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The UW Escalator Event: A Quantitative Analysis

On March 16th, the two downward escalators between the mezzanine and sub-mezzanine at the University of Washington Link Station failed. With only elevators available to move people into the station for four hours, a line snaked around the station. On April 4th, a presentation to Sound Transit’s Operations Committee reviewed the event and discussed changes that could be made to prevent and mitigate future outages. While the presentation recognized the poor customer experience during the event, it described the impact in a strictly qualitative fashion.

This is a quantitative assessment of the escalator outage event. Any mitigation or preventative measure is going to have a cost to put in place. Without the ability to assign a cost to the event, it would be difficult to understand which actions should be on the table.

This assessment uses a measurement called Spontaneous Accessibility, published in this year’s Transportation Research Record. At a high level, this measurement describes how well an individual can make an unanticipated, unplanned transit trip throughout a given area. From a technical standpoint, it divides an area into a high-resolution grid of sectors. For each sector it computes, for every minute of a time window, the number of other sectors that can be reached within 30 minutes using transit and walking. This yields a heat map of how easily reachable each sector is, as well as a Network Accessibility Ratio that measures the proportion of time-origin-destination combinations that can be reached within 30 minutes against the total number of combinations. By making modifications to the modeled transit network and calculating the change in the Network Accessibility Ratio, it is possible to make a quantitative assessment.

To model the outage, Spontaneous Accessibility was computed under two circumstances. The first considers the scheduled transit service within the city of Seattle on March 16th, between 3:30 PM and 7:30 PM. The second uses the same temporal and spatial parameters, but eliminates the University of Washington stop from southbound Link trains. This is not a perfect model of the outage, as customers could still reach trains at UW Station after a substantial wait. Nevertheless, to a person arriving at the station and viewing a long line, the station may be considered effectively unreachable. This analysis yielded a change in Spontaneous Accessibility of -0.339%. A maximum reduction of 12.3% was observed in the vicinity of the Capitol Hill Link station, with other measurable reductions clustered largely around Link stations and a portion of the Aurora Avenue corridor. This Spontaneous Accessibility map shows the distribution of impact.

To extract a meaningful cost from the change in Spontaneous Accessibility, it is necessary to bring in some additional data. Over the four-hour period of the outage, there were 1988.28 vehicle-hours of in-service trips serving the city of Seattle. Using King County Metro’s $140.86 cost per vehicle-hour figure as an estimate for operating costs across all transit providers, the cost of in-service trips for the four hour window was approximately $280,069. In the same period, the Network Accessibility Ratio for the unimpaired network would have been 0.10378. Thus $280,069 was necessary to sustain a 0.10378 Network Accessibility Ratio in Seattle over those hours. When impaired, Seattle had a 0.10342 Network Accessibility Ratio. Sustaining this for four hours should cost approximately $279,097. Thus, from a Spontaneous Accessibility standpoint, the cost of the outage was $972.

It is important to be cognizant of aspects of the measurement that may distort this value. Because Spontaneous Accessibility is an isochrone-based measurement, it is not sensitive to the outage’s impact on trips that initially would have taken longer than 30 minutes. Spontaneous Accessibility measurement also acts as though riders have perfect knowledge of the transit network. Actual riders may not be aware of the other options that they have for completing their journeys, and thus may queue at the station instead of finding alternatives. Even if riders were to have this knowledge, Spontaneous Accessibility does not incorporate vehicle capacity, and thus would not account for alternate routes becoming congested as riders switched to them. Particularly thorny in this case is that Sound Transit would largely be relying on King County Metro to absorb that missing capacity.

Any attempt at assigning a single cost to an event is going to have limitations, and this is a basic one using publicly available data, open source software, and back-of-the-envelope math. At this point, however, it describes the impact more quantitatively than Sound Transit has put forth at this time. Sound Transit plans to evaluate certain mitigations by the next Operations Committee meeting on April 20th. These will surely have a price, and it will certainly be interesting to see how they compare to this assessment of the UW escalator event’s cost.

Seattle to improve pedestrian crossings

Mayor Jenny Durkan, who is presiding over a growing city facing transportation challenges, ended the first quarter of 2018 with a cliffhanger for the streetcar. This, after getting pressure from Bellevue to improve matters for pedestrians after Seattle did not nothing but worse than nothing, leaves a bad impression on Seattle’s leadership.

Fortunately, in the time after becoming mayor, Durkan had planned up some “early wins” that can be rolled out in short order that would greatly improve matters, and today the city is launching a much needed improvement in pedestrian walk signals.

As you know from experience, most pedestrian walk signals do nothing (except to tell the signal not to stop you from crossing even though you have enough time to cross, but that doesn’t really count). Of course there are a few oddballs where it does make a difference, but these are usually in places where the green signal is normally so short anyway (1-5 seconds) that a push-button is needed to allow enough time for pedestrians.

Nothing is more frustrating than running to an intersection and missing the light turning green by half a second and you don’t get your walk signal. Also frustrating is a group of people waiting to cross, just to find that none of them pushed the beg button, and now everyone is waiting another cycle.

This is why on April 1st, 2018, Seattle will be rolling out automatic button pushers on all intersections, relieving the frustrations of thousands of pedestrians in a single day. Sure, it’s not anything on the scale of fixing Mount Baker station, but it’s certainly an improvement. Plus the numerous construction projects that close the sidewalk often require pedestrians to zig-zag across major arterials, and this is a helpful mitigation. Never again will you experience the frustration of missing a pedestrian walk signal in Seattle.

Frequent Everett Bus Routes Serving Lynnwood Link

Lynnwood Link will dramatically alter transit in Snohomish County. There will be substantial savings that come from truncating long distance runs into Seattle, and with that money, the opportunity to better serve the region. This is a proposal for three frequent bus routes that would connect the Lynnwood Transit Center to various parts of Everett.

Current System

There are three agencies operating in the area: Sound Transit, Community Transit, and Everett Transit. Sound Transit has four routes there. The 513 is rush hour only, and picks up less than 20 people per bus north of Lynnwood. It performs poorly, and is not worth expanding. The 510 and 511 are both rush hour express buses to downtown Seattle. The 510 serves Everett and South Everett stations, while the 511 serves Lynnwood and Ash Way stations. The 512 does not operate during rush hour and essentially serves all of those locations. Those three buses would undergo changes with this proposal.

There are numerous buses serving the area. Everett Transit doesn’t go to Lynnwood, but is worth mentioning because it would complement the proposed routes. Community Transit has several routes in the area, but most of them run only every half hour. The 201/202 are an exception. These buses run every 15 minutes from Everett to Mariner, Ash Way (the street as well as the Park and Ride) and Lynnwood. The three ST buses (510, 511 and 512) along with Community Transit 201/202 serve as the basis for this new alignment.

I am proposing that we run buses frequently (about every 15 minutes all day long) like so:

  1. The 201 and 202 would retain its existing frequency (15 minutes combined) and simply be truncated at Ash Way Park and Ride.
  2. The 510 is largely the same (merely truncated at Lynnwood) but would run frequently all day.
  3. The 514 is a new bus that would also run frequently all day.
  4. The 511 and 512 would go away.

Faster Running

One of the key elements of this proposal is to speed up the travel between Everett and Lynnwood. Sound Transit already does that with the design of the 510 and 511. In both cases, there are bus stops along the way connected to HOV lanes on both ends. This means that buses spend very little time serving those stops. In contrast, because there are no north end ramps connecting the Ash Way transit center to the freeway, the 512 spends extra time dealing with the traffic lights and general purpose lanes. My proposal is to continue the basic idea of the 510/511, but extend it all day long.

Better Connections

The bus serving Ash Way (the new 514) does not get on the freeway north of there. It is instead extended to serve the neighborhoods to the north. By overlapping the 201/202, it allows those Community Transit buses to be truncated at Ash Way. If you are headed from Everett TC to Lynnwood, you would take the 510. Between 128th and 164th, you can take the 514 to Lynnwood.

The 514 manages to serve most of the densely populated areas north of Lynnwood. It connects with both Swift Lines as well as a lot of Everett Transit and Community Transit buses. It can take advantage of the right of way granted to both Swift lines. For many in the area, it would provide a much faster connection to Lynnwood. Someone on SR 99 who happens to be close to a stop can get to Lynnwood using one bus, instead of three. The bus also provides a little extra service along the two main corridors being served by Swift. While Swift is relatively frequent (12 minutes during the day), adding an extra bus along that line would likely be welcome, and not excessive.

Other Options

The 514 is fairly long (about 12 miles). If money is tight, then it could be truncated at various places. There is no point, though, in ending it before (or at) 164th. That would simply be a shift in service, with no benefit over keeping the existing routing of the 510, 511 and 201/202 (but running the first two more often). That leaves a few options:

1) Ending at SR 99 and Airport Road. That would provide a lot of people with a fast one seat ride to Lynnwood, while anyone on SR 99 would have a fairly frequent two seat ride. Unfortunately, a lot of people on Casino Road (which is relatively densely populated) would still have an infrequent three seat ride to Lynnwood. It also becomes more difficult to get to Paine Field and the surrounding factories. There are likely to be alternative bus routes, but probably nothing as frequent (because nothing would pass through as many relatively densely populated areas).

2) Ending at SR 99 and Casino Road. A stop here would connect to several Everett Transit bus routes. However, the Community Transit bus routes manage to skip this stop by using the freeway. This means that connecting service to the airport (and surrounding businesses) would not be that frequent. I could easily see how more bus routes could be changed to serve that area (since it is a crossroad) but if you ended at Airport Road and Casino Road, you wouldn’t have to. That connects to just about every bus in the area.

