Bus Frequencies of Lynnwood Link Restructure Proposal

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

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

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


Open Thread 11

Carmageddon comes this weekend. ($) Taylor Swift has concerts Saturday and Sunday at 6:30pm ending near midnight. There are also Mariners games, a Storm game, the Bite of Seattle, the Capitol Hill Block Party, the Chinatown Seafair parade, a 520 bridge closure, and partial closure of I-5 northbound. Pike Street will be closed between Broadway and 12th. The Chinatown parade is Sunday at 7pm. Mike Lindblom in the Seattle Times reports on extra transit service downtown:

  • Link will have extra runs late night Saturday and Sunday until 2am.
  • Sounder North and South will have Taylor Swift runs Saturday. There will be NO baseball run Sunday due to staffing limitations.
  • ST Express will have extra runs on the 545, 550, and 554.
  • Metro will have extra runs on the C, D, and H. A downtown bus shuttle Friday and Saturday after the concerts will run in a one-way loop between Lumen Field and 4th & Lenora.
  • King County Water Taxi to Alki will have two late night runs each on Saturday and Sunday.

In other news:

The ST board meets July 27. Seattle Subway is asking people to attend to advocate not to move or delete Denny, SLU, Midtown, or CID stations from their original ST3 locations or to delay the Ballard EIS further, and has a guest article in The Stranger about it. There will be a webinar on Denny and SLU stations on July 25. Another webinar on these stations is in progress as this article is published; the result will be online later. Several STB authors would rather eliminate the second downtown tunnel and put all trains in the existing tunnel, but the ST board has been opposed to that.

Lynnwood Link bus restructure online open houses will be July 24, August 15, and August 19.

More workers and visitors return downtown. ($)

What American transit could learn from Canada. (RMTransit video)

The Honolulu SkyLine is open. (RMTransit video)

The 10 US cities with the least vehicle miles traveled. (CityNerd video) The underlying data lumps cars, freight and buses together, so so it’s not the same as cities with the least car use.

This is an open thread.


Metro Updates Lynnwood Link Restructure Plans

Metro has released an updated bus restructure plan for Lynnwood Link. We wrote about the previous plan here, while also making various suggestions. Some of the proposal incorporates those suggestions, while there are other significant differences to the previous proposal.

Dealing with the 130th Station

The 130th Street Station is a major station from a restructure standpoint. From the very beginning, the argument for building it rested on serving areas along the corridor (Lake City, Pinehurst and Bitter Lake). There is currently no bus service along the full corridor, but it was a given once the station is complete. The problem is that the station won’t be complete until well after the other stations.

I’ve reached out to Metro and they’ve explained that the map represents the system after 130th Station is operating. The 77 (the only route serving the station) will be phased in, and may not exist at all when Lynnwood Link opens.


Another timing-related change is that the 522 will continue on its current route until East Link is complete. Previously the plan was to send the 522 to 145th once Lynnwood Link opened (to eventually be replaced by the S3, following much the same route). This again effects the timing of the proposal. It is likely that the 77 won’t exist when Lynnwood Link opens, and will then be implemented in two phases. The first phase (service along Lake City Way) would occur when East Link opens. The second phase (service connected to the 130th Station) would occur when that station opens. Since the map as well as the routes are based on life after the 130th Station, this write-up is as well.


Filling what was a fairly obvious coverage gap in the last restructure plan, Metro has decided to run a new bus along Lake City Way. As it turns out, this is the same 77 that runs along the 125th/130th corridor. This makes for an awkward connection between the two sections. Southbound (from Pinehurst to Roosevelt) it follows the standard automotive path (right on 30th). Northbound, the bus keeps going to 127th, then takes a left, then another left on 30th, followed by a right on 125th (like so). This will limit the options for trips from Lake City to 130th (the nearest station). The bus probably won’t be able to serve Lake City Way north of 125th, which means people will use the stop on 30th or the stop on 125th. It will also delay through-riders and add to the time it takes to complete the route. This (along with other choices) contributes to the overall low frequency of various routes. The 77 — primed to be the fastest connection to Link for a lot of people — is supposed to run 15 every minutes at best, and every 30 minutes evenings and weekends. There are other concerns I have with the route, but I’ll leave that for another article.

