Lead mechanic Derek Harris is Metro’s Vehicle Maintenance Employee of the Year

Through 23 years with Metro, lead mechanic Derek Harris has always put customer service first, whether he’s rebuilding engines to keep buses moving or searching with a flashlight to find a driver’s lost wedding ring.

Harris was named Thursday as Metro’s Vehicle Maintenance Employee of the Year. As he accepted the award, coworkers reiterated his focus on customers, and his patience, leadership and always challenging others to find the best solution.

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“What I enjoy most about Metro is working with all different types of people and coordinating with all the different departments, and making sure we’re doing the right thing for taxpayers,” Harris said shortly after a ceremony with family and dozens of coworkers at Metro’s Component Supply Center in Tukwila. The “CSC” is where major components like engines, transmissions, and battery systems are rebuilt, often which helps the county save costs by extending the life of older buses.

“I know how valuable it is for people for that bus to show up. I know the value of the parts we supply here at the CSC and how important it is to get a good quality product out there to keep the buses moving, and that’s what I take a lot of pride in.”

Harris received accolades from Metro’s General Manager Rob Gannon, Deputy King County Executive Fred Jarrett, and DOT Director Harold Taniguchi. Metro customers will see Harris’ photo on a commemorative placard inside buses for the following year.

“Derek takes on a sense of personal ownership in all of the work he does for Metro,” Gannon said. “He takes pride in seeing that things are done right.”

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Metro General Manager Rob Gannon presents Harris with an honorary placard that will be on display inside Metro buses.

Harris joined Metro in 1994 as a part-time mechanic, later securing a career service position as lead mechanic in 1998. He has served stints throughout Metro’s system, including Atlantic Base, Central Base, North Base, South Base, East Base, Bellevue Base and Ryerson Base.

When Harris moved from a previous assignment at Atlantic Base, former Superintendent Mike Eeds wrote in a thank-you letter: “A lead mechanic can make or break a base. I want to take this opportunity to thank you for the time and effort you put into making Atlantic Base a success.”

0717VMeoy-DerekHarris045Harris’ wife and two daughters attended Thursday’s ceremony, along with about a dozen family members. In his off time, he’s active in his younger daughter’s school, and coaches girls’ fast-pitch softball and Little League baseball. He’s also an avid outdoors enthusiast and has a farm in Enumclaw.

Congratulations and thank you to Derek Harris for his commitment to providing Metro customers with safe, reliable service every day. Metro is honored to have Harris on our team!

KCDOT’s Hannah Debenedetto contributed to this story.

 

Ride Metro to Seafair festivities

BlueangelsformationpdThe Seafair Torchlight Parade kicks off a busy week leading up to Seafair weekend and Metro has options for people traveling to see hydro races, air shows and other festivities.

Riders should prepare for delays and bus reroutes during Saturday’s parade and other events such as temporary closures of the Interstate 90 floating bridge for the Blue Angels.

Torchlight Parade, Saturday, July 29
Buses traveling through downtown Saturday could experience delays of 30 minutes or more between 5 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. during the Alaska Airlines Seafair Torchlight Run and Parade. Transit customers traveling through downtown are advised to ride Link light rail or buses that use the Downtown Transit Tunnel during the events.

Details about reroutes are on Metro Online or Sound Transit’s rider alerts page. Metro riders can use the online Trip Planner or call Metro’s Customer Information Office at 206-553-3000 to plan transit trips to Saturday’s events. The Customer Information Office is open weekdays, 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.

If you’re traveling via King County Water Taxi, the taxi will operate its usual weekend schedule out of West Seattle, with the last sailing out of downtown Seattle leaving at 10:45 p.m. For a full sailing schedule and more information, visit kingcounty/watertaxi.

Ride transit to the hydros, August 5-6
Metro will add service to the Route 50, with buses every 15 minutes from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for passengers traveling to the Albert Lee Cup hydro races. Route 50, which normally operates every 30 minutes, serves Genesee Park near the Stan Sayres Pit on Lake Washington and connects with light rail at the Columbia City and Othello light rail stations.

