Plan for service delays/reroutes during March for Science and weekend events

It’s going to be a busy weekend in the Seattle area, with big runs, walks and a March for Science that is expected to draw tens of thousands  downtown.

Transit riders should plan for reroutes and significant service delays due to traffic, crowds and congestion associated with these events. Riders are urged to sign up for transit alerts to get the latest information.

Saturday

March for Science — Earth Day:  Buses serving Pine Street and Fourth Avenue will be rerouted as thousands are expected to march from Cal Anderson Park to Seattle Center to show support for science and celebrate Earth Day. The march is scheduled from 11:30 a.m. to  3 p.m. See all the affected routes on Metro’s Service Advisories page.

Customers should plan for significant delays.eventLogo_MarchForScience_banner

The Tenacious Ten Run: From 7 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., routes 40 and 70 will be rerouted as follows:

  • Route 40: Heading toward Northgate, Route 40 will be rerouted off of Westlake Avenue N between Thomas Street and Fourth Avenue North, and will travel via Dexter Avenue North instead.
  • Routes  70: Heading toward downtown Seattle, route 70 will be rerouted off of Northeast Campus Parkway between Brooklyn Avenue Northeast and the southbound ramp to the University Bridge.  The 40 and 70 will serve all regular and temporary posted bus stops along their reroutes.
  • Route 40 to downtown Seattle, and route 70 to the University District: These buses will operate via their regular routes and stops, but may experience delays.

Nalamasu Baraat Processional: From 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m., route 125 will be rerouted off First Avenue in downtown Seattle and will not serve the stop on First Avenue at University Street.  It will travel instead via Third Avenue.

Sunday

All in for Autism Run/Walk in Bellevue: From 7:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., Routes 240, 241, 249 and Sound Transit’s ST 550 will be rerouted off Northeast Fourth Street, Bellevue Way Northeast/Southeast and 112th Avenue Northeast/Southeast.

Earth: ‘Thank you for riding transit!’

If you ride Metro regularly, you know how easy it is to climb on and zone out with a good book, tunes, games or TV shows on your phone (and the occasional power nap).

Behind the scenes, you’ve left your car behind, and that is one of the single best things you’ve done for the environment.

By the numbers

According to the Earth (and science), transportation is a huge contributor to pollution, and riding Metro buses and vanpools is the best way to travel and reduce pollution. Our electric trolley buses, hybrid buses and the growing fleet of battery electric buses (120 by 2020, baby!) show King County means business when it comes to climate change.

We’re not done, and we need your help. As our transit network grows, and more frequent buses and light rail expands, you might not know how that new network can work even better for you.

Make a plan to give it a try, maybe even this Saturday (hint-hint, Earth Day), by using our online trip planner or Puget Sound Trip Planner app to find a way to climb aboard!

If you don’t want to pay cash, you can test drive our Transit Go Tickets on mobile, or buy an ORCA day pass at a ticket vending machine

Have a say on simpler bus fares

King County Metro wants to hear from riders as we work to simplify our bus fares. This month, Metro launched the second round of our fare review process, with an online survey for people to tell us which of two potential options they prefer.

Adult fare riders currently pay $2.50, $2.75 or $3.25, depending on time of day and whether they travel across zone boundaries. It’s a complex fare structure that can confuse riders, and consequently, slow down boarding.fare_image

Metro presented two options this week for simplifying fares:

  • Option 1: A $2.75 flat fare with no surcharges for traveling during peak commute hours or across zones.
  • Option 2: A $3 peak/$2.50 off-peak fare. Riders would no longer pay extra for crossing zones but would still pay a higher rate during peak hours (6–9 a.m. and 3 – 6 p.m. weekdays).

Now it’s your turn to tell us what you think by participating in an online questionnaire by May 5 or by attending a public meeting on April 25 or 27. The April 27 meeting will be held online.

Details are available at www.kingcounty.gov/metro/farereview.

Metro and the six other regional transit agencies that make up the ORCA smart-card system are looking at simplifying fares across all agencies in preparation for modernization of the ORCA system.

The two options listed above would not include changes to ORCA Lift, youth, senior, disabled or Access fares. ORCA_cards

In addition to seeking broad public input, Metro has convened an advisory group to consider various fare options and advise on additional work Metro needs to do to decrease barriers for fare payment. The group, which has already met twice and will meet a third time in May, represents employers, human service organizations, advocacy groups and others. They provide advice on the near and long-term fare options. Meetings are open to the public for observation.

Metro will incorporate the recommendations in a final proposal, which is expected to be transmitted to the King County Council this summer.