Infrequent Tails

Both the 65 and 348 have sections that will run less frequently. Based on feedback from Metro, the plan is to run them less frequently during peak. Service to Richmond Beach, for example, would likely occur every half hour, all the time. Speaking of which, when the 348 doesn’t go to Richmond Beach, it will layover somewhere on the loop shown on the map (labeled Richmond Highlands) then complete the loop as it heads towards the UW.


North of Northgate Way, there are three main transit streets: 130th, 155th and 185th. These streets avoid the worst of the traffic, and connect very well to the stations and the density on both sides. In contrast, 145th and 175th are used by a lot of cars that are simply trying to access the freeway. Thus it is puzzling that Metro has sent the frequent 333 on both. Between Shoreline Community College and Mountlake Terrace the pathway runs by very few people, no Link station, but a lot of cars. It provides a one-seat ride to the college (although for not that many people) and that is about it. Unless you are very close to the Mountlake Terrace Station, it doesn’t work for getting to Link.

Another odd aspect with the 333 is the apparent redundancy with the 77. The 77 does not go to Shoreline Community College, but loops around, serving the Linden area, east of Aurora, where there is a lot of density. But now the 333 also serves this area. The combination is rather awkward, as you have two frequent routes that go to Link, but they go different directions and to different Link stations. The routing would make some sense if there was significant density on 145th between Linden and the station, but there isn’t.

Another odd choice is to eliminate one of the better aspects of the previous 333. The old proposal for the 333 followed the 330 path from Shoreline Community College to the station. This involves making a dogleg on Aurora, extending coverage in one of the more densely populated parts of Shoreline while also avoiding the traffic of 145th. Service along 160th is gone, while an infrequent bus (the 345) connects 155th to Link.

More Frequent Service to Haller Lake

Metro has restored the current 345/346 pattern to Haller Lake (and the nearby hospital) where two infrequent buses combine for 15 minute headways from there to Northgate. This is an awkward route (as it loops around quite a bit, making for a very slow connection to Link) but just about any combination is bound to have issues. The new 345 restores service to Four Freedoms House, while the 365 turns on 145th to get over to 5th NE (passing by the 145th Station in the process).

Express Service to Downtown

The 322 from the last proposal is still around, while the current 303 is retained. This reduces the number of Metro buses over the Ship Canal Bridge from the current five (64, 302, 303, 320, 322) to two.

Through Routing

There is slightly different pairing in the U-District. The 45 is no longer through-routes with the 75, but terminates at the UW triangle (next to UW Station). The 75 & 77 would be paired instead.  Routes 65 & 67 would still be paired like today.

Other changes

The 75 retains its current routing connecting Lake City and Pinehurst to Northgate, with better weekday midday frequency than the previous proposal. The 331 restores coverage service to Hillwood (west of Aurora Village) while the current proposal (like the last one) leaves a big coverage hole in much of Meridian. The bus that runs from Aurora Village to Mountlake Terrace will run less often, while the bus going up 15th to Mountlake Terrace will run more often. The proposed 324 (Bothell to Lake City) is now gone, as is the current 342.


RapidRide J Update

SDOT published a long RapidRide J FAQ in March discussing the alignment details and responses to community concerns. Here’s the project page and a map. Construction will start in 2024 and it will open in 2027. The J will replace Route 70 between the U-District and downtown, running on Eastlake Avenue East and Fairview Avenue North. South of the Ship Canal the routing will be the same but with fewer stops. North of the Ship Canal it will move slightly. The 70 stops on Campus Parkway and 15th Ave NE next to the University of Washington Campus. Northbound the J will remain on 11th with a stop at 41st, then turn east on 43rd and make their last stop at 12th, one block west of the Link station and three blocks west of campus. It will make a non-revenue turn left and lay over on 12th. Southbound it will stop first at 45th & University Way eastbound, then make a U shape to the second stop at 43rd & Brooklyn westbound, at the Link station and two blocks west of campus. Then it will turn left at Roosevelt Way and stop at 41st.

Two activist groups are targeting the J. One is a RapidRide J survey by the Eastlake Community Council. This group has been described to me as “anti-transit and pro-street-parking”. Action: Fill out the survey and check “More rapid bus service” as the highest community priority.

