Along with route paths, the latest proposal for the bus network after Lynnwood Link includes the expected frequencies of each route. This is listed on the page for each individual route (e. g. the 45). Inspired by Davis Lawson’s excellent chart displaying the frequency of routes a few years ago, I made a similar chart for this restructure:

Route M-F PeakM-F MiddayM-F EveningM-F NightS/S MiddayS/S EveningS/S Night
331203030 60303060

As was mentioned previously, the 65 and 67 are through-routed (one bus becomes the other as it travels through the U-District). There are also a couple pairs of routes that will most likely combine for better effective headways. The 345 and 365 will probably run opposite each other from Northgate to Northwest Hospital; the 45 and 61 will probably run opposite each other on 85th. While there are plenty of other opportunities to combine headways (e. g. the 72 and 77 along Lake City Way) it doesn’t appear to be a priority.

97 Replies to “Bus Frequencies of Lynnwood Link Restructure Proposal”

  1. Any comments on the reliability of the proposed frequencies? Are there areas that buses will reliably get off schedule? At times, traffic on I-5 can slow to a crawl and drivers exit the freeway jamming local arterials — both parallel and perpendicular to the freeway.

    I am not familiar with traffic bottlenecks in Shoreline or far north Seattle. I ask the questions generically.

    1. Great question. In terms of the freeway crossings, 145th and 175th are bad. 130th and 155th aren’t. Other than buses on those streets, I could definitely see the 61 getting bogged down a bit at times. 80th/85th get bogged down, and so people often use 92nd. It can also get bogged down around Northgate. The good news is that Metro has a lot of experience with that area, and can bake that into their planning. At worst you have a short layover (a pause, if you will) at Northgate, before the bus keeps going (if the bus is running ahead of schedule). It is a fairly short route. In contrast, so far as I know, they have never run buses across 130th, 145th or 175th.

      The 65 is now paired with the 67. I could see this causing some problems, just because it is fairly long. From a consistency standpoint, I think the biggest problems are on the tails. It can take a long time for the 67 to make the left turn from Roosevelt Way to Northgate Way. I’ve seen some bad stop-and-go traffic northbound on 30th, prior to 145th. But in both cases, the good news is that the congestion is towards the tail, which means it hurts relatively few riders (it is much worse if it is at the beginning).

      1. There are a few bottlenecks in and around the U District, too. Getting off campus can be slow in the evenings in fall/winter – I’ve seen buses regularly get stuck at the Pend Oreille/25th Ave NE light for a few cycles (admittedly affects more the ones turning to 25th than going to Montlake but both can be bad). Campus Parkway/15th/NE 40th area also gets bogged down sometimes. Those would affect the 75 most, I guess. But even going around, on Montlake and Pacific, can be bad, especially on Friday afternoons, during game time, during Christmas shopping season, etc. As I mentioned before, one advantage of the 372 was that it laid over in the U District and thus it would always start on time. The 65 being tied to the 67 means that delays accumulate at the busiest area along the shared route, and building in delays in the schedule can be trickier if the bus ends up being early when leaving the U District a lot of the time (when there is no congestion) as a result.

      2. It will be interesting to see if the I-5/ 145th interchange overhaul (traffic roundabouts rather than signals on either side) will ease congestion or just make it worse.

        If anyone knows the history of freeway exit roundabouts in New England, they know that when things get too congested, roundabouts at interchanges fail in spectacular ways.

        The WSDOT timeline suggests completion in 2024 but I bet Link opens well before the roundabouts are in place.

      3. I’m not sold on the roundabout either Al. For remote areas, with one lane each direction, they are great. But two lane roundabouts can be a mess. You’ve also got pedestrians and bikes in the area. There will be the bridge to the north, so I suppose that will help. But still, it is the wrong tool for the job, in my opinion.

        I would have gone with a diverging diamond interchange. These are weird, but they are controlled, so you can add beg buttons for pedestrians and bikes. You end up with fewer intersections than a regular interchange. The only drawback is that you can’t easily get off the freeway and back on. That seems like a minor issue, given that is true of various ramps around here (you can’t do that at 130th).

      4. “I would have gone with a diverging diamond interchange. ”

        That would have been great — except 5th Ave N meets 145th and that would get in the way when designing a diverging Diamond interchange. Unless that road is closed fully it couldn’t be part of a new DDI.

        The better — but costly — design would probably have been to have a SPUI or single point urban interchange that lands on the west side interchange ramps today. That would have moved the freeway ramp end point further from the Link station and reduce the messiness of adding in 5th Ave N traffic. However that would have required some new long overpasses over I-5 and maybe even a new bridge over I-5 to add lanes. That would be very expensive.

      5. There are a few bottlenecks in and around the U District, too.

        I’ve been told that as well. It is one of the trade-offs with having your bus through-route with another one. On the one hand it can be great (no transfer to get from say, Roosevelt to U-Village). On the other hand, your bus (from say, the U-Village to Lake City) can be delayed a lot.

        In general I think the UW (and the city) can do a much better job of allowing buses to run unimpeded in the area. It always struck me as bizarre how many people drive through campus. I get that there are official vehicles — that makes sense. But there are a ton of cars that are just driving through, or looking for parking. I would restrict more streets to official vehicles and buses. Failing that, I would add various bus lanes for buses, even if there are short sections (like the area close to the hospital). For example, there are three lanes exiting Pend-Orielle Road ( I would make that middle lane a bus lane. There is a risk that doing so would cause traffic to back up much further (negating any savings) but it might work.

        I’m also not sure why the bus doglegs to get from the Ave over to campus. It makes two turns, which seems wasteful. Is there a reason why the bus can’t just go down to 40th and then turn? I would be tempted to send buses that way, and go even further, turning that one block into a bus mall (at the very least, heading to campus). Force drivers to make a dogleg, not the bus (or avoid the Ave altogether if you are headed to Stevens Way).

      6. Yeah, when the 68 and 31 were through-routed I wondered the same thing, especially as the 31 eventually made its way down there anyway. I think there’s a lot of “all buses must go past Campus Parkway and University Way” mentality. It would have been easier to route the 372 that way, too, but maybe the layover had to be on one side of the street and not the other.

        Re: vehicles driving on Stevens, I’m actually not sure that there are a lot of cars except during major events. Remember, most visitor parking is at the far ends (in the Red Square Garage, Padelford garage, and N1 lot) and all student parking is in E1 (or at least it was). There are a bunch of little parking lots sprinkled through campus but my observation was that most of those were awarded to specific faculty with very long tenure or privileges, special occasion visitors, obviously disability parking needs, and so on. Regular students don’t get to park in them, though. One exception for through-routing is when Montlake is super backed up, I did see people try to bypass the mess by going through campus then. My recollection is that it was relatively rare – the problem is that if you’re trying to get to 520, going through campus doesn’t help. But if you’re going to the hospital or somewhere near Lake Union the bypass can help. I don’t disagree that UW could impose a “local access only” policy, but enforcing it may be hard.

        Pend Oreille gets three lanes because one is a left turn, I believe. I think the other two go straight towards Montlake (or right turn on Montlake). That’s the main exit out of Padelford parking garage, so with only a couple of buses every 15 minutes, it probably does make sense to keep the lanes general purpose. The buses go either straight or turn left – I guess if you made the middle lane bus-only you could allow a left-turn onto 25th from it but it’d be weird. Now that I’m thinking about it more, I think that more backups happened turning left rather than going straight – the backup going straight usually happened at the next two sets of lights, around the entrance to U Village and the merging with traffic coming down the 45th St. viaduct.

      7. That would have been great — except 5th Ave N meets 145th and that would get in the way when designing a diverging Diamond interchange.

        Good point. The area south of 145th would be fine. There are plans to make it one way (northbound) so that basically solves that problem. You would have to do the same north of there (make it one way northbound). From 145th to the station/freeway ramp, 5th would be one way northbound. If you are parking at the station, you can go on 145th and then north on 5th (or south from 155th). Exiting from the station though, you go north on 5th until 155th. To make the buses work, you add special lanes in there (to allow them to go on 145th). There is a lot of space to work with, but it wouldn’t be trivial. It makes sense for the S3 (it is supposed to be BRT after all) but would be even messier for the 333 (although in my opinion, buses should not approach the 148th station from the west on 145th). I think you could make it work, but it wouldn’t be trivial.

      8. My experience Re: roundabouts is similar to Ross.

        First Americans are not familiar with roundabouts. For a roundabout to work everyone has to know who has right of way (the car already in the roundabout). Aggressive or entitled drivers entering the roundabout screws everything up. So do drivers who are too scared to enter the roundabout when it is their turn.

        Second, single lane roundabouts without a lot of traffic work well. For example the roundabout on MI at 77th and N Mercer Way ST built is much better than the old stop light. But still drivers hesitate not understanding who has right of way which slows traffic.

        Two lane roundabout are very confusing. (Google roundabouts and you will find six lane roundabouts with traffic lanes going in opposite directions). Americans have a lot of hesitancy with these. A good example is Highway 20 heading to Whidbey Island.

