The RapidRide G (Madison) restructure is finally here. Construction is 50% complete, and the line is expected to launch in Fall 2024. Metro has a survey until May 8 about changes to other routes around it. Metro proposes to reroute the 10, 11, and 12, and to delete the currently-suspended 47.

The G will run along Madison Street between 1st Avenue downtown and Martin Luther King Way in Madison Valley. The stations will be at 1st, 3rd, 5th, 8th, Terry, Boyleston, 12th, 17th, 22nd, 24th, and MLK. West of 8th Avenue will be a one-way couplet on Madison and Spring Streets. The middle section between 9th and 13th will have center transit-only lanes with left-side doors (like the First Hill streetcar on Jackson Street). East of 13th it will run in mixed-traffic lanes.

Metro wants to exchange the 10 and 11 between Bellevue Avenue and 15th. The 10 would return to Pine Street like it was before 2016. The 11 would move to Olive-John to replace it. The 12 would move from Madison Street to Pine Street to reduce duplication with the G. The 47 would be deleted. (It has been suspended since 2020.) Routes not listed will remain as is. The 49 would continue to be a Pine-Broadway route, and the 8 a Denny-John-Madison-MLK route.

The 10 and 12 would overlap on Pine Street between 3rd and 15th and alternate evenly, giving full-time 15-minute or better service to the top of Capitol Hill. On Olive-John, the 8 and 11 would overlap between Summit Avenue and MLK. Transfers between the 12 and G would be at 17th & Madison. Transfers between the 8, 11, and G would be at MLK & Madison.

Here’s a map of what it all would look like:

Map of RapidRide G and proposed changes to surrounding routes.
Source: Metro. Click for a full-sized version.

Routes 10 and 12 would run at least every 30 minute.. Route 11 would run at least every 20-30 minutes. That’s before any additions by Seattle’s Transit Benefit District (TBD), so actual frequency may be higher. Current service with TBD additions are: Route 10: 10-15-15-15-30 (peak-midday-Saturday-Sunday-evening). Route 11: 15-20-30-30-30. Route 12: 10-15-30-30-30.

Routes 10 and 12 would remain trolleybus routes. A 1 .5 block gap in trolley wire would be filled in between 15th & Pine and 16th & Madison.

The 11 is the most useful route in the area I think, because it connects the most largish activity centers: Pike Place Market, the retail core, southwest Capitol Hill, 15th, Madison Valley, and Madison Park. If I were king I’d make it the most frequent route. But Metro has prioritized it lower than the 49 and 10, and I don’t think that will change.

I like the restructure because it groups routes to similar destinations on the same street. Pine-Street would have full-time frequent service east to 15th rather than just to Broadway. The 8 and 11 would overlap between Summit Avenue and Madison Valley, rather than splitting to different streets like they do now, so you could take either one from the same stops. I’ll miss the 47, but if something has to give, that should be it.

I was one of the people who pressed Metro to move the 10 to Olive-John when the 43 was reduced. But when the change occurred, many 10 riders switched to 11 to remain near Pine Street. So that’s where the 10 should be. The 10 would lose direct access to Capitol Hill Station, while the 11 would gain it. This is appropriate because not a lot of 15th Ave E riders are using it and they can more easily walk to it, whereas coming from Madison Valley and Madison Park it’s a longer distance and more hills and more people, so they need a stop at the station more.

This restructure was smaller than I expected. Metro had previously published concepts involving the 2, 8, 49, 60, and 106. I had expected those to be in this restructure, but they aren’t. I still think it would be worthwhile to combine the 49 and 60 into a U-District – Broadway – Beacon Hill route; to combine the 2 and 49 into a Pine-12th-Union route; and to reroute the 106 to Boren Avenue and South Lake Union. But I don’t want to lose the proposed 10 and 11. I’m afraid that moving the 2 might lead to deleting the 11. I wouldn’t want that because the 11 is more useful, as I argued above.

This is the first round of proposals and feedback. The second round will be this fall. The third and final round will be next spring when Metro submits it to the County Council. Metro anticipates this fall responding to feedback on routes 10, 11, 12, and 47, and making minor schedule adjustments to other routes in the area. But your feedback can be about anything. I included a plug for the U-District – Beacon Hill corridor above. If enough people request the same thing, Metro might listen. So think about your feedback, and submit it by May 8th.

45 Replies to “RapidRide G Restructure”

  1. Honest question: Why is it taking so long to create Rapid Ride G? They have been consructing this for years already. I’m shocked there is still a year and a half to go. I know the road had to be reinforced and pedestrian bulbs and curb cuts and such created, but…

    1. > They have been consructing this for years already.

      Construction only started 1.5 years ago.

      > Construction is anticipated to start in fall 2021. We expect construction to take about 2.5 years to complete and the RapidRide G Line to open in 2024. The construction team will complete the work in up to 4 segments at a time.


      > Why is it taking so long to create Rapid Ride G?