Transit & Skiing

I just got back from a ski trip to the Wasatch Mountains outside of Salt Lake City, Utah. Utah is known for its world-renowned skiing, and the powder was great. But, while there, I never stayed in any of the Mountain Villages, or fancy hotels, rather than Park City or Deer Valley, I stayed in Kimball Junction and Cottonwood Heights. Both towns, suburbs of Park City and Salt Lake City, respectively, center largely around budget accommodations, suburban office parks, etc. But, the real unique thing about this trip was one of the things that really impressed me about the resorts in this area. All 6 resorts (Park City, Deer Valley, Brighton, Solitude, Alta and Snowbird) had quality bus connections, running all winter, 7 days a week, at up to (or above) 15 minute frequencies. Park City, a town with only 8,300 people, has 14 bus lines, including multiple with 15 min or more frequency. Cottonwood Heights, a part of Salt Lake County has 3 “ski bus” lines, all running at 15 min headways during peak periods, part of the Utah Transit Authority’s ski bus system, with 9 lines serving 5 ski areas, and connecting SLC and the town of Park City.

Park City

Park City, one of the most well known ski towns in the US, home to the Utah Olympic Park, and main venue of the Salt Lake City Olympics, has a fare-free transit system, with many routes across the area, serving the many base areas of the nearby ski resorts of Deer Valley & Park City, sectors of the main town, and suburban areas. The town of Park City has been at the fore-front of ski towns fighting Climate Change, pledging to remove their carbon footprint by 2032, through programs including Electric Buses, solar and wind farms creating a renewable energy grid for the town and surrounding ski areas, and land preservation, fighting the continuous development of a ski town running out of snow. This year has been especially bad on the surrounding ski resorts, grass & rocks continue to poke through the snow, many trails and areas remain closed due to lack of snow. Ironically, Vail Resorts, the owner of Park City Mountain Resort, the largest and most prominent ski area in the region, continues to fund Anti-Climate Change Politicians and PACs advocating against Climate Regulation.


Little & Big Cottonwood Canyons are home to some of the most legendary skiing in the world, though the two most prominent ski areas, Alta & Snowbird are home to much smaller ski towns, which can hardly be called towns at all. Cottonwood is actually located in the general Salt Lake City area, and therefore relies on the Salt Lake City Regional Transit Authority, or the Utah Transit Authority, UTA for short. UTA runs ‘ski buses’ which run on higher fares, and have special ski racks inside them. The buses generally run from one transit center near the city center, then visit multiple small park and rides, which usually only are served by ski buses, before heading to the ski areas (usually serving two ski areas, and then heading back along the same route. The buses run all day in both directions, at peak (towards the mountain right before opening, and towards town around closing) have 15 min headways. Hotels in the area have small shuttles that run to the park & rides, helping visitors use ski buses instead of driving.

Now, you’re probably thinking, why is this guy writing an article about Utah Ski Buses in a Seattle Transit Blog? Well, I think Utah has set a wonderful example. The Seattle Area is home to 3 ski areas within 2 hours, receiving massive visitation, some among the top 15 in the country. Summit at Snoqualmie, at the county line of King & Kittitas Counties, Crystal Mountain, in Pierce County, & Stevens Pass, which has all of its base facilities in King County, but a few lifts reach over into Chelan County. Sadly, largely due to the fact our county borders rely heavily on Mountain Passes, public transit access to these ski areas would be difficult, and that is one big reason it is yet to exist today. But, I’m hopeful. King County Metro already runs buses to North Bend (the closest town to Snoqualmie) & Enumclaw (the closest town to Crystal Mtn) & Community Transit runs buses to Gold Bar, but not to Skykomish, the closest town to Stevens Pass, largely due to the fact that Highway 2 dips into King County there. All of the ski areas are outside Sound Transit’s district, so new bus routes would have to rely on local transit networks.

King County Metro Route 960

This route will run from Eastgate P&R or Issaquah Transit Center (Eastgate would yield better connections to existing services and less connections, while Issaquah would offer a shorter ride time and still ensure a 2 seat ride from Downtown Seattle vis the 554 until East Link opens) or from South Bellevue Station (once it opens) via Eastgate Freeway Station & Issaquah Transit Center (once East Link opens this option will be the only option with a 2 seat ride from Seattle). You could start this bus from Seattle, which would be ideal for passengers bring skis and other equipment, but would result in a longer ride, and a more difficult starting point. It will stop at (optional stops italicized): Preston Park & Ride, North Bend Park & Ride, get off at I-90 exit 54, Summit East/Nordic Center, (daytime only) Silver Fir (daytime only), Summit Central, Summit West & Alpental. It could easily stop at the current Snoqualmie shuttle stops, and as an incentive for Snoqualmie to support the project, could serve as a replacement for the shuttle, having a quick layover at Alpental and turning back to the Seattle area via all 4 base areas. The route will run from December 5th to April 1st (possibly earlier with closing dates tentative). It would likely start Weekends only, and another special route (possibly 963) could be made for weekday travel, as Summit East is closed all weekdays (except Holidays), Summit West is closed Monday-Tuesday, & Night only Wednesday-Friday & Alpental is closed Monday.

King County Metro Route 961

This route will run from Enumclaw to Crystal Mountain. It may stop in Greenwater, or other places along the way. While the route would be in Pierce County much of the way, it could just be viewed as an Enumclaw Community Shuttle service, serving King County. It could be extended Northwest to a largely Transit Center to connect with Seattle/Eastside transit riders such as Auburn, Kent, or, optimally, Angle Lake/Tukwila Intl Blvd Link Station. Less realistic due to the distance of Crystal Mountain and lack of proximity to civilization or King County.

Community Transit/King County Metro Route 962

Hopefully a cooperation from the two, would travel through both counties from Lynnwood or Everett Station to Monroe to Stevens Pass. Can supplement existing Community Transit 270/271. Again, less realistic due to distance factor and transfers. Bringing skis on a commuter route up to Lynnwood or Everett could be difficult. Would travel through Snohomish & King Counties.

So, that’s my article. In conclusion, ski buses can help supplement one of the few currently almost car-only activities. Our ski areas already face overcrowding issues, and parking issues, with Stevens Pass even rejecting further skiers due to Parking Lots becoming full before the place even opens. This solution could have drastic positive effects for both the ski areas and skiers. Even if my plan is downsized to just serving park and rides for skiers to provide extra parking for the ski areas, it would help take cars off the road and help overcrowding issues.

Magnolia/Fremont Restructure after Ballard Link

There’s already been a community post about what could appear in the Ballard Link restructure. I had some ideas for how changes might look south of the ship canal, and how forcing transfers could allow delivery of very frequent and fast service to Magnolia:


The changes from today’s network:

  • The 24 is deleted
  • The 26X is truncated to U-District station
  • The 31 and 32 routes are reconfigured, and frequency is improved dramatically:
    • Both go to Magnolia, and go along 15th to W Dravus street, connecting to the future Interbay light rail station
    • Both go along W Dravus street to 28th Ave W, where they split to serve different areas of Magnolia:
      • The 31 resembles its current route, though less circuitous and less redundant with the 33
      • The 32 leaves its routing to Seattle Center to follow a routing that covers parts of the wandering path of the current route 24, but skips the parts covered by new route 31
    • Both routes are split for a short distance in Fremont, where the removal of the 26X would leave a hole
    • Both routes run at a frequency of 15 minutes each, meaning:
      • Each branch in Magnolia and Fremont have frequent service, and a connection to fast and reliable Link light rail
      • Overlapping segments are double frequent, with a bus every 7.5 minutes, while connecting to two different Link stations
  • I imagine keeping the 19 during peak (as it exists today) as a similar rationale for its existence today will exist then (namely, convenience during high usage periods), since today it lets certain 24 riders avoid a circuitous route during rush-hour, and in this plan could let 31 riders avoid a forced transfer. I could easily see eliminating the 19 should that be necessary to pay for other service
  • The 33 is retained as is at 30 minute frequency. Could also be truncated at Seattle Center or re-routed to SLU should funding be required, or if doing so could allow it to be upgraded to 15-minute service

The centerpiece of this idea is a dramatically improved 31/32 pair running 7 days/week, providing a strong frequent connection to Link that together provides the following outcomes:

  • Most places in Magnolia now have 15 minute or better service that connects to a fast Link ride to downtown, Seattle Center, and SLU
  • Most places in Magnolia also lose a one-seat (albeit super long) ride to downtown, but get frequency upgraded
  • SPU has 8 buses per hour to both Interbay and U-District stations, providing good commuter access to a wide range of commuters from both north and south
  • Fremont gets frequency doubled on both legs of the new route despite losing the 26X, and the 31/32 are frequent enough to split in that area (partially restoring the pre-U-Link service pattern on Stone Way) and still double the frequency on both paths
  • Northern 26X riders need to transfer to Link, but will enjoy a faster ride because they no longer have to go through Fremont

Paying for this kind of service could be difficult, but if we considering truncations to the D-line and routes 40 and 62 that are very likely with a Ballard Link restructure, I could see it being done.

Your thoughts?

Puget Sound Rail Transit Future: My Proposal

Hello, this is a plan I came up with for a potential series of future rail expansions for the region. I have also included potential infill stations and changes to station and line names to simplify the system. The plan includes Link Light Rail, the Seattle streetcar, and Sounder Commuter Rail.

Here is the link to the plan map.

