Metro proposes changes to Queen Anne bus routes

Changes could be coming as soon as next March to a pair of bus routes that serve Queen Anne.

King County Metro is accepting comments through June 24 on a set of proposed adjustments to the routes 3 and 4, that the department says would be made in an effort to improve connections between downtown Seattle, Queen Anne, and Seattle Pacific University (SPU).

Currently, both routes come from downtown, and reach Boston Street before splitting off into separate neighborhood paths for their final stops.

Under the proposal those portions would be discontinued — affecting about 1 percent (120 to 135 people) of the total daily ridership on the routes — and would instead travel along the same path as the Route 13 between SPU and Queen Anne Avenue North at West Boston Street.

This would increase the number of trips between downtown and SPU from two to six per hour. Meanwhile, those that had used the stops slated for deletion would have to walk anywhere from one to six blocks to access the nearest route.

Metro spokesperson Jeff Switzer said in an email that the planning concept for these changes had existed for many years, but the lack of a trolley wire to allow buses to pass each other keep it from being feasible.

SPU, Metro, and the Seattle Department of Transportation recently finished the construction process for that second wire, and a layover space for buses near Third Avenue West and West Nickerson Street.

Neighborhood residents have previously voiced their concerns about idling diesel buses along both routes, during times (like weekends) when Metro operates them in place of electric trolley buses along the route.

Switzer said this is a common problem when routes have layover or terminal locations in residential areas.

“Thus, Metro prefers to locate route layovers near commercial or nonresidential areas when that is possible,” Switzer said. “That also aligns with our need to provide operators with adequate comfort station and restroom facilities, which are not available in residential areas.”

While he didn’t have a formal estimate, Switzer said the expectation is for ridership to increase because of the improved frequency along Third Avenue West, and the ability for riders to then transfer to the University District on the routes 31 or 32.

The changes are pending approval from the King County Council.

Metro representatives will be at the July 6 Queen Anne Community Council meeting at Queen Anne Manor (100 Crockett St.).

For questions on the changes, or to submit your comments, contact Metro’s Supervisor of Service Planning Katie Chalmers at, or call (206) 477-5869.