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Metro and Sound Transit are reaching out to transit riders and communities to get input on the future of bus service in the State Route 520 corridor.

Rider input from earlier this year helped us create two service change concepts. In June, we shared these concepts—plus details about what will happen if we don’t make any changes—and asked again for feedback. Next, we’ll use what we heard to shape a single proposal for changing service, and share that proposal for public input.

Read about the service concepts we shared in June.

Three service options

Option A: no change to service + future traffic conditions

Overview

Keep service as-is between the Eastside and downtown Seattle. When buses leave the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel (as early as next year), Metro Route 255 would use surface streets.

Expected result

Growing congestion throughout the region—and especially in downtown Seattle—would make buses late more often. Bus trips would take longer than they do now. No resources would be available to improve or increase service to meet growing demand, to deliver on customer priorities like better connections or buses that come more often, or to improve bus reliability or crowding.

Details
  • No new connections.
  • Existing levels of service.
  • When buses leave the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel (as soon as next year) , Metro Route 255 would use surface streets and take up to 20 minutes longer to travel through downtown Seattle.
  • Metro routes 252, 257, 268, 277 and 311 and Sound Transit Route 545 would take up to 10 minutes longer to travel their routes during peak commute times.
  • Delays in downtown Seattle would become more severe, and travel times would vary more widely depending on traffic conditions.
  • With longer travel times and increased unreliability and crowding, this no-change concept will cost more than it does today to provide same service.

Option B: connections to Link + more-frequent bus service

Overview

Redirect routes to connect to Link light rail at University of Washington Station, allowing riders to avoid traffic congestion in downtown Seattle. Use the savings to provide more bus trips—so buses come more often and also provide service earlier in the day, later in the day, and on weekends.

Details
  • Metro routes 252, 255, 257, 268, and 311 and Sound Transit Route 545 would go to the University of Washington instead of downtown Seattle. Passengers could transfer to/from light rail for faster, more-reliable trips between the university and downtown Seattle.
  • Metro routes 252, 257 and 311 and Sound Transit Route 542 would provide new direct connections to South Lake Union.
  • Sound Transit Route 540 would provide a new direct connection to Seattle Children’s Hospital.
  • Sound Transit Route 542 would provide a new direct connection between South Kirkland, Overlake, downtown Redmond, and South Lake Union.
  • Sound Transit Route 541 would provide service between the University District and the Green Lake Park & Ride.
  • North of the Totem Lake Transit Center, replace Metro Route 255 with Metro Route 235 to make buses more reliable (on-time).
  • Delete Metro Route 277 because of low ridership. Routes 255 and 540 would provide better connections to the University of Washington.
  • More than 150 new trips would be added each weekday, which would:
    • Increase service during morning and evening peak commute times.
    • Add earlier, later, and midday trips throughout the week.
    • Provide buses that come more often on weekends.

Option C: connections to Link + new and improved connections

Overview

Redirect routes to connect to Link light rail at University of Washington Station, allowing riders to avoid traffic congestion in downtown Seattle. Use the savings to provide new, more-direct connections.

Details
  • Change Metro routes 255 (weekday daytime only) and 268 and Sound Transit Route 545 to go to the University of Washington instead of downtown Seattle. Passengers could transfer to/from light rail for faster, more-reliable trips between the university and downtown Seattle.
  • Metro Route 258 and Sound Transit Route 542 would provide new direct connections to South Lake Union.
  • Sound Transit Route 540 would provide a new direct connection to Seattle Children’s Hospital.
  • Sound Transit Route 541 would provide a new direct connection between South Kirkland and Overlake.
  • Sound Transit Route 541 would provide service between the University District and the Green Lake Park & Ride.
  • North of the Totem Lake Transit Center, replace Metro Route 255 with Metro Route 235 to make buses more reliable (on-time).
  • Delete Metro Route 277 because of low ridership. Routes 255 and 540 would provide better connections to the University of Washington.
  • Around 130 new trips would be added each weekday, which would:
    • Increase service during morning and evening peak commute times.
    • Add earlier, later, and midday trips throughout the week.
    • Provide buses that come more often on weekends.
  • Sound Transit routes 541 and 542 would provide better connections to and from Microsoft and Overlake.
  • New Metro Route 258 would connect the Houghton Park-and-Ride, South Kirkland Park-and-Ride, South Lake Union, and Denny Triangle during peak commute times.
  • Metro routes 252, 257, and 311 would continue to serve the north end of downtown Seattle.
  • At night and on weekends, new Metro Route 256 would provide direct service between Totem Lake, Kirkland, and downtown Seattle.

Changes by community

Read the descriptions below to find out what would change for riders in each community under change options B and C.

