The proposals for improving the bus network in Capitol Hill that have been coming from King County Metro over the past few years have varied pretty widely. From an emergency service proposal to staunch the effect of massive bus cuts, to a Seattle-only expanded service proposal that hasn’t even taken effect yet, the ideas for changing bus service on the Hill have been all over the place, and it would not be unreasonable to assume that the average Hill resident has not been able to keep up with them.
This week, Metro released its latest University Link restructuring proposal for Capitol Hill and northeast Seattle, set to take effect in the first quarter of 2016. After taking comments regarding its two alternatives, Metro has released a third proposal, dropping most of the really frequent service and retaining almost every area’s direct connection to downtown. The result is a proposal that falls short of a frequent service grid that was its clear ambition with alternative 1.
Here are the proposed changes, with the most dramatic stuff first.
The big changes
- The 47’s official return next month has been clarified with service frequency. Service until 7pm every day, but no more than 20 minute frequency during peak hours, and service every 35 minutes through the day. This seems assured thanks to Prop 1, regardless of Metro’s final proposal.
- The 12 still serves the entirety of 19th Avenue up to Interlaken Park, but instead of taking Madison Street, it will take Olive Way to get there, taking over the denser, apartment-laden parts of the 43’s route.
- The 43, then, is no longer. This “hybrid” 12 route would presumably funnel most heading northward to Broadway Station but not close enough to 23rd avenue to catch a beefed up 48 (see below).
- Once again a proposal to cut the 8 into two routes: this time in the Central District, at 23rd and Jackson. Riders heading further south to the Rainier Valley will use the new 38 running along MLK like the old 8. An earlier proposal would have combined the 8 with the 11 to Madison Park. With the 11 still traveling between there and Downtown, the added frequency that would have brought to the new route is not as high as it might have been otherwise, especially at night. The only added trips on the 8 will be one more bus per hour on average through the middle of the day during the week. Nighttime service still remains at 30 minute frequency.
- The 11 will run entirely on Madison Street from end to end, no longer serving Pike/Pine. First Hill riders who now choose between a trolley #2 on Seneca and a trolley #12 on Madison will still have to choose between a #2 or a diesel #11, or the Broadway streetcar. Choose wisely, especially at night, or you’ll be waiting for a while. Metro appears to be setting the stage for SDOT’s Madison St BRT proposal.
The smaller stuff:
- The 48 also looks like it will be split in the University District into two routes: the new route 45 will take over the north Seattle portion. The 48 will also become one of the hill’s most frequent routes, with 10 minute frequency through the day, more frequent than the 8 or the 49. SDOT appears poised to turn 23rd into a high capacity transit corridor with its improvements to 23rd Avenue.
- The 49 and the 10 will remain as they are, with increased service almost entirely thanks to Prop 1.
- The 25 looks like it is headed out to pasture.
- Some peak trips on Sound Transit route 545 will become converted to 542 trips between Redmond and University of Washington Station. This should speed up trips for eastside commuters who live close to Capitol Hill station or along the 48 route. There is no indication that the Bellevue Avenue dogleg will be going away for outbound trips from downtown in AM.
Public comment is being accepted until the end of this month. You can take a survey on the proposed changes and add your comments. Wednesday, May 20th, Metro representatives will be on Capitol Hill for an open house on the proposed changes:
Link Connections: Metro Public Meeting @ Capitol Hill
WHEN: Wednesday, May 20, 2015 – 6:00 pm @ 6:00 PM
WHERE: Seattle Academy of Arts and Sciences, Jaffe Room 1432 15th Avenue Seattle, WA 98122
Learn about and comment on Metro’s proposal to change bus routes in Seattle with the start of Link light rail to Capitol Hill and UW at Husky Stadium. Sound Transit staff will also be available to answer questions about and take comments on their proposal for change.