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Riders asked to weigh in on King County Metro, Sound Transit proposals to change, improve north Eastside bus service

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Riders asked to weigh in on King County Metro, Sound Transit proposals to change, improve north Eastside bus service


Facing regional growth, construction and congestion, King County Metro and Sound Transit are working with transit customers to expand transit service and improve mobility for people who live, work, or use transit in the north Eastside area of King County. Based on community feedback and in response to rider-expressed needs and priorities, changes are proposed on 13 bus routes. Several new flexible Metro Community Ride and Community Van services also are proposed.


King County Metro and Sound Transit have developed a service network proposal to revise, expand and improve north Eastside service – including options that keep Metro and Sound Transit service reliable across Lake Washington to UW, Downtown Seattle and within the community.


Affected bus routes include Metro routes 234, 235, 236, 238, 243, 244, 248, 255, 277, 930, and Sound Transit ST Express routes 540, 541, and 545. These routes serve the north Eastside including Bothell, Kenmore, Kirkland, Redmond and Woodinville.

Metro is also proposing new flexible services including a Community Van service in north Kirkland and new Community Ride service in Bothell, Kenmore, Kirkland, and Woodinville.  These services would expand Metro’s community mobility options by providing new service in addition to existing Community Van service that operates today in Bothell, Woodinville, Kenmore, and Kirkland, and TripPool service that operates today to several park-and-rides on the Eastside.


Details are online, including information summaries that show proposed changes to existing routes, proposed new routes – including new route numbers – and a survey open through Nov. 13. If approved, changes to bus routes would be implemented in September 2019. If the proposal does not move forward, bus routes would stay the same except for changes related to major projects listed below.


Open houses

  • Tuesday, Oct. 23, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.; UW Bothell Campus, North Creek Events Center, 18115 Campus Way NE, Bothell
  • Saturday, Oct. 27, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.; Redmond Senior Center, 8703 160th Ave. NE, Redmond
  • Monday, Nov. 5, 6–8 p.m.; Kingsgate Library, Meeting Room, 12315 NE 143rd St., Kirkland
  • Wednesday, Nov. 7, 6–8 p.m.; Kirkland City Hall, Peter Kirk Room, 123 Fifth Ave., Kirkland


Riders shaped proposals for better service

Decades of growth have changed the north Eastside, however the bus network and mobility options have remained largely the same. The growth we have experienced results in traffic delays that affect bus reliability for transit riders. Additionally, more construction projects with regional impacts are on the horizon. Earlier this year, Metro began looking at ways to meet the changing needs of our riders who need to get to, from, or around these communities.


With the guidance and review of community members serving on the North Eastside Mobility Board, Metro completed a comprehensive review of the local transit network, and engaged with communities at every step in the process. Together, Metro and the community identified current mobility needs, and explored where to incorporate possible changes to existing service – or add new convenient and flexible options – that would improve mobility within north Eastside communities.


People in Bothell, Kenmore, Kirkland, Redmond, and Woodinville asked for increased dependability, more transportation choices, and an integrated transportation network that reliably connects them to as many opportunities as possible.


Creating a more complete and connected north Eastside service network could improve connections to local destinations as well as to fast, even-more-frequent transit options, including expanded RapidRide, Sound Transit I-405 Bus Rapid Transit and Link light rail that will be available in the area in coming years.


In March 2019, two significant roadway changes will impact Eastside riders;

  • Buses will be moved from the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel to surface streets to accommodate Convention Center expansion and the expanding Link light rail system, and
  • The Washington Department of Transportation will permanently close the Montlake Freeway Stations to complete SR-520 construction.

Revising north Eastside routes could help mitigate the results of these changes.


How these previously committed changes will affect transit trips in 2019:

Buses leaving the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel (March 2019)

  • When buses permanently shift from the tunnel to surface streets, buses will face increased traffic congestion and longer travel times. Projects and investments underway jointly with the City of Seattle and Sound Transit are intended to keep people moving and help buses stay on time.

  • Affected routes: 41, 74, 101, 102, 150, 255, ST Express 550

Montlake Freeway Station closure (March 2019)

  • Freeway bus stops at the west end of SR-520 will be permanently closed by WSDOT.

  • To get to or from the University District and north Seattle, riders will transfer on the east side of the floating bridge at the Evergreen Point Station to expanded Route 542 or continue on to connect with light rail at Westlake Station northbound to the University of Washington Link light rail station.

    • Sound Transit and WSDOT are partnering to expand Route 542 service on nights and weekends.

  • Affected routes: 252, 255, 257, 268, 311, ST Express 545 and 555