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Metro has decided to reshape this project and shift its focus. There are many capital projects underway or coming soon that will affect our regional transportation network. Instead of looking at cross-lake service and connections to Link light rail, we’re now working on a North Eastside Mobility Plan that will consider how to provide better mobility options within the north Eastside area. Use the link below to learn more about this new project.

Read about the discontinued Link Connections: SR-520 project

Metro and Sound Transit reached out to transit riders and the public in 2017 to get input on bus service in the State Route 520 corridor. We used that information to develop two service concepts, and shared those concepts—plus details about what will happen if we don’t make any changes—in June 2017.

2017 public outreach

Both of the concepts we shared with the public in 2017 would have redirected several bus routes from downtown Seattle to the University of Washington Link light rail station. This would connect riders to fast, frequent, and reliable rides to and from downtown Seattle. The resources saved by not driving the buses through growing downtown congestion would have been reinvested back into the routes, allowing other improvements like new direct service to South Lake Union, more trips throughout the day, and night and weekend service.

What we heard from the public

More than 2,500 people gave us feedback about these concepts. We heard a lot of support for Option B, in which more routes would be redirected to the University of Washington light rail station and those routes would also get more new trips.

One key message we heard is that people wanted more information about the transfer environment near the University of Washington 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.

Next steps

Metro is no longer considering changes to most of our cross-lake SR-520 routes, with the exception of Route 255. When buses stop using the downtown Seattle transit tunnel next fall, we propose to connect Route 255 with light rail at the University of Washington as part of the North Eastside Mobility Plan. We do not plan to change the other SR-520 routes that we considered in 2017 (Routes 252, 257, 268, 311).

Improving transfers at the Montlake Triangle

We learned that people would be willing to consider a transfer to Link light rail at the University of Washington if they could be assured of a smooth transfer experience. So Metro has been working with Sound Transit, the University of Washington, and the Seattle Department of Transportation to review several ideas for improving transfers at the Montlake Triangle. The team has developed a preferred concept, which we’ll share with the public during outreach for the North Eastside Mobility Plan—which includes a proposal to connect Route 255 to light rail at the University of Washington Station.

The three service options we shared in 2017

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.

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.

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.

Service options B and C, listed by community

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 would 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.

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

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.

Public involvement

Stay involved

Please visit the North Eastside Mobility Plan project to learn more and sign up for project updates.

Contact us

Tristan Cook
Community Relations
Send Tristan an email
206-477-3842

We thank everyone who took the time to share their thoughts with us about this project, both online and at our in-person events. We hope you will continue to participate in the future as we work to realize King County’s vision of an integrated transportation system that is easy to use, connects people to opportunity, and knits together our growing communities.

What we heard in 2017

In close coordination with Sound Transit, Metro held two phases of outreach in 2017 to gather input about service along the SR-520 corridor. We also created a Sounding Board whose members represented the diverse perspectives of the communities that would have been affected by the changes we were considering.

In March, we asked how people were currently using bus service in this corridor, what they thought about connecting to Link at the University of Washington, and what improvements they would have liked to see.

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

We used the information gathered during phase 1 to develop two service concepts (options B and C above), and shared those concepts with the public and stakeholders in June. Both concepts involved redirecting several bus routes from downtown Seattle to the University of Washington Link light rail station. This would connect 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 have been reinvested back into the routes for other improvements.

More than 2,500 people gave us feedback about these concepts. One key message we heard is that people wanted more information about the transfer environment near the University of Washington 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 University of Washington light rail station and those routes would also get more new trips.


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