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Monday, February 17, 2014

Taking Bus Rapid Transit to Aurora Village

Posted by on Mon, Feb 17, 2014 at 4:15 PM

Saturday was the first day of business for King County Metro's new RapidRide E Line, with service from downtown Seattle to Aurora Village. Because I'm a transit nerd, and because I've taken most of the other RapidRide lines on their first days of operation*, I rode the line from the beginning to the end on Saturday morning.

Honestly, there's not much new with the E Line. It's the 358 with fewer stops and newer buses (and, as Seattlish pointed out last week, hopefully less racism). The ride Saturday was fast and direct, but Seattle's sad attempt at bus rapid transit doesn't involve dedicated lanes, so when traffic on Aurora gets bad during the week, RapidRide buses will be stuck in traffic, just like everyone else.

There are some factors that King County Metro has gotten right about RapidRide: They're finally putting up big, bright monitors showing arrival times downtown, the fancy bus stops remind commuters that there are transit options out there, and the increased frequency at least increases your chances of getting stuck in traffic sooner than you did with the 358. But until we start getting real transit solutions, our bus "rapid" transit line will continue to be a joke.

* If you're looking for my other accounts:
A Line
B Line
C and D Lines.


Comments (8) RSS

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Gordon Werner 1
Note: currently the Bus Kiosks and One Bus Away list the Rapid Ride "E" line as route 675
Posted by Gordon Werner on February 17, 2014 at 4:25 PM · Report this
Fnarf 2
That's my line. Goes (almost) past my house. Of course there's still no stop near me, and the one I have is a couple of long blocks further away than it was a week ago.

There IS a dedicated bus lane on Aurora now, for part of the way, and that does help (though people drive in it anyways). But man, is it ever not BRT. The stops near me, they're just bus stops. They don't even have proper shelters -- they're crappier shelters than the ones they took away! There's nothing but a bench and a pole -- oh yeah, and a lot of branding.

BRT has three things. They are mandatory. Separate right-of-way, preferably with barriers to keep cars out but a "dedicated" lane is tolerable; gated access; and pay-before-you-enter. Ideally they board from a high platform like a station with extra-large doors, like a train car, so that large numbers of people can get on and off in a hurry. You don't have to collect fares, because you already did at the gate.
Posted by Fnarf on February 17, 2014 at 4:38 PM · Report this
I too want real transit but that racism article was a stretch.
Posted by dkjndmsahksdhksal on February 17, 2014 at 4:47 PM · Report this
Classist sure but racist? what you can't think white people are poor? I know a lot of people who called that bus ghetto but it was a class thing not a race thing.
Posted by dkjndmsahksdhksal on February 17, 2014 at 4:49 PM · Report this
So Fnarf, Paul: what do these buses have that is new? Pay before you enter, entry at both front and rear doors, and a bit of bus-only lane on Aurora? That's it? (Monitors with arrival times don't count. They should be standard.) I'm so depressed.
Posted by chris in dk on February 17, 2014 at 4:55 PM · Report this
@Fnarf, you get a bench ? When they recently redid my bus stop they replaced it with a shelter with no benches inside.

But, came here to say the same thing re: a whole lot of Aurora was restriped with semi-dedicated bus lanes and sculpted left turn lanes as a part of this deal.
Posted by ChefJoe on February 17, 2014 at 5:25 PM · Report this
pdonahue 7
The 358 services the white trash corridor that Was Auora Ave back in the greenriver days; skanky motels, dirty chineese restaurants, the K mart. I hung at the Krispy Kream the other afternoon after riding the 5 into the 'nice' part of shoreline, and got a little flash from the past. Here's hoping the D line brings a whole new generation of kids from Edmonds to the cannabis distro that Auora is zoned for
Posted by pdonahue on February 17, 2014 at 6:28 PM · Report this
south downtown 8
maybe we should do as we did with our watered down Living Building standards - rename it!

instead of Bus Rapid Transit, we can call it Kinder, Gentler Buses (KGB). Or Modestly Faster Buses (MFB). or...
Posted by south downtown on February 18, 2014 at 1:37 PM · Report this

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