        Roundabouts are the new favorite tool for traffic engineers. They can work, but also can make pedestrian crossings or bikes nerve racking. The bike lane on MI is separated from the roundabout.

        Just like it is the overly aggressive and overly passive driver who create the most congestion on freeways so it is with roundabouts. But it seems like we will see more and more roundabouts in the future because that is what is taught in traffic engineering courses, just like “density” is all the rage in urban planning courses.

      9. Roundabouts work great at complicated intersections where a traditional traffic light would require long wait times for a green light. For example, I think the intersection of 50th St., Stone Way, and Green Lake Way would be an excellent candidate for a roundabout.

      10. Pend Oreille gets three lanes because one is a left turn, I believe.

        Yeah, you can see it in the picture. Right now the left lane is for turning left, the middle lane goes straight, and the right lane goes straight or turns right. Keep the left and right lanes the same, but turn that middle lane into a bus lane (for buses going straight or taking a left). The only issue is that it might cause too much of a backup. The bus would go right to the front of the line, but only as it got past the area where the street got wider. If the backup went way up the street (because fewer cars are now allowed to go through that intersection) then it could be worse than now.

        One approach — and this would be weird — would be to allow buses to turn from that middle lane, but otherwise cars have to go straight. That would clear out the cars, except when a bus comes. With the buses reasonably spaced, that could work out nicely. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that. There are plenty of streets where they restrict specific turns to buses, but never a turn from a particular lane.

        In cases like this, the best approach is often to just reduce the source of the problem. Close the various parking garages and only allow a restricted number of people. The problem is, the UW operates like a business, and they make money from the parking garages.

        Now that I’m thinking about it more, I think that more backups happened turning left rather than going straight – the backup going straight usually happened at the next two sets of lights, around the entrance to U Village and the merging with traffic coming down the 45th St. viaduct.

        Signal priority is probably the best way to handle that. I would restrict the flow of vehicles northbound on Montlake Boulevard (south of that point). This is why the thing is rather complicated, and would need several changes, done at the same time. You don’t want to encourage people to drive through campus, but you also should favor buses (that go through campus). Everyone else can wait in traffic.

      11. For example, I think the intersection of 50th St., Stone Way, and Green Lake Way would be an excellent candidate for a roundabout.

        Yes, anyone who has ever been through there (and thinks about such things) has had the same though. There are actually a bunch of turn lanes, but ultimately, it is just one lane entering and one lane leaving for each car. The only issue would be making it safe for pedestrians and bikes. It can be done, but in general we are very bad at it in the U. S., so there aren’t a lot of examples. The Dutch have done it, and here is a guide. As you can see, it takes a lot of space, as it is basically a multi-step process for drivers. First they cross the crosswalk/bike path, then enter the roundabout, then they exit the crosswalk/bike path, then cross the crosswalk/bike path.

      12. The backup on 25th is cars going to 520, and two streams funneling from 25th and Pacific Street to the Montlake Bridge. Before covid the 75 westbound got caught in it every day between 5:30 and 6:30pm at least. And that was just to go one block on 44th to get to Pend Oreille Road. Sometimes the backup would extend east to 30th. Since covid Link I haven’t been there enough to say.

      13. The backup on 25th is cars going to 520, and two streams funneling from 25th and Pacific Street to the Montlake Bridge.

        That is actually relatively easy to fix. I would add BAT lanes both directions on the corridor (Sand Point Way/NE 45th/Montlake Boulevard). They would go from Sand Point to NE 44th/Walla Walla road (where the buses turn).

        This wouldn’t be that difficult to do. In both cases the roadway expands from one lane to two. Southbound, that occurs at 74th (and Sand Point Way). Instead of adding a general purpose lane, you would add a BAT lane. Northbound it is a big more complicated, but the same idea. Northbound Montlake Boulevard splits into two roads: 25th (going straight) or Montlake Boulevard (curving to the right). The road goes from three lanes to two lanes to accommodate this ( The leftmost lane goes straight, while the two right lanes curve to continue on Montlake Boulevard. The left lane then splits again (so you have two lanes going north on 25th). All you really need is one lane going each direction, while a BAT lane is added on Montlake Boulevard. For that matter, you might as well as a BAT lane northbound on 25th. In the case of 25th you would be just taking parking (which is a lot less complicated).

      14. Ross did you mean to include a link to a Dutch roundabout?

        Where I grew up (Carmel, the capital of American roundabouts), both freeways that bisect the city have had 10 interchanges converted to double roundabouts, much like I-5/ 145t, and they preform well. Carmel has a large number of 2-lane roundabouts and they all work well. Drivers have to be more aware that when navigating a 1-lane roundabout … but forcing drivers to slow down and be aware is kinda the point of a roundabout.

        For pedestrian safety, it’s straightforward – have a refuge island so a biker/walker only needs to navigate one direction of travel at a time, and some signage to identify the cross walk. The point of a roundabout is the traffic is moving slowly enough that the crosswalk is safe; if pedestrians need to be able regularly interrupt traffic to cross the street, add a flashing light activated by a beg button.

        Odd to hear Ross & Al advocate for DDIs & SPIs – both of those are expensive engineering solutions to maximize car throughput in a suburban or rural environment. The double roundabout provides adequate throughput while also preforms as a traffic calming measure that will make the station area a much more pleasant environment for those outside of cars.

        Also, in New England, ’roundabouts’ are often rotaries or traffic circles, which a different intersection design. Traffic circles are usually terrible, so don’t get those confused with a modern roundabout.

      15. I wouldn’t make the roundabout bigger – that’s probably expensive & would require property takings. Instead, give the bus a queue jump, just like at a signalized interchange. If traffic is flowing, there’s no need for bus priority, and when if traffic is paused waiting to enter the roundabout, the bus pulls forward past the GP queue.

      16. Ross did you mean to include a link to a Dutch roundabout?

        Yes. My point being that generally speaking, roundabouts are not very safe for pedestrians or bikes. People often cite their safety, but that only applies to cars (you reduce speed, and thus the severity of collisions). But that doesn’t mean you can’t make roundabouts safe for pedestrians and bikes. It just takes a lot more effort. The Dutch put in a lot more effort, as they are focused more on bikes and pedestrian safety than American traffic engineers.

        Odd to hear Ross & Al advocate for DDIs & SPIs – both of those are expensive engineering solutions to maximize car throughput in a suburban or rural environment.

        The DDI is not particular expensive. Yes, they are designed to maximize car throughput, but so is the roundabout. The advantage of a DDI is that pedestrians and bikes can have a walk signal that allows them to cross. In contrast, walking across a roundabout is often possible, but also relatively dangerous. There are ways to make them safer, but that requires more space (or more money) or signalized crosswalks (negating one of the fundamental values of a roundabout, and likely mucking everything up). I think the basic assumption at 145th is that this will be treated as a very suburban/exurban interchange. Very few people will walk along 145th, and people biking will detour to the bike bridge over 148th. I’m sure there will be places for people to cross, but few will, for safety (and other) reasons.

      17. A roundabout is not designed to maximize throughput. A 1 lane roundabout has a lower maximum throughput than a standard signalized interchange, which in turn is lower than a DDI. A roundabout is preferred over a signal because it is safer and because it reduces the average delay, with the tradeoff of more frequent (but still short) delays during peak traffic.

        I’m still waiting for your Dutch link; you’re point so far is roundabout are dangerous unless you try hard, which is true of any intersection. Add a center refuge, add a flashing signal; raise the crosswalk, etc. There’s nothing in this design that prevents those improvements.

      18. “A roundabout is not designed to maximize throughput. A 1 lane roundabout has a lower maximum throughput than a standard signalized interchange, which in turn is lower than a DDI. A roundabout is preferred over a signal because it is safer and because it reduces the average delay, with the tradeoff of more frequent (but still short) delays during peak traffic.”

        While safety and cost are the two main advantages of roundabouts according to traffic engineers, roundabouts also increase vehicle throughput by up to 50% (in part depending on familiarity with roundabouts, their design, the material for the island, etc. Another advantage is the improved traffic flow can allow a city to reduce the number of lanes or repurpose some lanes.

        “Among other factors, the slower speeds that drivers generally use while traversing a roundabout often lead to greater safety, especially for pedestrians. “At slower speeds you get more reaction time,” Brainard notes.

        “But even at slower speeds, “we move 50 percent more cars per hour” compared with previous traffic flows that had to contend with delays at signalized intersections, Brainard says. For example, on a major road that runs through the center of Carmel — originally featuring four travel lanes and a center turning lane — the city replaced the traffic lights with roundabouts. As a result, the city removed one lane in each direction, added a bike path and a large median with trees, and enlarged the sidewalks “so pedestrians felt safer,” Brainard says. Yet the overall travel times did not decline. Individual vehicles might not move as quickly as they used to, Brainard says, “but you get to your destination in the same or less time because you don’t stop for lights.”

      19. Thank you Daniel, for 1. correcting me on throughput; 2. sharing an article that talks at length about my home town :)

        For the others on the thread, the part of Daniel’s article on the Steptoe interchange (Richland, Washington) for handling freeway backups is pertinent.

