Michael Ruby submitted this post about the bus route changes in the neighborhood. It is a thorough summary with useful information and a few of his own opinions included. Be sure to complete the linked survey to have your own opinions heard.
Metro has begun planning for the changes that will be made to all of the bus routes through Wallingford when the North Link lightrail stations open in the 3rd quarter of 2021 (July – September) at Brooklyn NE and NE 45th, Roosevelt NE and NE 65th, and Northgate. We’ll summarize it here but if you would like to read all the reports on each of the routes you can find them on the Metro website . Metro would like for you to contribute to the planning by taking a survey. It only takes a few minutes and will give Metro a better idea of our local bus rider’s opinions about the suggested changes.
Route #44 – The Ballard to University bus on N 45th street has been carefully studied by Metro, including detailed measurements of delays at each stop and between the stops. The conclusion was that there really was no need to change the service in Wallingford as the modifications that had already been made to N 45th were effective and there were no other immediate measures that could speed up the buses. Several of our businesses were glad to hear that as removing all the parking on N 45th for a transit-only lane has been talked about. They did find severe problems once the buses get east of I-5 or in downtown Ballard but they’ve recommended no changes that might ameliorate those problems. The one change they have recommended is a change to the west-bound bus route around the Brooklyn NE station. Instead of its current route on NE 45th they propose the bus should turn west on NE 43rd to pick up passengers at the south exit of the lightrail station. It would then turn north on 11th, attempt to cross four lanes of traffic and turn left back on to NE 45th. It is quite doubtful that this will be any improvement over its present stop at NE 45th and Brooklyn NE. There are no proposed changes to days or frequency of service.
Route #26X – This downtown express bus will be discontinued and replaced by two new buses, a #23 and #25. The #25 is most like the #26X except that it would only run weekdays and only during rush hours. For the #26X morning peak hours are about 7 to 8:15 a.m. southbound while evening peak hours are about 4:30 to 6:00 p.m. northbound. We can probably expect something similar for the operating hours for the #25. The routing will be “streamlined”, no longer running south of NE Ravenna on Latona NE to NE 50th and then Latona NE and Thackery NE to N 40th but instead it will stay on Woodlawn N to Kirkwood N, then Meridan N to N 45th. It would turn south on Wallingford N, just like the old #16 did, to N 40th and then along the current #26X route to Aurora N and downtown. We can expect that they will probably restore the #16 stops at N 43rd southbound and N 42nd northbound. Maybe they will replace the bus shelter at Wallingford Playfield. It is not clear that this downtown commuter orientation will serve the students travelling to/from Lincoln High School.
The new #23 will be very much a lightrail station to lightrail station access bus. It will originate at the Roosevelt Station, travel north on NE Ravenna to NE Woodlawn and then on Kirkwood N, to turn east on N 56th, the south on Latona NE and Latona NE and Thackery NE to N 45th, then heading east to the Brooklyn NE lightrail station. There it will have the same crazy loop around NE 43rd on its return route. This route will run weekdays only and on 30 minute frequency.
Route #62 – This route is also being “streamlined” through north Wallingford. Instead of following Woodlawn N it will turn south on NE Latona to NE 56th, then south on Meridian to its current route on 45th to Stone Way N, Fremont and Dexter N to downtown. It will continue its current frequency and service all days of the week.
Routes #31 and #32 – These routes will continue their same frequency and service weekdays and weekends, with no service for the #31 on Sundays. The changes are in the U District with direct service to UW on Stevens Way discontinued and instead the buses will be rerouted on Roosevelt NE and 11th NE to NE 45th to serve the Brooklyn NE lightrail station. From U Way NE they will continue east on NE 45th to University Village and Children’s Hospital. These buses are heavily used by UW students but it is not clear how they will be served in the future as no replacement buses or useful transfer points are proposed. The #67 does travel westbound only on Stevens Way and will connect at the Brooklyn NE lightrail station but this would be a very inefficient transfer.
If you would like to comment on the proposals or make alternative suggestions, you should take the Metro survey.