New bus stop is the first step to a two-way Columbia Street

The bus stop on Columbia Street and Second Avenue in downtown Seattle is a busy place for those commuting to West Seattle, Southwest Seattle, and Burien. Soon commuters who use the stop will have a more convenient location to catch the bus.

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The bus stop at Second Avenue and Columbia Street will move one block east to Third Avenue and Columbia, starting Sept. 23.

Work began in August to relocate the westbound bus stop one block up the hill to Third Avenue’s main transit thoroughfare. The new stop will open Sept 23 in coordination with Metro’s fall service change.

About 27,000 weekday riders will be affected, including those who use routes 21X, 37, 55, 56, 57, 113, 120, 125 and the RapidRide C Line.

Temporary wayfinding decals will be installed to point customers to the new location. A new street kiosk and off-board ORCA card reader will be installed for customers who ride the  C Line.

The new bus stop marks the beginning of major changes for Columbia Street. It will be transformed into a two-way transit corridor from First to Fourth Avenues to provide a vital connection for buses moving through downtown once the new State Route 99 tunnel opens and the Alaskan Way Viaduct is demolished. Buses traveling from the State Route 99 off-ramp in SODO will use the corridor to connect with  Third Avenue, downtown’s primary bus thoroughfare.

Construction to create a new eastbound transit lane from First to Third Avenues is expected to start in early 2018, and will take about four months.

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Initially after construction, Columbia Street will function as it does today; the project will simply reconstruct the pavement and prepare the curb line for the future configuration. When WSDOT opens the State Route tunnel in early 2019, the Columbia Street on-ramp will be permanently closed and Columbia Street will temporarily end at First Avenue; West Seattle buses will be routed via interim pathways.

After the Columbia Street on-ramp is demolished, the City will reconstruct Columbia Street between First Avenue and Alaskan Way as part of the Waterfront Seattle Main Corridor project, with Columbia Street reopening to traffic in late 2019.

King County is funding reconstruction of Columbia Street between First and Fourth Avenues. Columbia Street between First Avenue and Alaskan Way will be reconstructed as part of Waterfront Seattle’s Main Corridor project, which also includes dedicated transit lanes on Alaskan Way south of Columbia Street that will be operational once that project is completed in 2023.

More information is available at the Seattle Department of Transportation‘s website.

Riding Metro to the game? Plan for reroutes and changes to Husky football shuttle service

The UW Huskies play their first home game of the season this Saturday against the Montana Grizzlies. Fans and regular Metro riders should prepare for heavy traffic, reroutes and delays in and around the University District and Montlake Triangle immediately before and after the game, which is scheduled to start at 5 p.m.

UW Stadium

Park-and-ride shuttles to the game

Metro offers nonstop football shuttle service partnership with the UW Huskies from six park-and-ride locations, including Eastgate, Houghton, Kingsgate, Federal Way/South 320th Street, South Kirkland, and South Renton.

Metro will no longer operate dedicated Husky service from the Shoreline park-and-ride and Northgate Transit Center. The University of Washington is contracting for private shuttles to provide direct service from those locations. The Huskies gameday transportation website has information on private shuttle service for fans traveling from those locations.

Metro’s pre-game shuttles leave park-and-ride lots as they fill starting 2½ hours prior to kick-off time. The last buses leave from each park-and-ride approximately 40 minutes before kick-off, except for the Federal Way bus; this trip can take up to one hour and the service is scheduled accordingly.

A $7 round trip voucher is required for each person age 6 and older to board any Metro-operated Husky service. Vouchers can be purchased from the vendor located at each park-and-ride lot. No passes or transfers are accepted on the Husky park-and-ride direct service, including ORCA and UPASS. Game tickets are not accepted as fare on any service.

Post-game park-and-ride direct service buses depart from designated locations near UW Husky Stadium. The last bus to each park-and-ride leaves the Husky Stadium area 30 minutes after the game.

Fans also can ride any regularly-scheduled bus service and Link light rail from south-end locations or downtown Seattle to the University of Washington station outside Husky Stadium. Check for reroutes on some regularly-scheduled bus service in the Husky Stadium area.

Buses rerouted/U-District shuttle

With bus and car traffic on Montlake Boulevard and Northeast Pacific Street, riders of most regular Metro routes serving the UW Link light rail station (31, 32, 44, 45, 65, 67, 71, 73, 75, and 372) will be rerouted to 15th Avenue Northeast and Northeast Campus Parkway before and immediately after the game (see details online).  Riders headed to or from Husky Stadium can walk or ride a free Metro shuttle bus the rest of the way.

