WEST SEATTLE BRIDGE CLOSURE: Metro goes public with ‘transit action plan’

In recent weeks, Metro has previewed the “action plan” it’s been working on for West Seattle, post-bridge closure. The plan, which details both what’s been done and what’s ahead, has just gone public. See it in its entirety here or below:

Some of what’s in it has been discussed already at meetings we’ve covered – but if you want every single detail of what’s been discussed and what’s ahead, plus costs and even communication plans, this is your document. This includes the Water Taxi as well as buses and vanpools.

A few excerpts – first, its origins:

A Metro Core team (“WSB Response Team”) was formed immediately following notice of the West Seattle Bridge closure to develop a Metro Transit Action Plan (Plan), which would address the Peninsula’s mobility needs. The closure affected all WS routes that used the West Seattle Bridge (RapidRide C Line, 21, 21X, 37, 50, 55, 56, 57, 116, 118, 119, 120, 125) plus those routes that use the 1st Avenue South/ South Park Bridges (60, 113, 121, 122, 123, 131, 132) which will see extremely congested conditions once traffic approaches pre-COVID levels.

And an overview:

As of the time of publication, Metro and the City of Seattle have identified five high visibility mobility improvements that the two agencies will jointly plan for based on potential availability of third party or other funding. These concepts, including detailed descriptions, annual costs, and transportation benefit will be developed over the course of summer 2020 and would be ready to implement upon a return of demand and identification of funding.

High-Visibility mobility service improvements:

1. Water Taxi service upgrades: up to two boats all-day (peak, off peak, weekend) year round, roughly corresponding to the 5am-9pm daily period when SOVs are not allowed on the low bridge
2. Route 773/775 Water Taxi shuttle improvements: new route(s) and/or substantially increased frequency
3. RapidRide C Line service frequency upgrades: add additional peak and off peak trips
4. All day fixed route service between Admiral and Downtown: such as and all day Route 56, which historically provided this all-day service until 2012)
5. Route 50 service frequency upgrades: add additional peak and off peak trips as far east as Sodo Station

Note that phrase “third-party funding.” The plan refers to the expiring Seattle Transportation Benefit District funding, but it should be noted that a new 6-year STBD funding plan to pay for “extra” Metro service, including some money earmarked for West Seattle, is going to city voters in November.

The ‘action plan” also addresses the current pandemic-specfic challenges:

Currently Metro monitors passenger loads daily and identifies trends in which routes and trips experience crowding beyond COVID-based thresholds. Overcrowding is tracked using per vehicle-based crowding thresholds for social distancing (e.g. 12 passengers on 40’, and 18 passengers on 60’ coaches). Service Development and other teams support the effort. Additional trips are then deployed as needed, and as possible within workforce and budget constraints. The typical turnaround is approximately one week, but we have the ability to move faster if needed, and because these added trips are not published publicly, we do not need to add extra time for customer communications. In general this turnaround time is needed to distinguish between trends and one-off occurrences. We will be further identifying resources available in Metro’s upcoming 2021/2022 budget, but do currently have the ability to add service to quickly meet demand.

The plan also addresses routing alternatives that would be needed if the low bridge was out of commission for either bridge-repair logistics or high-bridge collapse. And it recaps Metro’s plans to expand some service in September:

Table 4 highlights Metro’s fixed route service plan beginning with the September 2020 service change, on Monday, September 21. Most all-day route in West Seattle will operate without temporary reductions or suspensions. Due to reduced funding from the Seattle Transportation Benefit District (STBD), many routes will operate at reduced service levels compared to pre-COVID levels. Peak period service that is currently suspended will resume at reduced service levels due to reduced STBD funding on the following routes:
• Admiral, Alaska Junction, Genesee Hill, Alki (55, 56, 57)

Service suspensions will continue on several West Seattle routes:
• Peak-only downtown-bound Vashon and Fauntleroy service (116, 118 Express, 119 Express)
• Peak-only Alki bus service (37)
• Route 22 service in Arbor Heights, Gatewood, and Alaska Junction (intra-West Seattle)

Additional supplemental service will be available to deploy and quickly respond to crowding issues on West Seattle service as it arises.

