Reader recommendation request: Best way to go WS-UW?

Our logs show a fair amount of WSB visits from people with IP addresses from the University of Washington … so here’s hoping some of you can help this reader, whether you are a UW student or UW employee!

I have been attending SSCC for the past year and graduated this spring. Now, I have been accepted to UW Art School and am having a heck of a time trying to figure out how to make my commute to the campus from West Seattle manageable. I am not going to be taking my car as the parking on and around campus is too expensive for me. So far, I have found no direct options from West Seattle to the campus on the metro. The best I can find is an hour long journey involving two transfers. I am looking at using my bike as part of my daily commute possibly too. I was wondering if maybe you could help me find out how other West Seattle residents attending the UW get to and from school?

26 Replies to "Reader recommendation request: Best way to go WS-UW?"

  • Venkat September 15, 2007 (9:56 pm)

    Funny, I was going to take the bus from the end of California (California and Thistle) to the Junction (artwalk) and it seemed like I could not accomplish it in one bus (the predicted trip time was 45 minutes, which is a bit longer than it would take to walk).

    Is metro fairly receptive to route-suggestions?

    I think there are a ton of people who would want to travel California but often the route from the junction south is not readily available.

  • herongrrrl September 15, 2007 (10:23 pm)

    The fastest way to get there by bus is probably to catch a 54/55 from the WS Junction and hook up with one of the 70-something expresses from downtown to the U-district. If you can read without getting carsick, that bus commute is great for getting homework done! (I did it for 5 years myself when I was going to the UW.)

  • Alvis September 15, 2007 (11:02 pm)

    Please specify what part of West Seattle you’d be bus commuting from and to. The Junction? Admiral? Westwood? Fauntleroy? Delridge? There are a number of different routes serving the different neighborhoods, not just one generic West Seattle bus connecting to downtown and the UW transfer points.

  • WSB September 15, 2007 (11:53 pm)

    Venkat – which route did you look up? The 22 goes from the north side of Thistle at 41st, to The Junction (and then to downtown), and it’s about 15 minutes max.

  • Jeff September 16, 2007 (12:37 am)

    I split my time between biking to and busing (plus the occasional drive) to UW. Biking is usually faster, but not by much, though it’s way more predictable than the bus. This time of year I typically bike to the Water Taxi to downtown and then bike downtown to U-district. It’s not the fastest, but it’s definitely the most pleasant.

    As for busing, the route described by herongrrrl is the best way I have found, and when the bus tunnel reopens in a couple weeks, that’ll trim about 10 minutes off the downtown part again.

    If you’re talking the absolute fastest way there (aside from driving), you’d probably bus the West Seattle/downtown part and bike downtown to U-district. Once I get moving it’s hard to pull over and wait for a bus.

  • hello insomnia September 16, 2007 (7:21 am)

    There is the 133 that generally takes about 40 minutes to get to the UW, but those stops might be too far to bike.

    I used to take the 120 to the 3rd avenue stop in front of macy’s and switch over to any of the U-District bound 70-buses.

  • Chris September 16, 2007 (7:56 am)

    My partner works about four blocks from the U. and he takes the 54/55 into downtown and transfers to the 71/72/73 direct to the U. He says depending on traffic it can take around 45 minutes to an hour.

  • chas redmond September 16, 2007 (9:11 am)

    The 22 does run from the southern end up California to the Junction, but the last bus heading north on weekdays and weekends is before 7 pm – not a good option for an artwalk. The 22 used to run later – decades ago.

  • WSB September 16, 2007 (9:25 am)

    Oops, guess you can tell our bus-taking has been limited to daytime hours. In that case, looks like the nearest nighttime bus from this neck of Upper Fauntleroy is either walk down the Thistle hillside stairs to the 54, or walk the other direction to catch the 21 on 35th.

  • AA September 16, 2007 (9:50 am)

    If the requester is near the ferry they can take the 540 (? may be 545) express to Redmond. It shoots through downtown and then stops on 520 at Montlake. From there it’s a short walk or bike – just up the stairs and you’re on the Montlake Bridge. I think that bus loops down by Roxbury too but am not sure. Worth checking a route map.

