Link Connections – Executive proposes more buses to link more riders in North and Central Seattle to light rail

Link Connections

Link is coming to Capitol Hill and Husky Stadium in early 2016. Metro and Sound Transit are working with the public to plan how bus service will connect with new light rail.

With Link light rail service reaching Capitol Hill and the University District in the first quarter of next year, King County Executive Dow Constantine today proposed new Metro bus connections from North Seattle, Capitol Hill, and the Central Area to the new, faster trains, along with more frequent service on major corridors and more east-west connections between places like Fremont, Wallingford, Green Lake and Sand Point. See the Executive’s news release, or our Link Connections website with details.

The closely-knit transit network is a result of the Executive’s direction to more 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.

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. View our public engagement report for a full summary of what we heard.

Link photo 2

Sounding Board members consider Metro proposals, offer rider perspectives at an August meeting in the U District.

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 make it as easy and convenient for riders to use the proposed improved and more frequent grid network of bus service. Riders will 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.

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.

Frequent, all-day service

  • The proposed network provides improved frequency on 14 routes: 8, 10, 11, 12, 16, 44, 48, 49, 65, 67, 70, 73, 75 and 372X

Other proposed transit improvements

  • Extension of the RapidRide C and D Lines: Funding from Prop. 1 is proposed to separate RapidRide C & 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.

» Read the full news release (King County Executive, Aug. 25, 2015)

Come to a Third Ave. Neighborhood Session, share the transit and pedestrian improvements you think matter most

Last fall, we collected public input to help us create a list of potential improvements to Third Avenue in downtown Seattle. Next week, we invite you to meet us on the street to hear about design updates and share your thoughts:

Metro Transit and the Seattle Department of Transportation want to get your thoughts on what improPicture1vements are most important as they work to enhance the Third Avenue corridor for transit users, pedestrians, business and visitors. During August 31-September 3, they will host three Neighborhood Sessions along Third Avenue to hear from you. The goal of the project is to make the corridor an inviting, accommodating, safe and attractive place where people want to be.

You’ll be able to talk with the project team and learn how community input collected last fall has been incorporated into the design, what the team sees as the critical improvements to make, and share your priorities for improving Third Avenue for pedestrians, transit users, visitors, business, and downtown residents alike.

The sessions will take place outside on the sidewalk (rain or shine) along Third Avenue on the following dates:

Belltown
Monday, August 31

3:00 – 6:00 PM
Between Battery and Bell Streets

Business District
Wednesday, September 2

3:00 PM – 6:00 PM
Between Pike and Union Streets

Pioneer Square
Thursday, Septe
mber 3
11:00 AM – 2:00 PM
Between Yesler Way and S Washington Street

Third Avenue is downtown Seattle’s most heavily used transit corridor. More than 2,500 buses travel the corridor every weekday, serving an estimated 42,000 riders each day. Thousands of visitors, workers, shoppers and area residents also use Third Avenue daily.

The project will complement the many other improvements currently underway in the downtown area.

For more information about the project visit the project webpage.

Rally at Westlake Park celebrates 25 years of Americans with Disabilities Act

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Braille and raised text identify Metro coaches for riders.

On Wednesday, July 22, our community is celebrating the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act with a rally 4-6 p.m. at Westlake Park in downtown Seattle underscoring the positive changes created by the ADA. Transit service will take people to and from the event and we extend the invitation to riders to mark the occasion and join in the celebration.MetroHistoryDisability_19 MetroHistoryDisability_20 MetroHistoryDisability_5

People living with disabilities or who use wheelchairs and other mobility devices ride Metro each and every day, enjoying the freedom the transit system supports. Decades ago, before ADA, Metro pioneered the use of specialized lifts to support riders who use wheelchairs, opening up a world of transit access previously unavailable.

Systems to make riding better for those with disabilities continue to evolve. We make stop announcements for the sight impaired, and ensure that our website and online timetables work with screen readers. Recently, Metro’s Transit Advisory Commission – which represents concerns of all riders, including those living with disabilities – asked Metro to install tactile coach numbers on the inside of our buses. We’re installing these on our fleet – both braille and raised numbers – and by taking this step, we further assist riders who are blind and support their independence.

These measures demonstrate Metro’s continuing commitment to making transit accessible for everyone. The 25th anniversary is an opportunity for us to mark the success we’ve achieved and recommit ourselves to continuing improvements that better serve riders with disabilities.

New Mercer Island Shuttle Starts Service- Metro Route 630

What a sweet ride!