One more excerpt of interest – Metro has four park-and-ride lots in West Seattle now but has pondered expanding:

Steps could be taken to expand park & ride capacity serving West Seattle transit routes by:
• Reconfiguring existing lots to yield more spaces. In particular, additional parking spaces could be striped at the Spokane Street park & ride
• Leasing additional parking capacity, concentrated around major bus transfer points. An initial analysis identified up to 93 locations throughout West Seattle that could be appropriate for leasing, including lots serving commercial properties, churches, public parks and residential complexes. This analysis identified up to:
o 550 spaces within walking distance of Seacrest Park
o 375 spaces within walking distance of bus stops at the Admiral Junction
o 430 spaces within walking distance of bus stops at the Alaska Junction
o 130 spaces within walking distance of bus stops at the Morgan Junction
o 315 spaces within walking distance of bus stops and the ferry dock at Fauntleroy
o 1200 spaces within walking distance of bus stops at Westwood Village
• Partnering with technology platforms that match drivers with reserved parking spaces. Metro’s Innovative Mobility group is in talks with Spot Hero and other companies that allow travelers to reserve and pay for parking spaces operated by private owners ranging from retailers to residential property managers. This model could be adapted to help travelers access transit, and could potentially be used to offer TDM incentives

A lot of this is “could” rather than “will,” not just because of funding, but also because they’re just not sure what’ll happen with ridership – many employers, private and public, have extended teleworking until at least the start of next year.

41 Replies to "WEST SEATTLE BRIDGE CLOSURE: Metro goes public with 'transit action plan'"

  • RH August 4, 2020 (12:39 pm)

    Am I the only one who thinks it’s pitiful that no additions have been added to Route 120?  That route, which travels through the poorer neighborhoods of WS/WC and is used primarily by essential employees who are racially diverse, is always overcrowded during the peak hours when I ride.  Despite the route schedule posted at Metro the 120 runs every 15 – 25 minutes on a good day.  The RapidRide C, which travels the much more affluent areas of WS and almost never fills to capacity when I’m taking it during peak hours, runs every 6 – 12 minutes.  RapidRide C ridership is mostly white.Increasing the number of trips on RapidRide C instead of Route 120 seems totally insane to me.   This is so dumb.

    • 120rider August 4, 2020 (3:55 pm)

      very much agree. the 120 frequently gets the shaft.

    • JRR August 4, 2020 (6:45 pm)

      The 120 is one of the highest ridership routes in the city. I realize it’s about to maybe go “rapid” ride, but this ongoing ignoring of Delridge and South Delridge recapitulates all historical marginalization. Gross.

    • Matt P August 4, 2020 (6:53 pm)

      I don’t disagree with the 120 needing to be more frequent, but I do disagree with the C not being full. Back before the pandemic when I rode every day, it was always packed in the mornings even in the 9-10 am hour, standing room only by the last stop in West Seattle, and packed from 3:30 pm to 7:00 pm standing room only by the last stop in downtown and usually 3 or 4 stops before that.  Maybe ridership is lighter now, but won’t be if the pandemic ever relents.

    • East Coast Cynic August 4, 2020 (7:14 pm)

      Those unfilled C buses are probably much faster with so many of those IT employees that normally commute to SLU now working from home.

    • K8 August 5, 2020 (7:07 am)

      My C-line bus has been over capacity at least twice since I started riding it again. People standing and sitting on the social distancing signs. It is most full coming home from Downtown just after 5pm

  • SuperAwesome August 4, 2020 (12:39 pm)

    Wouldn’t it be helpful to have park and ride lots on the OTHER side of the bridge too? In other words, I could leave my car in Sodo, hop on a bus that takes me home, the next morning take the bus back to my car and finish the remainder of my commute, etc in my car.  I think this might be a helpful option for people who commute to the eastside, or need a car for their job, etc.

    • Beth W August 4, 2020 (3:14 pm)

      I completely agree with you!  I would cheerfully catch a bus across if there was a secure place to leave my car overnight on the SODO side.

    • West Seattle Mad Sci Guy August 4, 2020 (9:42 pm)

      Am I nuts or aren’t there already park and rides under the bridge network on the other side of the bridge? I ride my bike by them all the time. I forget the name of the bus that has stops there but there are stops. 

      • JES August 5, 2020 (6:35 am)

        Yes on Spokane, it’s addressed in the plan above.

        • SuperAwesome August 7, 2020 (12:06 pm)

          But isn’t the Spoke Street Park and Ride (reference above) on the West Seattle side of the bridge? I thought the Spokane lot was right at the Admiral entrance to the bridge. If there are Sodo area park and rides served by West Seattle buses on the regular, I would be thrilled to know if they could accommodate overnight parking.  That would be a great option for our family.

  • anonyme August 4, 2020 (12:41 pm)

    It’s become very clear that in order to remain living in Seattle I will need to purchase two items: a car and a gun.  I’ve never owned either, nor wanted to.  This plan promises almost nothing in terms of increased service, just plenty of hints at higher taxes.  Thanks, Seattle –  good job at making this town more unlivable every day.  In case it isn’t obvious, I’ll be voting NO on your levy.