Kirkland (Metro routes 255 and 277; Sound Transit routes 540, 541, and 542)

Change Option B
  • Metro Route 255—Change routing to go between University of Washington Station and Totem Lake Transit Center at all times. Buses would come every six minutes in both directions during peak commute times. Buses would come more often on evenings and weekends.
  • Revised Metro Route 235 —Replaces Route 255 north of Totem Lake Transit Center to improve reliability.
  • Metro Route 277—Delete because of low ridership. Routes 255 and 540 would provide better connections to the University of Washington.
  • Sound Transit Route 540—Extend to Seattle Children's Hospital and improve frequency during peak commute hours to every 20 minutes in both directions.
  • Sound Transit Route 542—On the Eastside, provide a new direct connection between the South Kirkland Park-and-Ride, Overlake, downtown Redmond, and South Lake Union.
Benefits
  • Better connections between Kirkland and the University District.
  • Less time spent waiting for buses during peak commute times and evenings and on weekends.
  • Buses will be more reliable (on time).
  • New connection to Seattle Children's Hospital and South Lake Union.
  • New connections to Overlake and Redmond.
Tradeoffs
  • Riders going to or from downtown Seattle will have to transfer between buses and Link service at the University of Washington Station.
  • In downtown Seattle, buses would come less often on nights and weekends, and riders would catch the bus on surface streets instead of in the bus tunnel.
Change Option C
  • Metro Route 255— Change routing to go between University of Washington Station and Totem Lake Transit Center during peak commute times and midday on weekdays. During peak commute times, buses would come every six minutes in both directions.
  • Metro Route 235 —Replaces Route 255 north of Totem Lake Transit Center to improve reliability.
  • New Metro Route 256—Replaces Metro Route 255 in the evening and on weekends and continues to serve downtown Seattle.
  • New Metro Route 258—Provide service during peak commute times between the Houghton Park-and-Ride, South Kirkland Park-and-Ride, South Lake Union, and Denny Triangle.
  • Sound Transit Route 540—Extend to Seattle Children’s Hospital and add more trips during peak commute times so buses come every 20 minutes in both directions.
  • Sound Transit Route 541— On the Eastside, provide a new direct connection between the South Kirkland Park-and-Ride and Overlake and a connection to Greenlake.
  • Metro Route 277—Delete because of low ridership. Routes 255 and 540 would provide better connections to the University of Washington.
Benefits
  • Better connections during the day on weekdays between Kirkland and the University District.
  • Keeps direct service to downtown Seattle on evenings and weekends.
  • Better connection to South Lake Union during peak commute times.
  • New service to the Houghton Park-and-Ride during peak commute times.
  • New connection to Seattle Children’s Hospital.
  • New connections to Overlake.
Tradeoffs
  • To get to/from downtown Seattle, riders would have to transfer between buses and Link service at the University of Washington.
  • In downtown Seattle, buses would come less often on nights and weekends, and riders would catch the bus on surface streets instead of in the downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel.

North Kirkland / Woodinville (Metro routes 252, 257, and 311)

Change Option B
  • Metro routes 252, 257, and 311 would go to the University of Washington, South Lake Union, and Denny Triangle instead of downtown Seattle. They would also have more trips.
  • Metro Route 311 would have additional trips in the later morning and afternoon .
Benefits
  • Better connections between Totem Lake and the University District at all times.
  • Less time spent waiting for buses during peak commute times.
  • Later service in the midday and evening commutes .
  • New connections to South Lake Union.
Tradeoffs
  • To get to/from downtown Seattle, riders would have to transfer between buses and Link service at the University of Washington.
Change Option C
  • Metro routes 252, 257, and 311 would continue to serve the north part of downtown Seattle, but would no longer operate south of Olive Way.
  • The number of trips and departure times would be similar to current service.
Benefits
  • Maintains connections to the north part of downtown Seattle
Tradeoffs
  • Riders heading south of Olive Way need to transfer or walk

Redmond (Metro Route 268; Sound Transit routes 541, 542, and 545)