Below are overviews of each extension or alteration by line:

Existing/Planned Light Rail Lines

Link Red Line
-Renamed to Line 1 for simplicity and because color names are different in different languages and number symbols are not
-Extended southwest to Renton via White Center and Burien
-Future Alaska Junction station moved underground to facilitate a gentler curve south towards White Center
-International District/Chinatown renamed to Union Station to simplify the multiple different names for the King Street/International District/Chinatown hub, new unified concourse built in Union Station building (presently Sound Transit headquarters)
-University Street station renamed to Benaroya Hall to avoid confusion with University of Washington, University Village, and U District stations
-Infill station added at Maple Leaf
-Future 130th Street station renamed to Haller Lake
-Future Shoreline South/145th station renamed to Jackson Park
-Future Shoreline North/185th station renamed to Shoreline
-Future Lynnwood City Center station renamed to Lynnwood for simplification
-Future West Alderwood station renamed to Alderwood to align with mall name and for simplification
-Future Ash Way station renamed to Martha Lake because neighborhood names are more specific than street names
-Future SR 99/Airport Road station renamed to Lake Stickney because neighborhood names are more specific than street names
-Future SW Everett Industrial Center renamed to Paine Field for simplification and because it is known to residents by this name
-Future SR 526/Evergreen station renamed to Evergreen
-Infill station added at Lowell
-Future Everett station renamed to Everett Junction to avoid confusion with Downtown Everett
-Extended to North Everett via Downtown Everett

Link Blue Line
-Renamed to Line 2
-Future SE Redmond station renamed to Marymoor Park because it is more specific
-Infill station added at North Overlake to serve northern edge of tech center
-Future Redmond Technology Center station renamed to Tech Center for simplicity
-Future Bel-Red/130th station renamed to Bel-Red for simplicity
-Future Spring District/120th station renamed to Spring District for simplicity
-International District/Chinatown renamed to Union Station to simplify the multiple different names for the King Street/International District/Chinatown hub, new unified concourse built in Union Station building (presently Sound Transit headquarters)
-University Street station renamed to Benaroya Hall to avoid confusion with University of Washington, University Village, and U District stations
-Extended to South Kirkland via SR 520 bridge and Medina

Link Green Line
-Renamed to Line 3 for simplicity and because color names are different in different languages and number symbols are not
-Extended to Tacoma Dome
-Future S 272nd station renamed to Star Lake because neighborhood names are more specific than street names
-Future Kent/Des Moines station renamed to Des Moines for simplicity and to avoid confusion with Kent sounder station
-Tukwila International Boulevard station renamed to International Boulevard for simplicity and to avoid confusion with Tukwila station
-Future S Boeing Access Road station renamed to Duwamish for simplicity and because neighborhood names are more specific than street names, connection can be made to Sounder here
-Future Graham and Othello stations renamed to Graham Street and Othello Street to keep in line with the precedent of using full road names (ex. International Boulevard) and to avoid confusion with neighborhood names
-Inclined elevator added to future Midtown station to connect to First Hill
-Extended to Maltby via Crown Hill, Northgate, Lake City, and Woodinville

Link Purple Line
-Renamed to Line 4 for simplicity and because color names are different in different languages and number symbols are not
-Extended to Downtown Issaquah
-Future Issaquah station renamed to North Issaquah to avoid confusion with Downtown Issaquah
-Infill station added at Phantom Lake
-Future Richards Road station renamed to Factoria because neighborhood names are more specific than street names
-Infill station added at Northup
-Extended to Woodinville via Kirkland and Totem Lake (Tunnel used under Downtown Kirkland to avoid community opposition and because there is no available surface right of way) (I-405 median used between Kirkland and Totem Lake to avoid community opposition and because it is more direct)

Tacoma Link
-Renamed to Line 6 for simplicity, because color names are different in different languages and number symbols are not, and because 2 lines would exist in Tacoma under this plan
-Union Station station renamed to UW Tacoma to avoid conflict with Union Station station in Seattle
-Future S 4th station renamed to 4th Street to keep in line with the precedent of using full road names (ex. International Boulevard)
-Tacoma Dome station moved onto elevated guideway next to future Line 3 station for easier transfers and greater capacity
-Future Hilltop station renamed to Sewell Park to avoid conflict with Hilltop District station
-Future Sprague station renamed to Sprague Avenue to keep in line with the precedent of using full road names (ex. International Boulevard) and to avoid confusion with neighborhood names
-Future Union station renamed to Allenmore because neighborhood names are more specific than street names
-Future Stevens station renamed to Snake Lake because neighborhood names are more specific than street names
-Future Pearl station renamed to Fircrest because neighborhood names are more specific than street names
-Future Tacoma Community College station moved into private right-of-way off-street

Proposed Light Rail Lines

Line 5 (Yellow)
-New line from Mount Baker to Ballard via the Central District, Montlake, UW, and Fremont

Line 7 (Pink)
-New line from Spanaway to Point Defiance via Downtown Tacoma and Ruston

Existing Sounder Commuter Rail Lines

South Line
-Renamed to Line S1 for simplicity and because cardinal directions have different names in different languages and number symbols do not
-Frequency increased to 15 minutes
-Extended to Olympia via Centennial
-Infill station added at Clover Park
-Infill station added at Algona/Pacific
-Infill station added at Duwamish (Boeing Access Road) with connection to Link light rail
-King Street station renamed to Union Station to simplify the multiple different names for the King Street/International District/Chinatown hub, new unified concourse built in Union Station building (presently Sound Transit headquarters)

North Line
-Renamed to Line S2 for simplicity and because cardinal directions have different names in different languages and number symbols do not
-Current rolling stock replaced with DMUs
-Frequency increased to 30 minutes
-Infill station added at Belltown
-Infill station added at Fisherman’s Wharf
-Infill station added at Sunset Hill
-Infill station added at Richmond Beach
-Infill station added at West Everett
–Everett station renamed to Everett Junction to avoid confusion with Downtown Everett
-Extended to Arlington via Marysville

Proposed Sounder Commuter Rail Lines

Line S3
-Peak hours only
-Run by DMUs
-Shuttle service from McMillin to Puyallup

Line S4
-Peak hours only
-Run by DMUs
-Shuttle service from Maple Valley to Auburn via Covington

Line S5
-Peak hours only
-Run by DMUs
-Shuttle service from Monroe to Everett via Snohomish

Proposed Streetcar Changes

Under this proposal, the Seattle Streetcar system would be vastly expanded and essentially be turned into a local light rail system for the City of Seattle. Streetcars would have 100% reserved lanes and signal priority. 4 lines would be built (A,B,C, and D).

Line A: From Alki to Magnolia via Downtown Seattle

Line B: From South Park to Fremont via Georgetown, Downtown Seattle, and Queen Anne

Line C: From U District to Capitol Hill via First Hill, Downtown Seattle, South Lake Union, and Eastlake

Line D: From Lower Queen Anne to Madison Park via Denny Triangle (This line would serve as a vital east-west connection downtown between 7 different north-south rail lines-from left to right: A,B,3,C,1,2,5

I hope you enjoyed, and I encourage feedback in the comments.

Cascades boarding changes?

I was on Cascades 504 yesterday, PDX-SEA.  Instead of the usual Stand in Line for 30 Minutes to get a boarding pass they now issue a car assignment at the ticket counter, board 30 minutes before departure and grab a seat.  Much more pleasant and efficient.  Does anyone know if this is an experiment or permanent?  Waiting for that seat assignment was one of the worst experiences of riding Cascades.

Aurora corridor improvements

KCM New Flyer DE60LFR #6087

As of 2016, the RapidRide E Line has higher ridership than any other King County Metro route, averaging approximately 17,000 weekday riders. Because it is such a popular route and runs almost entirely on Aurora Avenue, I think it is an obvious candidate for upgrades to improve capacity and reliability. While interesting ideas about upgrading the E to elevated rail to serve Aurora Avenue, Queen Anne, Belltown, and First Hill have been floated around, such a project would be extremely expensive and is unlikely to happen anytime soon. Because of this, I think bus rapid transit is the best option along Aurora Avenue. To create a good environment for transit ridership along the Aurora corridor, significant pedestrian and bicycle improvements could be made as a part of the project. I’m not an engineer or a transit planner, so I won’t be able to provide cost or trip time estimates for these upgrades, but they should be relatively inexpensive compared to light rail and streetcar projects, and could probably be financed without much help from Sound Transit.


When describing the alignment of the new RapidRide E Line, I am assuming that the Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Tunnel, Northgate Link, and all associated projects are complete.

Unlike its current iteration, the upgraded RapidRide E Line would lay over and serve a new station at Colman Dock. I’ve always been irritated by Colman Dock’s poor transit accessibility given its status as a major transport hub, and terminating a high capacity service there would definitely solve some of those issues. Of course, building such a station would require significant changes to Colman Dock. Although somewhat far-fetched, a new ferry terminal could be constructed with bus bays at the street level for easy transfers between Washington State ferries, foot ferries, and buses.

From the waterfront, buses would travel along the Columbia Street pathway before turning onto 3rd avenue, serving stations along a transit-only 3rd Avenue. To travel between 3rd Avenue and Aurora Avenue, buses would travel along the left curbs of Battery Street and Wall Street in BAT lanes. Instead of serving the current stops, buses would serve a new station between Wall Street and Aurora Avenue at Denny Way. Buses would travel on center-running lanes along Aurora Avenue, serving an island platform immediately south of Harrison Street, prior to driving onto the SR 99 segment of Aurora Avenue.

This is where it gets tricky. Aurora Avenue is completely devoid of crosswalks between Downtown and 68th Street. Unfortunately, this means that all stations would need to be in the median of the road and served by a pedestrian overpass with ADA accessibility (in other words, a frequently malfunctioning elevator), or buses would have to merge through general traffic to access BAT lanes. I am drafting this under the assumption that Seattleites will be reluctant to pay additional property taxes, so in this version, buses will merge to BAT lanes immediately after entering the center of SR 99 to serve a new station pair at Aloha Street. Although unlikely, it is possible that a traffic signal could be used to aid this merging. I chose Aloha Street because, with a new pedestrian overpass, it could provide an easy pedestrian connection between Lake Union Park, the Seattle Center, and Queen Anne Hill. To compensate for the removal of stops along Aurora Avenue, new ADA-accessible pathways between Aurora Avenue and Dexter Avenue would be constructed.

