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

Usuarios de Access le dicen a Metro qué es lo que funciona o no funciona y comparten ideas

En julio, Metro invitó a los usuarios de Access Transportation y a sus cuidadores a ofrecer sus observaciones sobre el servicio de Access. Más de 800 personas opinaron sobre lo que estamos haciendo, lo que es más importante para ellos y cómo podemos mejorar el servicio de Access.

Un resumen detallado de los comentarios está disponible en el sitio web de Metro, pero aquí tenemos un resumen rápido.

A quiénes escuchamos

access-heardfrom-2015-spanishA través de la encuesta en línea –

  • Gente de todo el condado de King (aquí se encuentra un mapa de Google con los códigos postales de quienes respondieron).
  • Clientes de Access (46%) y cuidadores de clientes (21%); clientes que reúnen los requisitos y cuidadores que nunca han utilizado el servicio (6%); organizaciones que atienden a clientes (16%); y las personas interesadas en asuntos de discapacitados, pero que no utilizan Access (11%).

A través de nueve reuniones de las partes interesadas – Centenares de usuarios de Access, profesionales interesados en el programa Access, cuidadores y grupos de apoyo.

Por llamadas telefónicas, correos electrónicos y cartas – Cerca de 100 personas, la vasta mayoría de las cuales eran usuarios de

Lo que hemos escuchado

Hicimos preguntas acerca de la satisfacción con los diferentes aspectos de Access, incluyendo la calidad del servicio, centro de llamadas / servicio al cliente, conductores, comodidad y limpieza de los vehículos, y seguridad personal. También preguntamos qué opinión general  tenían de Access. Lo que es difícil de reflejar son las innumerables historias que escuchamos que captan los comentarios resumidos aquí y la urgencia con que, según ellos, se necesitan hacer las mejoras.  Aquí están algunos de los principales temas que escuchamos:

Las cosas buenas que Access debe seguir haciendoaccess-wordle-spanish

  1. Los usuarios necesitan y valoran el servicio de Access. Una persona escribió: “Continúen proporcionando un servicio a discapacitados y a personas mayores de una manera profesional y cortés, con conductores competentes y el personal que toma las llamadas”.
  2. Access permite que nuestros clientes tengan libertad. Uno escribió que Access ofrece “… la posibilidad de llegar a lugares de difícil acceso para mí”.
  3. Mantener  la capacitación de los conductores y contrata aquéllos que tienen compasión. Los clientes notan el arduo trabajo de los conductores y valoran a quienes son cariñosos y respetuosos.
  4. Seguir contratando a personal cortés, amable y profesional en el Centro de Llamadas. En general, la gente expresó gran satisfacción con el personal por la ventaja de poder llamar y hablar con alguien directamente cuando quieren programar un viaje y averiguar lo que se necesita para el viaje.

¿Qué es lo que Access no hace bien y que hay que cambiar?

  1. Programación y elaboración del itinerario de rutas: estar en el vehículo demasiado tiempo; conducir por todos lados para llegar de un punto a otro, saltando a veces la parada de un cliente para recoger a alguien más; los conductores dependen de un GPS deficiente y no están facultados para realizar ajustes sensatos en tiempo real para responder al tráfico. Esta fue la preocupación más común que escuchamos.
  2. Falta de fiabilidad en el servicio: no llegar a tiempo; llegar demasiado temprano o demasiado tarde; largas esperas por la llegada del autobús.
  3. Comunicación deficiente o inexistente sobre la hora de llegada o de salida. Es particularmente estresante cuando surge algún problema y no se puede localiza al despachador.
  4. No hay flexibilidad para el pasajero: problemas con la política de cancelaciones; un cliente escribió, “Para mí es un castigo tener que reprogramar mi horario, reajustar mi viaje o cansarme de esperar a Access cuando tengo que llegar a tiempo al trabajo; los conductores de Access, por el contrario, pueden darse el lujo de retrasarse y soy yo quien paga las consecuencias.”
  5. Poca uniformidad en la calidad de la conducción y del servicio del centro de llamadas: muchos elogios y alta satisfacción con los conductores, especialmente los experimentados, pero hay mucho trabajo que hacer con los menos experimentados; se necesita más capacitación; la comunicación y las cuestiones interculturales fueron planteadas por pasajeros cuando el conductor no dominaba bien el inglés.

