Link Light Rail service will reach Capitol Hill and the University District in the first quarter of 2016, and King County Executive Dow Constantine is proposing new Metro bus connections to the new, faster trains. More frequent service is also planned on major corridors and more east-west connections.
Proposed Metro bus links to the new Link Light Rail service will speed trips between downtown Seattle and the UW campus.
"It's amazing to think that, very soon now, the trip from the UW to downtown Seattle will take only eight minutes, every time, by light rail," said Executive Constantine, who also chairs the Sound Transit Board. "The service I'm proposing will connect many more people to that fast, reliable new ride—or, if they prefer, they can still take a bus downtown during rush hour."
The closely-knit transit network is a result of the Executive's direction to fully integrate Metro and Sound Transit to create greater operating efficiencies and expand service. An estimated 80,000 daily bus riders will see more buses per hour on designated corridors, with better local service connecting neighborhoods with the new light rail stations at the University and at Capitol Hill.
"Restructuring our transit network helps leverage the investment taxpayers have made in Light Rail ensuring that bus riders get to the light rail stations with frequent and reliable service," said Council Chair Larry Phillips, prime sponsor of the ordinance. "These new travel opportunities will expand, integrate and improve our transit systems, and better serve our transit riders."
The proposal sent today to the Metropolitan King County Council was drafted over the past nine months with the help of bus riders and a 21-member sounding board, who asked for better, faster service while maintaining connections they have today to destinations most important to them. As a result, changes are proposed for 33 Metro routes serving North and Central Seattle, including investments funded last year by voters in Seattle.
"The service hours now spent traveling downtown would be reallocated to creating a frequent transit grid in places that have never seen more than half-hourly service," the Sounding Board wrote in its recommendation. "Along with consolidating service onto fewer streets, these changes open up a number of new possibilities to run errands, visit the mall, and get to work via bus. We believe that both existing riders and new riders will be excited about the new options the proposal gives them for travel north of the Ship Canal."
Transit agencies are working together to make transfers easy for riders
Sounding board members and riders advocated for making transfers work easily for riders. To accomplish that, King County Metro, Sound Transit, the City of Seattle, and the University of Washington are working together to help riders experience transfers that are as convenient as possible between frequent buses and light rail trains. Also, stops will be relocated at key transfer points, and transit agencies and the city are coordinating better wayfinding, signage and passenger information, and shelters and lighting at stops.
In preparation for the opening of University Link extension and intensified light rail testing in coming months, Metro will relocate six weekday peak service bus routes from the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel to surface streets starting Sept. 28. Starting Sept. 28, trains will operate every six minutes during rush hours, instead of every seven to eight minutes today.
Possible proposed changes in Sound Transit bus routes also are scheduled to be considered by the Sound Transit Board in coming months. In addition, Sound Transit will be adding of a pair of stops along Lake City Way near 20th Avenue NE for ST Route 522 to integrate with changes Metro is proposing in the area.
Metro Transit proposed route changes
Proposed changes are posted online, describing each route in the improved, frequent corridor network, boosts to commuter service and better connections between neighborhoods and Link light rail. Riders will see recommended network maps, summaries of changes by area and information by route.
Proposed changes are shown for routes 8, 10, 11, 16, 25, 26 (local and express), 28 (local and express), 30, 31, 32, 43, 44, 48, 49, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 238, 242, 316, 372, and 373.
The restructured transit network creates new travel opportunities to new places riders can't get to easily or efficiently by transit today. These include parts of Capitol Hill, South Lake Union, Fremont, Sand Point, Wedgwood, Ravenna, Green Lake, First Hill, and SeaTac Airport. Riders will have more opportunities to take spontaneous transit trips with a reliable, frequent, and more grid-like system of bus and rail service.
Other proposed transit improvements
As part of the package of updates, Executive Constantine also proposed transit improvements in Seattle, Issaquah, and South King County:
- Extension of the RapidRide C and D Lines: Funding from Prop. 1 is proposed to separate RapidRide C and D lines. C Line will instead extend to South Lake Union, and D line will extend to Pioneer Square.
- Route 200 would be modified to respond to community feedback and better serve Issaquah riders by connecting to Swedish Medical Center Issaquah and deleting a low-ridership loop near Issaquah High School.
- Implementation of the first phase of the Southeast King County Alternative Services project, including frequency improvements for DART Route 915.
- More peak service is proposed on Interstate 5 in the south corridor, implementing a Washington State Department of Transportation Regional Mobility Grant on routes 179 and 190. Adding two morning and two afternoon peak trips to both routes 179 and 190 will allow Metro to serve more riders, relieve crowding on existing service and reduce single-occupancy vehicle traffic.
The King County Council will deliberate the proposals over the coming weeks.
- Link Connections website from Metro Transit
- VIDEO: Transferring to/from Montlake (1:20) CLIP
- VIDEO: Northeast Seattle Rider Erin's View (2:09) CLIP
- VIDEO: One trip: Route 43 vs. Link (2:03) CLIP
It's amazing to think that, very soon now, the trip from the UW to downtown Seattle will take only eight minutes, every time, by light rail. The service I'm proposing will connect many more people to that fast, reliable new ride—or, if they prefer, they can still take a bus downtown during rush hour.
Restructuring our transit network helps leverage the investment taxpayers have made in Light Rail ensuring that bus riders get to the light rail stations with frequent and reliable service. These new travel opportunities will expand, integrate and improve our transit systems, and better serve our transit riders.
For more information
Jeff Switzer, Metro Transit, 206-477-3833