More than 4,500 people participated in a Metro survey earlier this month that asked customers to list their priorities for a simpler bus fare. Faster boarding, promoting safety for operators and passengers by reducing fare disputes, and keeping fares affordable for people with low incomes were top priorities. Metro has heard from customers, including many who pay with cash, that fares can be difficult to understand. Simpler fares promote the safety of operators and customers by reducing the potential for fare disputes, and can lead to faster boarding.

Metro encourages all transit riders to participate, including youth, older adults, students, ORCA LIFT riders, riders with disabilities, as well as schools, employers and community-based organizations. Metro also is contracting with community organizations to hear from harder-to-reach populations so their input is considered as Metro assesses options and develops programs to address affordability and access to transit.

 

Metro’s Anita Whitfield: Paving the way for equity in public transit

0317AnitaWhitfieldWTSaward175As Metro’s EEO/Diversity and Inclusion Manager, Anita Whitfield has been breaking down barriers and instilling a shared sense of responsibility for promoting equity and social justice.

Whitfield has worked to create a culture where employees feel safe to have difficult discussions about historical and current inequities. She’s led training for many employees (which she calls “shared learning opportunities”), and played an instrumental role in shaping a vision for making Metro and King County government more equitable for all employees and residents.

Whitfield recently was honored by the Puget Sound chapter of the Women’s Transportation Seminar with the Rosa Parks Diversity Leadership Award. The award recognizes outstanding efforts in promoting opportunities for women and minorities in the transportation industry.

“Mobility is a civil right,” said Whitfield, who currently doubles as interim general manager for employee services. “I accept this award on behalf of the managers and employees at King County Metro Transit who are stepping authentically into this work and striving together to equitably serve all King County residents — especially those who are transit dependent.”

In nominating Whitfield for the award, Metro General Manager Rob Gannon said she is at the forefront of a cultural change at Metro.

“She is leading trainings, acting as a confidant and liaison, and paving the way for change,” he said.

Gannon wrote:

 “When we had the unfortunate experience of having our Martin Luther King Jr. Logo defaced in combination with a racial slur, Anita used this experience as a teachable moment to bring together staff, talk about what happened, and address the issue head-on. In another example, when women wearing traditional attire were harassed on a bus, Anita took the initiative to use that negative and harmful experience to partner with the Council on American-Islamic Relations and host them at Metro for a Lunch and Learn.

“Anita practices what she preaches and confronts difficult situations head on with grace and humility, taking a stand against racism and hate, while providing a space for conversation, dialogue and the opportunity to move forward.

Whitfield says her goal is for everyone to see they are in this together, and to understand that the harm done to some actually hurts us all.

She credits Gannon for his leadership on this work in public transit and “who himself is traveling his own journey to understand his own privilege.” She also credits Director of Transportation Harold Taniguchi, as well as County Executive Dow Constantine for his courage in leading King County’s first Equity and Social Justice Strategic Plan.

Whitfield returned to the Department of Transportation three years ago to help shape the agency’s execution of its commitment to Equity and Social Justice.  Ultimately, she joined Metro and became part of the PACE (Partnership to Achieve Comprehensive Equity) leadership team. PACE, a partnership between employees, management and unions, was formed to address longstanding inequities in the workplace, and resulted in numerous recommendations on how to make Metro a more equitable organization for all employees.  Those recommendations and others are being implemented across Metro.

Under her guidance, Metro is moving forward to reach the PACE goal of building and sustaining an inclusive, fair and equitable workplace for everyone.

Whitfield’s first stop at Metro was 30 years ago before the merger of Metro and King County. She worked as a clerk typist at Metro’s East Base in Bellevue.  The job listing said applicants were required to have a car to commute from Seattle. She was coming from Seattle’s South End, but didn’t own a car.

So her new boss stepped in.

“He would pick me up every day and bring me to work until I could save up enough money to buy a car,” she said.

In the years in between her current and former roles at Metro, Whitfield went on to become a lawyer, open a business, and serve as Human Resources director for King County among other things.

Whitfield says she is encouraged by the Rosa Parks award, but knows there is more work to do.

“I don’t accept this award for the achievement because there is still so much farther to go to reach our goal of true equity and inclusiveness, but I accept it for the encouragement,” she said.

“It is more important now than ever that we come together and stay true to who we want to be as a community.”

Expect demonstrations, events, heavy traffic & bus reroutes on Saturday, April 15

If you are attending downtown Seattle demonstrations, the Ms game or Sakura-Con on Saturday, April 15, be prepared for heavy traffic and rerouted buses. Photo of Route 70 bus in downtown Seattle

On Saturday, April 15, from approximately 10 a.m. until about 4 p.m., some Metro service will be rerouted and most transit service and traffic in Seattle will likely experience delays during daytime demonstrations and a 6:10 p.m. Mariners game.