North of Aloha Street, buses would serve existing stations at Galer Street and Lynn Street before crossing a renovated Aurora Bridge. Widened pedestrian and bicycle paths would be surrounded by some sort of suicide-prevention barrier underneath the existing bridge. In place of the old pedestrian walkway on top of the bridge, a jersey barrier would be erected in the center to prevent traffic collisions. Curbside lanes would be converted to transit-only, except for vehicles entering and exiting at 38th Street. A new station pair would be constructed between 38th Street and Bridge Way to serve the Fremont neighborhood.

North of 38th Street, buses would serve the existing station pair at 46th Street. Unlike the current service pattern northbound and southbound buses would both serve the Linden deviation. To travel between Linden Avenue and Aurora Avenue, buses would use the general purpose access ramps located approximately at 61st Street on either side of Aurora Avenue. The grass median of Woodland Place immediately north of 65th Street would be rebuilt into a station. Linden Avenue would feature all-day BAT lanes instead of parking, with a station pair at 72nd Street.

North of the junction with Linden Avenue, buses would utilize transit-only lanes in the center of Aurora Avenue, with stations built on island platforms between the two lanes. Low barriers could be constructed between general-purpose and transit lanes to improve pedestrian safety and prevent unauthorized encroachment onto the busway. Stations on this stretch of Aurora Avenue would generally be spaced somewhat further apart than they are right now to improve travel times. Center platforms would be built at 77th Street, 85th Street, 90th Street, 97th Street, 105th Street, 115th Street, 125th Street, 130th Street, 137th Street, 145th Street, 152nd Street, 160th Street, 165th Street, 175th Street, 185th Street, and 192nd Street. New crosswalks and traffic signals would be needed for stations at 97th Street and 137th Street.

Instead of terminating at Aurora Village Transit Center as it does now, the RapidRide E Line would extend north into Snohomish County. After serving an island platform at 200th Street, buses would turn left onto 205th Street towards I-5. After briefly traveling in general-purpose lanes, buses would transition into center-running lanes after merging into SR-104, serving an island platform at 76th Avenue. The center-running lanes would extend east of I-5, allowing buses to completely bypass congestion created by vehicles entering and exiting I-5. An access ramp would be tunneled below I-5 and SR-104 to enable traffic merging onto southbound I-5 from the east to do so without crossing the busway. To access the Mountlake Terrace Transit Center, buses would travel in general-purpose lanes on 205th Street, 56th Avenue, and 236th Street, serving stations with bus bulbs at approximately 58th Place and the junction of 56th Avenue and 236th Street. Buses would serve a station and layover at Mountlake Terrace Transit Center to connect with Community Transit routes and the future Lynnwood Link extension. Throughout the route, transit-only lanes would be enforced by traffic cameras. Intersection treatments will vary. Signal priority will be implemented at all intersections except along the Third Avenue Spine and perhaps a few other locations at-grade crossings with other high-capacity transit services exist. In addition to signal priority, left turns will be prohibited at most intersections along center-running segments of the alignment, except where there is no intact street grid and therefore no other way to access certain side roads, as well as a few very high-traffic junctions, such as 85th Street, 105th Street, 145th Street, and 160th Street. More detailed information on intersection treatments is provided in the map, which can be accessed via a link at the bottom of this article.

Vehicles and stations

All station platforms would be edged with yellow textured strips level with the floors of the buses, and all stations would feature ticket vending machines and ORCA card readers to speed boarding, in addition to real-time arrival information. To encourage widespread use of ORCA cards, stations would also be equipped with machines to vend and reload ORCA cards. Bike racks under camera surveillance would be located at all stations. All stations would feature ample seating, well-lit and covered waiting areas, signs that light up at night for higher visibility, and camera surveillance to to promote safety and discourage bicycle theft. To maintain station quality and functionality, all stations would be inspected routinely for malfunctioning signs, ticket vending machines, or ORCA card readers.

To prevent greenhouse emissions, vehicles would make use of hybrid-electric technology or, if possible, run on battery power alone or hydrogen fuel cell technology. Charging or refueling stations could be located at Colman Dock and Mountlake Terrace Transit Center, in addition to whichever bus base the coaches would operate out of. Trolleybuses would obviously not be possible due to the high speeds of travel along Aurora Avenue, especially portions south of 74th Street.

The vehicles would be 60-foot low floor articulated buses similar to existing RapidRide coaches, with some exceptions. Most notably, the vehicles would feature five doors to serve platforms on both sides of the bus. For rider safety, right and left rear view mirrors on buses would be equipped with flashing strobe lights similar to the ones on buses that operate in the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel. Despite the presence of level boarding and off-board fare payment, coaches would still be equipped with ADA ramps, coin slots, and ORCA card readers that would be used in the event of a reroute, off-board fare payment becoming temporarily unavailable at a station, or E Line coaches being assigned to other routes. To prevent service delays and promote bicycle use, coaches would not have front bike racks, instead featuring an on-board storage area in front of the rear left door similar to Swift and RapidRide G Line vehicles.

Potential service changes

Given the very high capacity of the improved RapidRide E line, it would make sense to restructure other bus routes around it to improve connections to other destinations and upzone surrounding areas to take advantage of the newly expanded capacity. One possible project would be to extend Sound Transit’s SR 522/523 BRT past the 145th Street Link station to Shoreline Community College. Stations could be shared between the Aurora Avenue BRT and the Sound Transit BRT at 145th Street, 152nd Street, and 160th Street.

To prevent delays along Aurora Avenue between Downtown and 46th Street, Metro Route 5 could be upgraded to RapidRide and modified to serve only stops also served by the E, interlining all the way to the south end of Downtown, where it would either continue to Colman Dock like the E or be routed via Pioneer Square to an alternative terminal. Alternatively, Route 5 could be rerouted south of 46th Street via Fremont Avenue, the Fremont Bridge, and either Dexter Avenue or Westlake Avenue, perhaps being upgraded to RapidRide.

Of these options, I think the best one would be to upgrade the 5 to RapidRide reroute it to Dexter Avenue, because Dexter is much closer to Aurora Avenue than Westlake Avenue is, and King County Metro’s long range plan has Route 5 running on Dexter by 2040. I think upgrading to RapidRide is justified because Route 5 serves a potentially very busy corridor that includes Shoreline Community College, Greenwood, Phinney Ridge, Fremont, Downtown Seattle, and potentially South Lake Union. BAT lanes could be built along the majority of the corridor, replacing street parking. Like the improved E, the 5 could feature express service, possibly deviating to Aurora via 85th and continuing to Downtown via center-running lanes, similar to the current 355. Perhaps even a second express could be added, operating between 85th Street and 45th Street, much like the current 5 Express. Any improvements to Route 5 would include sidewalk construction and other desperately needed pedestrian improvements on Greenwood Avenue north of 112th street.

Routes 26 and 28 would need to be modified as well. I can think a few options. Route 26 could be eliminated and replaced with heavily modified routes 67 and 316, as illustrated in the 2025 version of Metro’s long range plan. Assuming that the Roosevelt HCT is extended to Northgate via 5th Avenue, Route 67 could be rerouted to serve Latona Avenue and Thackeray Place like the current 26. Instead of continuing to Downtown, the route would instead terminate at the U District Station. Route 316 would operate all day, but would terminate at the Roosevelt Station instead of continuing to Downtown. The Northern terminus of Route 316 would likely be modified as well.

Alternatively, routes 26 and 28 could be rerouted onto Dexter Avenue with peak-direction express service along Aurora Avenue, similar to what was in place before the Spring 2016 service changes. However, this alternative would unnecessarily burn service hours on Routes 26 and 28 south of Fremont. To solve this problem, Routes 26 and 28 could be to terminated or through-routed in Fremont, forcing a transfer at 38th Street. For this to work, Routes 131 and 132 would need to terminate in Downtown Seattle or through-route with other routes. For example, they could be routed through Downtown Seattle to serve South Lake Union via the same route as the RapidRide C and H lines, creating an ultra-frequent connection between the 3rd Avenue Spine and South Lake Union.

A service change that would likely result in an increase in ridership would be the introduction of an “E express” service. The E express would serve the same route as the E line as described above, except that it would skip all stations between 77th Street and Harrison Street, instead traveling via central lanes on Aurora Avenue. This service would run at a high frequency, most likely in peak direction only. If Route 5 was upgraded to RapidRide, peak-direction expresses could operate from Greenwood and Phinney avenues as well. Up to two peak routes could be introduced: a route very similar to the existing 5 Express, and another one much like the current. Toll lanes could be created along Aurora Avenue to keep buses running reliably at high speeds, This concept will be discussed further in the “other infrastructure improvements” section.

Pedestrian and bicycle improvements

To improve pedestrian and bicycle safety and encourage transit ridership, a number of pedestrian and bicycle improvements would be included in the project. Chief among them would be improvements to the Interurban Trail and the creation of a bicycle corridor connecting the Interurban Trail to the Burke Gilman Trail, South Ship Canal Trail, and Cheshiahud Lake Union Loop.

There is currently a missing segment of the Interurban Trail between 240th Street in Edmonds and 200th Street in Shoreline. A new bicycle and pedestrian trail would be constructed along the old railroad right of way, with an overpass over Edmonds Way and 205th Street. Further south, a bicycle and pedestrian overpass would span 175th Street. Instead of bicycle lanes running northbound only on Linden Avenue between 145th Street and 128th Street, a bidirectional protected bikeway along the west side of Linden Avenue would constructed, with no adjacent street parking.