  • deliboy September 16, 2007 (10:17 am)

    If you take the 54-55 downtown to its 3rd Ave stop, outside of Macy’s, get off the bus, and wait for the 70-whatever, and you’ll be there in 35-45 minutes, in my experience.

  • David Brown September 16, 2007 (10:35 am)

    I live on Webster Street, a couple of blocks away from 35th, and I work at the UW. My typical commute is:

    1. 21 express to first and union
    2. walk up to third and union and catch 71/72/73 to 45th and University.

    It usually takes about 45 minutes.

    Coming home is much much worse. I usually catch a ride with my wife, but if I don’t, attempting to do the reverse route will take about 90 minutes, and can take up to two transfers to do it, depending on what bus I manage to grab in downtown Seattle. This commute looks like this:

    1. 71/72/73 to downtown
    2. 54/55 to 35th and Avalon
    3. 21 to 35th and Webster.

    If I get lucky, I can catch a 21 Express in downtown and skip the transfer at 35th and Avalon.

    The biggest problem with the commute home is that the traffic stacks up into downtown Seattle, making the 71/72/73 leg much longer. I’m hoping the bus tunnel reopening will fix some of that, but the backup occurs before the bus tunnel entrance.

    I know it was a contentious issue, but the monorail would have gone a long way to making my commute much better. The light rail, while a good idea, ignores West Seattle completely.

  • kittycatcarlyle September 16, 2007 (11:22 am)

    My experience & thoughts echo David Brown’s. It’s is cra-ha-zy how much extra time is added to the commute home :(

  • miws September 16, 2007 (12:11 pm)

    Yes, thanks to Tim Eyeman’s first initiative, the service on the 22 was severely cut back. I quite often think bad things about him, since on the days I work until closing, I have to walk the three double length blocks to catch the 54 or 560. Now, I desperately need the exercise, but the point mostly is, the extra time it takes me for the walk itself, then waiting for the bus.

    If I’m lucky, I manage to get there in time to catch the 560. It’s often to my benefit for it to be running a few minutes late. Otherwise, it may be another 15-20 minute wait for the 54, in addition to the 15-20 travel time to home. A third option for me, would be to catch the 128 on the north side of Roxbury, it’s scheduled time generally being around :15 and :45 past the hour, but my experience with that route is it’s quite often several minutes late, which puts me in the conundrum of if it hasn’t shown by about 5 minutes past it’s due time, to I go back to 15th in front of Bartell’s to catch the 54.

    Both the 54 and 128 serve the stop on 16th in front of Chubby & Tubby……….Walgreen’s, but the 560 does not. Plus that stop seems a little “seedier” than 15 & Rox.

    If I’m really lucky, I catch a ride from a cow-orker! :D

    A little clarification on the Sound Transit 560 route. It’s the only ST route that serves Wesseattle, and runs to Bellevue, ending at a Park & Ride over there, I believe. I’ve only ridden it to the Renton Transit Center, so only know of the route beyond that by reading the route info.

    It’s a limited stop route, originating on our end at the Wesseattle Junction, follows much of the 54 route except continues up Rox to White Center (again, though, with limited stops, including Cal & Faunt, the ferry dock, 15 & Rox) runs up Ambaum, swings over to the Burien TC, hops onto 518 to the airport, back onto 518 to 405 to 167 and continues north on Rainier, in Renton.

    The 560 used to run, I believe, between Bellevue and the airport, and there was a route 570 that ran from across from King St Station through Wesseattle, White Center, and Burien along the same route as our current leg of the 560, with it’s southern terminus being the airport. The 570 was dropped about four years ago, and the 560 extended to accomodate.


  • cmh September 16, 2007 (12:33 pm)

    I’ve regularly ridden the 133 from Olson-Myers P&R when living in Delridge and now Shorewood. I loved it. WELL worth the short drive to the P&R. My work arrangements changed last year and forced me to start driving, but I hope to be back on the bus by next year.

    The P&R is the second-to-last stop before/after I-5. As of last year, my estimates were 20-25 minutes to the Ave in the mornings (sometimes as fast as 15), and 30-40 from the Ave in the afternoon (sometimes worse, sometimes much worse).