      American transit agencies like to minimize construction impact by making smaller impacts but then taking a longer time to complete it.

      For example:
      > To limit the amount of time that a particular location is distrupted by construction, the construction contractor’s major construction activities will be contained within work zones of up to 1,500 feet (about 4-5 blocks) – with at least 1,500 feet between each major work zone. The contractor is permitted to work in up to 4 work zones at a time.

      It could probably have been done moderately faster if they could work in longer continuous blocks.

    2. I believe that there were major elements under the street that needed rebuilding.

      In fact, I have to wonder if part of the unwritten motivation for the project was to get transit money to rebuild the street.

    3. My understanding is that this is more of a utility project than anything else. Pipes, vaults, handholes, etc. It takes a lot of time and effort to coordinate these various items, especially when several agencies own utilities within the area. After that, its just grading, curb and gutter, sidewalks, and paving. It just takes a while to get through all that, especially when leaving parts of the road open.

    4. It took a year to hire a project director. It was during the time Kubly melted down at SDOT. It may have been waiting for enough funding, because Move Seattle couldn’t build as many RapidRide lines as it thought. Still, it is surprising that RapidRide H construction started and finished while RapidRide G construction was still underway, and the H is several times longer than the G.

      1. > Still, it is surprising that RapidRide H construction started and finished while RapidRide G construction was still underway, and the H is several times longer than the G.

        It’s not too surprising. A lot of (center lane) BRT projects, or even streetcars longest construction hurdles are really moving underground utilities.

        For instance the “Eastbound E Madison St is closed between 12th and 15th Aves while we complete replacement of a 120-year-old watermain, relocate utilities, and begin to repave the street”.

        Or also in the Rapidride G original document “As Figure 4-3 shows, capital costs for the center running alternative were projected to be approximately 22 percent higher than for the side running alternative. This is primarily because it would have required more extensive reconstruction of both the roadway and sidewalk around stations, including utility relocation.”

        For another example in SF, the Van Ness BRT project was really like 3~4 years of a sewer replacement project (it did need to be replaced anyways) and then like just 1 year of building the street/painting the lanes. While the Geary BRT that used right-curbside bus lanes mainly skipped putting bus lanes in the middle as well as utility relocation and was built relatively quickly.

        That is one very great advantage of right-side bus lanes, you can typically skip a lot of utility relocation; though some is typically still done at BRT stations.

  2. Mostly for selfish reasons, but also, why have 10, 11, AND 12 shadow so much of the same area from downtown onto The Hill. I’d much prefer that the 12 shadow the 2 for getting up and down the hill, and clean up the mess of parking and travel lanes on Seneca @ 8th to make it easier for the buses on that route.

    1. AJ: your concept could be done with the existing trolleybus overhead; the questionnaire concept will require a few blocks of new overhead between Madison and Pine streets. The Spring Street bus lane could be used by coaches of the G Line and routes 2 and 12. The Route 2 overhead pathway serves two DSTT stations; the Pike-Pine loop only serves one DSTT station and gets stalled in peak period congestion.

  3. I’m kind of surprised that the Rapidride G does not continue on to Madison Park — though I guess beyond MLK there aren’t that many riders.

    The restructure does seem a bit odd. It seems they just weren’t sure what to do with the 11 so moved it over to E John St, which then lead to too much frequency so moved the 10 over to E Pine Street.

    I was going to suggest having the 12 and 11 branch off of the Rapidride G line making it an open BRT configuration, with 3 lines with one heading up 19 Ave E , one continuing to Madison Park and another just turning around for higher frequency. However, this won’t work as you’d need bus doors on the left side for the center platforms.

    It does feel a bit like too many bus routes that are spreading the frequency lower than it could be but I’m not sure how to restructure/consolidate them in a way that makes sense

    1. It’ll be interesting to see how many 11 riders transfer to Link now that it stops on John, which could give Metro more fodder for the 8+11 combo they’ve wanted to do for a while.

      1. Frank, perhaps Metro is not of one mind on the 8+11 combo. It was suggested in the AWV Enhanced Trolley Scenario is about 2008. It was an option in the U Link phase one questionnaire in 2015. It does seem superior to the questionnaire option. Note the close route spacing between routes 8 and 48 in the Central District. Under the questionnaire network, Madison Street east of MLK Jr. Way will have the G Line and routes 8 and 11 or about 19 trips per hour per direction.

  4. I expected more changes than these. In particular, the opening of Judkins Park Link (hopefully in 2025) along with RapidRide G seems to me to create an opportune time for major restructure.

    That said, RapidRide G seems unfulfilling to me. The eastern end ends at a place that seems awkward in particular. Metro is trying to do their best to design around that – but the result seems to be service redundancy where it isn’t needed. It is what happens when a project ends are chosen without considering how to connect the system as a whole.