The other thing is a misleading “Save Route 70” flyer on Campus Parkway at the westbound bus stop. I don’t know if it’s the same activist group or a different one. The flyer says “the 70” will move from 15th to Roosevelt. The flyer ominously warns there will no longer be any transit from UW to downtown except for Link, and no transit from UW to SLU. It implies students will have to walk 5 blocks from 15th to Roosevelt, and that that’s so far it’s like losing bus service. In reality, students will walk 2-3 blocks. Students walk more than 5 blocks between classes anyway. If you’re going downtown Link will be faster than the J, and it will run every 4-5 minutes when Line 2 starts in 2025.

Another twist is that some people travel north-south along the entire Roosevelt-Eastlake corridor. They will transfer between the J and 67. From the map in the FAQ and the close-up of 41st Street, it appears that riders both directions will have a one-block walk between the J stations at 41st and the 67 stops at 42nd. Ideally the stops would be consolidated for a same-stop transfer. That may be infeasible since the southbound 67 turrns left at Campus Parkway, the southbound J turns left at 43rd, and the complicated Eastlake-11th-41st triangle northbound.

I used to live on 56th and saw firsthand the many overlapping trips in the Roosevelt-Eastlake-Fairview corridor. 65th has the Roosevelt neighborhood. 55th was my stop and the Friendly Foam Shop (since moved to Pinehurst). 50th-52nd has a library, church, Scarecrow Video, and the Monkey Pub. 47th is Trader Joe’s. 45th has the transfer to the 44. 42nd has UW medical. Eastlake has two physical therapy clinics, retail, entertainment, and my dad’s former office and apartment. SLU has jobs and retail. The entire corridor has tons more retail and apartments beyond those. This is a successful urban corridor that must have good north-south transfers. There’s an unfortunate tradeoff between serving north-south trips on Roosevelt, students going to campus, shoppers going to the Ave, and people transferring to/from Link — because a bus would have to go different ways simultaneously. What we don’t want is the current 67/70 situation, where you have to detour east to Campus Parkway, cross the street, walk another block to the other bus stop, and then backtrack back to Roosevelt/11th. I’ve had to do that.

You might want to mention in the survey — and tell SDOT — to keep the J station at the Link station, and to ensure good north-south transfers between the J and 67.

On-topic comments for this article are about the J, 70, and 67 corridors and their neighborhoods.


Getting Value in Transit

Why the US gets less transit for more money. (RMTransit)

(Link photo at 4:00.)

Just coincidentally, several Link and Metro decisions are being made:

Sound Transit’s 2024 service plan is published. Provide feedback by August 6th. Virtual information sessions are July 17 and 26. There are separate pages for North, East, and South. STB commentators have already started talking about it. Read the links for information on Lynnwood Link (Summer/Fall 2024 with Line 1 only), the East Link starter line (possibly Spring 2024 if the ST board decides to), and the full Line 2 (2025). The gap between Lynnwood opening and Line 2 opening could cause crowding between Northgate and downtown. ST proposes to restructure the 510/511/512/513 when the Lynnwood extension opens. Routes 522, 542, 545, 550, 554, 556 will remain as is until the full Line 2 opens. There are no changes in 2024 in South King County or Pierce County.

Metro’s Lynnwood Link restructure is in phase 3. There will be an article about it tomorrow. On Tuesday there will be an article on RapidRide J.

Sound Transit is reconsidering the SLU and Denny stations on Ballard Link. Provide feedback before July 27. Webinars will be on July 20 and 25. ST is considering moving Denny Station and deleting SLU Station. More information on Ballard and West Seattle EIS schedules.

The “South of CID” ($) station alternative has an article by Daniel Beekman in the Seattle Times. Developer Urban Visions owns 7 acres around the site and proposes a joint station/office/lab/apartment development. There’s a map of the platform location; it’s over a block south of the Uwajimaya parking lot. “There would be no direct transfers to other lines; riders would walk five to 10 minutes above ground to other stations, a Sound Transit memo said in January.” Needless to say, this is bad. Good train-to-train transfers should be the #1 factor in a multi-line subway network, because half or more of the destinations require a transfer.

This is an open thread.


Seattle Subway Primary Endorsements 2023


We are excited to share our 2023 primary endorsements for Seattle City Council and King County Council.  Seattle Subway has been endorsing local races since 2015 and our methodology has changed slightly over the years. 