Sugerencias de los clientes para mejorar el servicio

  • Utilizar una tecnología diferente para elaborar horarios y rutas.
  • Ofrecer más flexibilidad y adaptabilidad a los conductores para responder a las necesidades de viaje en tiempo real de los pasajeros; la tecnología GPS mejorada podría ayudar.
  • Proporcionar la capacidad de hacer reservaciones usando tecnología diferente. Comunicarse de manera más eficiente en tiempo real. Un sistema reservación en línea sería genial, o confirmaciones de texto o de aplicación de los tiempos de recogida o descarga; seguimiento de cada vehículo; proporcionando a los conductores fotos de los pasajeros que van a recoger.
  • Ofrecer más flexibilidad en la programación y cambio de viajes. Un elevado interés en reservaciones del mismo día; deseo de hacer reservaciones con más antelación y ser capaz de hacer ajustes de viaje en tiempo real si las necesidades cambian.
  • Mejor seguimiento de quejas y preguntas. Tener un equipo independiente para manejar las quejas; mejorar el seguimiento para no transferir la llamada a otro agente al que habrá que volver a contar los hechos.
  • Valorar a los miembros del personal. Incentivar y recompensar a los excelentes conductores y al personal del Centro de Llamadas; aprovechar los comentarios para mejorar el rendimiento de aquellos que no están proporcionando un buen servicio al cliente.
  • Ofrecer diferentes formas de pago. Mayor integración de ORCA con Access y tener la capacidad de deducir la tarifa de tarjetas ORCA, pagar con tarjetas de crédito, o tener una tarifa que no implique cambio.
  • Ofrecer más oportunidades para recibir comentarios de los clientes.

access-glance-2015-spanishLos pasos siguientes

Esté pendiente de la información que se brinda en este espacio sobre cómo estamos respondiendo a los comentarios y a las oportunidades para proporcionar comentarios adicionales. Nuestra próxima fase de diálogo se llevará a cabo a finales de este invierno cuando esperamos recibir comentarios sobre nuestras respuestas a las sugerencias que se dieron.

Para obtener más información, visite metro.kingcounty.gov/programs-projects/access-transportation o comuníquese con DeAnna Martin, planificadora de relaciones con la comunidad, al 206-477-3835 o deanna.martin@kingcounty.gov.


How’s our translation? If you speak English and Spanish and want to help us improve our translations, compare this post to the same post we made in English and share your feedback by emailing community.relations@kingcounty.gov.

Access users tell Metro what is and isn’t working, share ideas

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In July, Metro invited Access Transportation riders and their caregivers to give us feedback about Access service. More than 800 people weighed in on how we’re doing, what’s most important to them, and how we might improve Access.

A detailed summary of the feedback we received is available on Metro’s website, but here’s a quick rundown.

Who we heard from

access-heardfrom-2015-englishVia online survey –

  • People all over King County (here’s a Google map showing the zip codes of responders).
  • Access customers (46%) and customer caregivers (21%); eligible customers and caregivers who have never used the service (6%); organizations that serve customers (16%); and people who have an interest in disability issues but do not use Access (11%).

Via nine stakeholder meetings – Hundreds of Access riders, professionals interested in the Access program, caregivers, and advocacy groups.

Via phone, e-mails, and letters – Nearly 100 people, the vast majority of whom were Access riders.