    1. 100%. We get a fleet of one-off coaches with doors on both sides that aren’t even electric, albeit with higher service frequency, and a route that…ends at MLK & Madison. Transfers won’t exactly be simple, given street geometry and signal timing. I wish it would run all the way to Madison Park, but have a feeling many in Madison Park didn’t want that.

    2. Madison Valley has gotten a lot of growth. It’s to serve that. Madison Park is probably smaller, and it’s full of wealthy people who are least likely to use transit. Also there’s only one road to it.

      The original project was to 23rd. Some argued to extend it to MLK and others to Madison Park. SDOT said Madison Park wouldn’t fit into the project budget. It also said that if it did go to Madison Park, it wouldn’t have RapidRide features east of MLK; it would be in mixed traffic with no improvements.

    3. What is it about the eastern end of the route which strikes you as awkward?

      I lived in Madison Valley at the time this project was being planned, and I filled out a survey requesting that Metro extend the line to MLK, instead of ending at 23rd as they had originally planned. I told them I would ride their new bus every day if they brought it to my neighborhood, but there was no way I was going to hike up that steep hill to reach it if the nearest stop was at 23rd.

      Of course I have moved twice and changed jobs since then, and I never visit Madison Valley at all! But I still think Metro is making a good choice by putting a stop there, especially now that “Save Madison Valley” has lost their NIMBY battle, and that big new apartment building with its ground-floor grocery store is finally going to happen.

    4. I’m not saying that it should go to Madison Valley. I’m saying that it’s an awkward place to end a route.

      For example, the buses could continue to Madison Park. They could turn and run down MLK. The Route could continue north on LWB to UW.

      The point being that merely say “should the bus go one more stop” is not systemic thinking for a transit system. The decision should have had a restructure concept before it was made.

      1. The truth is that the decision was made while the line was supposed to be electrified. Madison Park didn’t want wires messing with their beautiful trees. Full Stop.

        So the line was terminated at Martin Luther King and that’s how the project has remained, regardless of the switch to hybrids.

      2. “The decision should have had a restructure concept before it was made.”

        The route came from SDOT. Metro didn’t want it. Metro didn’t think an all-Madison route to Madison Park would perform well, and it thought a Broadway-Madison RapidRide (kind of like the 49) would perform better than this alignment. But SDOT imposed this alignment on Metro, so Metro worked around it. Metro normally does restructures a year before a Link or RapidRide line opens, not several years before.

      3. “The truth is that the decision was made while the line was supposed to be electrified. Madison Park didn’t want wires messing with their beautiful trees.”

        That was in the 1960s when the trolley network contracted and the wires were removed in Madison Park. Nobody asked Madison Park in the 2010s whether it still opposes trolley wire as much now, so we don’t know. The reason the G doesn’t go to Madison Park is it was too much for the project’s budget, and the representative alignment in the ballot measure only went to 23rd. So it was rejected before these Madison Park neighborhood issues even came up

        In the early open houses and media coverage of the corridor, most of the public wanted an extension to MLK. The Madison Park extension debate revolved around whether it would get enough ridership to justify the investment, and whether buses would get caught in congestion and unreliable if they went east of MLK. I didn’t hear any nimby arguments about Madison Park opposing the line or trolley wires.

      4. “ So the line was terminated at Martin Luther King and that’s how the project has remained, regardless of the switch to hybrids.”

        Yes that’s true. Funny how had the sequencing of the decisions were reversed and hybrid buses were the route the project would probably go to Madison Park.

        It’s also curious that running off-wire for the last bit into Madison Park was never discussed. Wasn’t that technically possible in 2016?

      5. Funny how had the sequencing of the decisions were reversed and hybrid buses were the route the project would probably go to Madison Park.

        That is simply not true. The main reason the bus ends there is because ridership drops very quickly after that. The other reason is because there is another street (John) that converges onto Madison at that point. You have to consider the network, as well as the geography.

        This is by no means unique. Look at the 31/32. It ends abruptly by Children’s Hospital. Why? Because ridership in Laurelhurst is bound to be much, much lower. Unlike Madison Park, it won’t get any service at all. Or how about the 44. Why does it end at 32nd NW, instead of continuing west, and looping around Golden Gardens? Again, there is not enough ridership to justify the extension.

        Madison Park has enough ridership to justify some service, but certainly not a bus that runs every 6 minutes all day long. That would be a massive overkill for the area.

    5. Al S.: the network shows the impact of having two chefs in the kitchen. SDOT designed the G Line; Metro is responding to it. SDOT considered extending the line to Madison Park, but faced opposition over the overhead; when SDOT opted for hybrid buses, did they reconsider the extent?

      Judkins Link does seem very important. The pedestrian connection is better via 23rd Avenue South than via Rainier Avenue South for distance and elevation.

  5. Wow, what a lot of redundancy. From Martin Luther King Blvd all the way to Denny and Summit the 11 duplicates the frequent 8. It’s a “What Folks Expreyess” to Group Health and Nordstroms! Call it the “WFE” for a catchy advertising campaign.