Sign up for transit alerts, and follow Metro’s tweets, and those of Seattle DOT, Seattle Police and Sound Transit.

Planned reroutes during Saturday’s demonstrations
Metro routes 10, 11, 12, 47, 49 and 62, and Sound Transit routes 522, 545 and 554, will be rerouted in downtown Seattle due to civic events around the Federal Building, downtown streets and Westlake Park. The actual times of the reroutes vary based on the route and direction of travel, and are further subject to change without notice.

During the daytime civic events,

  • routes 10, 11, 47 and 49 will not operate on either Pine or Pike streets west of 7th Av, and
  • routes 12, ST 522, ST 545 and ST 554 will be rerouted off of streets near the Federal Building and off of 4th and 5th avenues. Expect possible additional service delays in the afternoon due to a 6:10 p.m. Mariners game at Safeco Field.

All transit customers should use the regularly published schedules for their transit service, determine the alternate bus stop due to reroutes or events as necessary, allow plenty of time for transit trips, and expect possible significant delays.

Planned event information
Visit Metro’s Service Advisories page for complete information about revised bus service, routing and stops for planned events.  The start and end times and other details for planned reroutes are subject to change.

Civic and other large event information

In areas where there are crowds, traffic or unscheduled events disrupting normal travel patterns or activities, transit riders are advised to be aware of conditions in their immediate vicinity – such as street closures, detours, police directions, etc. – and be prepared for delays or to make revisions to travel plans – such as using a different bus stop or a different route – based on specific circumstances.

During these kinds of events, be prepared for unexpectedly revised traffic or routing and for delays in transit service. Use the regularly published timetable for your route, allow plenty of time, then be prepared for possible schedule delays.  It may not be possible for Metro to provide real time updates.

Transit riders are encouraged to know what alternate stops or routes may be in the vicinity of their starting points and destinations. Depending on the time and the nature of such events, Metro may not be able to provide real time information or service updates via email or text. Reroute start and end times and other details may be subject to change.

Additional information

Metro wants your input on ways to simplify fare payment – another week to tell us what you think

We want to hear from you as our planning begins to make paying fares faster, easier, and simpler for everyone

Transit riders in King County and the greater region struggle with the complexity of Metro’s fare structure. It includes a peak-time surcharge and two zones with an adult-fare surcharge on trips crossing the zone boundary during peak.

Metro and the six other regional transit agencies that represent the ORCA (One Regional Card for All) smart-card system have committed to looking at simplifying fares across all agencies as they prepare for improvements and modernization of the ORCA system. As part of that process, we are considering options that would allow for speedier boarding, improve safety for drivers, help increase ridership and further reduce barriers for vulnerable populations.

You are invited to provide direction on fare change options and longer-term work on fare-related issues by participating in an online questionnaire. Later this spring, the public will have additional opportunities to provide feedback on fare change options via a second online survey and open houses.

We encourage all transit riders to participate, including youth, older adults, students, ORCA Lift riders, riders with disabilities, as well as schools, employers and community-based organizations. We are also contracting with community organizations to hear from harder-to-reach populations so their input is considered as Metro assesses options and develops programs to address affordability and access to transit. Feedback during the outreach process will be used to draft proposals. We anticipate a final proposal will be submitted to the King County Council for consideration in June.

Learn more and have a say by April 7

Metro, Sound Transit seek public input on future of SR 520 transit service

link-connections-sr-520-2For bus riders commuting between Eastside communities and downtown Seattle, potential new connections between Metro and Sound Transit bus service and Link light rail offer an appealing option for beating traffic congestion on Interstate 5.

This month, Metro and Sound Transit invited Eastside residents to weigh in on potential changes in transit service along the State Route 520 corridor.

Those changes could include stopping cross-lake buses at the University of Washington light rail station so riders can transfer onto trains headed to downtown, or providing Eastside communities with new transit connections to destinations such as South Lake Union.

Connecting SR 520 routes to light rail could connect riders with congestion-free service to Downtown Seattle.  Metro first considered this option when the University of Washington light rail station opened during the University Link Connections outreach process, but decided to hold a separate process with Eastside communities.

Routes potentially affected include the 252, 255, 257, 268, 277, 311, 540, 541, 542, 545, 555 and 556.

Feedback received during the public outreach process will be used to shape service concepts that will be presented for public review in May and June. Final proposals will be shared with the public later this fall for feedback, then pre520-Link-Connectionssented to the King County Council and Sound Transit Board for consideration.

