Last election cycle, virtually every city council candidate knew enough about Seattle transit to say they supported “better east-west connections.” You don’t have to ride the bus very much to know that getting across town can be a slog. Promising to fix it turns out to be a popular idea.
At a series of open houses last week, SDOT, in partnership with King County Metro, previewed Level 1 concepts for one of the most important of the east-west routes in the city: the 44. The route, which runs from Ballard to the University District, had been initially proposed as RapidRide but then de-scoped to “multimodal improvements” when the Move Seattle Levy was reset.
While the RapidRide amenities and branding are nice to have, the most important things are the speed and mobility improvements. With these initial concepts – which are drafts for discussion purposes – SDOT is trying to get creative in making east-west transit faster.
Metro Transit is planning to reduce the number of closely spaced bus stops along Route 44 between Ballard and the University District, a change that will help buses move faster, keep to a more reliable schedule and reduce Metro’s operating and maintenance costs.
Route 44 currently makes about 30 stops each direction between Ballard and the University District. Metro plans to remove 5 bus stops in each direction in late September 2012, increasing the average spacing between stops from about 900 feet to 1,050 feet.
As a result of this change, about 7 percent of Route 44 riders will have to catch their buses at different stops.
[…] After considering public comments and making any modifications, Metro will close stops in late September. Comments are due by Friday, Sept. 7, via:
Call Metro’s message line, 206-263-4478, and record your message, including the location of your stop.
As with virtually any change Metro ever proposes in Seattle, this has drawn protest from a “concerned” neighborhood organization, in this case the Ballard District Council; and as usual, it seems to be opposition which doesn’t exhibit much understanding of how good transit services actually work. After the jump, let’s look at which of the 44’s stops in Ballard are proposed to be removed, and which will stay (there’s one other stop slated for closure in the Montlake Triangle), and how the closures would affect riders.