For the primary this year we’re endorsing candidates that are most aligned with our vision and interests in a vacuum, thinking first and foremost about rail expansion, then about who is best for working cities. We use every source of information available to us to make endorsements starting with our candidate questionnaires, the MASS candidate forums, and including local candidate coverage and statements candidates make.  

In the general election, we start over.  If the candidates we endorse in the primary don’t make it to the general election, or if we did not endorse in our far more idealistic process of the primary, we will completely reconsider the options for our endorsement in the general election.

A huge thank you to all of the candidates who responded to our questionnaires, engaged in the MASS forums, and want to make the city and county a better place to live.  Without further ado, here are our endorsements:

Seattle City Council District 1: Maren Costa
Seattle City Council District 2: No Primary Endorsement
Seattle City Council District 3: Efrain Hudnell & Alex Hudson
Seattle City Council District 4: Ron Davis
Seattle City Council District 5: Nilu Jenks
Seattle City Council District 6: Dan Strauss
Seattle City Council District 7: Andrew Lewis

King County Council District 2*: Girmay Zahilay
King County Council District 4: Sarah Reyneveld
King County Council District 6*: Claudia Balducci
King County Council District 8: Teresa Mosqueda

*There will not be primary elections in King County Council Districts 2 and 6.

Continue reading “Seattle Subway Primary Endorsements 2023” | 83 comments

Everett Link Again

Everett Link planning has expanded to two dozen alternatives for the six stations, one provisional station, and the maintenance base (“OMF North”) in the extension north of Lynnwood Station, according to Stephen Fesler in The Urbanist. (Thanks to Anonymouse for the link.) We just covered this extension two weeks ago, but the opinions continue to multiply. The linked article has a chart of the alternatives and some diagrams of the potential station areas. Fesler is especially concerned about the number of property takings.

Take it away, commentators. On-topic comments for this article are on Everett Link or the area north of Lynnwood Station. Other topics belong in the previous article (“Transit Fare Holiday”) or a future open thread.


Transit Fare Holiday

Metro, Sound Transit, Kitsap Transit, and the Seattle Streetcars will be free July 11-12 (Monday and Tuesday) fo the All-Star Week baseball tournament. This includes Link, Sounder, buses, streetcars, the King County Water Taxi, and the Kitsap Fast Ferry. Other agencies are not participating (i.e., not Community Transit, Pierce Transit, the Monorail, or Washington State Ferries). The linked announcement page has a short video message by King County Executive Dow Constantine.

Link will run every 8 minutes all day July 8 (Saturday), 10 (Monday), and 11 (Tuesday). Enjoy a taste of more-frequent service. Sounder will have extra runs on the 10th and 11th. Metro’s fareboxes and ORCA readers will be covered. Sound Transit’s readers will be adjusted to charge zero if you tap.

Update: Metro has a downtown map with more information. Metro has extra service July 7-11 on routes C, D, E, H, 7, 36, 101, 150, and 255. ST Express has extra service on routes 522, 545, 550, and 554. Route 21 will be rerouted to 4th Ave S after events on July 8, 10, and 11.

This is an open thread.


Transportation Events July 2023


Sound Transit:

Rider Experience & Operations Committee Meeting and Executive Committee Meeting (typically first Thursday of the month) are cancelled.

Community Oversight Panel Meeting: Wednesday, July 12, 5:30pm – 8:15pm. details

System Expansion Committee Meeting: Thursday, July 13, 1:30pm – 5:00pm. details

Board of Directors Meeting: Thursday, July 27, 1:30pm – 4:00pm. details

King County Metro:

Transit Advisory Commission Meeting: Tuesday, July 18, 6:00 – 8:00pm. details

Regional Transit Committee Meeting: Wednesday, July 19, 3:00 PM. details

More below the fold.

Continue reading “Transportation Events July 2023” | 62 comments

Open Thread 10

On Thursday northern Link at noon was standing room only with half the aisles filled. And I regularly see a dozen or more people getting on each train and another dozen getting off at Capitol Hill in the afternoons. This made me think Link has quietly reached a European level of ridership in the northern half in the daytime at least.