      20. “ Odd to hear Ross & Al advocate for DDIs & SPIs – both of those are expensive engineering solutions to maximize car throughput in a suburban or rural environment. The double roundabout provides adequate throughput while also preforms as a traffic calming measure that will make the station area a much more pleasant environment for those outside of cars.”

        The design of interchanges should be somewhat based on traffic volumes and expected congestion for both cars and buses. It’s great if the double roundabout design works! I’m just saying that when roundabouts fail, they really fail. Not fail like a little backup; fail like backups that extend a few miles back from the roundabout. The word “adequate” is key. This is a multi-lane roundabout so there will be cars changing lanes and the occasional sudden lane shift and side swipe accident that could freeze all the traffic (including Metro buses) in one direction on 145th quickly backing up the upstream roundabout and then backing up further onto the freeway ramp as well as then traffic headed in the other direction. The traffic studies usually assume no accidents.

        DDI’s often don’t require new viaducts so Ross is right that they often aren’t usually more expensive (other than the cost of adding signals).. They also don’t seem to require more land than a double roundabout does.

        SPUI’s are expensive as I said. Their generic advantage is that left turns both on and off the freeway happen simultaneously. In this case, it would also move the ramps further from the Link station and the associated pedestrian activity that will increase as some riders choose to walk to the new station.

        Just a note that installing traffic signals is not always a bad thing. Installing signalized crosswalks is safer for pedestrians (when drivers expect to often stop) than a continuous flow design like what’s being built that may end up with crosswalk only signals that are often don’t get activated (and drivers may ignore their red light since it turns more rarely).

        One thing that also needs to be discussed is if Link passengers will hop out of or jump into cars on 145th. The station drop off area is still somewhat inconvenient to reach from 145th. I see people do this at Link stations (and I’ve been that Link rider doing this) so I think it’s a valid concern. People do unsafe things on a whim without thinking. Of course, had the station been over 145th with entrances off that street it would have been more likely to see cars suddenly stop to drop off or pick up passengers. Since the design is already decided, I just hope that the final plans include things like red curbs, warning signs about stopping and other things to discourage this.

        Kudos to Shoreline for pursuing the 1148th pedestrian bridge over I-5. ( It should have been budgeted as part of Lynnwood Link and not funded from a different ST pot. It will attract drop off activity away from 145th making it a safer way to reach the station. However, it looks deafening for users since there are no acoustical treatments for anyone on the walkway. Pretty doesn’t help if it’s too loud.

      21. I thought the link to the Dutch roundabout was already posted. Anyway, here it is: It is interesting because even in one of the safest places in the world for bikes, the roundabouts are a hazard:

        Anyway, the roundabout is not being added to make the intersections safer. It is added to increase throughput. Will it maximize throughput? Probably not. But it is clearly designed so that more cars will get through the various intersections. Folks will of course tout the safety benefits — which are real — but these only apply to those in cars. They aren’t inherently safer for bikes or people walking, and the devil is in the details. Will people slow down enough so that it is easy to cross the street, or will people be so focused on entering the roundabout that they don’t notice the pedestrian or bike rider? Time will tell.

      22. On the topic of roundabouts, I think it’s worth considering the impacts beyond the immediate environment of the roundabout. My parents live in a mid-sized city in WI that has gone roundabout-happy. They’re a block off a major 4-5 lane arterial where it’s transitioning from a city street to a county highway, and in a lot of respects is like 145th. At the beginning of the transition zone a couple other major arterials intersect with it, and there was a 4-way stoplight prior to the roundabout installation a few years ago.

        With the signaled intersection, there were frequent gaps in traffic so pedestrians could scamper across; it wasn’t pleasant but the wait was rarely longer than 30 seconds. With the roundabout, there’s a continuous flow of traffic and it’s basically impossible to cross safely. Of course, WI has the same pedestrian right-of-way laws that most states have, but we all know that arterials even in a supposedly pedestrian-friendly city like Seattle are intimidating and downright dangerous for pedestrians.

        If 145th does get roundabouts, it really has to come with serious pedestrian improvements or it’s just going to smooth traffic out and make it even harder for people to cross.

      23. “They aren’t inherently safer for bikes or people walking, and the devil is in the details…”

        145th, and to a lesser extent 5th, are currently so tragically fatal for someone riding a bike, anything at all will be an improvement. I am a competent biker and one of the 5% who doesn’t mind transitioning into vehicular cycling mode and taking a lane when absolutely necessary for my survival. I tried that exactly once on 145th. Even the narrow, dangerous obstructed sidewalk is a better choice.

        But with a roundabout, that might change. It will slow things down enough that a bike might reasonably be able to ride with traffic.

        One thing I noticed with more recent roundabout designs with bike lanes (which this isn’t) is that the engineer tends to punt and shunt the bikes into they twisty multistop sidewalk detour, when really they should be encourageing the bikes to merge with traffic.

        Pedestrians, on the other hand, will definitely have a difficult time of it. An entrance to link on the south side would have been ideal.

      24. I don’t have Cam’s biking experience but here are some of my observations on roundabouts:

        1. Roundabouts don’t slow traffic except at the roundabout. Drivers drive at or above the speed limit before and after the roundabout.

        2. Roundabouts prevent bicyclists going to the front of the line of cars waiting at a traffic light.

        3. 145th is like a semi highway. Bicyclists are not going to be able to ride at car speeds. Maybe if the BAT lane is eliminated as LFP wants there is room for a dedicated bike lane without removing trees, but a bike lane on 145th is the lowest priority. There are better parallel streets for a bike lane.

        4. I don’t see how bikes can ride safely in even in a one lane roundabout, especially if there are several entrances and traffic is heavy. The more entrances the greater the radius in the roundabout and the faster cars can go round. The line of sight in a roundabout is not great for a slow moving bike when the point of a roundabout is continuous motion in the roundabout at a constant speed.

        5. At least on MI ST widened and repaved the sidewalk along N Mercer Way that is part of the Sound to Mountain trail (which may be moved to residential streets later). Granted bike traffic isn’t heavy on this as there are alternatives (where this part of the trail may formally move because although a little hilly it is through pretty quiet residential streets that most bicyclists use today if they don’t follow the signage). This removes bikes from not just the roundabout but N Mercer Way that will serve as a bus intercept and is the major route for cars from the south end accessing I-90 westbound due to the closure of the westbound entrance to I-90 for SOV’s.

        I don’t have a lot of sympathy for a bicyclist riding at 20 mph taking an entire lane of 145th and doubt drivers do either. Either the sidewalk needs to be improved or bicyclists moved to another quieter street, even with a bike lane or sharrow.

      25. “There are better parallel streets for a bike lane”

        Which? Certainly not on the Seattle side where most of the population is.

      26. I’ve been fortunate enough to work with a Greenways group on bike and bus access to 130th and 148th station. We’ve come up with a lot of good ideas, but it is not that different than what the city came up with here:

        There are a number of issues when it comes to biking. One is that the freeway forms a major obstacle to east-west travel. It focuses cars, buses and bikes onto a handful of pathways. In some cases, the city has (or will) build a bike/pedestrain bridge. Even with that, there are plenty of other issues. In my opinion, it is best if we can have the buses on the main corridors, with the bikes on side paths. Personally, I find it more pleasant (and feel safer) on a side street, rather than a major corridor. Part of the problem is that we have done little on the side streets, other than put up a few “Greenway” signs and maybe some paint on the street. If those are where the bikes are supposed to go, then there should be real bike lanes there. Of course another issue is the street layout and hills. I generally prioritize bus lanes over bike paths on the main corridors. There are exceptions though. Sometimes the only reasonable way to get through a street on a bike is on the main corridor. This is the case with Eastlake, which is why it was essential that bike travel was made a priority there. Then there is the natural geography. Steep hills are common in the city, and can make some potential bike paths a real pain. In the case of the 130th/148th area, there is a big plateau in the Northgate/Pinehurst/Bitter Lake Area. It drops off as you go north and east.

        Around 130th, the situation isn’t too bad, in my opinion. Option 3A (128th) would work quite well, if fully built out. Coming from Pinehurst, it would mean making a dogleg, but once on 128th, it would be fairly flat, and smooth sailing if they made minor street improvements and added a traffic light across Aurora (crossing Aurora at 130th on a bike right now is not easy). Option 6 & 7 (which go together) would also form a nice alternative to biking on 130th if you are north of 130th. In both cases the rider would have to deal with crossing the freeway itself, but this is a relatively small stretch. At worst they could walk their bike, while we wait for the money to expand the pedestrian/bike path on 130th over the freeway.

        It isn’t quite as simple to the east. 117th works as an alternative to the main corridor, but it is a bit of a detour. North of 125th/Roosevelt, the elevation drops quickly. It is fine for walking, but the group pretty much gave up on trying to find a decent alternative bike way north of east of 130th.