The new bicycle corridor would begin at the junction 110th Street and the Interurban Trail just east of Fremont Avenue. From there, bicycles would travel via protected lanes on 110th Street, Park Avenue, 109th Street, Linden Avenue, and 75th Street. To accommodate parked cars, northbound and southbound lanes would be located on the west side of Linden Avenue between 109th Street and 85th Street. After joining Aurora Avenue at 75th Street, the bike lanes would continue south along the west side of Aurora Avenue in both directions, separated from traffic by Jersey barriers. Bike lanes would deviate from Aurora Avenue at 59th Street to intersect with pedestrian bridges over Aurora Avenue in Woodland Park. Immediately north of 50th Street, the exclusive bicycle path would veer west along the north side of 50th Street before transitioning to protected lanes along Fremont Avenue. The protected lanes would continue south along Fremont Avenue all the way to the Fremont Bridge, connecting with the aforementioned network of trails converging there.

To improve ADA accessibility and compensate for the loss of bus stops served by Route 5 along Aurora Avenue, new ADA-accessible pathways between Aurora Avenue and Dexter Avenue would be created, possibly including escalators or (preferably) switchbacked ramps. For more information, refer to the map.

Other infrastructure improvements

All segments of road along the regular E Line route would be repaved with high-strength concrete for improved durability.

To enable the reliable operation of express services, restricted lanes could be put into place along Aurora Avenue south of Green Lake. One option would be variable-rate express toll lanes similar to the ones on I-405. However, the Aurora Avenue toll lanes would differ from the I-405 toll lanes in two ways. Most notably, the lanes would only be tolled in peak direction during peak hours, becoming general-purpose lanes at all other times. Because Aurora Avenue is only six lanes wide, only one lane in each direction would be converted to a peak toll lane. These lanes would be paved with high-strength concrete to withstand heavy bus traffic during rush hour.

To prevent head-on collisions, jersey barriers would be installed between 63rd Street and 50th Street and on the Aurora Bridge. To make room for the jersey barriers, the roadway would be widened slightly through Woodland Park. On the Aurora Bridge, the walkways on the deck of the bridge would be eliminated and replaced with widened bicycle and pedestrian paths suspended below the bridge. The paths would be enclosed by suicide prevention barriers.


Update from Sammamish

Since the introduction of the present timetable in September, Sammamish transit users (residents and workers) have enjoyed an all-day bus service. This has not happened since 2014, when Metro discontinued the 927 Dart van service as part of the service cuts at that time. The 927 was a pretty awful service only transiting the main 228th Street artery north of Pine Lake plaza every 2 hours. On the other hand, the new all-day service extends the hours of the 269 from its previous peak only schedule and now runs to a frequency of 30 minutes during off peak hours. At present the all-day service only runs on weekdays, but a Saturday service is promised after the March timetable changes.

The equipment used on the 269 was also upgraded in September: previously most journeys were serviced by the 1990s era Gillig Phantoms; now the newer New Flyer Xcelsiors are used for five out of the six buses needed during daytime off peak. However, whether transit users appreciate this update is a moot point as the Phantoms definitely have more comfortable seats; although the 30 feet Phantoms (which used to predominate, but are now not usually used) can be uncomfortable on hot summer days as they have no air conditioning. Another point to note is that presumably most drivers are now full time rather than part time Metro employees. Whereas the part timers were usually very welcoming, the full timers tend to be functional rather than friendly (there are some notable exceptions).

In the past the 269 was often threatened with closure, rather than expansion. In 2008 Metro proposed to eliminate the route. The second phase of cuts planned in 2014 was going to cut the peak hour 269 service by over 50%. What has brought about this recent improvement may be a bit of a puzzle, but it may have something to do with an active Transit Committee of Sammamish City Council. In the not too distant past transit to the City Council seemed to mean paving roads which were not in poor condition and widening roads, which were not narrow, for the benefit of the city’s residents, most of whom never leave home except in their own vehicles.

It is not easy to determine what are the medium and long-term plans for transit in Sammamish. The City Council did not support ST3, as this did not seem to propose any decent transit for Sammamish. Metro is pretty good at drawing up plans for the future, but these seem to change long before they are implemented. A couple of years ago a futuristic Metro transit map included a spider’s web of bus routes in Sammamish. Now the latest map just shows an express service duplicating the present 269. Why this is needed is not clear; skipping stops on 228th will not save more than a couple of minutes for most journeys. In fact, the present late night and early morning journeys on the 554 are of little use for those who do not live or park their vehicles near to the few stops serviced. It should be noted that most drivers on the late-night service seem to recognize this and are usually prepared to drop any passengers off at non-express stops, saving long walks in the dark (and in winter cold and rain).

The Transit Committee is also not clear about future requirements. A statement from the Chair that “228th Street is not designed for fast, efficient transit within Sammamish” is very puzzling. 228th is a straight road passing three main commercial areas as well as City Hall and a number of parks and leisure facilities. In what seems to be a contradiction to the statement, the Transit Committee has suggested that the 269 stays on 228th south of South Sammamish Park and Ride to give a much faster trip to Issaquah Transit Center; this would mean a bypass of Issaquah Highlands Park and Ride. According to the Committee, among the benefits of this would be to facilitate Costco members, but this writer cannot imagine many Costco members buying bulk items and then struggling with their packages onto the 269. Another possible contradiction is the desire to reintroduce service to Klahanie, which used to be served by the 927, quite often the lengthy transit of Klahanie did not result in any boardings or alighting. Clearly if the 269 were to serve Klahanie, the journey times to Costco and Issaquah Transit Center would be increased, not reduced. It appears that the Transit Committee is thinking of financially supporting some sort of venture such as the Issaquah Route 200 or the Redmond Loop.

Just how is the new all-day service doing? It was introduced almost as a secret. I did not see it on any Rider Alerts for the September timetable changes, although there was a vague mention on the Metro web site. It is difficult to see how the City Council could have given the change any meaningful publicity; apart from their website (perhaps visited regularly by only a tiny fraction of Sammamish residents and workers?) they don’t really have any outreach capability. The Sammamish Review newspaper, which used to be dumped in everybody’s front yard (and how many took it inside to read?) ceased publication earlier this year.

My observations are that the service is being used, but usually payload is very light. Most journeys through Sammamish have one or two riders, but more than three is quite a crowd. However, there is sometimes moderate ridership between 180th and 188th Ave in Redmond.

The 269 schedule leaflet used to state that the service was supported by Microsoft and the cities of Issaquah, Redmond and Sammamish. In recent years the leaflet has not stated this, but according to the Sammamish Transit Committee minutes there does still seem to be some support from that city at least. With a population of over 60,000 the Council obviously realizes that the city should have more transit than morning and evening peak commuter services to Seattle. Earlier posts on this blog as well as an article in the Issaquah Reporter have highlighted this problem. It is to be hoped that Metro gives its full support and that some way is found to inform potential users that the service does exist.

Transit Talks: Transportation Ideas for a New Mayor

To solve our traffic woes and ensure that all residents have access to opportunity, Seattle will need to address its transportation issues from every angle. That’s why Transportation Choices is bringing together urban leaders from every sector to share their brightest ideas for Seattle’s new Mayor.  The next installment of the Transit Talks series will take place Thursday, December 14 beginning at 5:00pm in Seattle City Hall.

Our panel – including business, grassroots organizations, the arts, and transit agencies – will have five minutes to share what they think the new administration should prioritize in lightning round slides, inspired by Pecha Kucha style presentations.

With time for moderated discussion and audience questions, this is your chance to hear (and respond to!) all these great ideas in one place.

Event Details

  • Transit Talks: Transportation Ideas for a New Mayor
  • Thursday, December 14, 5:00pm – 6:30pm
  • Seattle City Hall, Bertha Knight Landes Room
  • No cost
  • RSVP Link

Bicycle PRT

PRT – “personal rapid transit” – is one of those perennial concepts that never quite makes it.

An example of PRT is London’s Heathrow Airport ULTra, one of the few operational systems in the world. ( ).

There is apparently a Seattle PRT advocacy group, judging by the website at , although I haven’t seen anyone “representing” much on STB. The glorious vision of a typical PRT advocate is a citywide grid of grade-separated guideways, with autonomous “pods” carrying 1-4 passengers. Each trip is direct from origin to destination with no intermediate stops, automatically routed through the grid. As far as I know, nothing even close to this has ever been built.

I’ve been thinking of a variant of the PRT idea that has some worthwhile characteristics. Granted, it’s highly speculative…

In this concept, the PRT pods are designed with the goal of carrying a single bicycle, with its mounted rider. This, makes for a small, light pod, which is the most important cost factor in engineering the whole system. The closest approach I have seen to this small a PRT pod is the two-passenger proposal from ecoPRT in North Carolina shown above. A major role of bicycle PRT in Seattle would be to get people up hills. Bicycle commuting (and other trips) would be attractive to many more people if they didn’t have to struggle up hills.

In the distant future, one can imagine the citywide-grid PRT vision, supporting relatively long-distance travel, above the traffic, protected from the weather. Since such a system is connecting “ride-sheds” rather than walksheds, it could place the entire city within 5 minutes of transit using a pretty coarse grid. Note that this vision dovetails perfectly with ubiquitous, cheap bikeshare (extrapolating from this year’s pilot program in Seattle).

I have no idea whether the grand vision of a PRT grid could ever pencil out. However it seems to me that a limited set of hill-hopping routes (primarily East-West) would very likely meet enough demand to justify themselves. They do not need the “network effect”: even one line would provide a valuable service. Even so, this sounds like a major investment in unproven technology. What we need first is a pilot project, a technology demonstrator. Such a pilot would most likely be a temporary installation, a learning experience.

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How could this work? I have my eye on Union Street from Alaskan Way up to 1st Ave with a middle stop at  Western/Post Alley. It’s a really short run, currently impassable by bike, in a busy neighborhood. It supports three stops, so that the PRT feature (bypassing unused stops) can be demonstrated. How could it be funded? I don’t claim to have any business sense, but one idea is that the initial demonstrator be a proprietary system installed by one of the bikeshare companies. Ride the PRT only on a Limebike, for example. Let the wild-eyed venture capitalists behind the new bikeshare companies take the risk. If it turns out to be technically sound, a public-access system can be built on the same principles, and deployed around the city in appropriate places.