    • JES August 5, 2020 (6:37 am)

      LOL why do you need a gun?? What are you scared of? That’s your right, if you want to buy one. Not sure what you’re telling us for. 

  • Sillygoose August 4, 2020 (12:54 pm)

    130 Spaces within walking distance in the Morgan Junction!!!  Where are these spaces and who currently owns them?

  • Jort August 4, 2020 (1:26 pm)

    In order for transit to be effective, SDOT must make changes to the approaches to the lower Spokane Street bridge. Where two lanes of travel exist, one shall become Bus Only and when only one lane exists, then there shall be no cars at all, period, no argument, and violators have their cars impounded and destroyed. We need more people taking the bus, and that happens when it’s better and easier than driving. Trying to accommodate selfish, “I’m more important than the greater good” car drivers is a futile endeavor. The city must begin reclaiming public streets for public benefit and make the choice to drive in and out of West Seattle the most difficult, expensive, awful experience possible. People will choose the bus instead.

    • West Seattle Hipster August 4, 2020 (2:48 pm)

      “Impounded and destroyed”?  Pretty irrational overreaction, ya think?

    • BW August 4, 2020 (3:16 pm)

      You, sir, are sadly out of touch and people are sick of your rhetoric. 

    • Anne August 4, 2020 (4:08 pm)

      No bus until vaccine -that works. Even then- most will still be driving-  no matter how much you rant about bus & bikes. Maybe someday the only folks living in WS will be the able bodied-that can easily bike where they want to go.Or perhaps all the hills will go away too- making biking & walking to bus stops easier for the  rest of us. Or maybe busses will actually take you where you need to go without multiple transfers. WS is a community of seniors, families ,couples, singles, we also have folks with disabilities living here.Bussing & biking just flat out isn’t going to work for everyone.

      • bill August 4, 2020 (9:27 pm)

        For the duration of the loss of seven freeway lanes it will be the car drivers ranting about their lost nirvana like Lear cursing the storm. Although if you want a constructive option I suggest you start practicing walking and biking. Maybe your health will improve and you can leave your car at home, making room on the roads for those with genuine impairments. (Mere inconvenience is not an impairment or handicap.)

        • Cari August 4, 2020 (10:43 pm)

          100k people a day used the bridge. Do we really have the infrastructure to accommodate, say, 40k new bicyclists a day on our roads?  In downtown Seattle?

      • KM August 4, 2020 (10:28 pm)

        I appreciate your point about keeping bus stop accessible to everyone. However, implying that people with disabilities cannot bike is both ableist and incorrect. A variety of solutions work for a variety of people. And we’re not even considering the personal finance side of this issue. As much as people think biking is for elitist men, they often forget that car ownership costs on average hundreds of dollars a month. 

    • Duffy August 4, 2020 (6:10 pm)

      What rock do you live under? You want bus ridership to go UP right now? Soooo, take the bus and chance dying or drive and not catch COVID? Please Jort, run for mayor.

    • Sarah August 4, 2020 (6:17 pm)

      I don’t think I’m more important than the greater good; I’m honestly just sick of getting harassed and threatened on the bus–and at bus stops–for no reason. The route doesn’t seem to matter, the time of day doesn’t seem to matter, visible headphones don’t make a difference… And it’s not like other riders (let alone a driver) ever step in. Of course, most bus enthusiasts (male) I’ve discussed this with just shrug it off–a small price to pay for the greater good. 

      • JES August 5, 2020 (8:45 am)

        What bus do you take? Have you reported to metro? I’m a woman who commutes daily by bus (C line- pre-covid) and uses other routes for misc trips and I am never harassed. I’m sorry you’re experiencing this and I hope you report each incident to Metro.

  • wetone August 4, 2020 (1:58 pm)

    Where are they finding 805 parking spaces in junction and admiral areas ? Taking street parking, parking lots and what else ? Should be big help to area businesses and neighborhoods……. I guess no one has cars moving into 1000+ new bedrooms being built in these areas ;)

    • Tsurly August 4, 2020 (7:47 pm)

      Are you implying that street parking around the junction and in admiral is only for people who live there?

      • Joe Z August 4, 2020 (9:53 pm)

        There are easily that many parking spots in the underground garages that almost never get used. The top garage at the QFC never has more than a dozen cars and there are at least a hundred spots in there. Ive never seen the garage under the Whole Foods more than 20% full either. 

        • wetone August 5, 2020 (11:16 am)

          Yes there are many parking spots not being used, but they are privately owned. Get ready to pay for those spots…. and the 315 spots by ferry ? where are those ?  taking parking away from Parks ?  very unrealistic numbers, but that’s Seattle.

