It is easy to just focus on Link, but the RapidRide E is very frequent, and pretty darn fast unless you are going really far (like downtown). As part of a two-seat ride, it is excellent. If the east-west buses can be a bit more frequent, then a lot of trips become a lot better.

  2. “5. Straighten out routes to avoid long delays caused by turning.

    “6. Avoid running infrequent routes that overlap or compete with frequent transit.”

    I agree that over-turning is problematic in a number of ways. However a few turns is fine, particularly where there is a signal phase for the turn lane. Of course “straightening out” is not the same thing as “removing any turns”.

    I further have an issue of forcing riders to transfer to/ from RapidRide E to complete a trip on Aurora. Aurora is a horrible highway to force a transferring rider to cross twice just to make a transit trip in one direction — and yet there are many popular destinations on the highway that the proposed routing would require. There are as many as 9-10 lanes to cross when all the double lefts and right turn pockets are counted.

    So I feel that it’s better to overlay segments of other local routes on Aurora to reduce transferring on this highway so dangerous for pedestrians forced to cross it.

    I think that general admonitions like your recommendations 5 and 6 should not be applied to Aurora because of the specific pedestrian environment along this highway that’s so scary to cross.

    1. Some turns are inevitable. Turns at stops signs are fine. But a turn at Aurora, for example, is terrible. Sure, there is a signal phase for the turn, but quite often you have to sit through two cycles, even in the middle of the day. It is just the nature of turn signals. They favor vehicles going straight. I’ve sat on the 347/348 as it went through two cycles. In a car I routinely make a turn onto Aurora at 130th, and it usually takes two cycles (even when traffic isn’t that heavy).

      Aurora isn’t pleasant, but remember, it will get better. More to the point, ridership there is huge. The RapidRide E is extremely popular. Lots of people have no trouble crossing the street to catch the bus.

      Furthermore, the proposed routes still have riders catching the bus on Aurora. Otherwise, what is the point? For example, the 333 runs down Aurora on the way to Shoreline Community College. They clearly expect people to sit next to Aurora and wait as RapidRide E Line buses go by, just to catch that bus. I’m saying they won’t. They will instead take the E, then wait for the crossing bus (which, by the way, means they can wait on 160th, off of Aurora).

      Same thing with the 46. It appears to be making a whole series of turns so that it can pick up riders on Aurora, between 130th and 145th. That is the only significant ridership north of Haller Lake for that route. But even then, it doesn’t do well. If you are close to 130th, you ignore that bus (you take the 65 to Link). If you are close to 145th, you have another option. You can take the 65, which is more frequent. Most of the people along that stretch of Aurora live close to Linden (to the west) not to the east. So this section is mainly for the small segment of people who live between 135th and 140th, and want to take a half-hour bus up to 145th. That is a lot of time and effort for very few riders.

      Same story with the 334. Again, it runs up Aurora, trying to connect them to Link or the college. Laudable goals, but remember, it only runs every half hour. So if you are on Aurora — an area considered unpleasant — why would you wait as the E passes by, just for your direct connection. Again, you will take the first E that goes by, and wait for the crossing bus (which runs a lot more frequently). Even trips to Link seem rare. Sure, you can head north, but the vast majority of riders are heading south on Link. Instead of waiting for a bus that will throw itself into traffic, and make a ton of turns, you take the E, then the 65 (especially if it is running every ten minutes).

      The idea of a two-seat ride to Link sounds terrible, but it is common throughout our system. Very few of the major routes to the west connect to Link (the 5, D or E don’t connect). A few of the crossing streets have connections (and that is very good) but it means that there are huge gaps where riders have a two-seat connection to Link (e. g. Licton Springs, Phinney Ridge, Ballard High School). The answer is not to overlay everything with infrequent buses that make those connections. The answer is to connect long routes whenever possible (e. g. 65, 72) and otherwise just focus on making transfers as painless as possible (which means running those crossing buses really frequently).

      In an ideal world, we would have a ton of service hours to throw at the problem. We would run a bus like this every ten minutes. But we just don’t have the service hours. We end up with half hours buses, which just can’t compete. Or we end up with a hybrid, which are buses that make lots of turns, run infrequently, and still can’t compete.

  3. I almost never agree with Ross, but I agree with pretty much everything in his tick list. I hope he is okay with that.

      1. Oh no! Just kidding. I think we agree a lot more than we remember.

        I would have to disagree with that assessment.

  4. Thirty-fifth has had bus service for a very long time. That tall, narrow “pyramid” between 80th and 125th is hard to get to from either LCW or Sandpoint. Why is Metro abandoning this neighborhood? Have they given a reason?