Alternative Alignments for Route 49 (south of CHS)

Currently, Route 49 runs via Pine between Broadway and Downtown. I feel like this would be a bit redundant to the future Route 2 on Pine, but then I also think Route 2 would not have enough capacity to carry all the riders between Seattle Central College and Downtown. Moving Route 49 to Madison would be nice, but that would duplicate RapidRide G. Metro has a plan to merge Routes 49 and 36 and run the combined route through First Hill. However, this has received much criticism because many 36 riders ride to International District, and this combined route would break that one-seat ride.

Map of proposals:

Merge with First Hill Streetcar

The First Hill Streetcar would take over Route 49 north of Pine St. One problem with this is that the First Hill Streetcar is ridiculously slow, and having it take over the 49 route would not be so desirable. A solution is dedicated transit lanes, but 10th Ave is a bit narrow for that.

Replace First Hill Streetcar

Route 49 would replace the First Hill Streetcar entirely, running via Broadway, Boren, and Jackson. One problem with this is that so much money was spent on the First Hill Streetcar, and now the track exists, so it does not make too much sense to get rid of it.

Hospital Campus

Route 49 would run via Broadway, Seneca, 9th Ave, 8th Ave, and Yesler to Pioneer Square. Route 60 would move to 14th/15th. This would relieve some congestion on Route 3 between Harborview and Pioneer Square. This would also make use of some existing trolley wire on Seneca and 9th.


Route 49 would run via John, 15th, Pine, 14th, and Yesler to Pioneer Square. This would extend the Yesler service to 14th if Route 27 is reduced to peak hours (refer to my Central District restructure for more information). However, this would require placing new trolley wire along 14th and 15th. It would also mean that 49 riders lose their one-seat ride to SCC, but then they gain a one-seat ride to Group Health.


This is similar to the 14th/15th/Yesler proposal, except the bus will run via Jackson instead of Yesler, and terminate at International District Station. This would connect people along the 14th/15th corridor to the International District.


Route 49 would run like Route 43 between CHS and Westlake. This would allow Route 10 to move back to Pine between Bellevue and 15th to supplement Route 2, but then riders along 15th Ave would lose their one-seat ride to CHS, and 49 riders would lose their one-seat ride to SCC without gaining any new one-seat rides.

Chicago Transit Blog

Hello STB readers. In my last post I mentioned that I would start a Chicago Transit Blog. I created the site a while back, but only now have I started posting on it. My first post was about the controversial Route 11 in Chicago. It is a widely discussed topic nowadays, so I thought it would be a good way to start out. Please spread the word about this blog. Thank you.

Replace the CCC with Better Bus Service

Seattle is planning to expand the streetcar system in a project called the City Center Connector, or CCC. Like all of our streetcar projects, there are bold promises of very high ridership. Not only are the ridership claims likely to fall short (as they have before) but we would get a much higher level of service, and higher ridership, if we put the money into improving the bus system. We should follow the lead of other cities, like Providence, Rhode Island, and switch to making bus improvements.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Streetcars

Every transit mode has its advantages and disadvantages. Streetcars are no different. Unfortunately, our streetcars have all the disadvantages, but none of the advantages of other streetcars.


Jarrett Walker did an excellent job of summarizing the two advantages of streetcars:

1) They can leverage existing railways.

2) Streetcars often have a lot of capacity.

Unfortunately, neither applies in Seattle. The streetcars won’t run on existing tracks (we will instead lay new rail). Thus it will cost significantly more to enable streetcar running instead of buses.

Nor are the streetcars significantly bigger than our buses. Our articulated buses are very large, and our streetcars are very small. Even if we needed the extra capacity of a train along this route (which is doubtful) these streetcars can’t offer it. Our streetcars offer no advantages over our buses.


1) Expense. This streetcar line is expensive to build and operate. The small, 1.2 mile expansion will cost $177 million, or more than the entire budget for the Move Seattle RapidRide+ projects (which are listed as “Corridor Mobility Improvements” in the proposal). Operating this streetcar costs $242 an hour, while operating a bus costs $163 an hour.

2) Inflexible routing. It is pretty common and pretty cheap to change a bus route (several changes were made just last month).  But making even a minor change to a streetcar line is extremely expensive. For the Roosevelt HCT project, they have budgeted $7 million just to move a streetcar stop a couple blocks.

Since it is expensive to change a streetcars routing, it doesn’t happen. We will continue to endure the mistakes that have lead to slow running, inconsistent headways and low overall ridership.

3) Limited routing. A bus route may run on a busway or bus lanes for its entire route, but it doesn’t have to. It is common for a bus to serve a neighborhood with regular service, then run congestion free where it matters most (downtown). You can’t do that with a streetcar. We see this with the current plans. The streetcars will travel a very short distance, and stop well before a bus would stop. In contrast, the 40 and 70 will be turned into RapidRide bus routes, and they will not only connect South Lake Union with downtown, but connect to other very popular areas.

4) They are a hazard to bicycles. Even with our very short streetcar lines, we have seen several accidents, at least one of which was fatal. We are not alone. All streetcars are a hazard, and different cities mitigate the hazard in different ways. This isn’t just a matter of education, either. Toronto has had streetcars for generations, yet they still has plenty of accidents. Researchers found that 32% of injured cyclists had crashes that directly involved tracks. According to UBC researcher Kay Teschke, a three-fold increased risk of injury was observed when cycling on routes with streetcar or train tracks.

Work can be done to make the streetcars safer but that is often expensive and difficult. You need to both isolate the bike paths and provide for 90 degree crossings. These are common in Amsterdam, but rare in North America.

5) Since they are a hazard to bicycles, a streetcar routing is often less than optimal. It is unlikely that we will be able to produce a relatively safe system, such as the one in Amsterdam. We have trouble converting a general purpose or parking lane into a transit lane so it is unrealistic to think we will also set aside a lane as a buffer for bikes as well (as in this photo). But the routing will have to deal with the fact that surface rail is a hazard to bike riders. In this article, the author points out the hazards that the proposed streetcar routing would create. This sort of criticism is valid, and will likely result in a different routing. Thus the ideal route is replaced by something worse, and only because this is a streetcar, not a bus.

6) Streetcars can’t avoid obstacles. This means that an accident, a parked car or just a bit of debris in the roadway can bring a streetcar to a complete stop. Construction is also a problem. It is common in this booming city to have one lane blocked off, and a flagger move traffic to the other lane. But a streetcar can’t do that. So either the streetcar is shut down for a while, or special work has to be done to accommodate it.

Much has been made of the fact that for part of this route, the streetcars will have their own lane. This is great, and should greatly improve average speeds along part of the route. But for much of the way, there will still be congestion, and a streetcar (unlike a bus) has a tough time avoiding it. But even for the parts of this route that include a transit lane, there are disadvantages for a streetcar. The pathway may be clear most of the time, but if someone sticks out even an inch into the transit lane, the streetcar has to wait. A bus would simply slide over to the general purpose lane, and be on its way. But a streetcar, and all its passengers,  will be stuck.


The good news is that there is an alternative, and Providence has already provided it. We simply take the street improvements we would have given to the streetcar, and give it to buses. That would be a better value, whether the bus routes that take advantage of it are BRT or just regular buses. For far less money, we can provide a much better transit system.

Please contact your city council representative and let them know that you want to see the streetcar money be put into bus lanes, and other bus improvements.

Providing SODO Cross-Platform Transferring

An Introductory Scenario

It’s 2037! You’re coming in from getting on Link at SeaTac (or Tacoma or along MLK) and are headed to Capitol Hill, UW, North Seattle, Shoreline or Snohomish County. You have luggage. How will Link get you there? Unlike today, you will have to change Link trains. ST proposes having the Green line be the line for SeaTac (as well as SE Seattle, South King County and Tacoma), while the Red line will connect West Seattle with UW and Snohomish County.

Then the next obvious decision you have is this: Where will you change trains? Will you have to go up and down escalators (or worse yet, elevators)?

You’ll have some choices to make. As current plans show, you will be able to transfer at three or four stations – Westlake, International District-Chinatown, Stadium and SODO. Which station is best?

The Initial SODO Station Transfer Design

Early ST documents shown here ( suggest that the SODO Red line (West Seattle Link) station will be separate from the original Link station. Sound Transit proposes a center platform for the Red line, but the only place that a rider can go from the new platform is to return in the opposite direction on the Red line.

Designing the station this way will mean that anyone transferring between the two lines much change elevation to get to the other line’s platform. No level, cross-platform transfers will be available.

SODO Station as the Best Transfer Station Location

With multiple Link lines, how ST designs the tens of thousands of daily transfers is fundamental to its user friendliness. As noted in the above scenario, there will be three or four stations to transfer between train lines. Of these four stations, two (Westlake and International District-Chinatown) will be completely underground or below the street, so that designing for transfers is extremely costly and difficult because it involves tunneling. At the possible Stadium Station transfer point, the two lines will be close to overpasses and the elevated East Link tracks, so that designing tracks for cross-platform transfers here is also potentially complicated and costly; in fact, current concepts appear to have one of the lines skipping this station altogether! That leaves SODO as clearly the easiest and least expensive station in which to design for this transfer between these two lines.

Prioritizing Transfers at SODO Station

The current plans propose that any transfer between the two lines would always require exiting a platform and going up or down to a new platform level. Having lived in places with cross-platform transfers, I can tell you from personal experience that simply walking across a center platform in a few seconds from one train to the other (no elevation change) is by far the best way to transfer – especially with luggage or a stroller or a bicycle or a wheelchair! It’s also much easier and attractive than even having two train lines on the same track, because you have to get off one train and wait for the other one to pull in.

