East Link Connections
East Link Connections is a coordinated, co-led process for improving transit connections throughout the Eastside as Link light rail service expands through 2024.
In this section
About the project
The purpose of the project is to implement a coordinated regional transit network on the Eastside that gets people where they need and want to go.
By 2024, Sound Transit will open 12 new light rail stations connecting downtown Seattle and the Eastside.
King County Metro and Sound Transit created East Link Connections, a mobility project on King County’s Eastside to implement a coordinated regional transit network.
East Link Connections will deliver an updated Metro and Sound Transit Express bus and mobility network, integrated with Sound Transit’s new 2 Line linking Seattle, Mercer Island, Bellevue, Spring District and Overlake in 2023 and Redmond in 2024.
Implementation of the approved East Link Connections updated mobility network will begin in 2023 in conjunction with the opening of the 2 Line. Information about the construction of the 2 Line can be found on Sound Transit’s East Link website.
Below are maps illustrating how the buses in this project currently move in and out of the area.
East Link Connections Phase 1 East Study Area and Routes
East Link Connections Phase 1 West Study Area and Routes
- Improve mobility for priority populations, as defined by Metro’s Mobility Framework, including un(der)served populations
- Equitably inform, engage, and empower current and potential customers
- Deliver integrated service that responds to Link expansion
- Minimize duplication of bus service with Link
- Improve connections to Link
- Be consistent with Metro Connects, and current and future mobility needs
Bellevue, Bothell, Clyde Hill, Duvall, Issaquah, Kenmore, Kirkland, Lake Forest Park, Medina, Mercer Island, Newcastle, Redmond, Renton, Sammamish, Seattle (Chinatown/International District, Central District, Mt Baker, and Rainier Valley), Woodinville, Yarrow Point
Below is a list of the routes in the service area. Click the corresponding link to open a one to three page PDF detailing the proposed route changes and a corresponding map.
What will not change
There are many bus routes, and other mobility services not listed above, that are not changing as part of this project. Examples include pilot flexible services, Vanpool, a number of I-405 bus services, and bus routes that do not serve areas near the new light rail stations, such as Route 230.
Understanding the needs of the Eastside
King County Metro and Sound Transit facilitated three phases of engagement as part of the East Link Connections project. These phases of engagement gave our team a better understanding of the mobility needs and priorities of diverse communities on the Eastside.
King County Metro and Sound Transit held interviews with wide variety of Eastside stakeholders. Over 80 stakeholders were involved in this process representing community-based organizations, cities, and employers. Additionally, over 1,200 community members provided feedback through an online survey. The feedback received during this phase of engagement provided the framework used by service planners to develop the Draft Service Network that was subsequently reviewed in Phases 2 and 3 of engagement.
Metro and ST shared the Draft Service Network with the public with the request to help refine the proposed changes. More than 2,000 people engaged with us through in-depth conversations with community-based organizations, local employers, mobility groups, and a public survey. Participants shared their comments and suggestions regarding more than 50 bus routes with proposed service changes. This feedback helped our team learn more about which proposed route changes would be most effective and which needed more refinement.
After refining changes to the Draft Service Network based on community feedback from the previous phase, a third round of community engagement was launched to gather final input on the updated network. This proposal went through a review process with the Mobility Board, Partner Review Board and community-based organizations before being shared once again with the public in a final online survey.
King County Metro and Sound Transit teams are currently working on updating proposed changes by incorporating feedback from the three rounds of engagement. Several common themes emerged from diverse Eastside communities around ways to improve transit service. Here’s what we heard are the community’s needs and priorities:
- More service outside of peak periods.
- Improve first/last-mile connections to transit hubs.
- Leverage connections to frequent, high-capacity transit (i.e., Link, Rapid Ride, buses).
- Improve connections between Renton Highlands, Bellevue and Issaquah. Ensure connections to hospitals and other community assets.
- Make transfers easier by being frequent, safe and accessible.
- Faster travel times to get me where I want to go .
- More connections to new locations like Sea-Tac airport, UW, Northgate and downtown Seattle.
- Minimize transfers for long-distance travelers who may already have multiple transfers.
- Make transfers fast and easy especially for seniors and riders with disabilities.
- Improve and add local connections.
- More service outside peak periods and more service on weekends.
Metro and Sound Transit are convening a Mobility Board that equitably represents groups of people historically left out of decision-making conversations related to transit and who are disproportionately affected by these decisions. The Mobility Board’s primary role is to collaborate with Metro and Sound Transit staff to develop and refine a coordinated regional transit network on the Eastside.
Mobility Board members include:
- Those who are Black, Indigenous, and People of Color; people with physical and/or cognitive disabilities; people with low- to no-income; people experiencing homelessness or housing insecurity; immigrants and/or refugees; and people with linguistic diversity.
- Those transit riders and potential transit riders who live, work, or travel within affected communities (including but not limited to areas east and south of Kenmore, east of the I-90 and SR 520 bridges, north of east Renton, and west of Sammamish and Issaquah).
- Those who bring their perspective as an individual, not representing the interests of a larger group or organization.
- Those who can draw connections between racial equity, transportation issues, and access to opportunities.
Metro and Sound Transit aim to convene a Mobility Board that equitably represents groups of people historically left out of decision-making conversations related to transit and who are disproportionately affected by these decisions. These groups of people include Black, Indigenous, and People of Color; people with physical and/or cognitive disabilities; people with low- to no-income; people experiencing homelessness or housing insecurity; immigrants and/or refugees; and people with linguistic diversity. We recognize that people can have multiple identities from which they experience both privilege and oppression, and we encourage those who identify as coming from multiple un(der)served groups to apply to serve on the East Link Connections Mobility Board.
Partner Review Board
In addition to individual engagement with project partners and stakeholders, Metro and Sound Transit are convening a team to serve as a concept review board of external stakeholders. The Partner Review Board’s primary role is to review and provide comment on service concepts developed by the Mobility Board, Metro and Sound Transit as well as provide guidance on both engagement opportunities and implementation plans that will ultimately result in successful adoption and implementation of the service change.
The board includes representatives from jurisdictions and major institutions in the project area, leaders of community-based organizations, and representatives from partner transit agencies.
Identified community stakeholders, needs, and priorities.
Developed proposed concepts for service changes and collected stakeholder feedback
Presented a proposed network of service changes to the public and gathered feedback
Updated the proposed network of service changes to address feedback received
Presented an updated proposed network of service changes to the public and gathered feedback to inform finalizing a recommended network.
Metro finalizes recommended service network for presentation to the King County Council
New bus service begins with opening of Sound Transit’s East Link Extension stations