Dept. of Transportation
Metro Transit Division

King Street Center
201 S Jackson St
Seattle, WA 98104
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Stop Consolidation on 15th Avenue NW

King County Metro and Seattle Transportation (SeaTran) are working together to improve transit operations in this corridor. By more consistently spacing bus stops along 15th Avenue NW patrons should experience a smoother ride, better on-time service and fewer traffic related delays. (See Questions and Answers below.)

The new stop pattern will more closely match Metro Transit's guidelines for bus stop spacing. When the project is complete, on average, the bus stops will be spaced about 950 feet apart instead of 600 feet or inconsistent spacing. Bus stops at the following locations will be marked with bright orange Rider Alert signs prior to being removed in October 2001: (See the Stop Comparison graphic.)



NW 51st St (to be relocated)

NW 53rd St

NW 59th St

NW 59th St

NW 63rd St

NW 63rd St

NW 67th St

NW 67th St

NW 73rd St

NW 73rd St

NW 77th St

NW 77th St

NW 83rd St

NW 83rd St

The remaining bus stops with highest usage will continue to be monitored for the potential addition of transit amenities such as benches, shelters, and litter receptacles.

Questions and Answers

Q. Where is this happening?

A. The initial section is along 15th Avenue NW between NE 85 Street and south to Leary Way. (See the Stop Comparison graphic.) The second stage will be between Leary Way and Downtown Seattle.

Q. Why 15th Avenue NW and why now?

A. 15th Avenue NW is a major transit corridor where traffic volumes and service delays have increased. A number of additional longer term improvements are planned for 15th Avenue NW including signal re-timing and transit lanes. Bus stop consolidation was a part of these improvements. We decided to proceed with the benefits of stop consolidation at this time rather than wait for the other project components.

Q. Why did you select my stop?

A. Stops were selected on the basis of existing ridership. The stops with the lowest use were identified. It worked out that every other stop had much lower ridership and the stops remaining were reasonably spaced.

Q. My stop is going away, where can I catch the bus?

A. The stops immediately to the north or south of stops being removed are still in service.

Q. What's so important about stop spacing?

A. More and closer stops create longer trip times, greater traffic delays for both transit and general traffic, an uncomfortable jerky ride for passengers, higher incidences of rear end collisions and reduced parking for neighborhoods and businesses. Lower numbers of riders using each stop also make it difficult to justify adding improvements such as shelters or benches.

Metro uses general stop spacing guidelines of between 600 to 1200 feet between bus stops. Most stops were installed over 20 years ago when traffic conditions were much different. Some stops on 15th Avenue NW were much less that even the minimum of 600 feet.

In rural areas where there may be no sidewalks and walking conditions are poor stops can be closer together. Where there are good pedestrian facilities and increasing traffic congestion we like to space stops farther apart. Depending on the block size we like to space stops three to five blocks apart or about four to six stops per mile.

Q. Will all the remaining stops get a shelter?

A. A stop is eligible for a shelter if it has more than 50 people boarding there each day. By consolidating riders from many low use stops to a smaller number of higher use stops we can often justify adding shelters, benches and improved lighting. On 15th Avenue NW all but one of the south bound stops will eventually have passenger shelters. Most of the northbound stops do not have enough people getting on to justify a shelter; however, some may get a bench.

We use the number of people getting on the bus to make our decisions because people getting off the bus rarely need a shelter or bench.

Q. There are already too many people using the shelter at my stop. How can I get a bigger one installed?

A. You can make your request now through the Customer Assistance Office.

Q. If a stop serves only a few riders then the bus doesn't have to stop there very often. Why couldn't you just leave it?

A. When driving a bus you have to plan for each stop well in advance. The driver tends to drive at a slower overall speed anticipating stops. If the driver knows there will not be another stop for three - five blocks then the bus can be driven at a higher speed and better match the general traffic flow traveling between the stops.

Q. Will my trip time be a lot faster now?

A. Yes and No. Your trip may seem faster but the actual time savings may vary depending on how far away from your destination you are when you get on. However, you may find your bus stays on schedule better. Saving a few minutes a day may not seem like much but it really adds up and may have a positive impact on our ability to provide on-time service.

Q. Where else are you doing this?

A. Metro is currently looking at a number of high use transit corridors where increased traffic congestion has slowed bus service. We will be considering a variety of options, including better signal timing, express service, signal preemption and stop consolidation.

Recently stop consolidation was implemented on NW Market Street and on N 45th Street, along Aurora Avenue and in downtown Seattle. It is also planned for University Avenue passing through the U-District.

Q. I still want my stop back, to whom do I make the request?

A. Customer Service can take your request to have your stop remain and pass your specific reasons on to the planners. Please do not expect a stop to be initially retained. Our plan is to implement the program and after obtaining operational experience we will then consider modifications.

We would like to get your comments or questions in writing for a permanent record. You may send a letter to:
Metro Customer Assistance Office
201 S. Jackson St.
Seattle, WA 98104

or, send an e-mail.

Rather than considering comments on a one by one basis, the planners want to review all the comments together to see if changes are needed. If you leave your phone number or e-mail address a planner can contact you after reviewing everyone's comments.

Q. I am disabled and will no longer be able to use transit because my stop has been removed. What can I do?

A. We appreciate the difficulty of traveling an extra 100-200 feet to a bus stop. If this increase will actually prevent you from using a bus please contact a Rider Information Specialist at 206-553-3000 or Access service Office at 206-263-3110 to discuss your needs.

Q. Will there be any other changes to the bus service on 15th?

A. Beginning on February 4, 2002, Route 15 Express will begin stopping at the bus stops between NW Market Street and NW 65th Street. This will allow us to better serve central Ballard and is possible because of the reduction in the total number of bus stops. Even with the addition of these stops, the 15 Express will have fewer stops than it does now.

Updated: Aug. 2001