Here I am en route out to check out Deadpool 2, or more specifically DP2 cuz… well, yeah. My trip consists of the 40, then the 550, then the 241 out to Factoria (don’t ask, free tickets and Deadpool make a long strange transit adventure totally worth it!). Needless to say, a lot of transfers and plenty of time to get some writing done!
I walked from home to the bus stop, and noticed almost immediately it looks like the 75th & 24th street crossing is going to get some improvements. The crossing really needs some love and care, as 24th is kind of a car sewer of motorists speeding at 75th threatening the lives of pedestrians and other auto users.
The 40 rode along it’s routinely torturously bumpy route. Almost throwing the phone from my hands several times as I attempted to read. Nothing new though, as Westlake & Leary both have some pretty wretched pavement and respectively evil pot holes! As we neared the intersection of Mercer we could see – as is always the case – the cluster fuck that is Mercer. The design on that street literally limits the movement of the greatest number of people in favor of the least number of people moving. In other words it expedites the few coming on and off the interstate while the pedestrians, cyclists, and transit users. The non-Mercer street traffic number many times greater then the motorists funneling on and off the interstates via Mercer, and by proxy of this priority hinder the movement of local north south traffic.
Flip over to the specific bus issue, which has a partial fix in place. The 40 has a very small singular block slip lane in plane now but often can’t even get to it. The causes are numerous, from excess traffic in the turn lane, to people blocking the slip lane that turn around it for the general purpose lane, and other miscenllaneous idiocy.
Basically the traffic usually backs up along Westlake in the turn lane, and what we ought to do – especially since there is almost zero direct south bound traffic in the straight general purpose travel lanes, add the first left hand turn lane as a “bus only” turn lane and stripe it back about 400 ft. Limit the right turning and south bound traffic to only the right most lane. The traffic isn’t so much that being down to one lane would even cause a problem. But by creating the second left hand turn lane for the bus it’d enable the 40 route buses to not clump and to more easily move through and not delay their thousands of daily riders!
With that fixed, I kid you not it would knock of 4-12 minutes per trip during rush hour for the 40 route buses! A major improvement, and it would keep the buses out of the general purpose lane blocking up the single occupant vehicle drivers! Gasp, win for everybody!
The Sound Transit 550 Express
The next bus is the 550. The gooe ole’ 550, departing from the tunnel out over Interstate 90 and up through Bellevue. Albeit I’d get off at the southern park & ride in the Bellevue and board the 241 south bound to the theater. If that doesn’t work out on frequency at rush hour however I’ll just snag a lyft – maybe – considering rush hour maybe it’s just faster to walk! LOL ok, probably not walking but just saying. It’s a soup of car fumes over there at this hour.
The 550 overall just works seamlessly. The only way it’ll get better is when it becomes the LINK in ~3 years or so. Then it’ll be light rail and it’ll be faster, smoother, and generally all around more reliable and just better. In between that time, I suppose next year sometime the 550 will get pushed to the surface, or even just Pioneer Square are only which is gonna make it a serious pain in the ass until the LINK is in place. I’m still not real confident how well that will or won’t work shoveling all those riders onto the existing tunnel LINK from the south end like that. It might, or it might fail spectacularly.
Speaking of LINK
As we exited the Mercer Island Park & Ride one could see the LINK paved segments in the median under construction. It looks like things are moving forward well and as always I’ve got my fingers crossed that it’ll be done early or at least on time! With just a few minutes of departing Mercer we pulled into the Bellevue Park & Ride south of downtown Bellevue. Here one is at the foot of the giant supports for the coming light rail. It is rather impressive even without the tracks or guideway attached!
With that, I’d arrived to see my 249 just pass. I dread anyone trying to catch these infrequent east side buses without the ability to just hail a Lyft or something. At this point I didn’t have 15 or 30 minutes to wait for the next one so I surrendered to getting a Lyft. Fortunately it’s only a 5 minute drive from there. I did also learn, that Factoria has a totally poorly designed very *suburban* road design. It’s horrible. So few people moved, so few cars actually getting anywhere, but of course everything just looks congested. For instance, the movie, with 169 guests watching it let’s out and the roads are congested clear around to every corner of the parking lot as everyone tries to leave.
169 people is vastly less than one light rail train. It’s only 3 or 4 60 foot buses. Better yet, if the area was zoned appropriately and had reasonable biking infrastructure that’s 169 bikes that could literally leave the area at 10x the speed (based on a bike speed of about 20 mph) But instead Factoria has this soup of four wheel pollution makers puttering around at speeds averaging about 2 measly miles per hour trying to exit the parking lot to get to one of the streets light segments to try to get out of the parking lot.
It’ll be nice when the light rail is actually built up all over the place and we can get some of this trash fire zoning fixed and actually put things by transportation instead off centered around giant wasteful, rain water collecting, encroaching parking lots.
But I digress, the movie was great! Definitely go see Deadpool 2! Happy travels!