Friday, September 17, 2021

Time to start weighing in about Restructuring transit when EAST LINK opens. Spotlight on Route 8 /SLU

After today's cycle of medical appointment plus errands, RantWoman owes the world a post something like "Oh My God North Link is opening in just over two weeks and the pedestrian environment around the Brooklyn Ave. station is a mess." 

But instead of getting in a tizzy about immediate time horizons, RantWoman invites readers to begin weighing in on proposed bus route realignments when East Link opens in 2023.

For concise compilations of relevant survey and informational links and already lively commentary check out  Seattle Transit blog piece on launch of public engagement

Full disclosure 1: RantWoman has already been part of a neighborhood focus group particularly related to changes proposed for the Route 8, the one Seattle-only route impacted by Metro's initial proposal. Discussion in the focus group ran heavily toward sidewalks, sidewalk grade, sidewalk quality, Accessible pedestrian signals,  bad transit planner assumptions about what is walkable in the rain in the evening (with no mention of street lights.) There were also suggestions that Metro needs to consider where new housing in going in and to talk to SDOT about places that already have serious pedestrian unfavorability problems. RantWoman has more to say about all this but in a separate post.

Full disclosure 2: One but not the only reason RantWoman is not feeling warm and fuzzy about the proposed changes for the route 8: RantWoman likes being able to carry her groceries home from the nearest bus stop without having to do any street crossings. The change proposed to Route 8 seriously impinges on options for RantWoman and neighbors who do their grocery shopping on the Route 8 to do that. RantWoman promises to say more about groceries and new housing  and lots of neighborhoods that might like a one-seat bus ride to the Judkins Park East Link station. RantWoman promises to tackle that in another post.

Route 8, the bigger picture.

Route 8 currently goes from Lower Queen Anne up Denny though the edge of South Lake Union, up Denny to Broadway and Kaiser, out to MLK, with a jog to 23rd Ave S on Yesler and then on Jackson back to MLK and the Mount Baker Transit Center. The proposed change leaves it on 23rd Ave S instead of MLK all the way to Yesler. RantWoman and another panelist wondered why duplicate service on this segment already provided by the 48.

Today, while crawling home on the 8 along Denny in not quite pre-pandemic traffic RantWoman decided to take a wild guess: the 8 does not require any transfers from East link to get to South Lake Union. Getting to SLU on the train would require transferring to Link 1, travelling several stops through the downtown transit tunnel and either walking or transferring to a bus. RantWoman is a transit nerd and that does not sound like something even RantWoman would enjoy.

Truthfully though the 8 has its own problems: the ride to SLU from the Judkins Park station is long and clattery. It's above ground which RantWoman prefers over too much time in tunnels, but in the "before times" it often got way overcrowded during most afternoons. Even now with much of South lake Union still working remotely, the 8 can get pretty full all the way to Broadway.

Then a lightbulb went on: what about route 9. Currently the 9 runs along Rainier, stops at what will be the Rainier side of the Judkins Park station and then goes straight up Boren to Broadway, just a couple stops past where the 8 crosses Broadway. But what if, instead of stopping on Broadway, the 9 went down Denny, maybe circled over to the Seattle Cancer care Alliance and then either went all the way to Queen Ann or turned around somewhere in South Lake Union. 

Presto. A shorter less clattery one-seat ride between South lake Union and East Link. And MAYBE another option for easing traffic in South Lake Union.

RantWoman knows there would be a number of issues to address. RantWoman as noted previous is also aware this has no benefit for some other neighborhoods that might appreciate an easy connection to the East Link at Judkins Park. Stay tuned while RantWoman throws some spaghetti against a wall thinking about that.

Now, what say ye all?

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