At Metro’s Link Connections SR-520 website, you can:

Metro and Sound Transit are recruiting a sounding board of 15-20 community members to advise the agencies through the planning process. The sounding board will meet regularly through November 2017. People of diverse backgrounds who reflect the affected communities are encouraged to apply, via the website.

Nearly 230,000 peo0317Sr520Outreach114ple commute in and out of downtown Seattle from throughout the region, with many thousands more coming to shop and attend cultural events. Over the next 20 years, Seattle’s center city is projected to add 55,000 more jobs and 25,000 more households. That growth will occur as downtown traffic is affected by significant changes, including demotion of the Alaskan Way Viaduct; expansion of the Washington State Convention Center; and the long-planned conversion of the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel to a rail-only facility, which will send seven bus routes to the surface.

Changes outside downtown Seattle over the next five years include SR-520 construction and work along I-90 in preparation for the opening of East Link in 2023.

Additionally, an effort led by the Seattle Department of Transportation in partnership with King County Metro, Sound Transit and the Downtown Seattle Association called One Center City proposes potential strategies including bus route changes alongside street and traffic improvements and other measures in Downtown Seattle.

Help create the future RapidRide H Line – give feedback on Delridge improvements by Mar. 31

Have-a-Say-Spanish-500pwideIn 2020, Route 120 will become the RapidRide H Line. King County Metro is collaborating with the City of Seattle to improve riding transit, walking, and biking in the Delridge area. This month, we are sharing the latest on these improvements and seeking input on how best to balance the needs of everyone who uses the corridor, whether they’re in a bus, a car, walking, or riding a bike.

King County Metro will be bringing RapidRide amenities and improving service between the Seattle City limits and Burien.

Converting Route 120 into the RapidRide H Line will keep people moving by:

  • Keeping buses frequent and on-time
  • Adding more buses at night and on weekends
  • Upgrading RapidRide bus stops with lighting, real-time arrival info, and more
  • Improving sidewalks and paths for people walking and people riding bikes

What types of improvements is Seattle considering?

  • Option 1 would add bus-only lanes, both all day and at peak times along sections of Delridge Way SW. A widened sidewalk would accommodate people who bike and walk from 23rd Ave SW to SW Holden St. People who bike would be encouraged to use the existing neighborhood greenways, which run parallel to Delridge Way SW.
  • Option 2 would add bus-only lanes between the West Seattle Bridge and SW Alaska St. It would also add about 3 miles of southbound protected bike lane from SW Andover St to SW Kenyon St.

Learn more and comment by March 31

New Blanchard bus lane to improve travel times for riders

Bus riders on three busy Metro routes will see faster travel times with the installation of a new bus-only lane on five blocks of Blanchard Street through BellBlanchard_lane_graphictown.

The new eastbound bus lane between Third Avenue and Westlake Avenue, along with a bus-only signal at one-way Blanchard Street and Westlake Avenue, will help improve reliability for the route 40, route 62 and the C Line. More than 200 bus trips will be able to bypass traffic-clogged lanes during the weekday rush hours, saving many riders 4 minutes per trip and much more on days when traffic is severely congested.

The bus-only lane was funded by the Seattle Department of Transportation, and initially will be active from 6 to 9 a.m. and 3 to 7 p.m. on weekdays only.

At the same time, Metro has selected the Route 40, which connects downtown, Fremont, Ballard and Northgate; the 62, which stretches from downtown to Sand Point,  and the C Line between South Lake Union and West Seattle, for additional bus trips as part of the March 11 service change. The three routes are among several throughout King County to get additional trips during peak hours to help keep pace with high demand and reduce crowding on buses.

The changes are part of the first round of improvements approved in the 2017-2018 budget. Metro Transit’s two-year budget invests $30 million in better service and better schedules, including investments in some transit schedules that provide transit operators with improved restroom access and break to help ensure that bus trips start on schedule.

Details are now posted on Metro’s website and people can begin pre-planning their trips using Metro’s Trip Planner app by entering a travel date of March 11 or later.  Changes are also included in a Rider Alert brochure and new teal-colored timetables that are being distributed on buses and at customer service locations.

Metro and Redmond propose transit, pedestrian and bike enhancements at Old Redmond Road and 148th Ave NE

Metro is working with the City of Redmond to improve the eastbound right-turn at the Old Redmond Road and 148th Avenue Northeast intersection.

The goals of this improvement are to enhance the performance of bus Route 245 and improve safety for everyone who bikes or walks through this location.

The intersection’s current approach includes a “pork chop” pedestrian island which separates the eastbound through-movement and a short eastbound right-turn ‘slip’ lane. Continue reading