As you may have read, on Thursday, August 15, southbound routes heading to West Seattle, Burien, and neighboring areas that normally go through Pioneer Square along First Avenue are being rerouted for one day only. This reroute is to evaluate alternate routing designed to save time for those routes, while still providing a bus stop in the Pioneer Square area. The data we collect will be compared against current routing and last week’s temporary reroute and used to determine options to improve pathways during the “Seattle Squeeze.”
Seattle’s transportation grid, and our interconnected transit system, is strained to the limit. When one thing goes wrong, it slows everyone down. First Avenue suffers from additional challenges, due to increased summer ferry traffic, waterfront construction including viaduct demolition, and more people due to summer crowds. It is a tough pathway for buses and cars alike. It might make sense to move from First Avenue to an alternate route, but first we want to make sure it does not have unintended consequences to other routes, offers the right service, and is an improvement to riders.
WHAT: Temporary reroute of routes 21 Express, 37, 55, 56, 57, 113, 120, 121, 122, 123, 125, & RapidRide C Line for SOUTHBOUND service only. Routes 21 Local, 116, 118 & 119 are not affected. These routes will operate via their regular routing and stops.
WHEN: Thursday, August 15, 2019 from 5:00 AM until Friday, August 16, 2019 at 5:00 AM – 24 hours
WHY: To evaluate alternate routing designed to save time for bus riders to West Seattle, Burien, and neighboring areas
Frequently Asked Questions:
Why does Metro operate a stop at First Avenue South and King Street at all?
Adding a stop for Pioneer Square access was important to riders, who otherwise had to walk up to Columbia Street and Third Avenue, then ride the bus back through downtown to get home. Since adding the stop on First Avenue South and King Street, boarding has been consistent and convenient to riders. In our first evaluation of rerouting onto Fourth Avenue South, we received numerous complaints about the lack of a Pioneer Square stop. Having that option is important to our riders and is an issue of accessibility.
Is the Second Avenue Extension South temporary stop ideal for Pioneer Square access?
Until the permanent pathway on Alaskan Way is available to buses, every pathway is going to have drawbacks. One downside of the Fourth Avenue South route is the lack of stop availability. This temporary reroute gives us the chance to determine if a stop on Second Avenue Extension South works.
Why not keep the temporary reroute on Third Avenue instead of turning down to Second Avenue?
Third Avenue south of Yesler is a single-lane road and is already operating at capacity during the peak periods. Rerouting buses currently using First Avenue to Third Avenue would introduce a new pinch point for bus service, delaying riders on routes bound for West Seattle and Burien as well as riders on routes that already use Third Avenue.
Won’t this route technically be slower?
The Thursday reroute is technically a longer trip in optimal conditions compared to First Avenue. It may also be much more reliable and consistent, keeping buses moving rather than being stuck in gridlock. We will determine if it is a significant increase during our evaluation.
This reroute goes through South Holgate Street. Does that mean buses can be impacted by freight train traffic?
Freight train traffic can delay buses at South Holgate Street, just as increased game traffic would delay buses at Edgar Martinez Drive South. We will consider any impacts of freight train traffic during this temporary reroute as we evaluate options to speed up transit times.
How will this affect Route 113 getting off the West Seattle Bridge?
Route 113 will not be getting on the West Seattle Bridge. It will follow the same path as routes 121, 122, and 123. After those routes leave the temporary stop on the Second Avenue Extension South at South Main Street, they will use Fourth Avenue South, South Holgate Street, and First Avenue South to get onto their regular southbound routing. No other regular stops will be missed.
What about Route 121?
After leaving the temporary stop on the Second Avenue Extension South at South Main Street, Route 121 (and routes 113, 122 and 123) will use Fourth Avenue South, South Holgate Street, and First Avenue South to get onto their regular southbound routing. No other regular stops will be missed.
*Please note: We have updated this post with additional information about routes affected and added answers to questions submitted by riders.*