Several morning commuters were treated to a sweet ride Monday on the nePhoto 6-10-15w Mercer Island shuttle service. At one stop of the new Route 630, elected officials welcomed riders with donuts. Mayor Bruce Bassett was at the United Methodist Church Park and Ride to greet the 40 morning riders and celebrate the launch of the new shuttle service. King County Councilmember Jane Hague and Mercer Island City Councilmembers Debbie Bertlin, Jane Brahm and Benson Wong were also on hand to welcome riders and observe the service in action.

The new peak-hour community shuttle provides flexible service in the Shorewood neighborhood and trips to First Hill and downtown Seattle. This shuttle was a community-based project developed through Metro’s recently expanded alternative services program (Link to news article) and is jointly funded by Metro and the cities of Mercer Island and Seattle. This new service was developed in response to some of the transit service reductions last year.

Hopelink employees were also on site to make sure the inaugural rides were a success and to identify any issues with the shuttle service. Hopelink is a Redmond-based non-profit contracted to operate the new service.

The new 19-passenger shuttles are “low-floor” vehicles, which speed boarding when using a lift. The vehicles can accommodate up to two wheelchairs and space for two bicycles.

Another new service called “TripPool” will be debuting for Mercer Island riders traveling to the park-and-ride. Through a free app, users can ask for a ride in a volunteer-driven community van and get picked up at home and dropped-off at the Mercer Island Park-and-Ride, where they can catch a ride on the new Route 630 or Metro routes 201, 204, and 216 and Sound Transit routes 550 and 554.

You heard our PSAs, and we heard from you – Metro removing three new public service announcements from buses

Boy did we hear from riders this weekend! We tried out three new on-board public service announcements to improve safety on Metro buses, but it sure didn’t turn out the way we hoped or expected. Based on quick and clear feedback from riders and transit operators, staff worked Sunday to take immediate steps to diligently remove the safety announcements. We’re working to make sure we remove them all, but a few stragglers might find their way into the Monday morning commute. We’ll take care of them all as quickly as possible. Our apologies for any aggravation, and thanks in advance for your patience.

The announcements, asking riders to “hold on” in English, Spanish and Mandarin, asking riders to “stand behind the yellow line” and that “illegal activities are recorded and reviewed” were driven by goals to improve the safety of our customers. We designed the announcements to be activated in rotation each time the bus door closed, or five minutes thereafter on longer trips. It is clear that this is too frequent based on customer and operator feedback, and there are challenges with finding the right volume level that can be heard clearly but isn’t too loud.

We’ll be reassessing and taking into consideration concerns about the volume, frequency and tone of the announcements before moving forward with any revised announcements, and be sure to share them with customers ahead of time.

Audio safety reminders are provided by other transit agencies across the country to meet similar goals. Our job is to try to meet our safety goals in a way that also works for our community and our riders.

We apologize for the irritation these announcements caused many riders this weekend and appreciate the feedback we received that led us to quickly act and make things right. Please share any further concerns you have with customer service at 206-553-3000 or customer.comments@kingcounty.gov, or via form online. We take customer feedback very seriously and want to provide you with the best transit experience possible.

Downtown Seattle tunnel stations closed May 30-31, June 6-7

CBDTunnelMap

Click to see PDF map of surface street bus stops when the downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel is closed.

The Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel will be closed during the next two weekends (May 30-31 and June 6-7) and transit customers in the downtown area, and other areas served by affected routes, are advised to allow plenty of time for their transit trips on those days.

Bus service that normally operates in the transit tunnel on those two weekends will operate instead via surface streets and stops, and Link light rail will not travel north of Stadium Station, as Sound Transit completes work to prepare for the expansion of Link service in 2016.

During the weekend tunnel closures (May 30-31 and June 6-7):

  • All downtown tunnel stations will be closed.
    The Metro-operated Link Shuttle Route 97 will operate. All bus stops on the SODO Busway will be open, and bus service will operate via normal routes and stops in the SODO area.
  • Metro bus routes 41, 71, 72, 73 & 255 heading toward Northgate, the University District or Kirkland respectively, will travel through downtown Seattle via Fourth Avenue and Olive Way; heading south into downtown Seattle they will travel via Second Avenue.
  • Metro routes 101, 106 and 150 heading to their south end destinations, and Sound Transit Route 550 to Bellevue, will travel through downtown Seattle via Stewart Street and Second Avenue; heading north into town they will travel via Fourth Avenue.