    1. I’m not sure I follow you. The 65 should continue to serve 35th NE, from 80th to 125th. It is part of the Metro proposal, and is on these maps (under the “Same as Metro Proposal” section).

      1. The 72 page shows the 65 as “replaced”. Maybe I’m reading it incorrectly.

      2. Maybe it’s just “replaced in part” (the north tail)? If so, the map is pretty misleading.

      3. OK, now I follow you. Yeah, that is confusing. The map here: https://kingcounty.gov/~/media/depts/metro/programs-projects/link-connections/lynnwood-link/pdf/routes/route72.pdf shows the 65 as a “Replaced Routes”. I think they did mean just the northern section. I’m not sure why they even listed the 65 there (maybe for folks along 145th).

        Anyway, the 65 will continue to run along 35th. It has its own webpage (https://kingcounty.gov/~/media/depts/metro/programs-projects/link-connections/lynnwood-link/pdf/routes/route65.pdf) and is shown on the main map (https://kingcounty.gov/~/media/depts/metro/programs-projects/link-connections/lynnwood-link/large/p2conceptnetwork_areamap_lg.jpg).

  5. My one addition to the list would be to raise the mid-day frequency on route 60, at least between Capitol Hill Station and Beacon Hill Station, to every 10 minutes, timed to pick up southbound riders at CHS, at least until the 2 Line opens, at which point timing is probably moot.

    Somehow, Metro has decided to and managed to bring route 60 up to every 12 minutes most of mid-day. The additional investment would hopefully not be too much, but splitting the route at Beacon Hill Station ought to be on the table, so the real unmet needs of the south portion — hyperfrequency around schoolbell time, so lots of students cease being passed up — could be met. The south portion could do just fine with 20-minute headway most of the rest of the time.

    1. > My one addition to the list

      This post is about the Lynnwood restructure so wouldn’t discuss route 60, probably should comment on the previous open thread.

      1. Yeah. Also worth noting — this is only about the Metro bus restructure (not Community Transit). They list the buses that are under consideration for changes on the main page: https://kingcounty.gov/depts/transportation/metro/programs-projects/fares-routes-and-service/lynnwood-link-connections.aspx.

        Changing the 60 would either be an open thread thing (as WL suggested) or maybe part of a Rapid Ride G restructure (which Metro hasn’t really addressed yet).

      2. Getting rid of nearly all First Hill express routes is part of the Lynnwood Link restructure. Improving connections between Capitol Hill Station and First Hill is part of making those riders who are losing express routes whole.

      3. OK, yeah, I follow you. I agree with you as well. Get rid of the express buses from the north end to First Hill while also improving service around First Hill (e. g. the 60). I agree with that approach very much.

        Unfortunately, Metro isn’t looking at that. They won’t touch commit to making any changes beyond the ones listed in Lynnwood Link Connections. The 60 isn’t listed (nor are other buses in the area).

      4. The thing about the 60, it’s a long route, with only a very tiny piece of it in First Hill. If the idea of better service on the 60 is to compensate for the loss of the First Hill expresses, running additional buses to Beacon Hill, Georgetown, and Westwood Village is a relatively expensive way to go about it.

        That’s not to say that Beacon Hill, Georgetown, and Westwood Village necessarily shouldn’t deserve more service on the 60. I’m just saying, this is an area where I simply don’t know, and not particularly relevant to the Lynnwood Link restructure.

        If you really wanted to boost frequency from Capitol Hill Station to Harborview as cheaply as possible, the cheapest way to do it would be a new route that simply followed the 60 from Capitol Hill Station to Harborview and did nothing else.

      5. Since we’re talking about it anyways.

        > The additional investment would hopefully not be too much, but splitting the route at Beacon Hill Station ought to be on the table, so the real unmet needs of the (northern?) portion

        I don’t think increasing the frequency or splitting it would solve what you are talking about. The “hyperfrequency around schoolbell time,”. Basically you’ll just have to run express busses to solve peak time capacity.

        Secondly, it seems a bit odd the curtail the 60 at beacon station if those people just want to reach the light rail stations. It’s not as if they don’t have plenty of other options with the streetcar to reach Capitol Hill Station. Or the 2 or 12 or 3 or 4 to reach the downtown Link stations. And then in the future the Madison BRT. Curtailing frequency for Beacon Hill (15th avenue), Georgetown, and Westwood Village the rest of the day to solve capacity issues at only peak time in First Hill is a step too far. Especially when First Hill already has a plethora of alternatives.

