Extending Link service to the UW is an example of how investments in light rail and better coordination by local transit agencies are moving the region forward. Public meetings are planned for March, while Seattle street improvements are underway, and downtown Seattle bus tunnel changes take effect in September.
The region is preparing for Sound Transit’s launch of Link light rail service to the University of Washington in 2016, and key efforts are underway by King County Metro Transit, Sound Transit, and the City of Seattle to improve bus service and keep traffic moving in downtown Seattle during the transition.
“By expanding Link light rail to Husky Stadium and improving the coordination between transit agencies, we will improve mobility in and around downtown Seattle,” said Dow Constantine, King County Executive and Chair of the Sound Transit Board of Directors. “These are tangible examples of how investments in light rail and integration of rail and bus services will expand transportation options in our region.”
Extending Link to Husky Stadium gives Metro and Sound Transit the opportunity to revise and improve the transit network in northeast Seattle, Capitol Hill, and SR 520—one facet of Constantine’s transit integration initiative.
University Link will offer an 8-minute trip between UW and downtown Seattle, no matter the time of day. Metro and Sound Transit are considering how to integrate bus service to the light rail line and take advantage of this significant time savings over current road conditions.
Public meetings March 19, 25, and 26
The transit agencies have three public meetings scheduled in March seeking input on bus route changes that could happen in March 2016. Sound Transit Link light rail begins service between downtown Seattle and UW Station in the first quarter of 2016.
Public meetings are planned March 12, 19, and 26, where riders can speak with Metro and Sound Transit staff about how they might use transit once Link opens to Capitol Hill and UW stations.
- March 19, 6-8 p.m. at Seattle University (room TBD)
- March 25, 6-8 p.m. at Bellevue City Hall
- March 26, 6-8 p.m. at University Heights Center
Downtown Seattle tunnel bus changes in September
This fall, Sound Transit begins testing light rail train operations between downtown Seattle and UW Station, increasing the number of trains operating in the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel. Trains will run every six minutes during rush hours and every 10-15 minutes in the afternoon and evenings. As a result, six Metro peak service bus routes—routes 76, 77, 216, 218, 219, and 316—are scheduled to be redirected to surface street bus stops starting Sept. 26, 2015.
The move to redirect 89 weekday bus trips to stops on Seattle streets makes room for additional trains in the tunnel while maintaining all-day service for routes that currently serve the tunnel—routes 41, 71, 72, 73, 74, 255, 101, 102, 106, 150, 550. The tunnel currently carries 1,187 bus trips each weekday in addition to Central Link light rail service.
With nearly six years’ experience jointly operating buses and trains in the Downtown Transit Tunnel, these periodic adjustments in the number of buses using the facility will continue to evolve as Link expands.
Seattle street improvements underway
As that handful of tunnel bus routes shifts to surface streets, the City of Seattle, Metro, and Sound Transit are coordinating surface street improvements to keep transit and general traffic moving along key city corridors.
The Seattle Department of Transportation is lead on making these improvements, which provide transit priority and help better manage the downtown transportation network. Together, these coordinated improvements will help improve transit reliability during upcoming changes to transit service.
These SDOT street improvements are essential to accomodating more surface bus transit as Sound Transit tunnel testing and Link expansion increases the people-carrying capacity of the tunnel.
To keep traffic, buses, and the state’s economic hub moving, five agencies—King County, City of Seattle, Sound Transit, Community Transit, and Washington State Department of Transportation—are jointly coordinating transit, intersection, and roadway improvements in downtown Seattle as the Puget Sound area takes major steps to extending Link light rail service and makes other changes to the regional transportation network.
For more information, contact:
Jeff Switzer, Metro Transit, firstname.lastname@example.org, 206-477-3833
Bruce Gray, Sound Transit, email@example.com, 206-398-5069
Marybeth Turner, Seattle DOT, firstname.lastname@example.org, 206-684-8548