        145th looks even more challenging. For 130th, you can see that the very pathways seem to converge onto the station/crossing. Corridor 6 heads straight towards it. 3A doglegs to it. In contrast, the pathways seem to be going around the 145th interchange. Notice how 7A doglegs away from the crossing. The hill has something to do with it, but the assumption is that you will just bypass the mess entirely.

        I’m less familiar with Shoreline’s plans for the area, but it looks pretty good to me: In some cases there is a detour, but not a huge one, from what I can tell (bikers aren’t asked to go all the way up to 155th to avoid 145th). It does look like they may add bike lanes on 145th itself, but only for a tiny section (Greenwood to Linden). The rest of it will have lots and lots of cars, and maybe a little bit of space for the buses (east of I-5).

        All of this is a long way of saying that it looks like there could be a pretty good alternative to biking 145th. In some cases it would involve a considerable detour, but from what I can tell it would avoid a lot of up and down.

    2. On N 85th St, two important routes (45 & now 61) will be stuck in traffic without a bus lane.

    3. “Aggressive or entitled drivers entering the roundabout screws everything up.”

      What defines an ‘aggressive or entitled’ driver?

      1. Nathan, if you’d ever driven with my mother, you’d rephrase that tout suite :) She makes the youngest, shiest doe you’ll ever see in Bambi look like a brave warrior when behind the wheel.

        Seriously, though, let’s not paint people with that broad a brush. Of course there are non-aggressive drivers, just like of course there are non-militant bike riders, etc. Most people really do just want to get along.

      2. The key to a roundabout (and freeway) is the traffic in the roundabout (and on the freeway) continues at the same pace relatively. That means folks don’t brake, which takes trust.

        Aggressive drivers don’t slow as they approach the roundabout, or try to beat the driver in the roundabout to their entrance. So the car in the roundabout that has the ROW brakes, which means every car behind it brakes. Same on a freeway when aggressive drivers make many lane changes that save very little time. Like dominoes falling, when one person brakes everyone brakes. It is very frustrating on a freeway when traffic comes to a stop, and then when it restarts you see there was no obstruction or reason the traffic should have stopped on a one-way freeway with no stops.

        Even more frustrating is when people can’t drive on a one-way freeway with plenty of lanes without hitting another car. Those folks should be banned from using the freeway.

        Ironically on MI some of the complaints about vehicles approaching the roundabout too aggressively have been about the buses.

        It is the same with passive drivers. The car in the roundabout has the ROW. If that car slows to allow another driver to enter it slows all traffic. You see the same thing with freeway entrances: the correct way to merge is the zipper, at the end of the entrance at the speed of the other cars. It is why there is ramp metering.

        You don’t stop halfway down the entrance and put on your blinker because then you stop all cars also trying to merge like you, and the cars on the freeway because someone has to stop or slow to let you in at basically zero speed or they slow because they don’t know what you are going to do because you are an idiot. You also don’t try to merge over as soon as you enter.

        The biggest issue I see with roundabouts is Americans are unfamiliar with them, and so hesitate, both to enter and to let cars enter the roundabout. This is more acute with two lane roundabouts, and when traffic is heavy.

        Pedestrians are fine with one lane roundabouts if there is an Island refuge. Basically, the crossing is broken into halves: one to the refuge, the other to the other side. But a pedestrian needs to understand the driver’s attention is focused on the roundabout, which is new to them, and there is no dedicated crossing light that cars stop at.

        I am not so sure about bikes. Like I said, on MI bikes have a separate bike lane basically along the sidewalk. The problem with a bike in a roundabout is they are going slower than cars in the roundabout usually, and the driver is not looking for a bike around the corner. Like any road some kind of dedicated bike lane is better if there is the room, especially on a busy and fairly fast roundabout like N. Mercer Way.

        I like the new roundabout. I would rather slow but stay in continuous motion than stop at a light or wait for folks to make a left-hand turn. The roundabout on MI gets little traffic, is pretty wide, and one lane, and slowly Islanders are learning how to use it. My guess is we could see roundabouts replace the lights on 27th, something a traffic engineer on MI has advocated for years although the city spent a fortune on the lights.

      3. Anony – At the risk of putting both metaphorical feet out of bounds for this post’s topic, I’ll say two things:

        1) there’s a dehumanization inherent in mainstream discussions about driving (most prominently in headlines like “SUV hits crowd”, implying the SUV had no driver), which engenders phenomena like “road rage”. Thankfully, news publications are (slowly) adopting guidelines to refer to drivers, not their vehicles.

        2) there are exceptions to most rules.

        To bring this back to topic, I find that when I drive I witness a wide variety of driving styles and most drivers are respectful of buses on the road, but congestion caused by “entitled” driving (such as poor zipper merging, badly-timed unprotected left-hand turns, etc.) affects buses all the same. Putting a high-frequency bus on a congested roadway just results in lots of slow buses.

      4. My two cents on roundabouts.

        First, FTA doesn’t see them as providing transit priority and so doesn’t pay for them whereas signals can/do with signal priority. (e.g. Pierce Transit’s STREAM 1).

        Second, the only way US drivers will ever become accustomed to them is if there are more built. They are effective solutions to traffic and we shouldn’t avoid using them because people are unfamiliar.

    4. Right now it’s PM rush hour, and Google maps with traffic selected shows I-5 through north Seattle as a sea of red. However, it doesn’t show any jammed arterials from drivers exiting the freeway. Not at Northgate Way, 130th, 145th, 155th, or 175th.

      1. That’s what I usually see on I-5 and at approaches. Most of the slowdown is concentrated on the freeway itself. It tends to be in one or two clumps around downtown/SLU and 45th, and maybe a third one at Northgate. The arterials get heavy but aren’t as backed up as the freeway.

        In downtown you see it as southbound buses going down Stewart Street. The biggest gridlock starts at SLU, getting to the exit, and crossing Denny Way. Then traffic is relatively easier downtown except on extraordinary days like the WTO protests.

      2. I’ve driven on the 145th interchange quite a bit, as it is the one I use when I head north to go hiking. In the morning there is a lot of congestion from all directions, headed to the on-ramps. In the evening, there isn’t as much congestion, but there are very long light cycles for those trying to get onto 145th. It takes quite a while, as they have obviously favored those trying to go straight. I think they do the same thing with cars coming from the south — they basically limit the number of cars that can get on 145th, which is why it flows relatively freeway.

        In contrast, Lake City Way gets a lot more congested as all of the cars are essentially dumped onto the road. If you try and go north on 12th (and merge into Lake City Way) it is likely it will take a while.

        My guess is that when they add the roundabouts on 145th, you will have more evening congestion on 145th, but it will be faster for folks like me (heading home on the freeway). Morning congestion may be a bit lighter though (right now it takes several light cycles for people to get onto the freeway).

    5. My concern is access for the very low income density around 145th and Lake City Way. In order for them to reach the 145th Link Station in anything besides a vehicle, they need to either take their life in their hands or cross pretty deeply into shoreline and travel a pretty crazy path. I used to find weaving through the labs and Hamlin okay. I guess you could formalize that somehow.

      The best would be to put a multiuse path along the barbed wire fence line of Jackson park. I recall it seemed like their was room. Or tear down the fence and make room. There are good examples ive lived near of golf courses (Chambers Bay and the UNM course) playing nice and sharing with with non-golfers, with judicious use of berms and double fencing. You would still need to deal with the crossing to the station, however.

      Ross – LC Greenways? I worked with them when I was living there, mapping and exploring different routes.

  2. I’d rather have 15-minute evenings on the 77 than the 61 if we have to choose one of them. If you’re at Lake City going to Northgate there’s also the 75. If you’re at Lake City going to Roosevelt or Bitter Lake or you live at 85th & LCW there’s no alternative. If you’re at Lake City going to Greenwood, taking the 77 and transferring to the 5 or E and avoiding the Northgate bottleneck is better than the existing situation where you transfer at Northgate to the 40.

    1. I agree, especially with the 125th/130th section. This is such an important route (or part of a route). It is the fastest way for Lake City, Pinehurst and Bitter Lake riders to reach Link. But it is also very good for going between those neighborhoods, or accessing other places via other buses. If I’m going from Lake City to Phinney Ridge, it is faster to take the bus across and then south. If I’m going from Lake City to someplace further north (e. g. Licton Springs) it is much faster. If they change the 72 so that it is extended to Shoreline Community College (as I’ve suggested before) than that is the fastest way from Lake City to SCC. If not, then the fastest way is to take the 77 and then the 5.

      North of the ship canal, 125th/130th is the fastest way to get across the city, while also making key connections and serving lots of dense neighborhoods. The frequency should reflect that.

    2. I submitted feedback to Metro on that. The survey closes today, so others might want to feedback on this before it closes.

      1. The Metro survey closes August 27th, not July 27th (you are freakin’ me out, Mike :) ). The ST survey closes August 6th.

  3. Overall, I would say that the frequencies are just not that good. In many cases, there is a clear degradation. It is tough to measure with any restructure — there are clear winners and losers. For example, 85th NE is coming out ahead, as they get two buses along the road.