    Madison Parkers, Dressed to Kill or Ready to Die? Whee-Whee-Whee! Ride WFE!

    Does the “Madison Park Community” fund it like the MI and the 630?

    1. It adds frequency to what would probably be a popular corridor. And it’s not an express. It has more stops than the G will. Did you notice the 11 has been going to Nordstrom’s for decades? And people don’t dress to kill on it. Anyway, real snobs don’t take the 11 to Nordstrom’s downtown, they drive to Bellevue Square.

      1. It adds frequency to what would probably be a popular corridor.

        Yes, but the result is less frequency overall. The only way to make the buses run more often is to avoid overlap, or worse yet, the “almost overlap” that occurs on buses like the 2. It is slated to run almost the exact same path as the G, just a lot less frequently, and not as quickly.

        The expected headways are not known at this point, but Metro seems to imply that they could be terrible. They emphasize doubling up headways on the combined 10 and 12 (“routes 10 and 12 would be staggered to create combined, frequent, all-day service of every 15-minutes or better.”). Thus it is quite possible the 10 runs every half hour most of the day. This is a bus that used to run every ten minutes in the middle of the day, and never ran worse than every fifteen minutes. This is a big degradation, and it is the result of so much waste. Of course things could get a bit better if and when Seattle spends extra money on service. But a route like the 10 should not be so dependent on it. The baseline should be much higher, otherwise we will spend a bunch of money running the bus every fifteen minutes, and consider that a great win.

        I made this comparison before. Look at the before and after pictures for Houston: There is a dramatic increase in frequency across much of the city. Yet it cost exactly the same amount! There was no big increase in funds — just a more efficient network. You get rid of waste, and in some cases ask people to walk an extra block or two.

        Consider this map: In some ways it is better, some ways worse. But most of all, it is just a lot more efficient. Consider the savings:

        1) The 47 is added, but the 12 goes away (the 47 is shorter).
        2) The 11 is gone.
        3) The 8 is shorter.
        4) The tail of the 4 is gone.
        5) The 49 is sent to Beacon Hill, replacing the 60. This avoids the “almost overlap” of the two routes, while also avoiding a lot of time consuming turns.

        Each one of these saves money, and in some cases quite a bit. Combined, they save a lot, which means buses showing up a lot more often. You still have corridors where buses are timed to provide better frequency (e. g. the new 49 and streetcar should both run every 10-12 minutes in the middle of the day, for combined 5-6 minute headways on Broadway). You still have buses that are not timed, but run often enough that they combine for good headways (the 2, 10 and 47 all run on Pike/Pine). But it also means that the buses in general run more often. Buses like the 2, 8, 10 and 48 run more often, even before Seattle chips in money for them. As a result, places like Madrona and Madison Park get frequent service, as do a lot of other places.

    2. I thought it went to Madison park to provide bus service to private school teens and domestic workers! Lol

      Actually, there are many blocks around Madison Park that aren’t large homes worth millions.

  6. I have been meaning to write about this for a while. Of the Metro restructures that I know about, this is by far the most disappointing. It has so many flaws I don’t know where to begin. No wonder they seem to be quietly asking for feedback, instead of the usual big announcement.

    A little background. If you aren’t familiar with this part of town — or if you haven’t been to it in years — this is basically the core of the city. There are relatively high density areas in various places in Seattle (UW, Ballard, etc.) but this is the biggest contiguous block of density in the state. It is has the potential for very high transit ridership.

    The G will cut right through it. Unlike Link, which only has one stop in the area, it will have 8 stops east of the freeway (and 3 to the west). It will avoid the congestion that is common in that part of town, and more importantly, run every 6 minutes, all day long. We really have never seen anything like it. The other buses should take full advantage of this, which is why this proposal is so disappointing.

    For the most part, our bus system is out of date. It assumes that everyone is headed downtown, or that First Hill contains only a handful of small hospitals. Those hospitals have grown, and are now surrounded by skyscrapers. The nightlife that epitomized Capitol Hill for years has continued to thrive, and grown outward. The moderately dense places in the Central District have filled in, and added a lot more people.

    Yet the bus system is full of waste, and this will actually add to it. Consider, for example, the 2. From downtown to roughly 15th and Union, it is very close to the RapidRide G. Outbound, it even runs on the exact same street, much of the way. But don’t be fooled — this is not a “spine”, with several routes converging onto a corridor, providing much better headways. There are only two buses along the route, and the G will run a lot more often. The G corridor doesn’t need another bus (running far less often) along the same corridor or a couple blocks away. This would be like Metro continuing to run express buses from the U-District after Northgate Link. Yeah, some people might prefer it, but you hurt both Link and the bus system. It is just a really bad idea. My guess is, the G will take a huge portion of the existing 2 ridership. The 2 won’t be able to compete, in the same way that the 47 can’t compete with the 49. The answer is not to throw up our hands — as Metro is ready to do with the 47 — but send the 2 somewhere else. Send it to Pike/Pine, while keeping the 10 the same. This would make this part of the 2 unlike the other buses, and thus valuable.