ST has been testing the next-train displays the past few weeks . They’ve been accurate for me except in two cases. In the PM peak at Roosevelt Wednesday and Thursday, it said the next southbound train was over 20 minutes away, at a time when they’re supposed to be running every 8 minutes. On Thursday I checked the display, then went to Whole Foods and came back, and the display again said the next train was in 22 minutes. Sometimes when this happens a train shows up in a few minutes anyway, and other times it doesn’t. I didn’t wait to see whether it would; I took a bus instead. So I don’t know whether the display has an afternoon fever or there’s really a gap in the trains.

The Westlake station platforms have two new video screens showing the weather, Husky sports ads, and the baseball tournament schedule.

Seattle Subway has a commentary in the Stranger arguing not to move or delete CID, Midtown, or SLU stations.

Future-proofing a transit system. (RMTransit video) The UW station stub is featured at 4:07.

This is an open thread.


Everett Link Station Moves Downtown

The Sound Transit board on Thursday refined the Everett Link plan ($). Mike Lindblom in the Seattle Times reports that the main Everett Link station is moved to the downtown arena. This puts it right in the middle of Everett’s most walkable streets like Broadway, Hewitt Avenue, and Colby Avenue. The arena is where the Everett Silvertips hockey team plays, and is called the Angel of the Winds Arena or the Snohomish County Civic Center. Until now the station had been expected to be three blocks southeast of the arena, at a combined transit center/Amtrak station/P&R at the edge of downtown with a limited walkshed. I don’t know how they’ll reconcile having two “Everett Stations”, whether some bus routes will serve both stations, or how P&R drivers from the north would get to Link.

The board also prefers a western alternative for Alderwood station, now called West Alderwood, closer to buses and apartments. It wants the Southwest Everett Industrial Center station on on Highway 526 outside Boeing and Paine Field property, to avoid impacting industrial job capacity. It decided to wait on choosing an alternative for the Casino Road/Evergreen Way station location.

The opening date is now 2041. A first phase may open in 2037 to Mariner or the Paine Field area. (I assume it’s Mariner. The article says the Paine Field area but that may be an approximation.

Staff have started telling the board which locations they prefer rather than waiting for the politicians to tell them. This implements one of the recommendations made by an external technical advisory group.

There’s disagreement on whether to put Link stanchions in the middle of streets.

Update: ST announcement and links to documents.

This is an open thread.


More Yellow Stripes

A few more changes in the downtown Link tunnel.

At Westlake Station, the eastern escalator/stairs to the platforms are in alcoves. A few months ago ST moved the ticket machines (TVMs) from the back walls to the front of the alcoves. Now ST has added a yellow stripe on the floor in front of the alcoves, to make a psychological doorway. The ORCA readers stand on the stripe.So at each alcove, the TVMs are in the middle. The stripe goes left and right from the TVMs to the ORCA readers on the side walls. The elevator is on the left wall next to the reader. A “fare paid zone” sign is in front of the stripe. This makes the readers and fare-paid zone more visible, and is part of an upcoming fare-checking revival. The arrangement is especially prominent at the northeast alcove (southbound), because there’s a second elevator up to the monorail, and another yellow stripe and reader goes at right angles around it.

ST’s email update says University Street and Pioneer Square stations have been retrofitted too, and International District is in progress. When I was at Intl Dist, half the surface readers were gone, presumably for relocation. ST says to tap at the platform readers if the surface readers aren’t in place yet.

The train arrival announcements in the downtown tunnel have a new voice and wording. It sounds like the BART voice but female. Do we call it “Mrs Bart”?

The next-train displays are on. ST has them on temporarily to test how accurate they are and where the errors are coming from. They were accurate for four trains I took. The numbers in the downtown stations are nicely large. The northern stations have their own characteristic displays and the old voice.

This is an open thread.


Video Roundup

Why you shouldn’t put light rail in tunnels. (RMTransit)

In the video Reese argues that German U-Stadtbahn trams work well because they only have a short tunnel in the city center. Beyond that you should either have surface light rail or tunneled high-capacity metro, but not light rail with extensive tunnels. He mentions Link and a few other cities as what not to do.

Salt Lake City’s transit is surprisingly good. It’s a model for other medium-sized American cities. (RMTransit)

A London Overground overview. (RMTransit)

More below the fold….

