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Bus Stop | The 48

The 48 is one of the longest bus routes that never leaves Seattle and more unusually never enters downtown, running from Mount Baker transit center in South Seattle to Loyal Heights in Ballard near Golden Gardens park with a trip along Capitol Hill’s eastern edge of 23rd Avenue and through the University District in between.

Tuesday’s election gave Seattleites a choice. The city’s voters chose to expand service on its most needed routes. The 48 is a route that SDOT has identified as meeting the three goals for expanded service under Prop 1: reduction in bus crowding, increased frequency, and improvements in reliability.

The first two goals might simply be achieved with extra buses added to the route, but a much-talked about plan in transit circles to improve the 48’s reliability is to split the route into two separate routes: one cutting across north Seattle and ending at the U District, and the other traveling from the U District to Mount Baker. Similar ideas have been floated for the chronically behind schedule 8. The success of the ballot measure may be just the impetus that Metro needs to make these long discussed changes.

Here’s a look at updates to Seattle’s bus routes planned for June and September of 2015 under the new transit district.

In any case, increased service on the 48 is now a sure thing. Another thing is clear: Tuesday was a turning point for Seattle’s transit system from red light to green.

Previously on Bus Stop

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5 thoughts on “Bus Stop | The 48

  1. The 48 likely won’t be split any time soon and the reason is visible between the first and second pictures. Metro wants to electrify the 48South and there’s missing wire from 23rd and John down to 23rd and Cherry then from 23rd and Jackson to just before Rainier Ave.

    Personally, I very much hope that the 48 isn’t split. There’s no direct connection between the CD and Capitol Hill (though there will be if the 8 restructure still happens) and the 48 is the only route that goes north of the ship canal. Most of the bottleneck is through the Montlake/520 intersection and then Pacific Street so all splitting it will do is give riders from the CD fewer destinations–right now the 48 connects with virtually every north/south and east/west corridor–while still holding up in traffic. It’s a shame that there is no room for a bus lane along Montlake.

    • The rebuild of 23rd that SDOT is about to start will include poles for trolley wire along the whole length from John to Rainier. Metro will still need to install the actual wire, though.

    • The article states that the split being discussed would be in the U-district. There would still be a direct line between Capitol Hill and the CD.

      Personally, I would love for the route to be split. The route is so long that delays often accumulate throughout the day – which is especially problematic since it serves UW and the UW medical center – making it difficult to get to class, medical appointments, or the area’s largest employer on time. It also gets so full at peak hours that drivers stop picking people up. I’m so glad this route is finally getting recognized as being of critical importance and in need of improvement.

    • I kike all the connections to the U, to the Roosevelt area and beyond in the north too. I agree that Montlake is the main sticky spot and splitting would not cure the problem. It is one of the most well-used routes in the city and one of the most productive. Shorter routes become less productive.