    But for the most part, it looks like evening and weekend service is getting worse.
    The 75 is following the same route, but it will go from 15 minute weekend service, to 30 minutes. The 65 and 67 are going from every 15 minute weekends to every 20. The 348 is an interesting one. Technically, it is roughly the same. But for much of that corridor, it currently combines with the 347, providing 15 minute service on evenings and weekends from 145th to Northgate. Now that will drop to 30 minutes.

    The big culprit, in my opinion, is waste. There are two many routes overlapping, or almost overlapping (like the 65 and 72 north of Lake City). This adds up. Eventually you have trouble getting the frequency that is essential if you want a good system. You end up trying to please everyone (with routes everywhere) while pleasing no one (because it takes too long to catch the bus). To build a better system, we have to build a more efficient network.

    1. This is my takeaway, too. Any idea how much of this is the same inability to hire out enough drivers and mechanics versus other issues? I miss the every-ten-minutes 67!

      1. The 10-minute 67, 65, 48,, and 45 were funded by Seattle’s 2015 transit benefit district. The 2020 renewal reduced the rate, so service was reduced. I want it to come back too. It was an island of good frequency and good transfers in a city that has has never aimed high enough.

      2. My guess is the driver/mechanic shortage is separate from this. In other words, this assumes that problem is solved by the time they start. Likewise, it is a bit of an apples to apples comparison to look at the schedules and basically ignore the trips that are canceled (or will no longer be part of the schedule fairly soon).

      3. I agree with your point Mike. One of the two “axes” David mentioned in that other post was less funding by the city. That definitely plays a part in this.

        But I also think waste does as well. I don’t find this network to be quite as wasteful as the greater Central Area after RapidRide G, but it is still pretty wasteful.

      4. Mike, the STBD votes were in 2014 and 2020 and not 2015. The first had VLF and sales tax. The second has only sales tax, as the VLF was in the courts due to an Eyman initiative challenge. The Council chose 1.5 percent instead of 2.0 percent, so there is less revenue. After the NLC project in fall 2021, the STP paid for midday 15-minute headway on Route 20.

        I agree with the guess of RossB, the LL project budget probably assumes the operator shortage will be solved by fall 2024.

      5. I barely remember 2020, but wasn’t part of the reason for the city to reduce funding was that the hours just weren’t available at any cost? The pandemic shutdowns are a huge confounder there, of course.

        My point being, I imagine the political will would be there to approve the funding by the city, but I’m not convinced any service is for sale.

      6. The argument in 2020 was that the pandemic had hit consumers so hard that they couldn’t afford or wouldn’t be willing to renew the TBD at its previous level. Some councilmembers wanted to let it expire; others wanted to renew it at the full level; so they compromised at a reduced level.

        (Of course, the lack of frequent buses hinders people from getting to jobs or errands or they have to drive to them, so that may be a larger financial or time burden than the taxes are.)

        The driver shortages were mainly in 2015-2016 and 2021-present. The recession started in 2008, but it takes a few years for accounts to get depleted and for Metro’s redirecting all money to operations to lose effectiveness. The recession hit Metro in 2012 but the state/county approved a 2-year tax to keep full service until 2014. In 2014 the first of what were going to be four rounds of cuts went through. Right after that the county predicted the recovery would overtake the shortfall so it canceled the remaining cuts. Seattle’s TBD was proposed when the situation was dire but by the time of the election the recovery was more certain, so it ended up adding service. Thus Metro laid off drives in 2014 and then had to hire drivers in 2015, so it lost the people that could have just stayed, and it took a couple of years to reach a full workforce for the TBD. In the meantime the city decided to divert part of the TBD funds to free passes for public school students.

        Now we’re in a second driver shortage which has some new factors and is harder to reverse

      7. The smaller STBD was driven by the fear that a bigger package would fail, and Petersen’s anti-tax mentality. The mayor and Petersen wanted a 0.1% sales tax, while others wanted a 0.2% tax. The supporters of more funding came one vote short on the council, but they did end up compromising with a 0.15% tax. The case against car tabs was still pending at the time, so that wasn’t part of it. Part of the reason the mayor wanted the smaller package was because there were other funding proposal on the ballot at the same time (I forget what). Both proposals passed easily. Seattle votes will fund anything (except maybe jails). They should have proposed a bigger package.

        Then you had the spending. Since we were in the middle of a pandemic, it really didn’t make sense to spend it extra service. So they spent money on all sorts of other things. Free transit for all Seattle public school kids, ORCA readers for off-board payment, that sort of thing. Investing in infrastructure improvements instead of service during that period would have made a lot of sense. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a lot done there either (it isn’t like we have miles and miles of new bus lanes now). It doesn’t help that Move Seattle (which was supposed to fund infrastructure improvements) was woefully underfunded.

        Now, of course, we have a driver shortage, so even if we had more money, we couldn’t spend it more service. It is quite possible though, that we simply don’t have a driver shortage by the time this restructure is implemented, and the poor frequency is simply the result of Petersen and the mayor of having no clue when it comes to voter sentiment (or no interest in the long term quality of the transit system).

    2. yes, please check the off-peak headway changes. The project has an objective to improve them, but they are longer in several cases. ST has the same issue with Link.

      One rider’s duplication may be another rider’s frequency or short wait. That said, why should either routes 65 or 72 extend north of Lake City; the latter seems to duplicate the 10-minute ST service on NE 145th Street. Riders may want to reach Link, but there are three stations to chose from. Today, there is no there there at any of the station areas, except Lynnwood and Northgate.

      Routes 65 and 75 are the two northeast Seattle candidates to serve the NE 125th / NE/North 130th streets crosstown corridor, Lake City and Bitterlake via the NE 130th Street. Why does the project do it with Route 77 and its loop? Timing? Why is ST providing a different Link headway at Roosevelt and South Shoreline? Or are they?

      1. That said, why should either routes 65 or 72 extend north of Lake City; the latter seems to duplicate the 10-minute ST service on NE 145th Street.

        I think the problem is the area between 130th (Fred Meyer) and 145th. This is too large of a gap to ignore. There are quite a few people in that area, and if there is no service between there, a lot of people are out of luck. So you have to have some service there — either on 30th or Lake City Way. (That doesn’t mean you need service on both streets — I think that is an example of waste).

        Once a bus reaches 145th, there is the question of layover/turnaround. If the bus could turnaround (and potentially layover) at 145th, that would be ideal. You could basically just extend the proposed 61 ten blocks (or have the 72 end there). As I’ve written before, I don’t think it would be particularly difficult — the bus would go north on 30th, and south on Lake City Way. Without that, the choices get tougher. The closest existing layover is the northern terminus of the 73 (143rd and 17th). At that point though, you might as well keep going and layover at the Link Station. That connects to more routes (coming from the west) as well as Link. But that also means you are doubling up service along 145th (which can be considered waste). Even if you dogleg on 155th and 150th, you have a little redundancy, and very few riders to show for the dogleg. Unless the plans for S3 change (which is very unlikely) or Metro adds a layover/turnaround using 30th/Lake City Way, we have to live with the redundant service along 145th.

        The bigger problem with the 72 is that it doesn’t go all the way across. It would cost nothing to extend it to Shoreline Community College, while truncating the 333 there as well. Only a handful will stay on the bus as it goes through SCC — it just doesn’t make sense as a way to connect to Link (it takes too long). A 72 that ends at Shoreline Community College replaces the 330 — a bus that does surprisingly well, given its terrible headways. The vast majority of riders on an eastbound 330 board at the college. Most of those riders are heading to 155th or Lake City Way. By running the 72 along that pathway, you restore their one-seat connection, now made much more frequent. A side benefit is that the rest of the 333 — which is clearly coverage oriented — is separated from the vital connection between the college and Link. As proposed, the 333 will take a while to run. There are plenty of curvy streets, as well as congestion (as it passes by two freeway interchanges). Yet it will only attract riders in small sections: a few stops for people close to Link, North City to the college, the college to Link. It just won’t get that much in ridership per service hour. It will become increasingly difficult to justify good frequency on that route. In contrast, for the 72 this extension would merely be one additional piece of an otherwise very good route, making the case for good frequency much stronger.

  4. I don’t think 303 322 will run every 15 minutes? Just combined headway of every 15 between Northgate and First Hill?

    1. I submitted my feedback that 303 and 322 should only be temporary, while we wait to see how Lynnwood Link handles PM peak-of-peak capacity.

      1. My guess is neither route will last very long. These type of routes tend to be expensive to operate. They get some riders, but not a lot. That is the nature of an express. If I worked at 5th & Madison I would definitely want that bus, rather than being asked to transfers twice. But I just don’t see that many riders, simply because:

        1) These don’t run that often. Commuter can time their bus, but running every half hour can be a real pain. This doesn’t just serve downtown (tech workers) who might be flexible with their schedule. It serves First Hill — workers that are generally not flexible.

        2) The 303 has a tiny amount of unique coverage. The 322 has none.