Continue reading “Video Roundup” | 371 comments

Transportation Events June 7 – July 5


Sound Transit:

System Expansion Committee Meeting: Thursday June 8, 1:30pm – 5:00pm. details

Community Oversight Panel Meeting: Wednesday June 14, 5:30pm – 8:15pm details

Board of Directors Meeting: Thursday June 22: 1:30pm – 4:00pm details

King County Metro:

Transit Advisory Commission Meeting: Tuesday June 20, 6:00 – 8:00pm. details

Regional Transit Committee Meeting: Wednesday June 21, 3:00 PM. details

Community Transit:


Pierce Transit:

Board of Commissioners Meeting: Monday June 12: 4:00 PM. details

Everett Transit:

Transportation Advisory Committee: Thursday June 15: 8:00 AM. details

Continue reading “Transportation Events June 7 – July 5” | 197 comments

Open Thread 9

NE 130th construction update: “Current construction at NE 130th St Infill Station is focused on the concrete platform and canopy structural steel. This work will be completed prior to electrification of the Lynnwood Link Extension overhead traction power, which allows operational testing prior to Lynnwood Link’s projected opening in July 2024…. The station finishes contract was issued for bid this spring and includes construction of station finishes and plaza and roadway improvements. This final station construction work is anticipated to begin in October 2023. The final station contract is pending Q2/Q3 board action from the Sound Transit Board…. Construction of station finishes, streetscape, and roadway improvements is anticipated to take approximately two years to complete, with the NE 130th Infill Station opening in Q2 2026.” This is from a Sound Transit email announcement. More about the design.

The Urbanist worries that new Denny station alternatives could delay Ballard Link.

Everett Link is about to start environmental review. ST’s System Expansion Committee will meet June 8 to consider alternatives to study.

Aurora Avenue has rechannelization workshops through June 15. (Urbanist)

Phoenix halts housing construction due to water limits. ($) New subdivisions will require a 100-year water supply from a non-groundwater, non-well source. This is an Arizona state mandate on parts of Maricopa County. “The decision means cities and developers must look for alternative sources of water to support future development — for example, by trying to buy access to river water from farmers or Native American tribes, many of whom are facing their own shortages. That rush to buy water is likely to rattle the real estate market in Arizona, making homes more expensive and threatening the relatively low housing costs that had made the region a magnet for people from across the country.”

A journey on the Elizabeth Line ($) in London. A photo tour of four station areas along the line. The Elizabeth Line, aka Crossrail, opened a year ago.

What if the US never built the Intestate highway system? (Geography by Geoff podcast) This 1.5 hour podcast is mostly about the creation of the Interstate program. The last third gets into what if that hadn’t happened. Co-host Hunter Shobe is a geography professor at Portland State University, and the author of “Upper Left Cities: a cultural atlas of San Francisco, Portland, and Seattle”. (I haven’t read the book.)

This is an open thread. If you know of any projects looking for feedback now, leave them in the comments.


Understanding King County Metro’s Suspensions of Peak-Only Routes

Red lines are King County Metro routes marked for temporary suspension in September 2023. (map by author using King County data.)

Two weeks ago, Metro announced the decision to temporarily suspend twenty peak-only routes as part of its service cuts. The focus on peak-hour reductions aligns with Metro’s current operational challenges, like fielding the high number of operators required for lots of peak-time service. But some riders are disappointed that their peak routes will be shut down. Is Metro right to suspend peak-only routes versus other areas that could be cut? Here, we will explore Metro’s choice by getting into route-level productivity data on the suspended routes.

To define what we are talking about, peak-only routes run only during the morning and evening rush hour, contrasting with other routes that run throughout the day. Almost all of these routes run one-way only, and many serve limited stops. The rationale for peak routes is to connect areas that are specially associated with trips at peak hours, like downtown business areas and suburban residential neighborhoods. By designing a route to serve this specific travel pattern, transit agencies can serve a large volume of trips quite efficiently.

That was the way things were before the pandemic, for the most part. In 2019, peak-only routes held the top six spots in passenger miles per platform mile. This measure, which tells us the average loading of these buses was very high, means those routes were popular and effective at transporting people long distances. As you can imagine, the commuting pattern of people needing to go to city centers in the morning and return to their homes in the evening created this immense demand that the peak routes served.

Then, of course, the pandemic changed everything. Metro axed most of the peak routes during the early days of the pandemic, inferring that stay-at-home policies would eliminate most peak commuting. Many of those routes never returned, and the ones that survived have not been the same.

