Post-Alaskan Way Viaduct, what route should Metro buses use?

Metro invites you to take a survey to answer that question. Here’s the news release they just sent:

Construction of the State Route 99 tunnel on the Seattle waterfront will continue to affect bus service for the next few years. When the Columbia and Seneca street ramps are closed in 2016, it could change access to downtown Seattle for many King County Metro Transit routes.

Metro is planning ahead on how buses will be routed through downtown Seattle in the long-term and during construction once the SR 99 tunnel project is complete and the city of Seattle begins works on the Central Waterfront project. It is starting by soliciting feedback from the public via an online survey, and would particularly like to hear from current riders of routes: 15, 15X, 18, 18X, 21X, 54, 54X, 55, 56X, 113, 120, 121, 122, and 125.

The survey can be found online.

Survey respondents will help Metro look at potential pathways to connect transit from south of downtown along Alaskan Way to the Third Avenue transit spine in the Central Business District. Two possible pathways are Columbia Street, or a combination of Main and Washington streets.

If you have questions or need the survey in an alternate format, please call 206-263-9768 or email

10 Replies to "Post-Alaskan Way Viaduct, what route should Metro buses use?"

  • HSE June 13, 2012 (3:11 pm)

    After decades of riding the bus to school and work, I’ve given up on the West Seattle routes. I need to get home, from downtown, in less than an hour.

    Having a car downtown gives me the flexibility required when spurned by gridlock at James and 6th as traffic tries to get onto I-5, or I-5 backups of traffic trying to get to the mainline and then to the West Seattle exit, or gridlock on Columbia as buses and traffic try to get onto the viaduct and then merge into the traffic flow, or sports-traffic in SODO, or trains parked on the tracks at 4th Ave, or trains parked on the tracks at 1st Avenue, or traffic over the low bridge backed up with cars and 18-wheelers trying to get to the port, or the low-bridge being retracted for boat traffic, or traffic glut on 6th avenue as cars try to get on I-5 south, or traffic glut on 4th avenue (just on general principles), or when the 1st Avenue bridge is retracted for boat traffic. Or, as is true on most nights, a combination of all these possibilities.

    I’d take the West Seattle foot ferry, but there’s no where to park over there, and, as I do not live in the beautiful part of W. Seattle, there’s no bus service. And, we also do not have a viable bike path.

    It sucks. At least with my car I have options when traffic gets stuck. On the bus, I’m doomed.

  • JAT June 13, 2012 (3:43 pm)

    Holy Cow, I was so glad to read that “Metro is planning ahead on how buses will be routed through downtown Seattle in the long-term and during construction…”

    I might have preferred to read “Metro has planned…” “is planning” kind of gives me the feeling that they’re finally getting around to giving this some thought…

    HSE, the streets as “viable” bike path really are worth a try.

    • WSB June 13, 2012 (3:47 pm)

      We have written about this before – it came up as a side note at one of the Metro restructuring meetings and there also was a discussion a couple of Southwest District Council meetings ago – but they have not specifically called public attention to it till now – TR

  • Dave June 13, 2012 (4:28 pm)

    Don’t they have transportation engineers that can figure out this kind of stuff?
    They really need a survey? [so they can say they sought public input, perhaps?]

  • Harold Reems June 13, 2012 (4:28 pm)

    I would like to see them going back to using the overpass at Edgar Martinez Drive, as it is no fun waiting for trains at Lander. It will be nice to be able for buses to use the onramp at first avenue again, as the detour was rife with potholes and the occasional train.

    Just got my tab renewal notice for my vehicle and $40 is earmarked for Metro. I wish they could get their financial house in order.

  • L June 13, 2012 (4:50 pm)

    Isn’t there a law that says this was supposed to be looked at as part of the tunnel project’s environmental impact statement a couple years ago?

  • metrognome June 13, 2012 (6:01 pm)

    JAT — if one reads the article and not just the headline, it becomes clear that the current planning is for the upcoming time when the Seneca and Columbia ramps are no longer available. Therefore, alternate routes need to be determined for routes using those ramps.
    L — briefly, no. An EIS does not require that level of detail.

  • Don Brubeck June 13, 2012 (6:42 pm)

    I took the survey. the options they are asking about are for when the viaduct ramps downtown will not be in use. The options are for where the buses will enter downtown from Alaskan Way: either a two-way use of Columbia St or a couplet using Washington and Main all the way to 4th. I think Columbia St would be a lot faster into downtown proper, but could get mixed up with ferry traffic. Main and Washington could be really slow through Pioneer Square especially on game days. But I usually ride my bike, for a reliable 35 minute commute to downtown on the Alki Trail, one of the city’s best bikr routes. The 56 “express” took 55 minutes last time I rode it in the morning.

  • West Seattle Since 1979 June 13, 2012 (8:51 pm)

    I don’t see what’s wrong with them asking for input from people who actually ride the buses all the time, instead of just using data from planners.

  • Pman June 15, 2012 (12:04 am)

    The Alki trail is fantastic. But to get to it from the non-Alki side of WS, you have to ride the death trap that is the span from 35th down Avalon. I do wish a safer bike path were available. (And I’d love to hear suggestions from those that bike from the Fauntleroy side of town.)

    As for HSE’s comment about getting stuck when on mass transit, I’ve had the opposite experience, particularly in the mornings. In the mornings, if you drive and it’s after 7:00 a.m., you’re getting stuck in traffic. But the buses can bypass that junk on the bridge. And the water taxi can let you skip it. I’ve never been unable to a spot to park down by the water taxi. The latest I’ve ever gotten there — 8:45 or so — I had to walk from Salty’s to the boat. But if you get there at anywhere from 7:30-8:15, you generally have a really short walk. And you get to see sea lions.

Sorry, comment time is over.