Some West Seattle bus stops on Metro Route 21 are about to be closed

Thanks to Seth for letting us know about notices like that one, posted at some Metro Route 21 stops on 35th SW. We inquired with Metro’s Jeff Switzer, who replied with this info about stops closing in a week – and one set not closing:

This was a Route 5 and 21 stop rebalancing effort to improve travel time for riders. The effect will be to speed up trips for riders by several minutes. (The Rt. 5 and Rt. 21 are interconnected, in that the Rt. 5 comes downtown from the north and turns into Rt. 21, and vice versa.)

Why Routes 5 and 21?

· Additional service frequency in 2012 increased ridership.
· Some segments have bus stops spaced close together which slows transit speed.
· Metro optimized the N. Greenwood segment as part of the SDOT repaving project.
· Bus operators recommended bus stop optimization as a means to improve schedule.

How are stops located where they are?

The Metro guideline is one-quarter mile between bus stops. Some factors considered in located bus stops include bus transfer points, traffic signals, topography, sidewalk, libraries, schools, community centers, and senior housing.

What steps were taken in outreach?

Rider Alerts were posted at 21 stops the first week in May through the end of May for customer comments. This included nine low-ridership stops on the Rt. 5 and 12 low-ridership stops on the Rt. 21 for customer comments. Metro Staff reviewed all 120 customer comments (51 from Rt. 21 riders).

What did Metro decide?

The finalized plan includes the closure of 4 bus stops on the Rt. 5 and 10 bus stops on the Rt. 21, expected to speed up travel times for riders.

These 14 bus stops were posted with Rider Alerts early this week to let Riders know of stop closures scheduled for Saturday, July 14.

Time savings, especially in the peak hours, could be as much as 3 to 7 minutes for a combined trip (Rt. 21 & Rt. 5). This can be crucial in maintaining on time performance.

In some cases, just the increase in trip time by a minute can mean Metro has to add the cost of adding an additional coach.

What feedback led Metro to not close certain stops?

For the Rt. 21, we dropped the proposed closure of the pair of stops at 35 Av SW & SW Hudson St due to concerns from Providence St. Vincent about access to their facility, even though the ridership is very low at these stops.


• #23040 SB 35th Ave SW, FS SW Cloverdale St
• #23040 SB 35th Ave SW, FS SW Cloverdale St

• #22670 NB 35th Ave SW, FS SW Othello St
• #22980 SB 35th Ave SW, FS SW Othello St

• #22690 NB 35th Ave SW, FS SW Willow St
• #22960 SB 35th Ave SW, FS SW Willow St

• #22740 NB 35th Ave SW, FS SW Juneau St
• #22910 SB 35th Ave SW, FS SW Juneau St

• #22760 NB 35th Ave SW, FS SW Brandon St
• #22890 SB 35th Ave SW, FS SW Brandon St


• #22780 NB 35th Ave SW, NS SW Hudson St
• #22870 SB 35th Ave SW, FS SW Hudson St

Again, the closures are scheduled to start July 14th – one week from tomorrow.

25 Replies to "Some West Seattle bus stops on Metro Route 21 are about to be closed"

  • George T July 6, 2018 (11:09 am)

    I use one of the stops to be closed and sent comments about other choke points that should be the focus of optimization, like the Avalon/Spokane intersection, and 1st Ave near the stadiums. We’ll see how effective eliminating under-used stops will be.

    • DK July 6, 2018 (1:02 pm)

      Avalon is going to be reconstructed entirely soon. The stop at the bottom of Avalon will move closer to the bridge and include a better street design to allow buses to turn easier. 

  • LyndaB July 6, 2018 (11:37 am)

    I’m sad the Juneau stop is closing but I was only using the Northbound side anyway.  Findlay has the light and crosswalk.  So I would get off there going home.  

  • Observer July 6, 2018 (11:52 am)

    I know they have got data on this, but the stops at Avalon / Spokane and under the viaduct NEVER have anyone board or exit per my observations.  Ok, maybe one person boards at the eastern stop under the viaduct.  That park and ride is so underused.  

  • dumpling girl July 6, 2018 (12:57 pm)

    Bummer that our closest bus stop is closing. Now instead of walking one block to the bus, we have to walk two. (So yeah, this totally makes sense!)

  • Peter L July 6, 2018 (3:14 pm)

    Finally! I’ve been complaining to Metro about the ridiculous number of stops on the 21 for years. It stops every single block along 35th, which is absolutely insane, and there is no reason for it. There is no other bus route  designed that way, and for good reason: it does nothing but slow everything down. This is a very welcome change. Thanks to Metro for actually listening to riders on this problem. Well, in part, at least. I’ve also been complaining about the regular evening delays and no shows that are a direct result of the 21 be through-routed from the 5, which also makes zero sense.  One thing at a time, I guess.

  • Mara July 6, 2018 (4:55 pm)

    This makes me sad. Because as a person who knows disabled people who use this route do you ever think of what they face? They can’t drive, and it’s hard for them to even walk an extra block to get the bus or get their shopping items home. And NO not everyone can call an Uber or Cab to take them places directly, they rely on the Metro system as a great source of help financially for transportation. I know it brings joy to some, but as a citizen of the community I want people to remember others who use this system in a different way than us. I’m glad I raised my kids to respect the extra time it takes for elderly or others who have challenges to get on or off a bus or cross a street. Just want others to think outside of themselves sometimes please. We could use more compassion, it could be us one day that needs a closer stop or someone we love. 

