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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.

Project overview

In the coming years, Sound Transit will open 12 new light rail stations connecting downtown Seattle and the Eastside.

To help get people where they need and want to go, King County Metro and Sound Transit created East Link Connections, a mobility project on King County’s Eastside to design and implement a coordinated regional transit network.

East Link Connections will deliver an updated Metro bus and mobility network, integrated with Sound Transit’s new 2 Line linking Seattle, Mercer Island, downtown Bellevue, Spring District, Overlake, and Redmond.

Project Status

At the end of May 2022, Metro and Sound Transit completed a 15-month engagement process for East Link Connections resulting in a Final Network Proposal of bus service changes in East King County.

Intentional effort and care were taken to engage our communities through broad public outreach. Metro and Sound Transit convened a Mobility Board of project-area residents that met during every phase of the project to improve routes and ensure the network addressed community priorities. Additionally, a Partner Review Board of cities, community-based organizations, major institutions and employers met to ensure consistency with regional plans and transportation needs. The current Final Network Proposal responds to existing travel patterns and community-identified priorities, outlined below.

Provide transit to/from important, community-identified destinations and where needs are greatest.
Faster travel times to get me where I want to go.
Additional and improved connections to new locations
More service outside peak periods and more service on weekends.
Make transfers easier by being frequent, safe, and accessible, especially for seniors, riders with disabilities, and long-distance travelers.

In early 2024, Metro will conduct select engagement with the project’s Mobility Board, Partner Review Board and local cities - to ensure that the East Link Connections Final Network Proposal remains aligned with community priorities. Metro will work with project partners to reevaluate travel trends and ridership since the conclusion of engagement in May 2022 to determine if any final changes to the Final Network Proposal should be considered.

Implementation of the approved East Link Connections updated bus network will begin when the full 2 Line opens, following consideration by King County Council. Information about the construction of the 2 Line can be found on Sound Transit’s East Link website.

Project goals

  • 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
Route (PDF)

Bellevue Transit Center to Redmond Transit Center

1st Ave W/W Mercer St to Mount Baker Transit Center

Maplewood Heights to South Bellevue Station

Issaquah Highlands P&R to South Bellevue Station
New, replaces parts of routes 200 and 269

Mercer Village to Mercer Island Station

North Bend P&R to Mercer Island Station
New, replaces Route 208

Issaquah Highlands P&R to Mercer Island Station

Eastgate P&R to Bellevue Transit Center
New, replaces part of Route 271

Cottage Lake to Redmond Technology Station
New, replaces parts of routes 221, 232, 931, and 249

Eastgate P&R to Downtown Redmond Station
New, replaces parts of routes 221 and 226

Duvall to Redmond Transit Center

Kenmore P&R to Overlake P&R

South Bellevue Station to Bellevue Transit Center

Renton Transit Center to Bellevue Transit Center

Kirkland Transit Center to Eastgate P&R

South Bellevue Station to Spring District Station

Avondale to Bellevue Transit Center

Woodinville P&R to SE Redmond Station

Woodinville P&R to Downtown Seattle

SE Redmond Station to Mercer Island Station

Bellevue Transit Center to U District Station
New, replaces part of Route 271

Aurora Village Transit Center to South Renton P&R

Mercer Island to First Hill

Kingsgate P&R to Downtown Redmond Station

Duvall to UW Bothell

Redmond to Seattle

Redmond to Seattle

Issaquah to Bellevue

New Link light rail connecting Lynnwood to Redmond with new stations between Judkins Park Station in Seattle and Marymoor Village Station in Redmond


Project Area Maps

Process and Timeline

King County Metro and Sound Transit facilitated 3 phases of engagement as part of the East Link Connections project. Throughout these phases, Metro and Sound Transit worked closely with a Mobility Board and Partner Review Board to make key network decisions.

Mobility Board

Metro has brought together a 27 member East Link Connections 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 staff to develop and refine a coordinated regional transit network in the study area covering large parts of East King County.

Partner Review Board

In addition to Metro’s individual engagement with project partners and stakeholders, Metro has also brought together a team of external stakeholders to serve as a concept review board, known as the Partner Review Board. The Board includes representatives from jurisdictions and major institutions in the project area, leaders of community-based organizations and representatives from partner transit agencies. The Partner Review Board’s primary role is to inform, review and provide comment on service concepts developed by the Mobility Board.

Working alongside the Mobility Board and Partner Review Board throughout the engagement phases gave our team a better understanding of the mobility needs and priorities of diverse communities on the Eastside. A summary of each phase of engagement is available below.

King County Metro and Sound Transit held interviews with 20 Eastside 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 to request help refining 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 and making 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, including a final online survey. This proposal also went through a review process with the Mobility Board, Partner Review Board and community-based organizations.

King County Metro and Sound Transit teams incorporated feedback from the 3 rounds of engagement into the Final Network Proposal.

Due to delays with the opening of the East Link Extension, Metro is meeting with project partners to ensure the proposed East Link Connections network that it continues to meet community needs. Metro will engage its Mobility Board and Partner Review Board to address any changes in mobility needs that may have occurred since finalizing the network in 2022.