        3) For most of both routes, there are more frequent alternatives. If you are on Bothell Way, and see the 522 approaching, do you wait for your special bus, or just take the 522? A lot of people just take the 522. Same goes for trips along Lake City Way as well as Northgate Way. Even the 303 has more frequent alternatives. Swift will cover Aurora Village, while the 348 covers 185th.

        4) Very few unique one-seat rides. The only significant combination I see is Bothell Way to Lake City Way or Northgate Way/5th. This is good, but likely not enough to make up for the really bad headways.

        5) Other than duplicating service to Link, it doesn’t work well for two-seat rides. If you are on Link, it doesn’t make sense to get off of it, and then transfer to the bus. If you took a bus that crosses paths with these buses, chances are you headed to Link. At that point, you are faced with a choice — take the express bus, or take Link, which is right there. I could see taking the bus, but only if it fit my schedule, and only if I was headed to that part of downtown. Speaking of which …

        6) The buses only cover a small subset of downtown. It does serve an area (First Hill) that isn’t particular well served by Link, but many of those riders will just use Link to Capitol Hill (or downtown) and then walk. I used to know someone who worked on First Hill and he preferred the express to First Hill (306?) but usually ended up taking the regular bus downtown and just walking up the hill. Walking from Capitol Hill is a big upgrade (RapidRide G will also help, given its 6 minute frequency).

        I expect the bus to get riders, I just don’t expect the bus to get enough riders to justify the high cost.

      2. “I submitted my feedback that 303 and 322 should only be temporary, while we wait to see how Lynnwood Link handles PM peak-of-peak capacity.”

        It depends on why these express routes are being maintained. I think keeping these routes as temporary until things shake out with Lynnwood Link is a good idea, and a good idea with any bus route. If few are riding a bus cut it.

        But I don’t think the point of these buses is PM peak-of-peak crowding, which I doubt will be an issue between when Lynnwood Link opens and when East Link opens across the bridge, or afterwards.

        If Link + transfers was faster I doubt these routes would survive. Or if a lot of these workers will continue going to WFH. If we are talking the ultimate destination for riders is the CBD again I doubt these routes would survive.

        If the riders on these buses could WFH then that is the best alternative to these bus routes.

        If we are talking female healthcare workers going to First Hill who can’t WFH and who are afraid of transferring on 3rd or on Capitol Hill (which has had quite a few shootings and stabbings this year already) and who work all hours then these buses will be popular, like the 630 which is shorter, even if the one seat bus ride is a bit longer.

        If anyone thinks it is hard to hire bus drivers or mechanics these days try nurses and healthcare workers, which is a much more important job, and one of Seattle’s main industries.

        I will be interested to see what Issaquah demands when East Link opens across the bridge, to both First Hill and SLU unless Amazon moves eastside workers to Bellevue. Yes, ST/Metro have held their third phase of the eastside transit restructure when East Link opens, but Issaquah did not show up until phase 3 and decided the 554 would suddenly run to Bellevue and not Seattle because Issaquah workers did not want to transfer at S. Bellevue to then walk to Bellevue Way from 110/112th. All transit is “temporary” to Issaquah, which like Glenn recommends tends to wait to see how thinks shake out.

        Personally I think these one seat buses should be ST buses because Metro’s budget is stressed as it is, the eastside subarea has a lot of revenue, and E KC has been paying for east/west/east ST buses for a long time so what is continuing a few more express peak buses. I can’t think of a better use of the excess ST eastside revenue.

        If funded by E KC what others outside the subarea think is irrelevant. Even the 322 if necessary. If express ST buses are paid for by E KC then any stops outside E KC except for downtown and First Hill could be cut speeding up the bus, especially Lake City Way and I-5 and45th, not unlike the 630 that should probably truncate on First Hill in Seattle rather than continue to the library, an unsavory part of the city anyway not consistent with the ridership from the eastside.

      3. The argument about female workers is also kind of a straw man argument because female workers live everywhere and work everywhere, they are not all commuting to First Hill during rush hour. There are plenty of female workers all over the city that would appreciate more frequent buses so they don’t have to wait at bus stops as long. This includes First Hill workers who might work odd hours (hospitals are staffed 24/7) and can’t ride the 303/322/etc. because they don’t run at the correct times.

        As a simple example, I used to have a female friend who commuted by bus from Shoreline to the UW, and had she still been living here, the Lynnwood Link restructure would have been a really big deal for her. At the time, she rode the 48 (now the 45) from UW to 85th/Aurora, then transferred to the E-line to her home, a few blocks northeast of Aurora/145th. Taking Link to 145th, followed by the proposed 333 would be much than this, except there’s a catch – she often worked late, which would put the 333 in the evening bucket, rather than peak, which would mean the 333 would run only every 30 minutes, greatly undermining the usefulness. She could walk from Link, but it would be a long walk at night, in an area that is not well lit, and until the 148th ped bridge opens, just crossing I-5 at 145th at night could be quite dangerous. Having the 333 run every 15 minutes a little bit later in the evening would be a significant benefit for her, but the resources to do it are spent running buses like the 303 down I-5 during rush, duplicating a Link corridor where the trains are running every 4 minutes.

        In general, allocating scarce bus resources by anecdotes is a bad way to do things, as given literally any route in the Metro system, you can come up with an anecdote to justify why it’s the most important route in the world. For example, I’m sure you can come up with an anecdote of somebody who really needs the 322. I have my anecdote for somebody who needs a more frequent 333. I can also provide an anecdote of another female person I know for whom the evening/weekend frequency reductions on the 65 and 75 shown in this chart would be very annoying. Who is to judge which anecdote is more important? You can’t say yours is because the person is female because the people in my anecdotes are female too.

        The simple answer is that service planners should not be allocating bus service by anecdote at all, nor should bus service be decided based on emotional stories about specific individuals. Rather, bus service should be allocated based on objective metrics that seeks some combination of maximizing ridership and maximizing freedom of movement (e.g. the ability to travel by bus from anywhere to anywhere at any time to the extent practical). Unless overcrowding of Link is a concern, the justification for expresses to First Hill that duplicate Link are primarily anecdotes. An objective measurement would say that you can carry more people and provide more freedom of movement by minimizing bus duplicating of Link and using those resources to run buses more frequently all day. Granted, this is just a few trips per day, so the actual amount of resources we’re talking about is not that much, but the reason we are making such a big deal about it is the precedent it sets – as soon as you start planning bus routes based on anecdotes, it becomes too tempting to do so again and again and, before you know it, the bus network turns into a mess of infrequent spaghetti that serves no one except the handful of people whose commutes closely match the people in the anecdotes.

        I’ll also point out that if the concern of taking Link to First Hill is the safety of the transfer at 3rd Ave., you don’t have to actually transfer at 3rd Ave. You can instead get off the train at Capitol Hill Station and either walk the rest of the way, hop on the streetcar, or ride the 60. People who know what they’re doing already can and do avoid 3rd Ave. completely, even without the one-seat ride buses.

      4. For riders at Aurora Village or along route 322’s tail, those buses will be infrequent. For park&riders, the parking at Northgate will be more abundant than now, and a First Hill Express will be coming along roughly every 15 minutes in the AM peak period.

        More importantly, a First Hill to Northgate bus will come along roughly every 15 minutes during the PM peak period. Maybe that will help a little while waiting for 2 Line trains to start crossing Lake Washington, and be in revenue service starting at CIDS.

        But I doubt they would go away before the next regularly scheduled service change, and no guarantees after that.

      5. Asdf2, “anecdotal statements” are not a pejorative. They are called public comments. And Metro is certainly not listening to me. I don’t submit comments.

        The Eastside is a collection of small cities with a huge tax base. Any voice has a much bigger impact than in Seattle in a small pond with a ton of transit money and many fewer crazy ideologues.

        If a number of nurses in Kenmore, Bothell, MI or Issaquah voice their opinion the councils listen. No one else comments about transit. Who gives a shit about transit on the Eastside?

        These are the tip of voter icebergs. Especially Eastside women who generally don’t get involved in the theory of politics — certainly “transit” — although they determine who gets elected. You may scoff at the use of “female” but look at Balducci’s campaign. Folks on this blog actually think she cares about transit. Eastside women don’t care about transit so she doesn’t. So her campaign is silent on transit.

        Then throw in a HUGE stakeholder like the hospitals and medical clinics on First Hill who are desperate to attract these highly coveted workers who can work anywhere in a city they think rightfully is dangerous.

        The MI city manager who is a superstar obviously understands. MI will subsidize the 630 because once again Seattle is too cheap. The number of comments objecting ? Zero.

        If Issaquah gets involved — which it will unless Eastside healthcare workers stop commuting to First Hill — then those “anecdotal voices” will become the Issaquah council and Metro or ST will do what they want. That is how Eastside politics work: the council becomes the proxy for the anecdotal voices. Some like LFP are weak. Some like Issaquah are not.

        Because guess what? It is our fucking money. We aren’t Lake City Way although we subsidize those buses. . If our wives and girlfriends are afraid of transferring on 3rd or on Capitol Hill which is just as dangerous they won’t.