Continue reading “Understanding King County Metro’s Suspensions of Peak-Only Routes” | 99 comments

The Streetcar is Back

Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell’s solution to revitalizing downtown includes reviving the City Center Connector streetcar ($). “Where the pitch for the line was once purely transit-based, its new title as a ‘Culture Connector’ bestows a loftier purpose of injecting life into a part of town lacking it in recent years.”

The article says “transit advocates still want it to move forward” but that’s inaccurate. Transit advocates are divided, including on this blog. Some editors want the City Center Connector to move forward, while others like myself want the city to focus on other transit priorities instead.

The article calls it a “third line” but I’m not sure the operational plan is changing. The original plan had two lines overlapping on First Avenue: Lake Union Park to Chinatown/International District, and Westlake to First Hill.

Jarrett Walker, international transit consultant, says in the article, “Cities must look seriously at what they’re hoping to accomplish with a streetcar and whether that’s more valuable than a bus.”

I’ll leave it at that for now.


Open Thread 8

The West Seattle Link extension (WSLE) is proceeding to a final EiS expected in 2024. The Ballard Link extension [BLE] with DSTT2 is heading to a new Draft EIS, timeline TBD. (Per Sound Transit email update.)

Federal Way Link is now expected in 2026. The bridge over weak soil will add $72 million ($) to the cost.

The Seatte Times surveyed 45 Seattle city council candidates ($) on their views and background.

The Route 40 upgrade has reached 60% design, and has a survey on new alternatives for Westlake Avenue North. One of the proposals is to pilot a freight-and-bus (FAB) lane. It would run for one year, and then SDOT would decide whether to install it permanently and consider FAB lanes in other areas. The survey ends June 19.

The monorail is on a roll with with high Kraken ridership. ($) David Kroman of the Seattle Times calls it a “golden age” for the monorail.

Seattle public school students want more bike racks at school. ($) “I have a friend who goes to Franklin and is forced to rent a bike locker at the nearby Mount Baker light-rail station.”

More below the fold.

Continue reading “Open Thread 8” | 131 comments

Open Thread: Priorities

Matt Driscoll writes about the political dangers of struggling transit projects.

The mission of Trailhead Direct has changed slightly ($).

I-5 traffic will be re-routed onto and off of Montlake Boulevard this weekend, likely slowing down the 48, 255, 271 and 542.

Sound Transit report mentions cost overruns for West Seattle, along with other issues.

Alon Levy writes that local representation on public transit planning boards is bad.

Sound Transit staff has recommended prioritizing Lynnwood light rail service over an East Link “starter line” in recent board committee meetings.

Stride bus projects slip further behind, while locals don’t like street widening. Converting a general purpose lane to a bus-lane would save money, speed up the project, and eliminate the need to widen the street. I guess that is too obvious a solution.

This is an open thread.


Open Thread 7

Sound Transit is reenvisioning Sounder South, and will update its strategic plan this year. Sign up for email announcements; there’s not much else to do at this point yet. ST had been planning to lengthen trains and platforms, but is now looking at running more trains at more times instead. It will depend on negotiations with BNSF over the cost of new time-slots.

ST staff recommend prioritizing opening Lynnwood Link over an East Link Starter Line. (Everett Herald) The article also discusses strategies to handle the 41 Lynnwood Link railcars that can’t access the Bellevue Operations and Maintenance base until the fill East Link opens. Twelve cars can be stored at Northgate station, and eight at Angle Lake station. That still leaves 21 cars with no place to sleep. To avoid deploying those, staff suggest ST “can run shorter trains (two or three cars instead of four) with eight-minute frequency, run four-car trains with lower peak frequency, or shorten trips from running the entire span of Angle Lake to Lynnwood and boost frequency in areas with highest demand, such as between Northgate and downtown Seattle.” Also, “to mitigate crowding, Sound Transit is working with other agencies such as Community Transit. Sound Transit could use a bus shuttle service, restore two Sounder North commuter train trips and restructure its Express bus routes.”

West Seattle Link has rising costs too. (The Urbanist via Twitter) Rising land costs could impact the project.

RMTransit evaluates cut-and-cover construction, and says we should do more of it, but not everywhere.

Hamburg has “crazy good transit“. (RMTransit video)

This is an open thread.