    The major drawback to the 133 is the limited number of runs, so it doesn’t work for everybody, but I think it’s worth trying to schedule around.

  • miws September 16, 2007 (12:33 pm)

    Oooops! “to I go back” S/B do I go back.

    (If I could be granted another “Feature Wish” in addition to the one of having the dates in addition to the time being shown on the individual posts, which was already granted at the request of another reader, it would be to have a Preview option. :) My guess is it’s not available?

    Dunno about anyone else, but it’s much easier for me to proofread my post in a Preview format, rather than in this here posting box. I run into the same “issue” on the P-I Blogs/Soundoffs.)


  • Tish September 16, 2007 (1:02 pm)

    I drive to campus due to my hectic schedule. I’m willing to carpool if your schedule coincides with mine. If not — there are some cheap ways to park around the U District. Feel free to call me at 206.933.7977 for details.

  • Ede September 16, 2007 (5:57 pm)

    I recommend that you move the the U District. I did the West Seattle – UW bus commute for a couple years. It was terrible and was at least part of the reason I quit that job. I now work downtown and I love my 20-30 minute bus ride.

  • Ede September 16, 2007 (6:02 pm)

    Sorry, I meant move TO the U District. Moving the U District itself is probably overkill.

  • G. Williams September 16, 2007 (6:04 pm)

    I live in Highland Park. When I was in graduate school I took whatever that slow bus is from White Center–I think it’s now the 23–to downtown, then got on one of the 7x’s. Commute time was about 40 minutes, unless I was trying to come home at night. Then I usually JUST missed my bus back to West Seattle and had to hang around on 2nd Avenue waiting for the next one, which presented a couple of opportunities to practice self-defense skills. So when I had a night class or evening shift at work, I drove.

  • LyndaB September 16, 2007 (10:21 pm)

    I carpooled with a neighbor and took the bus during my years at UW. We took turns being the driver. The cost was minimal but now they’re charging per person according to how many are in the carpool. Depending if our schedules meshed, we would meet for the ride home or take the bus. I’ve often studied or snoozed on the rides home. As an employee now, I mostly commute and use the same routes that David Brown uses. Since I work at the Medical Center, I’ve occasionallly taken the shuttle to Harborview and walk down James to catch the 21 local on 1st Ave to West Seattle.

  • karen anne September 17, 2007 (2:38 pm)

    133 all the way ! From my house in White Center to my office in just over a 1/2 hour.

  • Joeyjojojo September 18, 2007 (11:08 am)

    Thank you all for the wonderful recommendations. The West Seattle Blog is such a great forum to get questions like this answered and I am honored to live in such a beautiful part of the city filled with so many kind, helpful neighbors(many of whom apparently are expert, veteran commuters). I am writing all of the suggested routes down and will be trying several out during this week to get prepared for school next week. Cheers!!!

  • Jiggers September 19, 2007 (3:33 pm)

    Take the 54/55 to downtown Seattle and get off at Macy’s and then get on the 71,72,73,74,75 at the same stop you got off of in front of Macy’s. They all take you to the U district. I just did that two weeks ago. Or call 553-3000 Metro bus service live help regular daytime hours only.

  • nic September 19, 2007 (5:01 pm)

    I live right off of Cali and Juneau, and I bike to work (Fred Hutch on S. Lake Union) everyday…

    Anyway here is the route I take now, which if you just kept riding for about 10 more minutes will take you right to UW:

    Fauntleroy to Avalon down Yancy (by All Star) then onto Delridge, which will then lead you to the lower bridge.

    I ride on E Marginal, then, once in Pioneer Square, hook onto 1st Ave. From there I take a right on Pike, left on 3rd, right on Stewart/Olive. Take Olive and veer to the left (which is Howell). Ride this all the way down Eastlake, which will take you over the University Bridge and viola! It will take you less than an hour, and has very little hills to climb!

  • capriquarious September 24, 2007 (9:47 am)

    I’ve always wondered why it is so hard to get from WS to the U on a bus. There is express service from Issaquah, Auburn, etc. etc., and the drive to the White Center p&r lot is 20 minutes in the wrong direction for many of us. It would be interesting to know how many WestSeattleites work on campus…and what it would take to get an express route????

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