    • Jort July 7, 2018 (10:34 am)

      If your disabled friends are struggling with the additional 1-block distance, I would strongly encourage you to recommend that they look into the KCM Access program. Here’s a link if you’d like to learn more!  

  • Joan July 6, 2018 (5:37 pm)

    My closest stop will end. Bummer. I knew it was too good to be true. Well, I hope the one minute they save is worth it. It’s  not like we have a choice in bus routes! The 21 is only game in town down 35th. 

  • ScubaFrog July 6, 2018 (5:41 pm)

    This could be a start to more interruptions in service throughout the peninsula.  Stay tuned.  Metro often says one thing, and does another.  Mara’s absolutely right per the disabled.  I’ve had neighbors who were forced to go to assisted living facilities when the 46 left in 2012.  Transportation is imperative, I don’t think Metro understands how important it is.  Maybe the city needs to send a message by firing some leadership without pension — get a message across.  Don’t f* with public transit.Sadly Constantine can never be found when the county needs him.

    • DK July 6, 2018 (8:03 pm)

      1 extra block will not hurt anyone and is not an unreasonable distance to get to. All if these stops have very low ridership and even for the ones who do will have no more than 1 extra block to travel to. And to the person who says no other metro route does this, you are wrong. There are plenty of routes that stop every block and that is ridiculous. The 12 comes to mind along 19th on CapHill. 

      • CAM July 6, 2018 (10:46 pm)

        I’m not really for or against this but it seems kind of weird to say that you are going to save time by skipping a stop that is already rarely ever stopped at. If this were like a street car or a train that would make sense. Buses go by empty stops all the time. If no one is waiting and no one wants to get off than they just don’t stop. If the stops are used that infrequently it can’t really be that time consuming to stop when someone wants to use them. 

        • 21 rider July 7, 2018 (12:51 pm)

          These stops get stopped at frequently in the peak periods for relatively few people. Overall, the usage is low but skipping them will help speed up those peak period trips.

    • TreeHouse July 7, 2018 (7:44 am)

      Fire someone AND take away their pension for something YOU view as a mistake? I’m happy I don’t work for you. I can’t imagine someone threatening my retirement income over petty things. We all make mistakes in life. Although in this situation, taking away a low utilized bus stop with another stop one block away seems absolutely reasonable to me.

  • 1994 July 6, 2018 (8:11 pm)

    So much for our voter approved  Seattle Transportation Benefit District car license tab $60  fee going to increased or enhanced Metro service. Recently Metro admitted (see Seattle Times article June 6) they can’t even use all the funds they collect from the TBD car license tab fees because they don’t have enough buses, don’t have enough space for more buses, and not enough drivers. Makes no sense.  I hope when the TBD expires it won’t be renewed be voters.

  • Jill July 6, 2018 (10:33 pm)

    I don’t really understand why they need to do this since the bus does not stop at the stops that are not used. Every time I’ve ridden down the 21, it skips a bunch of stops due to no riders for that stop.  But if I were riding at night and they closed my stop, I’d be concerned. But I’m glad that Ida and 35th is not closing as I use that one and it is already several blocks away. 

    • JAlki July 7, 2018 (9:24 am)

      Metro already has a great program called Night Stop from 8 pm – 5 am that allows the bus to stop anywhere (along the route) to let someone off, even if there’s no bus stop. You just let the bus driver know a block ahead of time.

  • dsa July 6, 2018 (11:46 pm)

    Closing an under used or seldom used stop does not seem like it would make much difference.  And as someone pointed out it forces those that did use it to walk further in the winter darkness which is a safety issue.

  • anonyme July 7, 2018 (6:47 am)

    Cam’s comment is perfectly logical, which means it is of no concern to Metro.   I’m reminded of  the extreme service cuts to Arbor Heights.  First, bus drivers began cutting off the loop to take longer breaks.  Next, people started driving because the buses were too irregular.  Then Metro cut service due to the low ridership due to poor service.  I do know one thing: the decisions that Metro makes have nothing whatever to do with the needs of riders.

  • KM July 7, 2018 (7:37 am)

    Perhaps if drivers on 35th would yield to busses signaling to re-enter the road way, as legally required, it would also help improve travel time for transit. Because the lanes are narrow on the northern part of 35th, it can be much harder for them to re-enter traffic safely without both lanes of traffic yielding. Strong arguments for bus bulbs, continuing the road diet, and everyone’s other favorite, traffic enforcement.

  • J July 7, 2018 (10:19 am)

    It’s not that a block is too far, but when you’ve already walked up or down those hills for 10 minutes  it adds up and there arent many other routes near it

  • flimflam July 7, 2018 (2:53 pm)

    huh, i could have sworn metro said they’d cut routes, stops, etc if the last prop WASN’T approved…

  • Va July 11, 2018 (8:42 am)

    So what stops are closed on 5, then?

  • Robin Luethe July 11, 2018 (2:57 pm)

    Interconnecting 5 and 21 means any traffic problems from Shoreline college some 20 miles to West Seattle means a total screwup of schedules. No buses and then 3 in a row are not all that unusual. What would it take to disconnect them? 

    • John Stewart July 13, 2018 (10:20 am)

      Probably more service hour availability (and enough drivers). The old Route 48 went all the way to Golden Gardens Park on its one end and Rainier Beach on the other; it’s now from the U District to Mt. Baker Transit Center. But that took multiple years and service changes to make happen.

Sorry, comment time is over.