Map courtesy of King County Metro
Map courtesy of King County Metro

The good news is that we will get 15-minute service on Metro Transit’s No. 11 East Madison Street bus this September due to Proposition 1 funding.

The bad news is that there is currently a proposal floating around that would remove the No. 11 from Madison between 24th Avenue East and Broadway and move it over to East John Street, then down Olive Way to Bellevue Avenue and then to the Pine/Pike area downtown. Basically, this combines the Nos. 43 and 11 buses, but the No. 11 user will be inconvenienced with transfers or longer walks. 

Hopefully, the following will answer the questions of why the Central Area needs a bus on Madison Street, despite the desire to move the No. 11 over to East John so it can go to the light rail station on Broadway:

•The area at John and Thomas streets already has access via the No. 8 and adding the No. 11 is duplicating existing service. Yes, this requires a transfer, but the users for the No. 8 transfer to the No. 11 today.

The No. 8 already goes to Capitol Hill Station and can be accessed at Martin Luther King Jr. Way or 23rd Avenue, and it’s seamless.

Light rail access is already available for No. 11 users via the Nordstrom station that gives access to all light rail stations today and in the future, including the Capitol Hill Station.

Moving the No. 11 off Madison Street, yes, helps replace the No. 43, but at what cost to the users of the current No. 11?

Replacing the No. 43 with the No. 11 puts a diesel bus in place of an electric bus, and we are getting new electric trolleys. Is this really the direction we want to go?

The proposed No. 11 on East John would be a longer run and more likely to be less reliable than our current unreliable No. 11. It will be faster to transfer to light rail at the Capitol Hill station than to take the bus to Pike/Pine.

The tradeoffs don’t justify the transferring and walking that having no bus on Madison will cause.

Telling No. 11 users who go to Safeway that they can use the one on 15th Avenue is fine, but Group Health is not an alternative for the medical facilities on Pill Hill. By the way, Group Health uses Swedish for its hospital.

Madison Street east of 23rd Avenue is growing with new businesses and housing is being added. Taking the bus off Madison will retard that growth.

Madison Street has been chosen for a Bus Rapid Transit route and redevelopment by its implementation.

Taking the No. 11 off Madison promotes the use of private vehicles.


Stops along the way

The following is a partial list of places that people frequent on the Madison Street corridor today, and this includes a transfer from the No. 8 at Martin Luther King Jr. Way from the No. 8 and at 23rd Avenue from the Nos. 43 and 48. This No. 11 is not just a Madison Park bus; it is a bus used by residents all along the Madison corridor:

•Gyms and Health clubs on or near Madison Street;

•Seattle Arts Academy, which meets at Temple De Hirsch Sinai (1511 E. Pike St.);

•The Bullitt Center (1501 E. Madison St.);

•Planned Parenthood;

•Central Area Chamber of Commerce (2108 E. Madison St.);

•Hearing, Speech & Deafness Center (1621 19th Ave.);

•Three black churches, including Madison Temple Church of God, Mount Zion Baptist and A.M.E. Church, plus a Catholic church;

•Jewish Family Child Service at 16th Avenue East and East Pine Street;

•Retirement homes such as Aegis Living and The Council House;

•Countless residential buildings along East Madison above Safeway, The Co-op, Trader Joe’s and numerous other older facilities;

•Seattle Central College on Broadway;

•Bailey-Boushay House at Martin Luther King Jr. Way;

•Deaf-Blind Services Center (1620 18th Ave.); and

•League of Women Voters at 18th Avenue.

The area at John and Thomas streets does not provide alternatives to most of these places, and in some cases, none. Transferring and waiting for buses at all hours of the day and weekends for employees is not good. Seniors and disabled are hampered by this move, and Access (a Metro-run on-call door-to-door service for the disabled) is not always an alternative.

The bottom line: To be given the No. 11 Madison bus 15-minute service in September and then to tell riders, sorry, but you need to transfer or walk to get your destinations, is very mean-spirited. This is why I say Metro needs to slow this process down and give its latest proposal the light of day by giving it to the community before giving it to the Metropolitan King County Council.


What the numbers say

The following unscientific poll was run on Nextdoor: Which of the following routes would you prefer for the No. 11 East Madison route?

•A bus that would service Madison shore-to-shore, with a seamless transfer to Pike/Pine buses: 31 percent in favor.

•Keep the bus as-is on its current routing: 27 percent.

•Have the bus turn onto East John at 24th Avenue East to light rail, then to Pike/Pine: 19 percent.

•A two-bus solution with a Madison-to-Madison run, with one running up John Street to light rail, then to Pike/Pine: 13 percent.

•A bus that would service Madison from shore to shore: 10 percent.

Feel free to voice your comments to Metro about this proposed change; contact community relations planner DeAnna Martin at or (206) 477-3935.

REG NEWBECK is a Madison Park resident. To comment on this column, write to