I-90 bridge closure reroutes and shuttles, August 3-6
When the Blue Angels take to Seattle’s skies, all I-90 bus service will be rerouted to State Route 520 during I-90 bridge closures, which affect eastbound, westbound, mainline and express lanes. Certain I-90 and I-5 ramps also will close 30 minutes to one hour before flight times.

During the I-90 closures, Metro will provide shuttle bus service between the park-and-ride lots at Eastgate and Mercer Island on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, August 3-6. Regular fares will be required on the I-90 shuttles.

Sound Transit Routes 550 and 554, which normally travel via I-90, will be rerouted to SR 520 and will not serve stops on I-90 at Rainier Avenue South and Mercer Island.

 I-90 transit service will be rerouted during the following times and days:

  • Thursday, Aug. 3, 9:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.; 1 p.m. – 2:40 p.m.
  • Friday, Aug. 4, 12:55 p.m. – 2:40 p.m.
  • Saturday, Aug. 5, 12:55 p.m. – 2:40 p.m.
  • Sunday, Aug. 6, 12:55 p.m. – 2:40 p.m.

NOTE: There is no Mercer Island shuttle on Sunday. WSDOT has I-90 bridge closure information and the Seafair website has event information.

Details about reroutes are on Metro’s Service Advisories page. Riders  can use the online Trip Planner or call Metro’s Customer Information Office at 206-553-3000 to plan their transit trips to Seafair weekend events.

Lake Forest Park bus stops provide a trip through history

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Lake Forest Park Mayor Jeff Johnson with a newly installed photomural that shows the groundbreaking ceremony for the first Town Hall in 1963.

By Hannah Debenedetto/King County DOT

People waiting for the bus in Lake Forest Park now can enjoy beautiful photos of a bygone era when our region was quieter, more forested and had much less traffic.

King County Metro partnered with the city to install historic photos on six bus stops along Bothell Way Northeast. Photos are courtesy of MOHAI, Seattle Municipal Archives, and Shoreline Historical Museum.

The photos document life in Lake Forest Park from the early 1900s to the 1960s. The quiet waterfront and uncongested roads. A groundbreaking ceremony in a field where City Hall would be built, and the days of big timber, simpler schoolhouses and boys in collared shirts.

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A 1924 photo of the newly built Lake Forest Park School and its students; on the right, one of its woodworking classes and their creations in 1934.

“Now the City of Lake Forest Park has a wonderful montage of the community’s rich history to share with all that frequent these Metro Bus Shelters,” Mayor Jeff Johnson said. “The project has brought an artful display of the city’s past, and enriched the core values of our community.”

Lake Forest Park selected the photos to be used for the murals, prepared and printed by Photo Center Northwest and United Reprographics. Residents and visitors can explore the imagery of the city’s history and pass the time while waiting for the 312, 372, and ST 522.

It’s not the first time the Northshore area has teamed up with Metro in this way. Metro also has partnered with Woodinville, Bothell and Kenmore on historical photomural projects in the past, turning bus stops into spaces of learning and public art.

 

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Modern Metro buses now pull up astride a historic photo of a 1921 Ford Model T, the very first school bus in Lake Forest Park.

SODO workers: Metro wants your feedback on transportation options

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Metro invites SODO commuters to tell us about your unmet transit needs. By taking our online survey between now and July 27, participants can help Metro understand how to improve the commutes of people working in the SODO neighborhood.

Metro’s Community Connections program uses community partnerships to learn how to close transit gaps where regular bus service isn’t the right fit. For this project, Metro is working with the City of Seattle and the SODO Business Improvement Area to identify transportation gaps and explore innovative, easier ways for people to get where they need to go in SODO.

After the survey ends, a group of community members will help Metro review your feedback and develop a list of priorities that will guide development of new solutions.

Tell us what you think by Thursday, July 27: Take a survey in English, Spanish, Chinese, and Vietnamese. 填寫我們的問卷,  Llene la encuesta, or Điền vào phiếu khảo sát .  Learn about Metro’s Community Connections project in SODO: www.kingcounty.gov/metro/sodo

Route 99 is leaving First Avenue

Route 99, which serves First Avenue in downtown Seattle, will be relocated later this summer or early this fall when the Seattle Department of Transportation begins construction on the new Center City Connector Streetcar.

