Bus Stop | The 12

No corner of Capitol Hill is detached from the rest, and no street is safe from the slow and sure winds of change.

The most pastoral of all of the hill’s bus routes, the 12 serves the 19th Ave neighborhood, once a part of the hill that time seemed to forget but which seems to be receiving its well-earned revival today. New hotspots Tallulah’s, Cone & Steiner General Store, Hello Robin Cookies, and an expanded Monsoon joining the small cluster of long-standing small businesses like Fuel Coffee and the much-lauded Kingfish Cafe on the street remind that 19th remains an eastern destination for all Capitol Hill residents.

The 12 is an essential tool for Community Doctor patients.

The 12 sneaks up Capitol Hill’s side via Madison on First Hill, serving the hospitals and Seattle University along the way. Like most of Capitol Hill’s legacy trolley bus routes, the 12 started as a streetcar with a beautiful destination at its end. Interlaken Park, 52 acres of wilderness nestled in between Capitol Hill and Lake Washington, is the jewel in the route 12’s crown, the reward for riders who dare to take the trip with the driver all the way to the terminus. Interlaken Park, Seattle’s original bike trail, was created in the early 1900s as the Volunteer Hill Parkway connecting the hill to Lake Washington. The park gained its name Interlaken after the resort in Switzerland, such was the fondness that the residents felt toward this little band of green hugging the side of the hill.

But dark clouds loom in the distance. King County Metro plans to discontinue service entirely on 19th Ave, stopping the 12 at 15th and Madison and only running it during peak hours in one direction. This will be a dramatic change for a neighborhood that has had front door bus service to downtown for close to a hundred years. Time will tell if Metro will need to follow through on this plan. It is currently scheduled to take effect in February of next year.


Previously on Bus Stop

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10 thoughts on “Bus Stop | The 12

    • Good point. If the 2 moves to Madison, the 12 ends up really just being more 2 service along the First Hill portion of the route.

      • Really, it’s the 2 that ends up being more 12 service, since the 12 isn’t the one that’s moving. The portion of the 2 along Seneca on 1st Hill will be the part that gets disrupted. Lot of seniors people with disabilities, and group homes in there.

  1. What is conspicuously absent from this article: whether running the 12 up and down 19th is actually a good use of Metro funds. Since there are very few riders along the 19th part of the route, and all of 19th is very close to at least one other downtown route (43, 10, or 11, depending on where you are), I’d say it’s not.

    • I’m excited about the 2 moving to Marion/Madison (especially with the horrible delays it currently experiences getting from 3rd to 6th Avenues getting out of downtown due to the freeway traffic on Spring), but am definitely NOT excited about the 12 not serving 19th. Hopefully the mayor’s plan to save bus service in Seattle will work.

    • Well, I think by mentioning the fact that 19th has had service for one hundred years, and the fact that it’s booming right now like few other times in its history, I addressed that.

  2. The 12 is not just “quaint”! It provides student accesability to St. Joe’s, Holy Names and the Hebrew Academy (formerly Forest Ridge) and to the Doctor on 19th, as well as being the most accessable to people who cannot manage going up the hills to/from the other two available lines. Stevens Elementary School is also on this line, although clearly not as affected as the other schools.

    • Excellent points. ALSO, A new Meany Middle School with 800 students is scheduled to open in a few years in the old school behind Miller Community Center.

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