Council approves report on response to construction along Seattle Waterfront
StoryCommunity outreach in the short term and potential new transit service in the future. These were options presented to the Metropolitan King County Council for transportation in the vicinity of the Seattle waterfront from Belltown south to Pioneer Square.
Today, the Metropolitan King County Council unanimously approved a report from Metro Transit called for by Councilmember Jeanne Kohl-Welles on how the agency will respond to construction of Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement projects and the potential Center City Connector Streetcar.
“I am pleased with the long-term recommendations detailed in this report,” said Kohl-Welles. “This part of Seattle is one of the most heavily trafficked and populated places in King County. I look forward to construction on the Waterfront being completed so that we can deliver a transit solution that delivers for the thousands of tourists who visit our great region, the many successful businesses and employees that drive our economy, and the residents who call this area home.”
This past spring, construction along the waterfront, combined with the City of Seattle’s Center City Connector Streetcar utility relocation on First Avenue, caused Metro Transit to eliminate Route 99, which traveled between Pioneer Square and Belltown along First Avenue and down the hill to Elliott Avenue on Broad Street.
When the Council considered Metro Transit bus service changes to take effect in March 2018, Councilmember Kohl-Welles secured passage of a motion calling on Metro to study and present to the Council a long-term waterfront area transit strategy. The study called for recommendations for ways to ensure that residents, workers, and visitors would have viable access to and from Seattle’s newly renovated waterfront corridor as well as to northwest Belltown.
Following the study’s completion, a free summer shuttle was launched using state-provided mitigation funds for the Viaduct project. This shuttle, operated through a public/private partnership, has been extended to run through Labor Day weekend of 2019. There are no current plans to extend service beyond that date.
“I am committed to working with community members, state transportation and the City of Seattle to find a way to expand shuttle service beyond Labor Day of 2019 to ensure this popular public transit service remains intact until Metro is able to launch a long-term solution,” added Kohl-Welles.
Consulting with a Waterfront Advisory Committee of Belltown, Waterfront and Pioneer Square stakeholders and City of Seattle agencies, Metro produced this report.
Short-term solutions include:
Employer-shared shuttles: Firms could work with various transportation providers, and possibly in partnership with other employers, to ensure transit access for their employees working along the waterfront. Firms would submit proposals to Metro’s Shared Employer Authorization Program.
Enhanced outreach, wayfinding, marketing during Viaduct closure: A joint effort with the Washington State Department of Transportation, the Port of Seattle, and the Seattle Department of Transportation to carry out communications and outreach when the Viaduct is demolished. Metro efforts will include mapping and signage to acquaint riders with construction reroutes and alternate bus stops.
Long-term options that could be implemented after the new Alaskan Way is completed in 2021 include revisions to existing bus routes to provide service on First Avenue. A route using battery buses between the Seattle Center and Alaskan Way is another possibility. Metro’s next steps will include identifying partners to refine and implement these options.