Martin Duke at the Seattle Transit Blog posted a reminder today about Metro Transit Route 50, a historic east-west route between West Seattle and Columbia City. It was proposed to be restored when routes were rearranged for the opening of Link light rail. It didn’t make the cut. But there is a detail of Route 50’s routing that stood out to me today.
Instead of following Avalon Way to Spokane Street and crossing the lower bridge, Route 50 would turn down Genesee Street to Delridge Way, then travel north to Spokane. This slight re-route down is an important concept, as Derek at the Delridge Grassroots Leadership Blog noted. There would be a minor increase in travel time, for a vast improvement in connectivity. The North Delridge neighborhood would be directly connected to the Junction, with its supermarkets and wide variety of shops. Residents from further south on Delridge could transfer to the Junction at shared stops between the 120, 125 and 50. The Delridge corridor is a virtual retail desert, and transit users in the area find it easier to travel downtown for basic services than to go up to the West Seattle Junction. They are only one mile apart, but the steep hill and lack of transit routing results in an extreme level of disconnection.
In fact, I have previously dreamed about this same routing for the 22 between the West Seattle Junction and downtown. I was unsure whether Metro buses could handle Genesee Street’s steep slope, but it must be possible if it made it into Metro’s proposed routing. Regardless of what happens with Route 50, this Delridge routing should be implemented on Route 22 when routes are revised for Rapid Ride “C.”