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Burien, Mercer Island shuttles debut June 8 to connect key places in communities

New Burien shuttle freshly wrapped and ready for riders – keep an eye out. Service begins June 8.

New Burien shuttle freshly wrapped and ready for riders – keep an eye out. Service begins June 8.

Burien and Mercer Island residents are eager to welcome new transit service June 8, when Metro launches community shuttles to connect riders with popular destinations via direct service.

The shuttles will operate as two-year demonstrations as part of Metro’s Alternative Services program.

Burien shuttle
Burien residents will be able to board the new Route 631, restoring weekday service previously provided by Route 139. Route 631 will connect Gregory Heights and Seahurst to critical places like the city’s downtown area, Burien Transit Center and Highline Medical Center. It also will offer flexible service in the Gregory Heights neighborhood.

Route 631 is the outcome of community input and a partnership between the city of Burien and Metro. Hopelink will operate the shuttle under contract.

During an outreach period early in 2015, the city and Metro heard from area residents about their transportation needs and how improved services would affect their lives. Over 50 residents attended a community meeting and nearly 200 answered a survey. Residents favored a predictable, scheduled service to get to medical appointments, downtown services and the transit center.

“I’m going to sleep better tonight knowing I’ll have this transportation,” one resident said after a sneak peek of the new vehicle earlier this month. Several others shared that they were impressed with the size of the van and the ease of getting on and off. Route 631 adds a feature that former Route 139 lacked: a flexible area where riders can reserve a pick-up or drop off beyond the route.

Mercer Island shuttle
On Mercer Island, a new peak-hour community shuttle, Route 630, will provide flexible service in east Mercer Island and trips to First Hill and downtown Seattle. The service is jointly funded by Metro and the cities of Mercer Island and Seattle through the regional partnership program created by Seattle’s Proposition 1. Hopelink will operate the shuttle under contract.

Some commuter transit service was eliminated last year because of low ridership numbers. Metro worked with both Seattle and Mercer Island to expand commute options and reduce the number of drive-alone trips on already-clogged highways and city streets.

Another new service will be debuting for Mercer Island riders traveling to the park-and-ride called “TripPool.” Through a free app, users can ask for a ride in a volunteer-driven community van and get picked up at home and dropped-off at the Mercer Island Park-and-Ride, where the new Route 630 shuttle awaits, as well as existing service on Metro routes 201, 204, 216, 981, 989, and Sound Transit routes 550, 554.

About the new Burien Community Shuttle – Route 631

  • The shuttle will operate every 30 minutes Monday through Friday from about 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • The route forms a one-way clockwise loop with marked stops from the Burien Transit Center to Highline Medical Center, along SW 160th Street and 21st Avenue SW and SW 152nd Street.
  • The new route will provide a midday complement to peak Route 123 between the Gregory Heights and Lake Burien areas and downtown Seattle.
  • From the Burien Transit Center, riders can connect to seven all-day routes and three peak-period express routes to destinations such as downtown Seattle, Sea-Tac Airport, Highline College, Southcenter, Renton and downtown Bellevue.
  • ADA-eligible riders can also use Access and riders 55+ or disabled can use Hyde Shuttle.
  • Riders in the Gregory Heights neighborhood will additionally be able to take advantage of both scheduled marked stops as well as a new flexible service allowing them to call ahead to request a pick-up or drop-off.
  • Standard peak and off-peak fares will be charged, accepted in cash or ORCA card.
  • The shuttle will use a new 19-seat, “low-floor” vehicle, which speeds boarding when using a lift. The vehicles can accommodate up to two wheelchairs and space for two bicycles.

About the new Mercer Island Community Shuttle Metro – Route 630

  • The Route 630 will operate five morning and afternoon trips between Mercer Island and downtown Seattle Monday through Friday.
  • 30-minute service will be offered weekdays between 6:15 to 8:15 a.m. and 4 to 6:30 p.m.
  • The shuttle will use a new 19-seat, “low-floor” vehicle, which speeds boarding when using a lift. The vehicles can accommodate up to two wheelchairs and space for two bicycles.
  • Riders will be able to plan their trip using Metro’s online Trip Planner and track location status in real time.
  • In addition to scheduled service, flexible service will be offered in the Shorewood neighborhood. Riders can call ahead for a ride off the route.
  • Standard peak and off-peak fares will be charged, accepted in cash or ORCA card.

Explore Metro’s neighborhood pages to learn more about other transit services in and around Mercer Island.