Walking and the pedestrian environment
August 8, 2000
Seattle Wheels - Buses (Seattle)

A review of buses in downtown Seattle.

Seattle's buses are managed by King County Metro. Most routes in the city limits use overhead wires and trolley buses to run on electricity, cutting down on quit a bit of the pollution and noise on city streets. Metro spent a ton of money in the 80s on a bus tunnel to unclog the downtown business district. This was a secret ploy to cheapen future plans for a subway, which seems to have worked. The Sound Transit plan barely passed and is working on an extremely tight budget - if they had to pay full price for this tunnel (King County sold it at a much lower price to them), there's no way it would have worked (well, it's not done yet, so who knows if it even will work). Also running in Seattle are Snohomish County (King's northern neighbor)'s Community Transit buses. Pierce County (King's southern neighbor)'s Pierce Transit may still operate some routes to
Seattle, but most of these are being replaced by Sound Transit buses.

Metro 2 The 2 turning onto Seneca from Union Street.

Metro 7 The 7 heading up East on Pine Street.

Metro 8, trolley wires The 8 about to turn from Denny to Olive. Power lines, phone lines, street lights, and trolley cables and their tension wires have turned this intersection, like many into a web. Travesty to nature or post-modern industrial artwork?

Metro 11An 11 sign on Pike Street.

Metro 11 The 11 heading West on Pike Street.

MEHVAMEHVA MEHVA taking its yearly trip along historic bus routes in historic Metro buses. Currently they are running as 14. Go to my train link page for more information on these buses.

Westlake Station Inside the Westlake bus tunnel station. You can see a wavey Sound Transit bus, a newer blue and yellow Metro, and an older light beige and brown Metro. Metro also has green and yellows, and pinkish beige and brown. That has to be confusing for tourists.

Westlake Station Inside the Westlake bus tunnel station, the buses are headed up towards the Convention Center.

Stewart logjamTough to see, but often there is a log jam of buses on Olive between about 2nd and 7th. Here you can make out their white roofs as they try to make it down the street.

Convention Center StationConvention Center Station from Olive. Farthest north station of the Metro bus tunnel. This station will be demolished in a few years once Sound Transit's Link light rail conversion of the tunnel begins. Light rail will turn from the Westlake Station and head Southeast towards a station at Madison on First Hill. The trains will remain underground from the International District until the University District, which will be the northern terminus for now. Although forward-thinking construction of the bus tunnel included rail lines, they are not insulated properly. Conversion will include replacing the rails, restringing power cables, and raising the height of the platforms. King County retained ownership of this property in the finalized transfer of the tunnel to Sound Transit, and is expected to sell it for good money to a developer. Roughly two blocks long, it has its own onramp to the freeway express lanes, and is a prime property just a block or two from new construction to the South and West, at the edge of the new retail district. Apparently Metro still wants to have an underground bus depot here for buses to layover before making runs in and out of the city. In the foreground buses wait to start their run heading South through the tunnel, then off to destinations in to the South and East (via I-90). In the background, from the left, is the Paramount Theater, a hotel, construction of the Convention Center expansion and an adjacent building of mixed use offices and condos, the Tower Apartments, construction of the new home of the Museum of History and Industry, and the Camlin Hotel.

Bus Lane Ramp leading from Bus Lane, formerly known as 5th Avenue South, which has been converted to use as a bus only road, onto I-5 and I-90.

Ryerson Base Buses sit at Ryerson Base on 4th and Royal Brougham. The picture is a bit dark, but every Metro color scheme is featured.. the green/yellow, blue/yellow, cream/brown, pink cream/brown, etc. It shows how varied the fleet is.

Sound Transit bus A Sound Transit bus drives south on 5th past the International District Station, with Union Station in the background, and the tip of King Street Station's clocktower in the distance.

Posted by Rob Ketcherside at August 8, 2000 6:10 PM
Lost Seattle
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