In fact, many systems take it one step further, scheduling timed train-train transfers (especially at off-peak hours) so that the time penalty for changing trains is fairly minimal. MacArthur Station works in this way for BART, for example.

Two Alternative Configuration Options

To do this, Sound Transit would need to reconfigure how the planned platforms are built. There are a few different options to accomplish this.

  • The new center, elevated platform could be designed to serve one direction (such as southbound) of both train lines. The current surface platforms could then serve both lines headed in the other direction. (Perhaps the current surface line could be redesigned to have a center platform by shifting one of the tracks in a later phase — noting that having multiple tracks available would make construction phasing easier). That would mean that only people transferring between West Seattle and the southern portions of the Green Line would have to change a level, and everyone else could have a train at the same level.
  • The entire station could be elevated above the street with two center platforms serving four tracks – inside tracks for one branch (like the Green line) and outside tracks for the other (like the Red Line). With that arrangement, transfers between the two lines would also be quite easy. Of course, transferring between West Seattle to the southern portions of the Green line would require two level changes in this configuration.

A comment on East Link trains: Obviously this station doesn’t allow for transfers to East Link; those riders would have to change trains in Downtown Seattle. However, having a lower frequency of trains to West Seattle at SODO Station (compared to the combination of Red and Blue line trains further north) would actually make it more operationally feasible to have a timed-transfer at this station. It also would allow for the station design at International District-Chinatown to prioritize connecting east and south direction train transfers in that design. For example, the new southbound Green line platform at International District/Chinatown could be built just east of the current northbound Red/Blue line platform at this station so that riders heading to SeaTac from Bellevue would have a same-level transfer.

A final point is that ST will need to turn around trains to and from West Seattle in SODO for several years until the Downtown tunnel opens. During that interim period, a cross-platform transfer could significantly reduce the transfer hassle for riders. Imagine if every West Seattle shuttle train rider had a longer-distance Link train to board waiting at the same platform for them (and vice versa)!

Why We Must Act Now

Sound Transit is now initiating studies on how operations will work after the opening of the West Seattle segment (2030 in ST3 materials), and in the new configuration (2035 in ST3 materials). ST hasn’t yet presented about on how many people will transfer between the two lines. I think it’s worthy to transit advocates to get Sound Transit to rethink the initial station track plan at SODO, and instead prioritize a Red/Green line cross-platform design objective into the design. If the current SODO station plans get built and this is ignored, we will be dooming thousands of riders each day for decades to changing levels to continue their light rail trips. Let’s get Sound Transit to design an easy transfer now to prevent this hassle or an expensive fix later!

Transit Day: SMART

I recently made a side trip from San Francisco to Marin and Sonoma counties to catch a ride on a new Nippon Sharyo DMU SMART train connecting the San Rafael Transit Center with Santa Rosa. The SMART trains run on a shared freight and passenger corridor so the passenger vehicles have to meet the most stringent FRA crashworthiness standards. If this operation is a success, it could lead to more short line commuter passenger trains or even some longer routes operated by Amtrak. Locally, the Nippon Sharyo rail cars might make a Seattle to Pasco via Stampede Pass operation more feasible. The SMART trainsets consist of 2 coupled DMUs in a push-pull arrangement. Each car has 79 seats and one car has a restroom while the other car offers a staffed snack bar. The cars were quite comfortable, acceleration was smooth and there didn’t seem to be any problems with the mechanical features of the cars. There are plenty of tables available in each car for working commuters, although at one point the onboard WiFi had to be reset.

Santa Rosa to San Rafael is just the first phase of the SMART project. Construction has recently begun on a 2.2 mile southern extension to the Larkspur Ferry Dock which will allow direct train-to-boat connections to the Ferry Terminal Building on the San Francisco waterfront. Having that connection should boost ridership tremendously. Until the Larkspur extension is completed any trip to SF will require a bus transfer at the San Rafael Transit Center. For anyone interested in making a day trip to see SMART from SF, Golden Gate Transit connects the Transbay Terminal to San Rafael via Van Ness, Lombard and the Golden Gate Bridge (Route 101 is fastest, Routes 30 and 70 are more local and slower). If you are already familiar with GGT’s old, dilapidated and uncomfortable buses and would prefer another option there currently is a local bus connection between the Larkspur Ferry dock and the San Rafael TC (route 228) that is well-timed for a northbound trip to San Rafael but not so good for a southbound trip.

There is one detail about SMART that is important to note for anyone planning to connect to the train from the Sonoma County Airport. The current SMART timetable and map lists “Sonoma County Airport” as the northern terminal for the train but that SMART station is over 1 mile from the Sonoma County Airport terminal. You will need to use a taxi or rideshare to make the connection if you have heavy or bulky luggage because parts of the walking path lack sidewalks and there are no wayfinding signs from the airport to the station. If you arrive with light luggage and feel like stretching your legs after the flight, just exit the terminal, turn right at the main road and walk until you see the SMART O & M facility. It’s about a 20-25 minute walk through a transitioning farmlands to office parks landscape. On my trip I saw a wild turkey strutting across a freshly paved parking lot.

A Bus Connection to Point Lobos!

If you’re visiting the south side of the Bay Area, I also discovered a transit connection between Monterey and Pt. Lobos State Reserve. The Point Lobos State Marine Reserve is one of my favorite places to relax and enjoy nature when I’m in the Bay Area and there is a weekend-only bus from Monterey to Pt. Lobos. Monterey-Salinas Transit Route 22 would allow about 5 hours of relaxation in the park. During the summer from Memorial Day to Labor Day the Route 22 schedule expands to offer 3 daily connections to Pt. Lobos. Unfortunately there isn’t an easy connection between Monterey and San Francisco that would allow for day trips via public transit. There is a bus from San Jose/Diridon Station but that bus leaves too late to connect to the Pt. Lobos bus.

A Little Bit About Myself (Last Regular Post)

Hello STB readers. I realized that I have been posting on Page 2 for a couple months now, but I have never formally introduced myself to the STB community, so in this post I will talk a bit about myself. As some of you may have noticed, I usually post something every Thursday. This will be my last regular post on STB, and I will explain why in this post.

I first moved to Seattle in 2002 when I was really little (I’m 16 now). For many years my family did not have a car, so we depended on public transportation a lot. Because of that, I pretty much memorized the entire bus system in Seattle, at least within the city limits. I also payed a lot of attention to the type of bus I was on. I really liked the Breda trolleys because they gave a kind of “retro” feel that none of the other buses could give (except the MAN trolleys, but those were gone by 2007). I also liked the 30ft Gillig buses because those were extremely rare within the city limits. If there was anything I hated about the bus system then, it was the through-route system and the Ride Free Area, the latter of which is gone now. Though it may have been nice to not have to pay to take a bus within Downtown, it was awful to sometimes have to pay as I left the bus, especially because there were many people paying at the same time while a whole bunch of people were getting on the bus. I still hate the through-route system, though I understand Metro uses it to save service hours and layover space.

During my 10 years in Seattle I had always lived in Wallingford. At first I lived in an apartment between Stone Way and Aurora (which I can’t even remember), but later on I moved to a house east of Stone Way. The buses I took the most were the 16, 26, 30/31, 44, 48, 49, 70, 71/72/73, 15, and 8. When Link opened I took it to places in Southeast Seattle such as Kubota Gardens.

I have always been a big fan of nature. My favorite parks in Seattle were Carkeek Park and Kubota Gardens. I do not like crowded places, so I never really spent much time in Downtown unless I needed to. My favorite neighborhoods in Seattle are Wallingford, Fremont, and Capitol Hill because they have a lot of trees. My favorite part of the entire city is the path in Fremont along the canal. I used to ride my bike there a lot. I spent a lot of time in Wallingford, Fremont, Ballard, Capitol Hill, and U District.

As a southeast asian, I really like all kinds of asian food. This meant I had to go to the International District to buy ingredients. Though it may have been easy to get from Wallingford to the ID, it was more difficult to get back home due to the infrequent buses going to Wallingford. In fact, I found it more convenient to take the 71/72/73 expresses and transfer to the 30/31 in U District rather than to take the 7/14/36 and wait for the 16 or 26 on 3rd Ave. Now it should be easier with the frequent 62.

I moved to Chicago in 2012 (right before RapidRide C and D opened), and I soon memorized the bus system there too. I kind of forgot about the Seattle system. I live in Hyde Park, so I usually take the Metra train to Downtown Chicago. I find it convenient, but the train runs way too infrequently (hourly). I would say that Chicago has the most grid-like bus system I have ever seen, and I have found it very convenient. At some point I started writing a document full of suggestions on how to improve the Chicago public transportation system. I never really shared it with anyone other than a couple friends, but I still edit it nowadays. If you guys want me to post my Chicago suggestions on Page 2, tell me so in the comments.

In 2016 I visited Seattle. I was shocked by how much the bus system had changed. I looked online and noticed that there were 3 major restructures during the 4 years I was gone: September 2012, September 2014, and March 2016. I stayed near the U District during that visit, and I noticed that the only route in North Seattle that did not change in terms of routing was the 44 (now I realize there are a couple routes really far north that haven’t changed, but I never really pay attention to those). As much as I miss some of the old routes, I think the transit system in Seattle has improved a lot since the time I was there. I also like the development in South Lake Union; it used to be a whole bunch of random warehouses, but now there are nice buildings in that area.

I then started writing an improvement suggestions document for Seattle. I started sharing my ideas on Page 2 in March 2017. Since then, I have also modified my document according to what people comment on my posts. I have not found anything similar to STB for Chicago, but if such a thing exists, please tell me.

I will probably take a break from posting on Page 2 now since I have basically written every single idea I had on my Seattle document, and now I want to start posting a bit about Chicago. I might come back every now and then with a post. If there is no such thing as a Chicago Transit Blog, please give me advice on how I can start one.