The U-District shuttle bus operates about every 7½ minutes from the regular posted bus stop southbound on University Avenue Northeast just north of Northeast Pacific Street. It will serve stops along Pacific Street in both directions.

For more information

Huskies 2017 home schedule

  • 5 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 9, vs. Montana
  • 6:30 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 16, vs. Fresno State
  • TBA, Saturday, Oct. 7, vs. California
  • TBA, Saturday, Oct. 28, vs. UCLA
  • TBA, Saturday, Nov. 4, vs. Oregon
  • TBA, Saturday, Nov. 18, vs. Utah
  • TBA, Saturday, Nov. 25, vs. Washington State

 

Metro employee receives lifesaving award

By Hannah Debenedetto / King County DOT intern

When an elderly man suffered a heart attack last April outside a Burien Starbucks cafe, Metro’s Marc Anderson knew what to do.

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Metro’s Marc Anderson (L) stands with King County Councilmember Dave Upthegrove after being honored for using CPR skills to save a man who suffered a heart attack in Burien. 

Anderson monitored the man’s vital signs as a Starbucks employee provided chest compressions. They continued performing cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) until paramedics from nearby King County Fire District 28 arrived.

In August, Metro Transit Risk Program Manager Marc Anderson was honored with the City of Burien’s 2017 Heroism Award for helping save the man’s life. The patient, Christopher Smith of Port Orchard, was able to leave the hospital a few weeks after the April 6 incident.

In a letter, Smith’s daughters said Anderson and others’ actions increased their father’s chances dramatically. “Were it not for these people knowing what to do and their immediate response, our dad would have died,” they wrote.

The King County Council also recently recognized Anderson for using emergency skills he learned through King County’s free emergency training program for employees. In 2016, Anderson was among nearly 1,000 county employees who enrolled in the courses.

At the Burien City Council’s award ceremony, Anderson stressed the importance of CPR training and encouraged more employees to take advantage. “This is one training that everyone should have,” Anderson said. “You never know when you will need it.”

As a result of the classes, Anderson was immediately able to assess Smith for tell-tale signs of distress, such as skin color and overall body condition.

“The first thing is to be willing to do something,” Anderson said. “The CPR/First Aid training gives a person the confidence to do something.”

“As his experience illustrates, CPR/AED training isn’t just for medics,” King County Executive Dow Constantine said. “The more people who hold a certification, whether they’re a County employee or not, the safer our county is.”

All King County employees are encouraged to attend free Basic First Aid/CPR/AED classes. You can find out more at KingCounty.gov. Residents of Seattle & King County can also take a free CPR class through the City of Seattle’s Medic II program.

Weekend construction: no bus service in Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel Sept. 9-10 and Sept. 23-24; Link light rail operates normal tunnel service

Due to scheduled construction that will close Convention Place Station, buses will not operate in the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel the weekends of Sept. 9-10 and Sept. 23-24. Link trains are not affected, and will continue to operate in the tunnel during this work. 

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. Rider Alerts are being posted at tunnel stations with instructions to riders about changes to bus service during those upcoming weekends. Buses are scheduled to return to service in the tunnel the Monday mornings following each weekend of construction.

Planned work includes digging a trench for a high-voltage electrical line, which will later power a new mini power station needed for electric trolley bus service in the Capitol Hill area. The trench will cut across the bus travel lanes at Convention Place Station, which is why buses will temporarily operate  on surface streets instead. Contractors also will be working nights at Convention Place Station to prepare for the weekend work.

Metro has options for hikers, music fans over Labor Day weekend

Metro has transportation options over Labor Day weekend for those heading to Bumbershoot or to hike in the outdoors.

For regular Metro customers, remember that regular bus service will operate on a Sunday/holiday schedule on Monday, Sept. 4 in observance of Labor Day.

Transit to the trails with Trailhead Direct

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A three-day weekend means plenty of Western Washingtonians will be out enjoying nature. Trailhead parking is likely to get a little crowded, which is why Trailhead Direct is a convenient option for those heading to the Issaquah Alps this weekend.