        Because it is our money. How many times have I told this blog safety is a deal breaker, and the folks with the money decide how their money is spent.

        ST should have run Link to First Hill but it didn’t. 3rd shouldn’t be too dangerous to transfer but it is. Same with Capitol Hill which is over a mile from First Hill. The E KC subarea has $600 million/year in ST revenue and built East Link AND Redmond Link for $5.5 billion. Is it too much to ask that our healthcare workers have a direct bus to First Hill on our nickel because Seattle is too damn dangerous, or have people on this blog demand they risk their lives because we built something as stupid as Lynnwood Link but forgot to run Link to the region’s major healthcare centers?

        Why blame these workers for the massive stupidity of imbeciles? Especially when their subarea has the money to do whatever it wants. Even Issaquah Link.

      6. It won’t be interesting. The off-topic Seattle bus bashing will have to wait for an open thread, and then still get ignored by most readers.

      7. For park&riders, the parking at Northgate will be more abundant than now, and a First Hill Express will be coming along roughly every 15 minutes in the AM peak period.

        Right, but a train will be coming along twice as often (every 7.5 minutes). For many, it just makes more sense to take the train and walk. The bus is great if you are headed to 5th and James, but not 3rd and Seneca. If you are headed to various First Hill locations, it isn’t that far of a walk either. Or you can hop on the streetcar or the 60, or go up the hill on any number of buses.

        I’m not saying there won’t be riders. Of course there will. But for a bus like this to be cost effective, it has to get a lot of riders. It has to be like the 41, and stuffed to the gills. I just don’t see it. This is why the other (very similar) buses were cancelled. They simply didn’t get good ridership. My guess is the same thing will happen here.

      8. Ross, I like that you point out that not only does Link offer more frequent service to something like Route 303, but it adds parking spaces as well. Lynnwood Link adds 1000 spaces in Shoreline. The First Hill express routes were partly justified because they went by park and ride lots. Losing many of those park-and-ride riders to a frequent Link + local feeder bus seems likely in a significant way. I expect Route 303 to be lightly used once Lynnwood Link opens.

        I suspect that better shuttle connections to First Hill will evolve. For the effort to run a single bus between Richmond Beach and First Hill, several round trips between Link at Judkins Park, Beacon Hill, Pioneer Square or Capitol Hill seem possible — and that would enable connections from anywhere on Link.

        Of course, I’ve advocated for an eventual high frequency connection between First Hill and Link many times like an underground funicular from Pioneer Square. That would take many years of project development funded by a source not yet identified. So a designated bus shuttle (possibly a mere frequency enhancement of an existing route) seems to be best way to quickly achieve the connection.

  5. Would be interesting to see a table that shows when and where the frequency changes from current frequency.

    1. That would be interesting, but the only way I know of gathering current frequency is by looking at the schedule. So the comments I made up above ( were based on current schedules. There may be some sort of table somewhere, but I’m not aware of it. David’s table could work, but so much has changed by now, it is hard to know what exactly “baseline” is. That is why I just based it on the stated schedule.

      Interestingly enough, Metro listed “current” and “proposed” numbers for their routes in the East Link restructure ( Metro didn’t do that for this one (otherwise such a comparison would be much easier).

      1. I think your comment is pretty much identical to mine, although you linked to the more recent proposal (phase 3, not phase 2). I have no idea why Metro listed the current frequency for the East Link restructure, but not this one.

  6. St continues to flub spectacularly. I’ve received an email saying that 10 link stations will be completely closed Aug. 12 and 13. Followed by an “all clear” email shortly thereaffer. Anyone here actually know what’s happening 2vqeekends from now?it’s embarrassing that st can’t get dimple communications like this right on. The first try. I think it has something to do with replacing rails near stadium Station at the royal brougham crossing.

      1. I see that the “cause” is to address flooding on Royal Brougham at the tracks. That raises all sorts of common sense issues.

        1. Why not wait until October when baseball season is over and the Seahawks are out of town and it’s not yet deep into the rainy season?
        2. Why was this only identified now rather than before when other closures were needed? Rain is not new to Seattle and Link.
        3. Why is there not a Stadium event shuttle announced to at least to SODO if not Capitol Hill and South Bellevue?

        This last-minute closure planning at ST continues to look pretty amateurish to me. As I’ve said before, every possible track segment needs a closure contingency plan fully thought through that can be used as a baseline for any closure. In that work they should also identify where new scissor tracks are needed to keep the shutdown from being so drastic or some other remedies.

        Oh… and the fateful decision to design the end of DSTT to no longer be capable of carrying buses led to this. Otherwise, buses could have simply jogged around the construction.

      2. “Why was this only identified now rather than before when other closures were needed?”

        The track may have just settled now.

        The biggest takeaway to me is how much the lack of a center platform is creating burdens on passengers. This is a foreshadowing of what everyday transfers between Rainier Valley and Capitol Hill/North Seattle will be like, or between the Eastside and the airport, only those will be worse.

    1. Oh, great. The failure to keep the center platform strikes again.

      I hope they won’t make trains wait for each other’s transferring passengers.

    2. Yes, it’s still happening according to multiple announcements. I’ll put it in the next open thread. Link will be single-tracked with a transfer at Pioneer Square like it was this spring. This one is to do maintenance on the track segment at Royal Brougham Way,

    3. This is off topic. Please copy your comments to an open thread. These comments will be deleted by the end of the day (either way).

  7. A general question about Route numbering: Is it confusing to have routes with both 3XX with two digit routes? Why do the 3XX routes have numbers like 331, 333 and 348 rather than merely end with 0 or 5? I don’t often see the logic of route numbers discussed in restructuring. Consider that the proposed 65 and 345 are both mostly inside Seattle with a little bit in Shoreline yet one has two digits and one has three.

    1. I found the 365 to be an unnecessarily confusing choice of route number. I would have called it 344, FWIW, as the partner route of 345, with diverging tales.

      And then, I might have renumbered the 65 as 365 due to it going into Shoreline.

      None of the other route number proposals struck me as weird.

    2. I think a good case could be made to replace the 3XX with 8X and 9X numbering.

      The only route using either 8X or 9X is Route 90 which is a snow day route only.

      I get how Seattle city routes were deliberately under 100 — but it would seem that a major rail line opening and route restructuring is the time to revisit this issue. Consider that 8 of the 15 routes with 3XX are being replaced anyway! This really seems like the best time to just wipe away the 3XX numbering.

      1. The 8x routes were the night owl routes. The only reason I would see for using an 8x number is to signal that there will never be night owl routes again. OTOH, old-timers might see the route number and immediately assume they don’t run during the day.

        I see nothing wrong with having 300-series for north of Seattle. On First Hill, it is a warning not to get on that bus unless you actually want to get stuck on an express bus going north.

        The overall numbering issue that concerns me is the repeated use of 1-4. Save them for light rail. Renumber the Metro routes 51-54, which are not being used. At least start with 51 and 52 before the 2 Line opens.

        For STRide, I would number them 501-503, to tell new riders they are a bus, not a train.

        I don’t know why Pierce Transit uses 500 and 501 when 402 also goes to Federal Way. Regardless, they don’t come within miles of the future STRide lines.

    3. Route numbering is a bit tricky. Right now, the 345/346 overlap, as do the 347/348. They also used to through-route*, which is why the numbering of those four buses is pretty nice.

      If a route is basically unchanged, then it makes sense to keep the same number. Thus you have the 348. The 345 is remarkably similar to the old 345, which I’m sure is why they kept that number. I’m not sure I would. It no longer goes to Shoreline Community College, which seems like a big enough change to warrant a new number. On the other hand, it is identical for about 90% of the route, so I can see why they kept the same number. In contrast, they decided not to keep the 346, even though it keeps much of the same pathway. It does make sense to pair the route mnemonically with the 345 though. I’m not sure why they didn’t go with 345/355 and chose 345/365, but both work in my head. They have seemingly broken with the mnemonic pairing of the 348, which I think makes sense, as I don’t think there will be much through-routing. It is nice to have more flexibility anyway.

      With so few buses north of Seattle, it does seem silly to keep the 300-series there. At most I would keep the buses that are keeping the same numbers, which I believe is the 303, 331, 345 and 348. As it turns out, I hope they change the 348 and send it to the UW. That means that only the 303 would remain unchanged — this would be the best time to make a big numbering change.

      Of course there is another issue: Community Transit. Fortunately, after Lynnwood Link, their buses will start with 100, 200 or 900, so double digit numbers in the north end would be fine. Everett Transit doesn’t reach far enough to worry about.

      So yeah, I would probably go with a numbering overhaul. It can be confusing if you reuse an old number soon after a change (apparently it has been long enough since the 77 has been retired). But they could probably squeeze in a few double digit routes without causing confusion. I would avoid the 90s though. The 90 is a snow shuttle, the 96 and 98 are the streetcar, and the 97 is Link shuttle (when Link has a problem). I think the 80s are wide open. Changing the 300 series to the 80 series would make those distinct initially, but allow them to change over time to be just routes in that general neck of the woods.