Do the Streets of Delhi have Lessons for Seattle?

Thirty years ago Carol and I flew to Delhi, landing by the first light of a November morning.  As we waited for the bus into the city, we shivered from the unexpected cold — young New Yorkers with backpacks… The bus eventually came and drove us through Delhi’s outskirts by the blue light.  The air was misty and smokey from the dung fires people were just beginning to light, and it was hard interpret the bleak surroundings that flitted by: a wall… some machinery… a few people standing around in the gloaming.

But as we got to the center of the great city, the sun came up, and the wide thoroughfares came alive as rivers of humanity… and, oh my, so many ways to get around: buses festooned with marigolds and icons, ox and donkey carts, dusty trucks, and even elephants plodded along; cars and taxies honked and claimed whatever space would fit them; and a myriad of rickshaws, scooters, bicycles, and pedestrians weaved in and out around the sacred cows and beggars.  There were no lanes, yet everyone seemed to have a place in the cooperative anarchy of the Delhi streets.  And when more traffic was heading east than west, then east bound traffic simply bulged out, taking up 70 percent of the right of way — so if you looked up the road you would see the median line snaking ahead.  These roads were cacophonous, dazzling with color, dizzy with movement, both crazy and surprisingly functional… Traffic was slow, but it moved and pulsed and swayed.  And when the late afternoon the heat finally came and the traffic felt less urgent, these streets, bathed in golden light, were beautiful…

I don’t want to over-romanticize this. The motor rickshaws spewed wretched smoke. The open sewers stank horribly, there were injuries and fatalities, bicycle rickshaw drivers had unbelievably strenuous lives, and Delhi commuters cursed the traffic. 

But there is not, and never has been, a perfect system for traffic — from ancient Rome to modern New York, people have cursed it. Traffic is everywhere disliked and no where the same.  Traffic is a cultural artifact, and while our own traffic is bad, that of other cities is even worse.  Delhi’s traffic is about as unlike our own as possible, and many here the US would find it horrifying. Yet, I am convinced that it has somethings to teach us. 

One clear lesson: the Delhi streets were democratic.  They allowed any mode of transport, and if all you could afford was a rusty old bike, you had a place on the street. What a contrast to Seattle, where in many parts of town the street design and traffic culture creates a virtual monopoly for cars, and even sidewalks are missing and biking is treacherous.  For most Seattleites owning a car is a necessity, and not a cheap one. According to the City of Seattle’s New Mobility Playbook, “on average, owning a car in King County adds about $12,500 a year to the household budget.”

A second lesson of the Delhi streets concerns speed — the traffic I saw moved at much slower speeds than traffic in the US.  Yes, the sheer density slowed things down.  But there was also so much to see that people slowed down just to appreciate the spectacle, so even when the traffic did not clog the streets people moved slowly.  The sacred cows were particularly effective; as revered creatures, everyone slowed for them. 

Here in the US we have a speeding problem.  A recent National Transportation Safety Board report found that speed-related death is comparable to that attributed to alcohol-impaired driving, and kills about 10,000 people per year.  See report here.  The deadliness of speed starts to increase exponentially above 30 miles per hour. To slow down vehicles, US engineers use “trafffic calming” techniques such as speed bumps, road diets, and driver feedback signs. These techniques are only partly successful, people tend to speed up between bumps, for instance, and the Rainier road diet, while somewhat successful, has not managed to stop cars from speeding. 

A more subtle and intriguing approach, called “psychological traffic calming”, is emerging, especially in Europe, and it may even be more effective than the traditional calming methods — by installing intriguing art work, or cafe seating by the edge of the road, drivers will slow down out of curiosity or respect. The streets of New Delhi had this system years ago, sacred cows and festooned buses have long functioned as mental speed bumps that stimulate the mind without jolting your suspension. 

A third lesson from the streets of Delhi concerns the safety benefit of steering though chaos… I know that sounds crazy, but bear with me.  In a street environment of no lanes, few signs, and  a lot very diverse traffic, there are many of what traffic engineers call “conflicts,” that is moments when two people (drivers, bikers, pedestrians) want to get in the same space at the same time. “In conventional traffic engineering thought, the more conflict, the less safe the system. But again, Delhi challenges preconceptions.  In a study of various locations around Delhi,… researchers found that the site that had a low conflict rate tended to have high fatality rate, and vice versa.  In other words the seeming chaos functioned as a kind of safety device.” (from: Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do, by Tom Vanderbilt… I read this book as I was writing this essay, and was amazed to find that he writes about Delhi traffic too!)  In a way this safety benefit is understandable, all that chaos makes us alert for the unexpected and aware that we are steering a deadly weapon. It does not make driving pleasant, especially to a driver new to this environment, but it makes it safer.

Here in the US our street system is designed to minimize the number of conflicts; our lanes tell us exactly where to be, the signs tell us how fast we can go, what to look out for, and when to stop. If drivers follow the system they can disengage some, talk on the phone, sing and dance with the radio, or just space out and discover, several minutes later, that they have no memory of the last several miles of driving. Driving in the US is designed to be as conflict free as possible which may be why “distracted driving” is epidemic, and why our streets are so deadly.  No matter how much engineers try to design conflicts out of the road system, they cannot eliminate them — the kid will dart out from behind the bus, the bicyclist will serve to avoid a pothole—and the driver, at a deadly speed and lulled into a false confidence, suddenly cannot brake fast enough. The problem of traffic safety is not only a problem of engineering roads for safety, it is also a problem of people… of people who drive too fast because they feel safe.

So, what to do with all these lessons from the streets of Delhi?  I’m not actually suggesting we install a bunch of sacred cows, do away with the lanes, and call it good… though it would make for an amusing morning commute…

But, as Seattle grows, and gets denser, as more people take to the roads, as we improve transit and pedestrian and bicycle routes; it makes sense to think about how to accommodate this new democracy in our streets that have been so monopolized by cars. And an essential part of that is to a need to slow the cars. So, what would be good mental speed bumps for Seattle drivers? Should SDOT hire more public artists? And how can we help Seattle drivers adapt to more chaotic systems? Several people have called for banning cars from Pike Place Market, yet I think we need more places like Pike Place market where car drivers learn, up close and personal, how to live with pedestrians. 

Some things are certainties — both the infrastructure of Seattle roads and the culture of Seattle traffic are evolving, and in fact seem headed rapid change.  Now is the chance to shape it.

Improving RapidRide

The RapidRide system is a nice addition to the bus system in Seattle, but right now I feel that there isn’t enough difference between RapidRide and regular buses other than WiFi, some dedicated bus lanes, and wider-spaced stops. In fact, some regular routes are more frequent than RapidRide routes. The Madison BRT (RapidRide G) is supposed to have more BRT-like features, so I think the whole RapidRide system should be like that. Here is a map of my proposed RapidRide system (uncheck the Link box)


Dedicated stops/stations (stations can be shared between RapidRide lines, but not with regular buses)
Off-board payment at all stations
Dedicated bus lanes on most sections, only a few sections in mixed traffic
Coordination with street lights

Frequencies (minutes)

Peak: 5-7.5
Weekday Midday: 10
Weekend Midday: 12
Early Morning/Late Evening (4-6 AM and 10PM-12AM): 15-20
Night (12AM to 4AM): 45-60


G Line will be extended to Madison Park to replace Route 11.

D Line will be extended to Lake City via Holman Rd and Northgate Way. Route 40 will terminate at Carkeek Park.

E Line will have a new station at 38th/Aurora to serve Fremont, even though it is somewhat of a walking distance.

Route 65 will become a RapidRide K Line, going between Brooklyn Station and Lake City.

The Sound Transit 522 BRT will be extended west to Broadview to provide crosstown service on 145th St.

There should be some kind of rapid transit going between Seattle Center, SLU, Capitol Hill, and Madison Valley, similar to the east-west portion of Route 8. However, the city is still rearranging the streets in SLU, so they should get that done before putting such a RapidRide line into service.


In this post, canceled means that the route will not become a RapidRide route. I only mention the routes that appear in the 2025 plan.

Rainier: The Rainier plan basically turns the 7 into a RapidRide. I think the 7 runs close enough to SeaTac Link, so it shouldn’t be a RapidRide. In Rainier Valley there should be Link feeders instead.

40: Ballard already has the D Line, so there shouldn’t be a parallel route. I would just extend the D Line to Northgate and truncate Route 40 at Carkeek Park. If there is a Ballard to Fremont rapid transit (BRT, Streetcar, Link), it should go to Wallingford and U District instead of SLU and Downtown. The 44 RR serves this in a way, but it runs too far from the center of Fremont. That is why I think a Ballard-UW Link line would be good. If there should be a Fremont to Downtown RR, it should also go through Queen Anne (possibly an extension of Route 13 to Fremont).

372: If there should be a RapidRide line in Northeast Seattle, I think 35th Ave NE would be a better corridor for it. That is why I suggested turning Route 65 into a RapidRide line. Also, Sound Transit already plans a 522 BRT, so the 372 should just be a local shadow.


Roosevelt: The portion of Roosevelt RR between Northgate and U District is redundant to Northgate Link, so there should just be a local shadow rather than a RapidRide line. However, I think a RapidRide along Eastlake could make sense. It should be called Eastlake RapidRide, not Roosevelt RapidRide.

C Line: When West Seattle Link opens, the C Line will have much less purpose. In fact, people might even switch to the H (Delridge) Line when it opens. I think when West Seattle Link opens, the C Line should run to Alki Point north of Alaska Junction.

D Line: Ballard residents will probably switch to Ballard Link when it opens. I would assume that Ballard Link will be extended further north to Crown Hill after the first phase is opened. I think that when the first phase of Ballard Link opens, D Line should be truncated south of Market, and a local bus will run along 15th Ave W between Market and Downtown.