Bye Bye 372


John Drew

Prior blog posts have compared Sound Transit’s expected 2-minute improvement in bus travel time with the larger question of how much time it will take for residents to actually get to the places they need to get to. After all, it’s unlikely that many riders from Bothell, Kenmore, Lake Forest Park, and Shoreline will have the 148th Light Rail Station as their ultimate destination.

Sound Transit did acknowledge that retiring the 522 ST Express that ran all the way downtown “requires an adjustment from our riders. For many people, the change does add about 10 minutes to the trip.” Downtown is an important destination for Northshore riders, but less so for working commuters post COVID. ST has lately focused more on benefits to those attending sporting events and concerts. These two-seat rides will clearly take longer walking from the bus stop to the light rail station and waiting for the train.

But a larger contingent of students, faculty, and staff use the Metro 372 to get to UW. Weekday ridership on the 372 is over three-times that of the 522.

I used to work at UW and would often take the Metro 372 bus, picking it up at 165th and getting off right outside my office at my central Seattle Campus building. It was slightly faster than driving. I was surprised when a colleague who still works at UW and takes the 372 was unaware of the proposed 2025 changes (Metro Finalizes Lynnwood Link Bus Restructure for This Fall - The Urbanist). She was really unhappy with the prospect of taking the 522 to the 148th station, then taking the light rail to either U District station or UW Stadium station. Aside from the extra time of transferring and waiting for the light rail, it’s at least a 15-minute additional walk from either UW light rail station to her office. An option would be transfer to the new 72 at 145th and 30th but that requires someone who wants to travel straight north/south to make a 5-block detour and pass through the Bothell Way/145th intersection twice. Of course, waiting for the 72 would take some additional time. Neither is an appealing replacement for the current predictable one-seat ride.

This change effectively disconnects the Lake City neighborhood from LFP since buses will no longer continue from Bothell Way to Lake City Way.

There is also a reduction in frequency planned - currently Metro and ST operate a combined eight buses/hour on weekdays. Under their proposals, Metro won't run any daytime buses, and ST will run 6/hour. So that's effectively a 25% reduction in buses along Bothell Way.

Finally, the northbound bus stop at Bothell Way and 145th will be closed. Both stops at 170th will also be closed, though there will be expanded stops about a block away.

All of this will likely tip the time/convenience scale for many 372 riders in favor of driving, adding more congestion to Bothell Way.

A challenge is that both Metro and Sound Transit have approved these plans. So, it's not simply a matter of getting them to change their planning but getting them to actually revisit a plan they already approved. But just as there is still hope for Sound Transit to revise their LFP bus lane design, Metro could revisit this plan.

If you would like to advocate for preservation of the current 372, The King County Regional Transit Committee accepts comments on plans at - Regional Transit Committee - King County, Washington, or respond to the Metro general comment form.

Don’t Forget - It’s Not Too Late to Influence the Design of the Sound Transit 145th/SR 522 Bus Rapid Transit Project

Sound Transit finally responded to the city’s request from last October.

The good news: they have agreed to shorten the bus stop at 165th and they acknowledge that it is very likely that problematic soil stabilization at fish-bearing Bsche’tla Creek will force Sound Transit to break the continuous bus lane from 153rd to 155th.

The bad news: they continue to say their flawed Google traffic analysis dictates a continues bus lane through the reset of Lake Forest Park. This is in stark contrast to CORE’s more substantial Google traffic analysis that confirms that two bus queue jump lanes at 153rd and 165th will provide nearly the same benefit as ST’s planned continuous dedicated bus lane.

The additional half-mile from 155th to 165th is the most residential, wooded, and steep-sloped segment along the entire eight-mile route of the project. It’s only 8% of the distance yet makes up most of the cost and environmental damage.

Not creating a dedicated lane for the additional half-mile to 165th will mean that the roadway would not have to be shifted to the west requiring 4,500 dump trucks to remove 90,000 tons of dirt, debris, and the removal 391 trees/five acres of canopy. Avoiding the west shift of the highway will allow for the new sidewalk but will avoid most of the construction time, cut-through traffic, pollution, and permanent environmental damage while preserving nearly all the benefits.

Please join us in continuing to advocate for this commonsense solution! Write to the Dow Constantine and the Sound Transit Board. Our city supports our efforts, but please let them know how important it is. If you can, speak at a Sound Transit meeting. It’s not too late!

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