A popular route for visitors during the summer, Route 99 currently travels along First Avenue between Broad Street and South Jackson Street, and along South Jackson Street between First Avenue and Interstate 5. During the summer, it runs seven days a week, all day long. The rest of the year it runs only during peak commute hours.

When construction begins, Route 99 will move to Third Avenue for northbound trips and Second Avenue for southbound trips.

Metro is proposing to eliminate the route next March. There are many alternative bus routes on Third Avenue for riders to choose from, and the new streetcar is scheduled to begin serving First Avenue in 2020. Metro will consider ideas for future transit service in the area at that time.

We invite riders and stakeholders to take this online survey and tell us your thoughts on this proposed change and other ideas for future transit service in the area. The deadline is July 16.
RT99Map
Metro initially considered moving Route 99 to Western Avenue instead of Third Avenue, but found road conditions on Western unable to support bus service. Also, congestion around the Pike Place Market would likely affect reliability.

New Belltown stops proposed

To help riders who would be affected by lost service in Belltown, Metro is proposing to add a new pair of stops on Broad Street at the intersections of First Avenue and Second Avenue. These would connect to service between Belltown and Pioneer Square.

Metro invites riders to share their feedback and ideas for future transit service in the area through an online survey, open through July 16.

What the new timeline for Convention Place Station means for riders

Crossposted from KCDOT’s Inside Transportation blog

This week’s King County Council approval of the sale of Convention Place Station for expansion of the Convention Center will bring a steady and reliable stream of revenue to Metro Transit – an aggregated $275 million over 32 years to support service and reliability improvements that begin to address the need for sustainable growth in bus service throughout the region.

Architectural rendering of the planned Washington State Convention Center expansion

Courtesy LMN Architects

Construction for Convention Center expansion will require closure of the site. The station was always slated for permanent closure – light rail already bypasses it by going straight from Westlake to Capitol Hill, and Metro has been planning for removal of all buses from the downtown transit tunnel as early as September 2018.Convention Place Station serves Metro and other bus routes

With the sale now complete, here’s what riders can expect:

  • Removal of the remaining seven bus routes that use the tunnel in March 2019 or September 2019, depending on when the Convention Center secures needed permits.
  • Initial work to continue at the site to relocate a transit power station which sends electricity to trolley buses in the area. A new traction power substation is being installed this weekend. Later, riders will see construction of a temporary ramp at Convention Place Station – providing a path for the seven bus routes up to temporary surface stops on Ninth Avenue.
  • Increased constraints on mobility for all modes of traffic in downtown Seattle, as private commercial construction (just count the number of cranes) and many public projects – including demolition of the Alaskan Way Viaduct, waterfront construction, and new streetcar tracks – constrict downtown streets from 2019 to 2023.
  • Continued opportunities to tell Metro what you think about revisions to bus service which will be needed to maintain a reliable public transit system connecting downtown Seattle and the rest of the region.

With the new timeline for Convention Place Station and the Downtown Transit Tunnel, Metro is reassessing its plans and opportunities for the public to weigh in, and will have more information in the coming months on when and how the public can “Have a Say.”

In the meantime, Metro is continuing work with the City of Seattle, Sound Transit, and downtown businesses in a One Center City process to minimize impacts and provide reliable transit service to our customers.

Keep in touch on all these changes by following our social media:

Metro, Sound Transit to run late night service for July 4 revelers

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Metro and Sound Transit are running extra service on the evening of July 4 to get you home by dawn’s early light.

For the first time since light rail began operating service, revelers celebrating Independence Day this year will be able to ride Link trains until 2 a.m. on Wednesday, July 5—an hour later than normal. For bus riders, King County Metro will deploy more than 40 extra buses from 10:30 p.m. to midnight on routes serving Seattle Center, Gas Works Park, downtown and light rail stations to help crowds get home.