        • wetone August 5, 2020 (4:21 pm)

          Your right there is open parking in many of the underground parking garages, but there privately owned.  Do they plan on taken the parking lots over ? There will be costs to use those spots whether a tax break for owners of property or fees to park. Also where are the 315 parking spots at Fauntleroy ferry ? do they plan on taking parking from Lincoln and other area parks or Church ?  If Metro and SDOT want us to believe their numbers show us where these spots are. Throwing these big numbers out are no different than what city council is doing…….

  • CarDriver August 4, 2020 (2:57 pm)

    Golly Jort. Does this mean you’ve sold YOUR car???? 

  • helpermonkey August 4, 2020 (3:01 pm)

    most mornings, I end up behind two C-line buses, one right in front of the other with another one close behind me. The 2nd and 3rd buses don’t even pick anyone up because the first one has. So much fun to get stuck behind/between all those empty buses in the crosswalk at California/Fauntleroy every morning. yeah, definitely need more C-line buses running. / s 

    • KM August 4, 2020 (10:35 pm)

      Take responsibility for your driving wait until you can proceed through the intersection legally. Pretty easy fix.

  • KLG August 4, 2020 (3:55 pm)

    the fact that there us a plan in place for IF the main high bridge collapses is very real.  But, what is directly below the high bridge?  The lower bridge.  So…why would we have a plan to put even more people on the lower bridge and in the high bridge’s vicinity at all, when there is a possibility for it to collapse???  Do we just not care about people getting killed by a bridge collapse?  Or are we just ok with gambling and hoping its not you on the lower bridge when the upper bridge comes down?There needs to be a solid plan to make SURE the high bridge cannot collapse under its own weight while  Seattle takes 2 years to figure out what to do (which in my opinion is ludicrous for the people who live in West Seattle and actually want to leave at all.).We should be figuring out how to take down at least the parts of the high bridge that are unsafe, getting engineers to make a plan to then stabilize what is left so that we can travel safely below it.I’ve talked to architects. They will not be traveling under the high bridge, and for good reason.  I will be taking their advice.  

    • WSB August 4, 2020 (4:16 pm)

      SDOT has said it does not believe the high bridge is in imminent risk of collapse.

    • AB83 August 4, 2020 (4:34 pm)

      Yeah and what about the people trying to exit Harbor Island the only access road off of Harbor Island is directly under the West Seattle Bridge

  • Milt August 4, 2020 (5:51 pm)

    So it looks like route 22 riders are being left out in the cold again.  This petition: http://chng.it/dNJXxXWMdh
    could use a few more signers.

  • 1994 August 4, 2020 (10:27 pm)

    SDOT does it again with numbers that seem out of touch and unattainable:1200 spaces within walking distance of bus stops at Westwood Village

    • WSB August 4, 2020 (10:59 pm)

      This is not an SDOT document.
      Meantime, Westwood Village alone has more spaces than that and tons of empty storefronts.

  • anonyme August 5, 2020 (6:54 am)

    The 22 is the only bus serving Arbor Heights (and Gatewood) off-peak and weekends.  Why does Metro think it’s OK to deprive entire neighborhoods of their only transit option in order to add extra service to well-covered areas?  The focus is always 100% on high ridership, rather than high need.  Where is the balance or fairness in that equation?  It seems like running an hourly shuttle would be more cost-effective than forcing a number of people onto one-at-a-time paratransit, which still leaves a lot of people completely stranded.  If someone at Metro were using some common sense, they could easily run one of the many #21 buses that line up at Westwood through Arbor Heights as they used to do, thus making efficient use of time and resources.

  • SillyGoose August 5, 2020 (1:00 pm)

    @ Jort yeah I think I’ll hop on the bus and take it to Crystal Mountain to ski and go hiking oh and ride it for hours to WSU to visit my student! You are so out of touch with reality.  We all live in this area due to so much outdoor recreation being within reach of a short drive.  Not to mention the dozens of inatives that are on the back of car tab tax and fuel taxes.  If everyone got out of their cars many bonds along with the general fund would be defunked!!  

  • anonyme August 5, 2020 (4:05 pm)

    The 22 is the only bus serving Arbor Heights (and Gatewood) off-peak and
    weekends.  Why does Metro think it’s OK to deprive entire neighborhoods
    of their only transit option in order to add extra service to
    well-covered areas?  The focus is always 100% on high ridership, rather
    than high need.  Where is the balance or fairness in that equation?  It
    seems like running an hourly shuttle would be more cost-effective than
    forcing a number of people onto one-at-a-time paratransit, which still
    leaves a lot of people completely stranded.  If someone at Metro were
    using some common sense, they could easily run one of the many #21 buses
    that line up at Westwood through Arbor Heights as they used to do, thus
    making efficient use of time and resources.

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