        Anyways if you were to implement a split I checked https://kingcounty.gov/depts/transportation/metro/schedules-maps/hastop/060.aspx and using some napkin math, Capitol Hill to Beacon Hill takes around ~30 minutes and Beacon Hill to Westwood Villages takes around another 30 minutes for an hour trip one way. Given around 12 minute frequency that’s around 5 busses in an hour in one direction or 10 busses for both ways.

        If one allocates 5 busses doing turnbacks and 5 busses heading to Westwood, you could get around 7.5 min frequency for the First Hill to Beacon Hill at the cost of 24 min frequency for the rest. Or if allocating only 4 busses doing turnbacks and 6 busses continuing on to Westwood, it’d be around ~9.5 min frequency and 20 min frequency for the rest.

        I will note though if you implement turnbacks, it is actually moderately hard to time it so that the First Hill section receives the frequency improvements, since it does depend on the overlapping section of one bus completing their loop within a half hour and another just reaching Westwood. Or to be more exact in the second scenario, it’s more like there’s a 15 minute bus between First Hill and Beacon Hill overlapped by a 20 minute bus that heads to Westwood.

      6. Yeah I’d move the Route 60 discussion to an open thread.

        It quickly will evolve into a need to revisit the U Link restructure in 2016, especially in the context of RapidRide G coming on line supposedly in 2024 (next year) requiring some restructuring anyway. Curiously, the idea was that East Link opening would precede RapidRide G opening — but the latest revelations are that the first opening day will be RapidRide G instead.

        I’ll just throw in my oft given comment that while you can go from First Hill to Beacon Hill station directly you cannot go directly from First Hill to Rainier Valley (including Judkins Park Station) directly for most of the day. For me, it seems to point to the idea of simply restoring Route 9 (and maybe adjusting the path) to all-day at a decent frequency as the best incremental improvement.

        Metro plays with ideas to connect the two stations using College St in long range planning — so perhaps a U shaped routing focused on Broadway, 12th Ave S, College St and 23rd Ave (or MLK) could also be a great workhorse routing concept.

      7. Yeah I’d move the Route 60 discussion to an open thread.

        Agreed. Keep in mind, I can’t actually move a comment. I can copy a comment, but then it looks like I wrote it. I can delete comments, which is what I will soon do, as this is off topic. I understand the original thought — that the 60 is related — and in a sense it is. But it isn’t relevant to the survey (which is the focus of this blog post). If you fill out the comment form, or email them and mention the 60 they will throw that comment in the trash. This blog post is only about this survey: https://kingcounty.gov/depts/transportation/metro/programs-projects/fares-routes-and-service/lynnwood-link-connections.aspx.

        So, for those of you who want to discuss the 60, please share your thoughts on an open thread. Thanks.

      8. Route 9 yes! It’s the route which is predicted/planned/supposed to be the north end of Rainier when all is said and done, and having a direct First Hill to SLU bus seems a completely obvious thing. Now whether it should run on Boren or 9th is a question. Ninth gets closer to the actual hospitals, and that’s what the 60 does. But if it’s a general Rainier-First Hill-SLU Rapid Ride, Boren is better.

  6. There are several options for route 61 (current route 20). I used to live in Tangletown and can attest to Metro’s claim that this route has low ridership south of Northgate.

    @Ross, your idea of running it to 15th Ave is an excellent option and would provide good connections. You might as well extend it to Golden gardens and share the layover space with the 45. My only concern is redundancy: route 40 pretty much does the same job but just further north (except it doesn’t connect with the measly route 28) The major advantage of your idea is giving the 85th St corridor a one-seat ride to Northgate and Lake City Way.

    Other options are interlining the 61 with the 345, thus multiplying service between Haller Lake/Aurora Ave and Northgate. Or maintaining current the current routing but terminating at Greenlake, thus preserving service to/from the Greenlake area Northgate.

    1. There are a few alternatives for laying over after serving Crown Hill, but they all have their drawbacks.

      The idea you suggested has merit. You can go to North Beach (above Golden Gardens) and lay over with the 45. But then you’ve increased the redundancy. I don’t have much trouble with two buses running on 85th — there are plenty of riders there. If both buses run every 15 minutes, I would try and synchronize them, as a fair number of riders are just trying to go along the corridor (and riders headed to Link could use either bus). But as you go further west, you get diminishing returns. By then you’ve connected to all the other buses and that part of 85th has fewer people (and much of it is served by the 40).