    This sort of inertia is evident throughout this restructure. There is no attempt to make a grid, or even take advantage of what the G has to offer. For example, consider the 11. It is not a frequent bus. It runs every 20 minutes in the middle of the day. Again, some of the riders will switch to the G, but worse yet, there is no attempt to make the bus more efficient, so that folks in Madison Park can have better service. The 8 is right there, practically begging to be sent east (instead of making the awkward turn on MLK). Combining the 8 and 11 would save a huge amount of money, which could then go into running the bus more often. Riders from Madison Park would have a direct connection to Link, South Lake Union and Uptown. If they wanted to go downtown, they could transfer to the G, which will run every six minutes, and be an easy surface transfer. Or they could stay on the bus and take Link or even the E if they are headed to the north end of Pike/Pine. But instead the 11 once again largely ignores the G, and goes downtown as if no one could possible want to go to South Lake Union, Queen Anne, or any of the Link destinations. The result is both a worse network, and buses that don’t run often enough. The two go together.

    Downtown remains an important destination, but a hub and spoke system is too inefficient, and out of date. Since Northgate Link, only one station has seen an increase in ridership: Capitol Hill. It has higher ridership than every downtown station other that Westlake. It has higher ridership than Pioneer Square and University Street combined. Clearly there are destinations other than downtown, and we should build a system that acknowledges that. Yet Metro seems to be stuck in the 1980s. This is the perfect time to restructure the buses in the area, and build a grid-like system, with much more frequent buses. We should build something that leverages the G, instead of pretending it isn’t there. In short, we need a major overhaul, and this isn’t it.

    1. “run every 6 minutes, all day long”

      The earlier materials said that but the current materials only say 6 minutes peak hours and don’t specify about off-peak, so it could be 10 or 15 minutes now.

      I still think the 11 is the most useful route in the area and a good grid route. Madison Street and Denny Way just don’t have the number and variety of destinations that Pike-Pine have. If you’re in Madison Park and transfer to the G, what you’ll get to is mostly medical establishments and office buildings. There’s not much retail there, and even some that is closes at 5pm. If you’re in Madison Valley and are shunted to Denny Way, you miss the southern part of Capitol Hill, the retail core, and Pike Place Market. For what? SLU office buildings and Seattle Center. That’s getting the short end of the stick, and saying, “Oh well, you can transfer to the E,” is ignoring this. I’ve been in these neighborhoods extensively for decades, and lived at both Summit and 19th. The 8 can remain as it is, and the 11 can either remain as is or be moved to Olive-John as Metro proposes.

      1. I doubt they will cutback on the G, as the federal government helped pay for it. They didn’t pay for the service, but the project was based on it. Thus it would be bait and switch. It just doesn’t make sense to put this kind of money into a route, and then run it infrequently (every 10 to 15 minutes). One of the reasons why the other buses don’t run very often is because so much of the service is going to the G.

        Madison Street and Denny Way just don’t have the number and variety of destinations that Pike-Pine have.

        So what? Are you saying every bus should go on Pike/Pine? The 2, 10, 11 and 12? Should the 43 go there as well? Oh, and the 49 and the 47. The problem with that approach is that you end up with very bad frequency. (Or in the case of 47, no service at all). The current 11 runs every 20 minutes. Twenty Minutes! That is what happens when you spread yourself too thin.

        Every destination you mentioned would be a quick transfer, if we created a grid. A lot more destinations would be as well. Everyone in the area would either have a good one-seat or two-seat ride to everywhere.

        Basically you are saying that it is good that Madison Park has buses running every 20 minutes on the current route, since at least they don’t have to transfer for a lot of their trips. I disagree. Give them 10 minutes headways, with plenty of one-seat rides, and a ton of easy, frequent transfers to very popular places.

        The only way we can get the buses running more often is if we make the system more efficient. That means that not everyone gets a one-seat ride to downtown. Folks in Montlake won’t, and folks in Madison Park shouldn’t.

      2. “Are you saying every bus should go on Pike/Pine? The 2, 10, 11 and 12?”

        Denny Way should have secondary service, as befits its smaller quantity/narrower range of destinations, which I don’t see changing. The 8 was created for this purpose and serves it nicely.

        Yes, I would put the 2, 10, 11, and 12 on Pike/Pine. It’s a relatively fast street with a lot of destinations. It’s a perfect complement for Madison and Jackson.

        Remember how we got here: the 12 was going to be deleted. The two biggest things that generate opposition in Seattle at Metro/county council hearings is (#1) splitting the 2, and (#2) deleting the 12. Metro has proposed both of these at least two or three times and backed down due to opposition. So it’s innovative to move the 12 to Pine, and saves 19th Ave E service (if that’s justified), and it solves the problem of frequent Pine service ending short of 15th (the top of the hill), and if both the 10 and 12 get 15-minute service like currently, it could lead to something like 7.5 minute frequency, which is good for an urban areas.

