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Metro has decided not to move routes 3 and 4 from James Street to Yesler Way.

In June 2017, we asked stakeholders and the public what they thought about a concept to change the paths of routes 3 and 4 from James Street to Yesler Way, which would have required new infrastructure to support trolley bus operations on the on Yesler pathway.

Use the links below to read more about this concept and the reasons for our decision not to pursue it.

Did you know?

Funding from the Seattle Transportation Benefit District was invested in routes 3 and 4 between 2015 and 2017 to make buses come more often and help them stay on schedule. Learn more 

Learn more

About routes 3 and 4

Routes 3 and 4 serve Seattle Pacific University, Queen Anne, downtown Seattle, First Hill, and Madrona (Route 3) or Judkins Park (Route 4) with electric trolley buses. Together, they provide more than 11,000 rides per day, making them one of the highest-ridership services in Metro’s system. We have heard from customers that the speed and reliability of these routes are top priorities.

Making routes 3 and 4 faster and more reliable would help ensure that our riders are well connected to their communities and important destinations, including human services. Even though the proposed Yesler Way routing was almost a quarter-mile longer than current James Street routing, we considered that it might result in fewer delays and in some cases shorter travel times.

About this decision

We considered this change as a way for the routes to avoid traffic congestion near the James Street I-5 ramps, improving their speed and reliability. About half of those who responded to our survey supported the concept, but many people who work, live, or travel in the immediate area had concerns about how it could affect seniors and people with disabilities and/or low incomes who use stops along this steep section of James Street to reach housing and social and government services.

In addition to receiving public feedback on this concept, we also studied its feasibility and travel-time benefits, as well as the costs of improvements necessary for trolley bus operations along the Yesler Way routing. The study found some potential for travel-time improvement in one direction, but that improvement would not be significant for the routes overall, and would not justify the high cost of new infrastructure to support the change.

Public involvement

We got public feedback on this idea during summer 2017 to help us decide whether to pursue it. We heard from more than 1,300 people through our survey or by email and phone. We also met with community organizations and other stakeholders to get their perspectives.

Many people told us they support the idea to keep buses out of the congestion on James Street and improve their reliability. Many others had concerns about impacts the change could have on seniors and people with low incomes or disabilities who reach housing, social services, and government services from the stops on James Street between Third and Ninth avenues.

Read our outreach summary

To stay informed about Route 3 and/or Route 4 improvements, sign up for Metro alerts (email or text updates).

Contact us

Cindy Chen
Community Relations Planner
Send Cindy an email
or call 206-263-8952

Next steps

Metro will notify community stakeholders and route 3 and 4 riders that we are no longer considering this change.

In the near term, we’ll continue to work with the Seattle Department of Transportation to improve the speed and reliability of these routes. We’ll also coordinate with our partners to explore future large capital improvements to the James Street and I-5 interchange.


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