Metro will add 250 hours of service, augmenting 20 routes that serve large crowds after July 4 festivities, as well as routes that connect with Link light rail. Routes include the 5, 8, 26, 28, 31, 32, 40, 44, 49, 62, 70, 120, RapidRide A, B, C, D, and E Lines, and ST Routes 545, 550, 554. Metro’s Service Quality supervisors will monitor crowds during the evening and deploy the extra service as needed.

The last southbound Link train from the University of Washington Station will leave at 2 a.m. The last northbound train from Angle Lake Station will leave at 1 a.m. Southbound trains from the UW will operate every 30 minutes starting at midnight. Northbound trains from Angle Lake will operate every 30 minutes starting at 11:30 p.m. The downtown transit tunnel, which will stay open late to accommodate extended light rail service, will close at 2:20 a.m.

Light rail trains will operate on a Sunday schedule on July 4. Link service will resume normal weekday operating hours on July 5.

During the rest of the day, Metro will operate on a normal Sunday/Holiday schedule. More holiday schedule information is available at soundtransit.org or metro.kingcounty.gov/alerts/holidays.html. Some transit service will be re-routed due to various July 4 events. Customers should make sure they’re signed up for Rider Alerts, which provide information about special service to events, schedule changes and help riders plan trips around inclement weather. Just go to soundtransit.org/Subscribe-to-alerts or kingcounty.gov/depts/transportation/metro/alerts-updates.aspx.

Several ST Express bus routes will not operate on July 4, while other routes will run on a Sunday schedule. Sounder commuter rail service also will not operate on July 4.

Weekend construction: no bus service inside the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel July 1-2; Link light rail remains in service

Due to scheduled weekend construction at Convention Place Station, buses will not be operating in the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel July 1-2. Customers who normally ride bus routes 41, 101, 150, 255 & Sound Transit Express Route 550 in the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel will instead board or exit buses on surface streets.

Photo of rider alert sign posted at International District Station

This Rider Alert is posted at International District Station. Alerts are posted at each tunnel station with instructions to riders about changes to bus service July 1-2; Link trains will continue to operate in the tunnel.

NOTE! Sound Transit Link light rail will continue to operate in the tunnel. Buses are scheduled to return to service in the tunnel Monday morning, July 3.

Tunnel buses will travel the surface street routing they use when the tunnel is closed, as indicated on Rider Alerts posted at tunnel stations and on surface street bus stop signs along Second and Fourth avenues, Fifth Avenue South, Olive Way, Stewart and Virginia streets. Details are in Metro’s Alert Center.

Construction crews are scheduled to install a new traction power substation, which powers area electric trolley buses, as Metro’s Convention Place Station property is prepared for sale.

Nighttime construction continues after 9 p.m. on weekdays at Convention Place Station, during which riders board buses only at Bay letter “Ι.”

Ride with Pride: Metro celebrates and honors LGBTQ riders and employees

Editor’s Note: Plan to travel early and prepare for service delays and crowded transit service as an estimated 200,000 people will be downtown for the parade. Transit service will be rerouted Sunday, June 25, off of Fourth Avenue in Seattle from about 7 a.m. to the late evening during the Seattle Pride Parade.

This weekend, Metro is proud to participate in the Seattle Pride Parade. On behalf of our employees and riders who identify as LGBTQ, we march with you.

King County is reaffirming its steadfast commitment to fairness, justice and diversity. At a time when the rights of many in our country are under threat, our community is strong and supports our LGBTQ employees and customers.

When we hear stories of bus drivers and riders who help and care for each other, it represents the best of our greater community.

Every member of our community is entitled to travel without fear, free of harassment, intimidation or harm. Each customer is expected to ride in a way that is respectful of other customers and conforms with Metro’s Code of Conduct. Join us in our pledge to make our transit system safer, more inclusive, and we will be stronger together.

“Whether you arrived here last week or whether you’ve lived here for five generations, you belong here” – King County Executive Dow Constantine

Dow Constantinte and Joe McDermott raise the Pride flag at King County's administration building June 23, 2017.