Metro is in Phase 2 of the North Link Connections Mobility Project. This is my proposal based on their proposed network.
About the Map
The map is interactive. The check boxes will display or hide different routes.
I’ve tried to be as detailed as possible on the map, although buses on Roosevelt are only shown going south (on Roosevelt itself, not on 12th).
Most of the buses either follow the current routing, or Metro’s proposed routing, although there are some significant differences. None of the buses go on I-5 over the ship canal (a subject worthy of its own post). There is more bidirectional peak service. Routes in the U-District involve fewer turns, which should speed things up. I’ve added a few routes, removed a few, and created new pairings, as follows:
45 ↔ 65
67 ↔ 75
Peak Direction Only
302 — This replaces the coverage part of the 301/302, while providing some riders on Aurora with a one seat ride to Shoreline Community College. Most of this route is low ridership, so the extra time spent around Bitter Lake should fill up the bus, while saving Bitter Lake riders some time.
304 — Much faster bus to Richmond Beach.
Peak Only Bidirectional Routes
25 — The 25 is essentially an express version of the 62. Unlike Metro’s proposal, it covers the most densely populated parts of Wallingford. It is bidirectional, as there should be riders who want a faster ride to the UW.
63 — This is a relatively fast coverage route that goes by a lot of apartments, making quick connections to Link. It makes a new crossing of I-5 (that would have to be approved by SDOT). The success (or failure) of that crossing could give Metro data for sending the 45 the same way.
64 — This is a borderline route, but it saves a considerable amount of time for riders on 35th trying to get to Link. There may not be a lot of riders taking it in reverse peak direction, but it isn’t that expensive to run.
73 — This is a fast, cheap way to deal with overcrowding at both the U-District and Roosevelt stations, while providing some coverage on 15th NE at the one time of day that it carries a significant number of riders.
All Day Frequent Routes
D Line — Extended to Northgate, for the most part following the current 40. It makes one small deviation, using 1st NE (just east of the freeway) to get to the transit center. This is different than the current routing, as well as Metro’s proposed routing for the 40. This should be a little faster than the current routing, and much faster than Metro’s proposed routing.
31/32 — This covers the southern end of the U-District, making it easier to connect to buses heading south (like the 48). It avoids turns, getting to the station faster, while saving service money. These buses are notoriously unreliable, so it doesn’t through route.
40 — Goes to Northgate via 85th, using part of the 61 route proposed by Metro.
45 — Through routes with the 65 (avoiding turns), otherwise it is unchanged. It follows the current routing, not 80th as Metro proposed. There are lots of problems with 80th. The time savings are exaggerated, and there are fewer apartments along the way.
The combination of the D, 40, and 45 means that service is doubled up along 85th, but not on Holman Road. Ridership is much higher along 85th than Holman Road. For example, on the 45, the stop at 85th and 15th is the highest ridership stop outside the U-District. As a result of this change, more riders along 85th would have two buses to Link, as well as more frequent trips across 85th. Crown Hill — which has high ridership on several buses — would have three buses to Link. It would also have two buses to Northgate, in much the way that Lake City has two buses to the U-District.
65 — Through routes with the 45, otherwise unchanged.
67 — Replaces the 73 by going straight instead of looping around. I’ve written about this idea in the past, and now have data to support it. Those on 15th would lose all day service, but less than 35 people a day ride the 73 on this section. Riders on the 67 would have a two seat ride to Northgate, but only about 150 people actually make that trip (and they would have a very frequent transfer). In contrast, there are about 500 existing riders (on the 73 and 373) who would benefit from a more frequent connection between Pinehurst and the UW. There would be significant cost savings from ending all day service on the 73, which would go into improving other parts of the network.
75 — Through routes with the 67, otherwise the same as Metro’s proposed routing.
372 — Follows the Montlake Loop. The main thing is that service is consolidated, not that the outside loop is better than the inside one. More research would have to be done to determine which is faster, and/or saves riders time.
74/79 — The two best pieces of Metro’s infrequent plan, with a solid layover (Green Lake Park and Ride).
81 — This is a new cross town route, similar to the 330. Hopefully both could run every half hour. They might also connect, using 30th instead of Lake City Way. The 330 is one of our most cost effective routes. It has better ridership per hour of service in the middle of the day than the 309 does during rush hour. For a bus that runs every hour, this is astonishing. Most of its ridership is not on the unique coverage area. Riders choose the route in part because the alternatives (e. g. taking the 41 to Northgate, then the 345) are so slow, and indirect. It is a bus worth waiting for, even if the wait can be huge. It is also fast, making service relatively cheap. I believe the 81 will have the same characteristics. Ridership won’t be enormous, but good enough to make this a very competitive route (much better than express buses to First Hill). It would layover where the proposed 16 lays over.
Most of the changes cost about the same as what Metro proposed. Buses should run through the U-District a little bit faster, saving some money. The changes to the 40, 45, D and 61 cost about the same as what Metro proposed (based on my calculations).
There are significant savings made by not sending the rush hour buses to downtown. The 25 is also significantly cheaper. Those savings go into making several of the routes bidirectional, with money left over.
Big savings come from not running the 73 outside of rush hour. In contrast, sending the 67 up to 145th (instead of Northgate) costs only a bit more. A lot of money is also saved by eliminating Metro’s proposed 23. That should more than pay for the new 81, since the 81 is a much faster run.
Overall, ridership should be higher, with no additional spending over what Metro has proposed.
I have the 31/32 laying over at the new loop, next to the U-District station. That would mean that the 31, 32, 48, 49, 70 and 372 all layover there. If that is too many buses in the same spot, I would have the 48 follow the current routing (since it passes by the other Link station).
I also have the 31/32 and 372 turn onto 43rd from University Way (“The Ave”). This would likely require a new stop sign. If this isn’t possible, then both routes would go up 15th instead (and turn with the rest of the buses).
The new pairings I propose would avoid turns and be more reliable, but there is a service mismatch between the routes. Hopefully there will be enough savings to justify increasing frequency to ten minutes across the board. If not, then 12 minutes would be fine. This would mean a small degradation on some routes, and a small improvement in others.
I’ve abandoned Metro’s proposed 23. There simply isn’t enough ridership along there to justify a new line.
A few of the rush-hour only routes are borderline, and perhaps not worth having. I think a few fairly short rush hour routes are worth having, just to see how popular they are. For example, the 64 might have high ridership, as folks prefer going to the Roosevelt Station for trips that don’t involve the UW. Likewise, for political reasons, folks who are used to having all-day service may object to having none at all.