Trailhead Direct is a new seasonal service sponsored by Metro’s Community Connections Program and King County Parks that loops between the Issaquah Transit Center and three trailheads on Squak and Tiger Mountains. Transit vans leave the Issaquah Transit Center every 30 minutes between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m.

This weekend,  the first 50 riders on Saturday, Sunday and Monday will receive a free gift pack that includes an ORCA card preloaded with $10 value. ORCA can be used to pay the Trailhead Direct fare.

Visit the Trailhead Direct website for details on other promotions offered through King County Parks .

Hikers can ride the transit vans to Margaret’s Way trailhead at Cougar-Squak Corridor Park, the Poo Poo Point trailhead on West Tiger Mountain, and the East Sunset Way Trailhead in Issaquah. The service continues its route with a stop at the Issaquah Highlands park-and-ride before returning to the Issaquah Transit Center to begin another loop.

For those who want to connect with the Trailhead Direct on public transit, ST Route 554 serves both the Issaquah Transit Center and the Issaquah Highlands park-and-ride on weekends. Metro route 271 serves the Issaquah Transit Center on weekends with the 208 serving the transit center on Saturdays.

Ride Metro to Bumbershoot

While Metro does not operate any extra or other special service for Bumbershoot at Seattle Center over the holiday weekend, there is plenty of regularly scheduled transit service that serves the festival.

Routes 1, 2, 3, 4, 8, 13, 24, 32, 33 and the RapidRide D Line serve Seattle Center directly, while routes 5, 26, 28, 40, 62 and the RapidRide C, and E lines go to within a few blocks.

Holiday schedule on Labor Day

Metro buses will operate Sunday/holiday schedules for Labor Day, meaning some commuter bus routes will not be in service and other routes may operate on a reduced schedule.

Buses that do not usually operate on Sunday will not be in service on Labor Day. Customers should check schedules for route information, as well as planned  reroutes for events and construction.

Sunday fares will be in effect on all Metro service on Labor Day.

Complete transit information is available on Metro OnlineDetails about planned reroutes are on Metro’s Service Advisories page. Sign up for Metro Transit Alerts.

Riders also can visit Metro’s online Trip Planner or call Metro’s Customer Information Office on weekdays at 206-553-3000 to plan transit trips.

 

 

 

Executive Constantine: Go simple with a $2.75 flat fare

 

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Metro’s bus fares may get a lot simpler next year.

King County Executive Dow Constantine has announced a proposal to establish a single $2.75 fare for all adult Metro passengers, no matter the time of day or where they travel in King County.

Metro currently has one of the most complex fare structures in the nation, with one zone for the City of Seattle and another for all areas outside the city, as well as extra charges during the morning and evening commute.

Metro customers currently pay $2.50, $2.75 and $3.25 for regular adult fares, depending on zone boundaries and time of day.

One-third of riders in a recent survey said the current system is too complex and difficult to understand. In a proposal to the King County Council announced at a press conference, Constantine streamlined Metro fares to $2.75, and increased funding for discounted tickets.

About 65 percent of Metro customers will see no change or a fare reduction, according to boarding data.

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Metro spent six months hearing from customers, and received more than 11,000 responses to two public surveys, including one in which 80 percent expressed support for a flat fare.

You can hear Constantine, other elected officials, and Metro General Manager Rob Gannon discuss the proposal in the above video. Customers can check Metro’s fare review website for updates on this fare proposal, as well as Metro’s overall fare review process.

If the King County Council approves the proposed ordinance, it could take effect as soon as July 2018.

An estimated 35 percent of Metro boardings take place during off-peak hours, and those passengers would pay 25 cents more.

  • 21 percent of off-peak riders pay full adult fares without any subsidy or employer-sponsored pass.
  • 14 percent of off-peak riders use employer or organization-sponsored transit passes.

About 31 percent of Metro riders qualify for ORCA Lift, youth, senior and disabled fares. They would see no change.

The ordinance would include additional funding to help passengers who earn very low incomes not covered by ORCA Lift and passengers least able to pay during off-peak hours:

  • Increased funding for the Human Services Ticket Program, from $3.6 million to $4 million, to offset higher cost for social service agencies that distribute discount tickets. Forty-four percent of tickets sold through the program are for off-peak trips.
  • Working with ORCA partners to reduce fees for adult and youth ORCA cards and eliminate the $3 card fee for seniors and people with disabilities.
  • Continuing to work with schools, colleges and universities to enhance fare programs for students.