        Splitting/rerouting the 49 I have some concerns about, but of all your suggestions in this area, it’s the best. I wasn’t going to recommend it in my feedback to Metro, but in the end I did.

        From my experience living between the 2 and 12, I just don’t think shunting people to Denny, Seneca, or western Madison is the best idea.

        My main point is that the 11 is a grid route, from sea to sea as close as it can get. It goes diagonal on Madison because there’s no road straight east. We’d be better off if we beefed up that as the main grid route, and kept the G, 8, and 10 as secondary around it..

        The 2’s issue is that we must serve East Union/Madrona somehow. If something has to not go downtown, or has to be consolidated to Pine or Madison, or shunted to a secondary corridor, the 2 should be it.

        The 12’s unique role is coverage on 19th Ave E. There are arguments both ways on what the minimum ridership/density threshold for this street is, and whether it’s above or below it. I don’t think it’s worth spending a lot of energy on this controversy. Metro’s proposal for the 12 at least makes it into a better route.

      3. “One of the reasons why the other buses don’t run very often is because so much of the service is going to the G.”

        They won’t necessarily be less frequent than they are now. What Metro is doing is trying to avoid overpromising if a worst-case scenario happens, so that it won’t be accused of providing less frequency than in the proposal. This is the minimum Metro thinks it can guarantee. So it says “Frequent is until 7pm weekdays” or “The G will have 6-minute peaks” even though it wants more than that, its metrics say these streets should have more than that, and it will do more if it can, or if we push it to cut into its reserved hours more (as we successfully did with some of the 2016 U-District area routes to get a few more runs). It doubtless wants to keep its reserved hours high in this early planning stage, until the final conditions and the economy then determine how many it needs. Then if it doesn’t need that high reserve, it can release some of hours for additional regular runs.

      4. The G was built on the idea of six-minute all day service. If they back away from it, this would be a major degradation, and very different than the proposal which got federal matching funds. The federal government could basically ask for its money back. In that respect, it is completely different than regular bus service, which is largely arbitrary.

        Yes, I would put the 2, 10, 11, and 12 on Pike/Pine.

        Which means that you have terrible frequency on each one. That is the problem. Too many buses heading downtown means buses get bad frequency. It is no different than Houston.

        My main point is that the 11 is a grid route, from sea to sea as close as it can get. It goes diagonal on Madison because there’s no road straight east.

        Yes there is. It is basically the 8, extended to Madison Park. Think of the 8 as starting at Denny and Western, on the northwestern edge of downtown, and about as far west as you go. Now head east, following the main arterials. This is the 8 the entire way, until you get to Madison and John. Ideally you would just keep going on John, but it is no longer an arterial. From a grid perspective, the best choice is to keep going on Madison until you hit the lake. That is what I’m proposing (and what Metro proposed a while ago, in their long range plan).

        Denny Way should have secondary service, as befits its smaller quantity/narrower range of destinations, which I don’t see changing. The 8 was created for this purpose and serves it nicely.

        Which is exactly why it makes sense to extend the 8 towards Madison Park. Madison Park is a secondary destination — in fact it is way more secondary than the rest of the 8. Sending the 8 there means Madison Park gets decent frequency — it gets carried along with the rest of the route. In contrast, run the route just about anywhere else, and you can forget about that. Overlapping the G — by far the most frequent bus in the area, and likely in our entire system — means guaranteeing bad headways. The same goes for overlapping the 8 (the current proposal). Again, the 11 runs every 20 minutes now — why on earth would it get better headways if the most productive part of its route (east of Madison MLK) is poached by far more frequent buses? The answer is it wouldn’t. This is a prescription for very low headways on the 11.

        This really isn’t about a grid, exactly, it is about avoiding overlap when the overlap doesn’t really help. The 11 would overlap the 8, but only for a little bit, and there is no way they would be timed to work for each other, as the 8 is likely to be a lot more frequent.

        As for the 10 and 12, it is likely the same basic problem. You just can’t have a very inefficient system (like what they propose) and then run the 10 and 12 every 15 minutes. More likely, you are looking at every 20 minutes in the middle of the day, after the city subsidizes the route. That gives you ten minutes on Pike/Pine, but bad frequency north of it.

        Something has to give. You just can’t spend money on routes in an inefficient manner, and expect to get good headways. It can’t be done. Eventually they make cuts. Twenty years ago, if someone said they are planning on permanently deleting the 47, you would say they were nuts. It was one of the most productive routes in our system. But they kept making cuts, to the point where no one bothered to take it. The same thing will happen here. I’m not saying the 11 will be completely cut — Madison Park probably get some kind of service — but it wouldn’t shock me if it goes the way of the 17. A bus that used to run all day, then didn’t, as it couldn’t compete with more frequent buses.