      * I’m not sure sure about the through-routing now. The 345 now through-routes with the 331 (most of the time). The 346 seems to through-route with the 347 though. There is no mention of the 347 or 348 through-routing with anything. This may be why they didn’t keep “346”. If riders were used to “rounding the horn”, and staying on the bus through Northgate, they would be disappointed, as it looks like that won’t happen anymore.

      1. No more 300s! Or Robin Hood! Or Alamo movies! Or (especially) Shootouts at the OK Corral!

  8. RossB, please check your table for Route 28 midday. P3 and current are both at 30 minutes.

    The post would be stronger if the differences from current were stated. There may be differences in routes 65-67, 72 (from 372), and 75.

    1. please check your table for Route 28 midday. P3 and current are both at 30 minutes.

      Fixed. Thanks.

      The post would be stronger if the differences from current were stated.

      This gets back to my response to Dave (when he said the same thing):

      It is worth noting that all of this is hand generated. I didn’t run a screen scraper, nor do I know of the data being in some other format. If there was a CSV file of the proposed changes in frequency, this post would have had fewer errors (although it might have taken longer for me to build it — my coding skills are getting rusty). As to current frequency, I don’t know where that is listed anywhere. As I wrote up above, I based some of my comments on just looking at the schedule.

      It does look like this information is available on the Metro website (as a GTFS feed). The API looks pretty simple. From what I can tell, it would require some work though. They basically give you too much information, as they list every trip. So I would have to calculate the various trip times, and gather up all that information. It doesn’t sound that difficult, I just don’t feel like doing it.

    2. The table is a major help to visualize what portion of the week is frequent and how that varies across routes. That’s hard to ascertain in Metro’s format because you have to go to each route PDF, find the table, assimilate it, and remember the different tables in your head.

      At the same time Ross’s table doesn’t tell where each route number goes (you have to know that already), and it doesn’t tell the differences between current frequency. There’s a limit to what one table can legibly show, and how much time somebody can take to hand-assemble and double-check the information.

      I’d recommend we email Metro and tell them we’d like a chart like this in future restructure proposals, and a CSV file with the frequencies of proposed and current service. They can generate it a lot easier than we can.

    3. I’m assuming Metro’s thinking is they’ll have the operators to run the 28 at its current headways by the time Lynnwood Link opens? It’ll be dropping down to hourly headways in a month for an as-yet unknown amount of time. If that goes on for any amount of time, it seems likely to just kill ridership on the route.

      1. Yes, I think the times reflect the assumption that the driver/mechanic issues will be solved by then. Worth noting though, Broadview is losing all service. I get it. I’m sure ridership is quite low from the northern tail, and it costs a fair amount to run it even a few times during the day. But it does seem like a lost opportunity to not approach it from the east. The 345 seems awfully close, and making a bit of a detour doesn’t seem that crazy. Then again, I guess they assume those riders will just walk (or bike, or drive) to the bus stop, since it is fairly flat and pleasant. If Seattle rezones and a few apartments pop up west of Greenwood, then I could see things changing. Like so many issues in Seattle, we don’t quite have the widespread density to justify service everywhere (unless we can find a lot more money somehow).

  9. It’d be nice if each number in a bus route number meant something. In DC, the first number tells the rider one thing. If the last number is even, the route runs all day. If the last number is odd, the route is peak-only. If the last digit is low or high, that tells the rider something else. Maybe we don’t have to do that, but what about at the very least if every route goes to a Link station, its route number reflected that. For example, 333L. If the bus route number told the rider which Link line the bus connects with (1 or 2), that would be even better.

    1. It will soon be easier to put a scarlet letter on the handful of buses not going to a light rail station, like 22N, or the IN Line.

      1. Thanks for mentioning that, Brent. Most Seattle routes will pass by a Link station when fully built as you say. An extra digit to say where it is going would be a lopsided practice as few bus routes will NOT go by a Link station in the future. Curiously, that even includes new RapidRide routes G and I.

        SamTrans implemented a similar scheme described here:

        The more important point I was making is that the difference between using and not using 3XX used to be more apparent, but this restructure really blurs the lines — and that’s the right thing to do when routes transitions to primary feeder routes. When routes mostly went Downtown in the pre-Link era it was obvious, but the use of three digits with Link now in the mix it is more vague. (In this proposal, both 65 and 345 operate mostly in Seattle with a little bit running in Shoreline for example.)

        I think that a rider is more interested in where transfers occur than whether any of the route leaves the official city limits anyway. If there were designated transit centers on Link (like Northgate is today) that could be reflected in the numbering. However it looks like a handful of different routes will go by every station when Lynnwood Link opens so that doesn’t seem like an obvious approach. Note that two digit and three digit routes serve both Northgate and 148th in this proposal.

        I also think that remembering three digits is harder for a rider to remember than two is. For example, differentiating routes 45 and 65 is more obvious to a rider than between 345 and 365.

        I don’t view use of 8X as sacred. Numbering of owl services is a whole new topic — and with Link also using numbers it seems impossible to devise a consistent numbering scheme. Would Route 81 be the owl service for 1 Line Link, Metro Route 1 or arbitrary?

        Link-based Metro restructuring is also generational and instantly significant to riders. Legacy numbering seems relatively unimportant when that happens. I could even see a good reason for changing a number on an existing route as valuable for rider knowledge if that route suddenly has one or two new Link stations that it connects to.

        Finally, I’ve long argued that the operators should have a regional discussion about numbering. For example, we almost ended up with Line 2 becoming the Blue Line instead (denoted with a white “B” inside a blue ball), connecting to both Swift Blue Line and RapidRide B (denoted with a white “B” inside a dark red ball). Not having agencies discuss numbering as part of regional coordination seems negligent since many riders will use more than one operator in the future. The three digit system that enabled 4XX and 8XX (CT to Seattle), and 5XX (ST Express) were great! It’s just our system structure is now changing in major ways so it’s the right time to revisit how to we number our routes.

      2. The more important point I was making is that the difference between using and not using 3XX used to be more apparent, but this restructure really blurs the lines.

        I agree. The value of having 3XX routes is largely gone. This is also the time to do it. Almost every 3XX route is changing. It is annoying to have to remember a new route, but if your old route is changing dramatically, then you might as well. I also agree with your point about routes in the 80s. Again, now would be the time to use them, to replace the 3XX series. That doesn’t mean we wouldn’t some day use 3XX buses (we may simply run out of bus routes) but hopefully our system is getting simpler, and not more complicated over time. That begs the question though, what what you rename these buses to? Here is my suggestion (based on the routes as presented):

        303 — 83
        322 — 82
        331 — 81
        333 — 84
        345 — 85
        348 — 88
        365 — 86

        For a lot of riders, there is a learning curve, but not a really steep one. They basically just replace the ‘3’ with an ‘8’ and throw away the middle digit. You still have a lot of good pairing. The 85 and 86 overlap for much of their route. The 83 and 84 are paired, which makes a lot more sense if you are in First Hill. The 81 is as arbitrary as the 331 (it is a brand new bus).

        I also don’t think it is essential to cluster numbers by region. In this case it makes it pretty simple, since the same mnemonic can be applied to multiple routes of existing buses. But if you look at a lot of our numbers, they are not arranged by region. The 19, 24, 31 and 33 all go to Magnolia. Yet there are buses in the teens, twenties and thirties that go all over the place. So, assuming it is OK to name a new bus route the 38, I don’t see anything wrong with using 38 instead of 331 for the new Shoreline route. It helps if buses overlap to have similar numbers (the 19/24/33 combination is bad, the 31/32 combination is good). But a bus with 38 in the midst of buses numbered in the sixties, seventies and eighties doesn’t seem bad to me at all.

      3. I thought that the unwritten rule was that all “North of Seattle” routes got 3xx numbers, just as all “South of Seattle” routes got 1xx, and “East of Seattle” 2xx.

        In general, I’m small-c conservative when it comes to major changes. The mnemonic is loosely useful. Even the 19/24/33 group was kind of useful – in the sense of “smaller numbers are closer to downtown and the NE Seattle routes are the 6x and 7x” which helped me not get on the wrong one when I was downtown and wanting to go to the U District in the late evenings after all the buses were running on surface streets and the tunnel was closed. But there’re also plenty of younger people (than me) who don’t need the mnemonics or will prefer to set up their own, so I’m not opposed to the renumbering, even if I think that there is a cost for people who do have those kind of rough patterns in their head.

  10. RossB has made some of these points above. Note that conceptual Route 333 has a robust service level at all time periods (while the headways on some north Seattle routes are proposed to be longer; see routes 65, 67, 75). It uses two east-west arterials that serve full I-5 interchanges, so will encounter traffic congestion; they are busy and have four lanes; it has turns; it is shaped like an open big dipper. So, it has an indirect pathway to/from Link except at its north and south extremes. Note the Route 331 is very indirect; it serves the Montlake Terrace Link station but not the South Shoreline Link station. The current Route 330 pathway is not used but it provides a common stop transfer point with the E Line.

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