Amazing photos sought for King County Metro bus shelters!

Have you seen all of the bus shelters with amazing artwork and photography? King County Metro has nearly 800 photo murals in shelters across the system, and it’s time for us to accept entries for the next 100.

'8 rollergirls' by Roz Gerstein

‘8 rollergirls’ by Roz Gerstein

You can enter up to 10 photos for consideration online via Photographic Center Northwest. Deadline is Oct. 29, 2017. Photographers pay a $20 fee to submit five photos, and an additional five photos may be submitted for $5 each. The fees cover the costs of administering the program and preparing the photos for printing them mural-size for the shelters.

Metro shelter mural/courtesy Pearl Nguyen

Metro shelter mural/courtesy Pearl Nguyen

Last year, a panel selected 100 images from among the 1,300 images that were submitted by the public. Artists of all ages contribute, mostly from the northwest but also from other parts of the U.S. and beyond.

'Fiery sunset' by Richard Mann

‘Fiery sunset’ by Richard Mann

Thanks to the artwork submitted and curated over the past seven years, Metro’s shelters in many locations are more beautiful, interesting and inspiring.

Metro has about 1,800 bus shelters across the system, and we’re making them better each year. Having bus shelters with photo murals makes the experience of waiting for transit that much better.

For inspiration, see the past few years of bus shelter photo mural winners on our Flickr sites from 2010, 2013, and 2014.

James Turner is Metro’s Transit Operator of the Year!

We surprised James Turner this month with the highest honor Metro has: Transit Operator of the Year.

James Turner smiles as he is praised and honored with the Transit Operator of the Year award Aug. 17, 2017.

You can see the look on his face as he walked into a cheering room full of family, bus drivers and supporters on Aug. 17, 2017.

Here’s what riders have to say:

He always has a smile on his face. He is pleasant and nice to everyone without discriminating. There was one time where passengers were stuck on his bus for close to an hour and a half because of some accident, and he was so nice. He took it in stride and, in a situation where it could be really easy to get grumpy, he made everyone feel comfortable. He clearly enjoys what he does and he deserves to be recognized. Outstanding job!”

“I have known James for many years and wish to recommend him for ‘Bus Driver of the Year.’ Reason being his outstanding way he treats and respects all passengers, young or old. His personality never changes even though some passengers can be rude. He’s always nice to people. He’s very knowledgeable about bus routes and is very careful about letting people sit down before he takes off. I hardly ever come across drivers as nice as him anymore. I consider him very outstanding as a driver.”

After a rider had foot surgery and was not able to move very quickly, “the driver was very patient and extremely thoughtful. He displayed this throughout the rest of the trip towards other riders, especially toward elderly and disabled individuals.”

 

Here is the announcement, including dozens of compliments riders have sent Metro over the years. Congratulations James!

James Turner King County Metro Transit Operator of the Year

“Like all our Metro operators, James takes public service seriously. But he goes a little bit farther, creating a community space on his bus that is friendly, inclusive, and relaxing. He shares his dedication to helping people get around the region with his family – eight relatives including his sister, son and daughter drive for Metro. James says he loves what he does, and for 35 years, riders have loved that he does it.” – King County Executive Dow Constantine

“Throughout his 35-year career, we’ve heard time and again how James respects the needs of riders of all ages and backgrounds. He is a shining example of the best customer service that Metro provides and we’re proud to honor him as Metro’s Top Driver and our Transit Operator of the Year.” – Metro Transit General Manager Rob Gannon

 

Help develop innovative transportation options in Shoreline, Lake Forest Park

Metro recently conducted a survey about transportation needs for people who live, work, or attend school in Shoreline and Lake Forest Park. We’re exploring some ideas and potential partnerships to better meet mobility needs in areas where traditional fixed-route bus service isn’t the best solution.  have_a_say_graphic2

Based on community input, Metro has developed two proposals. Now we want to get the community’s feedback on whether these proposals would help improve transportation in Shoreline and Lake Forest Park.

Have a Say! Learn more about the service options, take the survey and tell us what you think by Monday, Sept. 4. The options under consideration:

  • Community Ride – A reservation-based service that travels within a specific service area based on where people want to go.
  • Community Van – Metro vans provided for local group trips scheduled by a Community Transportation Coordinator to meet local needs.

Take the Metro Community Connections Survey today.

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.