Change Option B
  • Metro Route 268 would go to the University of Washington instead of downtown Seattle. Passengers could transfer to/from light rail for faster, more-reliable trips between the university and downtown Seattle.
  • Sound Transit Route 541—Add service so buses come every 20 minutes in midday and later into the evening. Extend routing to connect the University of Washington and the Green Lake Park-and-Ride.
  • Sound Transit Route 542—Change routing to provide new direct service to South Lake Union, serve current Route 545 stops in Denny Triangle and on Capitol Hill, and serve the South Kirkland Park-and-Ride. Add trips so buses come more often during midday, and extend service later in the evening.
  • Sound Transit Route 545—Change routing to go to the University of Washington instead of downtown Seattle. During peak commute hours, buses would come every six or seven minutes in both directions. Buses would also come more often during evenings and weekends, with weekend buses coming every 15 minutes.
Benefits
  • Better connections between Redmond and the University of Washington.
  • Better connection to South Lake Union on weekdays.
  • New connections to South Kirkland
  • Buses would come more often during peak commute times and also during evenings and on weekends.
  • Service on Sound Transit routes 541 and 545 would be more reliable because buses would avoid traffic congestion in downtown Seattle and on I-5. 
  • Keeps connections between the Eastside, Denny Triangle, and Capitol Hill.
Tradeoffs
  • To get to/from downtown Seattle, riders would have to transfer between buses and Link service at the University of Washington.
Change Option C
  • Metro Route 268 would go to the University of Washington instead of downtown Seattle. Passengers could transfer to/from light rail for faster, more-reliable trips between the university and downtown Seattle.
  • Sound Transit Route 541—Extend routing from the University District to the Green Lake Park-and-Ride. Add trips during midday so buses will come every 30 minutes, and extend service later in the evening. Provide service to the South Kirkland Park-and-Ride. Provide improved connectionsn to the Microsoft campus via nearby surface streets.
  • Sound Transit Route 542—Change routing to provide new direct service to South Lake Union and serve current Route 545 stops in Denny Triangle and on Capitol Hill. Extend service later in the evening. Provide service to the South Kirkland Park-and-Ride. Provide improved connections to the Microsoft campus via nearby surface streets.
  • Sound Transit Route 545—Change routing to go to the University of Washington instead of downtown Seattle. During peak commute times, buses would come every six to seven minutes in both directions. Buses would also come more often in the evening and on weekends, with weekend buses coming every 15 minutes.
Benefits
  • Better connections between Redmond and the University of Washington.
  • Better connection to South Lake Union on weekdays.
  • New connections to South Kirkland.
  • Buses would come more often in peak commute times, in the evening, and on weekends, so passengers would spend less time waiting.
  • Service on Sound Transit routes 541 and 545 would be more reliable because buses would avoid traffic congestion in downtown Seattle and on I-5. 
  • Keeps Eastside connections to/from Denny Triangle and Capitol Hill.
  • Improved connections to Microsoft campus.
Tradeoffs
  • To get to/from downtown Seattle, riders would have to transfer between buses and Link service at the University of Washington.

Have a Say (phase 2)

We greatly appreciate the thousands of people who have taken the time to share their feedback online or at one of our in-person events, and we look forward to your continued participation in the future.

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Gathering and using public input

In close coordination with Sound Transit, Metro is holding three phases of outreach to gather input about service along the SR-520 corridor. We’ve also created a Sounding Board whose members represent the diverse perspectives of the communities that would be affected by the changes we’re considering.

Public input will help shape Metro’s service change recommendations that will be transmitted to the King County Council in 2018. Proposed changes to Sound Transit service will be considered by the Sound Transit Board of Directors later next year. If approved, Metro and Sound Transit changes could go into effect in 2019.

In March, we asked how people use bus service in this corridor today, what they think about connecting to Link at the University of Washington, and what improvements they’d like to see.

Riders told us they want buses to come more often and at more times of the day, and more ways to get to new areas.

We used that information to develop two service concepts (options B and C above) and shared them with the public and stakeholders in June. Both concepts would redirect several bus routes from downtown Seattle to the University of Washington Link light rail station, connecting riders to fast, frequent, and reliable rides to and from downtown Seattle. The resources saved by not driving the buses through growing downtown congestion could be reinvested back into the routes for other improvements.

More than 2,500 people gave us feedback about the concepts. One key message we heard is that people wanted more information about the transfer environment near the UW Link station. They asked what improvements would be made there, including bus stop locations, shelters, and enhancements that would accommodate increased bus and pedestrian traffic.

We heard a lot of support for Option B, in which more routes would be redirected to the UW light rail station and those routes would also get more new trips.

In summer 2017, we learned that buses will not need to move out of the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel until 2019, due to a change in schedule for the downtown Seattle Convention Center expansion project.

This gives us more time before we’ll need to restructure our service, so Metro and Sound Transit have decided to hold our third phase of public outreach in spring 2018 instead of fall 2017. Any service changes resulting from this effort could be implemented as early as 2019.

Sounding board

To help guide this process, Metro recruited a Sounding Board made up of 21 community members who represent customers and others who use bus service in the SR-520 corridor or are affected by it.

This group advises staff members on our outreach process, helps us understand public feedback, and helps us prioritize and shape the ideas our staff members come up with to address that feedback.

The group’s meetings are open to the public, but public comment is not accepted at the meetings because the group is not a decision-making body.

Timeline

  • Phase 1 outreach: Ask people how they use transit and what improvements they’d like to see. Results shape the service concepts Metro and Sound Transit share in Phase 2.
  • Phase 2 outreach: Ask for feedback on potential service concepts for the SR-520 corridor to help shape the draft proposal Metro and Sound Transit share in Phase 3.
  • Phase 3 outreach: Get feedback on a draft service proposal to help finalize a recommendation for Metro to present to the King County Council and Sound Transit to present to its Board of Directors.
  • The Sound Transit Board of Directors considers proposed changes to Sound Transit service for possible adoption.

    The King County Council reviews Metro’s recommendation for possible adoption.
  • If approved by the King County Council and Sound Transit Board of Directors, recommended service changes can be made as early as 2019.

Contact us

If you have questions please contact Tristan Cook:

  206-477-3842    Email 
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