      Another alternative would be to avoid overlap by sending the 61 to North Beach, and then send the 45 to the QFC by Holman Road via 8th NW (like the 28). I kind of like that idea, but feel like it adds to the churn — I don’t want to propose too many changes. I think a live loop seems quite possible and not very disruptive or expensive.

      In the long run, I would like to see the 40 combined with the 61. That makes it kind of long, but with the improvements to the 40, I could see it work. Then the D could take over the northern tail of the 40 (continuing on Holman Road and curving around to serve the college and laying over at Northgate). That is much more of a long term thing.

      In general I really like the 61. It is the only route that keeps going the same direction through the Northgate Station. Every other route has to detour to serve it. Either it ends there, or if it continues, it goes a different direction. The 61, in contrast, keeps going the same basic direction (Northeast/Southwest) and it is the only realistic possibility for such a route. East-West can’t possibly work (the freeway is in the way, along with the steep hillside of Maple Leaf). North-South doesn’t quite work, as you have to detour to the station (and Metro has largely abandoned 5th between Northgate and Roosevelt). Northwest/Southeast has the same weakness (there is no interest in running a bus along 5th south of Northgate). This is the only route serving the station with strong fundamentals — it connects to a large range of buses and neighborhoods while going the same basic direction the whole time. I just want to make it a little bit better.

      I once proposed a layover around Crown Hill, but I decided to ignore new layovers with these suggestions. I don’t even know if that is possible. I think a live loop would work though, while adding quite a bit in connectivity.

      1. Ah yes! I would love to see the D extended to Northgate too but it’s unlikely for YEARS.

        A live loop is very doable because the route is so short. But because of that very reason, I think there are so many other opportunities to extend the 61 to other neighborhoods and provide more access to transit.

  7. Wonder why both RossB and Metro P2 make Route 334 as one route with a bobby pin shape serving Mountlake Terrace rather than splitting it into two routes with layover at the Link station. Note that the RossB Route 334 provides Ridgecrest with a direct connection with the South Shoreline Link station, an obvious element of the network.

    1. I don’t know about Metro, but I basically followed their lead. In general I didn’t deviate from their plans unless there was a strong reason for doing so. I thought about splitting there, but couldn’t come up with a good reason to do so. I don’t think the route is too long, even with the extension (to the east) that I added. But if it is, Mountlake Terrace Station is definitely the place to split it.

      1. We have a better chance of getting changes accepted if they only deviate a little bit from Metro’s plans. Metro’s planners have reasons for all their proposals and will try to keep them. There are some large things we must insist on, like #1 (Lake City Way) and #5 (Lake City-Shoreline CC). #8 (extending the 61 to 15th NW) is small but has a significant benefit: connecting Seattle east-west. (Ross showed me that the extended 61 would transfer to all north-south routes in North Seattle.) Lesser things may not be worth pressing Metro on, as we’d have to expend energy convincing Metro to change its mind, and that may detract from getting our more critical changes.

      2. I agree. I don’t think it makes sense for us to propose a plan that would be basically starting from scratch. I also don’t think it would necessarily be any better. There is a lot I really like that came from the planners. The 61, for example, is outstanding, and I don’t think I had that on any of my maps before they proposed it (back with the Northgate restructure). I just want to extend it a little bit (and if that isn’t possible, I think it is still outstanding).

        One of the things I did with the maps is put the routes that are identical to what Metro proposed on their own layer. There really aren’t that many that I propose changing. A couple of them are very minor changes (extending the 72 and 61). Most of the big changes are in Shoreline. There are some very important changes I want to see in Seattle, but they build on what is already there, or already proposed.

  8. I am puzzled as to why Route 334 serves Mountlake Terrace in a bobby pin configuration rather than as two separate routes with a layover at the Link station, as it does for both RossB and Metro P2. You should know that the South Shoreline Connection station is an obvious node in the network and is directly connected to Ridgecrest through RossB Route 334.

  9. This is a well-written article for someone who can grow body hair like a one-eyebrowed ape. Full disclosure: Ross is my brother (I shave my mono-brow thank you). I appreciate the detail you bring to this topic. It is especially true because of your familiarity with N Seattle. The 2 points I like are:
    —New route for 522. The few times I’m on Lake City I am amazed at how well it is doing (shops/restaurants/bigboxstores & pedestrians galore). Having a line that connects to Roosevelt would be so nice.
    —The 324 / 334 switch. I’m trying to think of who would get on between 125th & 522 – that kind of makes sense (you are only eliminating the 125th to 145th segment from what I can tell).

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