        For what it is worth, I would be just fine with sending the 10 to Pike/Pine. It seems quite reasonable, as opposed to the route it takes now. It could pair nicely with the 2, with both of them running every ten minutes (and a combined five minute headway all the way to 15th). The 47 would join the party at Bellevue Avenue. I see the 47 as a 15 minute bus, unless the city favors it with extra cash. The only reason I have the 10 on its current path is because well, it is the current path. I don’t see a big enough reason to alter it, although I could see it working out really well.

        The biggest waste in the proposal is sending the 2 on its current route, and spending way too much money on the 11.

        The 12 is challenging. I would get rid of it. Many of the riders could walk to the much more frequent G, or take a two-seat ride to downtown using more frequent buses. If the 48 is running every ten minutes, and the 12 is running every half hour, I’m walking over to the 48, catching it, and then taking the G downtown. Or I’m walking south to the 8 (also running every ten minutes) and taking Link.

        The contrast between the 10 and 12 is interesting. South of Aloha, the 10 is much stronger. North of Aloha, things reverse a bit. Thus I could definitely see the 10 making a dogleg at Aloha over to 19th (with the northern tail of the 10 like so: This would need approval by the city for both running the bus on the street, and also moving the wire (unless they are OK running off-wire for a bit). That is pretty good coverage, really. I would much rather see a bus like that running every ten minutes, rather than the 10/12 branch, with each running twenty. Personally I would rather walk a little ways for a more frequent bus, and I think that attitude is common. The 73 is on its last legs because the 67 runs a lot more frequently. People just walk a bit farther, rather than wait.

        That is the basic problem with the branch. I could see pushing that branch further “down stream”, giving more riders better headways. But even if you branched towards the very end, it never seems worth it, simply because the branches are too close together.

    2. I agree that it’s disappointing, Ross.

      This is the initial restructure concept rollout. Usually the first rollout is more of a “go big or go home” approach. Then, Metro gets pushed back to result in a less ambitious structure as a result of feedback.

      Not here. It’s not bold at all at the outset.

      The only reasons I can think about to play it safe are that ridership is down from 2019 — and Judkins Park Link station is not being explicitly assumed. Maybe Metro is holding back to see if normalcy returns.

      1. “Usually the first rollout is more of a “go big or go home” approach.”

        So this is “go small or go home”? There’s not much you can shrink. The G was predicated on the 12 leaving Madison. Previous assumptions were that it would be deleted, so this move to Pine is brand-new, and I think Metro put out the idea to see how people felt about it. I can’t see any option besides these two. Exchanging the 10 and 11 is minimal, so if you whittle it down, you end up with zero changes.

        Going the other way — up — is a harder thing to bet on. It requires a large public movement with a unified message, and getting Metro to change its mind, and realistic expectations about what a limited number of service hours can do. So it’s possible but I don’t think it’s very likely, especially for larger changes. But there have been a few successes where transit fans have convinced Metro to do something after the first proposal.

    3. As a user of the 8 that lives on MLK, I would appreciate you not restructuring my favorite bus away from me lol. Half joking, I realize that just because something inconveniences me doesn’t make it a bad idea. That being said, while I am able bodied and could walk up the hill to the 48, losing 8 access would probably be pretty tough for a lot of central district transit users and would lose us our connection to cap hill link. A restructure that turns the 8 from a central district route to a Madison valley route would probably need to keep that in mind.

  7. Waaaaay back when I was more active on here I think I suggested a route that went from Seattle Center and SLU up the Lakeview overpass and down Bellevue/Summit to Capitol Hill Station as a way for the 8 to avoid the Denny Way mess while providing better service to Summit than the 47. With the 99 tunnel project Harrison has become a four-lane car sewer west of Dexter that could be a viable path for a bus, and it would be easier to get to the Lakeview overpass from there than from Mercer. The downside is that it wouldn’t help with the overlap with the 11, and I don’t know how much of a mess Denny still is with the projects that have been built in the area over the years, but the loss of the 47 is still sad even if it’s been missing since the pandemic started.

  8. Waaaaay back when I was more active on here I think I suggested a route that went from Seattle Center and SLU up the Lakeview overpass and down Bellevue/Summit to Capitol Hill Station as a way for the 8 to avoid the Denny Way mess while providing better service to Summit than the 47.

    Yeah, something like was proposed in the long range plan. Or maybe the plan was to drop down to Eastlake and continue north. I certainly played around with the idea you mentioned in my various maps. SDOT made some fixes on Denny that sped up the 8 a bit. As a result, I don’t see them shifting the bus there. They could have a separate route that went across, but I don’t see them having the money for it. It has merit, but there are other things I would like to see first (like a bus on Boren).

    With the 99 tunnel project Harrison has become a four-lane car sewer west of Dexter that could be a viable path for a bus, and it would be easier to get to the Lakeview overpass from there than from Mercer.

