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Opportunities Identified for Increasing Transit Access in Renton

Summary

The Renton Access to Transit Study, conducted by King County Metro in conjunction with the City of Renton, was requested by King County Councilmember and Mobility & Environment Committee Chair Dave Upthegrove to determine ways to improve access to public transit in Renton.

Story

A study released on Tuesday identified potential future public transit investments in infrastructure and service expansions throughout the city of Renton.

The Renton Access to Transit Study, conducted by King County Metro in conjunction with the City of Renton, was requested by King County Councilmember and Mobility & Environment Committee Chair Dave Upthegrove to determine ways to improve access to public transit in Renton.

“In order to better serve Renton with more accessible transportation options, we first needed to understand the city’s transportation needs,” said Councilmember Upthegrove. “I look forward to the potential impacts of the identified investments to deliver increased transportation services and create a more robust transit system in Renton,” he added.

“The City of Renton looks forward to working in partnership with King County on the findings outlined in this study to improve transit access for our residents.  We appreciate Councilmember Upthegrove for advocating for and elevating Renton’s transit needs,” said Renton Mayor Denis Law.

The study established six key geographical areas in Renton in need of additional transit services, and outlined specific strategies for meeting short and long-term transit needs in each area:

  • Rainer and Grady – recommended near-term investment in a dedicated bus lane along Rainier Avenue from Grady to Seventh Street.
  • Sunset/Highlands – recommended long-term investment in construction of speed humps or diverters, markings, and signage on Kirkland Avenue from NE Sunset to NE 16th Street.
  • Interstate 405/NE 44th Street – recommended redesign of the I-405 highway interchange bridge as part of the Sound Transit Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) program, including the integration of shared use lanes and pedestrian crossings.
  • Southport Area – recommended long-term investments in a shared roadway and bike boxes at the intersection of Houser Way and Lake Washington Boulevard to increase access to the waterfront and future water taxi to South Lake Union.
  • Downtown Core – recommended long-term investment in integration of bike lanes along Burnett Avenue between Second Avenue and Third Avenue.
  • Valley Industrial Area – recommended construction of shared roadway or bike lanes along East Valley Road to help with first/last mile needs of industrial employment district.

The study also emphasized that improvements and additions to different types of transportation services must be informed by an expected expansion of ridership in Renton over the next several years.

Census Bureau data referenced in the study showed that nearly 10,000 Renton residents used transit as a primary mode of transportation in 2017, and data from the Puget Sound Regional Council predicted that in 2025, an average of 346,208 weekday trips will start in Renton. Of those, 19% are expected to end at key destinations throughout the greater region.

The study included a prioritized list of future investments in key areas of Renton, specific mechanisms for first/last mile connections, and recommendations for increased transit services throughout the area. Recommendations included augmenting services for the already-planned RapidRide I Line, the Sound Transit Stride bus rapid transit line and Bus Route 906. It also outlined possible paths to funding future improvements.

“King County Metro is constantly striving to expand and improve access to public transportation in the areas of King County that need it most, and we look forward to leveraging this report’s findings to do so. We are excited to work in partnership with the Renton community to help meet its transit needs,” said Rob Gannon, General Manager of King County Metro.

The study reiterates Metro’s broader goal to prioritize access and service improvements for historically disadvantaged and/or underserved populations, including communities of color, people with disabilities, low-income households and others.
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