    There has been talk about making Harrison a transit street for a long time. If you moved the 8, it could make things better for some, worse for others. There are a lot of people close to Denny and places south (Belltown). In my opinion, a bus on Harrison should be a different route. I could definitely see another east-west bus running north of the 8. From the Queen Anne Avenue/Mercer it would run east on Mercer, then dogleg to Harrison, then up and over on Lakeview as you suggest. I could definitely see it, but I think it would be tough, given service levels. I would run a bus on Boren to Harrison first, like I did with this proposal:

    In general, the reason the 47 is getting axed is because the 49 (and Link) poached its riders. If you run a bus infrequently and another bus nearby runs to the same area, people will walk to the more frequent bus. It is a bad combination. The answer is not to throw up our hands and say “oh well”, but to reconsider the network. The 49 should not go downtown, but continue south along Broadway to its end. From there, it should go to MBS or Beacon Hill (I send it to Beacon Hill). This replaces the 60, saving significant service hours (less overlap and fewer turns). The 49 should be timed to run opposite the streetcar, giving most of Broadway better headways (5 or 6 minutes in the middle of the day). Riders from the north end of Capitol Hill (Roy) would catch the 47, 10 or Link downtown.

    This is a much more efficient way to provide service, while retaining good line spacing.

  9. Were transit bloggers in 1890 saying that the Madison street cable car shouldn’t go all the way to Lake Washington because the ridership won’t justify the cost?

    1. > Were transit bloggers in 1890 saying that the Madison street cable car shouldn’t go all the way to Lake Washington because the ridership won’t justify the cost?

      It was probably more how Madison Park didn’t upzone more that didn’t garner more ridership. Also there’s still the 11 that reaches it.

      1. Madison Park is a rather famous streetcar suburb; it has a business district and multifamily housing. The line had two steep hills. It had a ferry landing. Route 11 was an electric trolleybus between 1940 and 1963.

        Another poster noted the grid attributes of Madison Street. Note that is diagonal. The John-Thomas pattern serves Capitol Hill Link; the Route 2 pattern on Union serves two DSTT stations; those two are about one-half mile apart. Did SDOT chose to over serve the diagonal? What is the optimal amount of duplication; there is plenty to analyze; it is reciprocal.

    2. Apples and oranges. The only other transportation modes were horses and bicycles, and streetcars were clearly faster than that. The cost was justified no matter how high it was, because it was essential for the economy. Madison Park was the site for a ferry terminal, so it would be tantamount to saying central Seattle should cut itself off from Lake Washington ferries, in a time when there were no bridges. Of course, the initial Madison population could have gone elsewhere instead, but the city fathers envisioned Madison as a major corridor, and that meant it needed a streetcar.

  10. Not sure where exactly to nest this comment so I’ll just come out to the “wide open space”. Lol.

    @Ross B, @Mike Orr
    I’m unclear as to what you’re proposing for the route 2. I get the point about the redundancy of the portion of the route downtown (though I’m not sure I agree with it) but my question here really revolves around the eastern half of the route that serves the CD and Madrona neighborhoods. (Years ago when I lived in the CD off Union down near the MLK valley I took this bus frequently.) Clearly you aren’t suggesting eliminating that coverage, so how exactly would you modify this route to get a better network for east-west connectivity?

    Also, while I’m thinking about it do either of you have any pre-pandemic ridership data for the eastern half of this route?


    1. I would keep the eastern tail of the 2 the same. It is easiest to describe it heading west. So from Madrona, it would be the same. It would travel on Union, until 14th. At 14th it would dogleg up to Pine, and then continue to head east. At that point it would follow Pine all the way to 3rd, and head north, resuming its old route. Here is a map of it, and other routes:

      This would connect the CD and Madrona with Pike/Pine. If riders wanted to go Madison part of First Hill or downtown, they would transfer to the very frequent G. I think this would be much better for the 2. I fear that the current routing will lose ridership. Once it loses ridership, it will run less often. I don’t think it will be like the 11 (and run every 20 minutes) but I could definitely see the bus running every 15 minutes, instead of 10, even after Seattle pays extra for service. This routing looks a lot stronger, and complements the G (and the other buses) quite well.

      As mentioned up above, I would be fine with sending the 10 to Pike/Pine, as suggested by Metro. I only have this routing for the 10 because it is the current routing. If both the 10 and 2 ran on Pike/Pine, I could see them running every 10 or 12 minutes in the middle of the day, opposite each other, for 5 or 6 minute headways along Pike/Pine up to where they split (at 14th).

      One final note about the proposed 2: I have it going westbound on Pike all the way to 14th. This would avoid a couple of turns, but it would require adding wire. I should probably just eliminate that piece, since it may add confusion.

  11. Disappointing that there is still no direct bus between First Hill and south lake union. This is a huge omission for an area so close to the city center, with so many bus routes in the area.

Comments are closed.