What we heard

access-wordle-englishWe asked questions about satisfaction with different aspects of Access, including service quality, call center/customer service, drivers, comfort and cleanliness of vehicles, and personal safety. We also asked for people’s overall opinions of Access. What is hard to reflect back are the countless stories we heard that capture the feedback we’ve summarized here and the urgency with which people feel improvements are needed. That being said, here are some of the main themes we heard:

What does Access do well and should keep doing?

  1. Access is very much needed and is appreciated by users. One person wrote, “Continue to provide service for people with disabilities and seniors in a professional manner with courtesy, skilled drivers, and call takers.”
  2. Access gives our customers freedom. One wrote that it provides “…the ability to get to places I wouldn’t otherwise be able to get to.”
  3. Keep training and hiring compassionate drivers. Customers notice the hard job drivers have and appreciate those who are caring and respectful of them.
  4. Keep hiring courteous, kind, and professional Call Center staff members. In general, people expressed high satisfaction with the staff and with the ability to call and speak with someone directly to schedule a trip and communicate about trip needs.

What does Access not do so well and should be changed?

  1. Ride scheduling and routing: being on the vans too long; driving all over to get from point A to point B, including sometimes past one customer’s drop-off location to pick up someone else; drivers depending on poorly functioning GPS and not empowered to make sensible adjustments in real time to respond to traffic. This was the most common concern we heard.
  2. Lack of service reliability: not arriving on time; arriving too early or too late; long waits for rides to arrive.
  3. Poor or no communication about arrival time or at pickup. It’s especially stressful when there’s a problem and dispatch can’t be reached.
  4. Inflexibility for riders: cancellation policy issues; one customer wrote, “If I have to rearrange my schedule, adjust my trips or give up on waiting for Access to get to work on time, I am punished; but Access can be late as much as they want and I have to deal with the consequences.”
  5. Inconsistency of driver quality, call center: many commendations and high satisfaction with drivers, especially the experienced ones, but we have work to do with the less-experienced drivers; more training is needed; communication and cross-cultural issues were raised by riders whose drivers are English language learners.

Customer ideas for improvement

  • Use different scheduling and routing technology.
  • Offer more flexibility and adaptability to drivers to respond to real-time travel needs of passengers; improved GPS technology could help.
  • Provide the ability to make reservations using different technology and communicate more effectively in real time about trips. An online reservation system would be great, or text/app confirmations of pickup or drop-off times; tracking of each van; providing drivers with pictures of passengers they are picking up.
  • Offer more flexibility in scheduling and changing trips. High interest in same-day reservations; desire to make reservations further in advance and be able to make trip adjustments in real-time if needs change.
  • Better follow-up on complaints and questions. Have an independent team handle complaints; improve tracking so people don’t get passed around to different places and have to re-tell their stories.
  • Value staff members. Incentivize and reward excellent drivers and Call Center staff; use feedback to improve performance of those who aren’t providing good customer service.
  • Offer different forms of payment. Better integrate ORCA with Access and be able to have fare deducted from ORCA cards, pay with credit cards, or have a fee that doesn’t involve change.
  • Provide more opportunities for customer input.

access-glance-2015-englishNext steps

Watch this space for information about how we are responding to this feedback and opportunities to provide additional feedback. Our next phase of engagement will take place later this winter, when we’ll seek feedback how we did at responding to what we heard.

To learn more, visit metro.kingcounty.gov/programs-projects/access-transportation or contact DeAnna Martin, community relations planner, at 206-477-3835 or deanna.martin@kingcounty.gov.

Metro and Seattle DOT team up to ease Route 8 traffic choke points

Route 8 riders can look forward to more-reliable service starting in 2017.

That’s when Metro and the Seattle Department of Transportation are scheduled to begin work on a number of traffic and parking revisions from Lower Queen Anne to Capitol Hill that will help keep Route 8 on schedule.

Plans include more green time for traffic signals at Denny Way and Fifth and Sixth avenues, and left-turn restrictions at several intersections to avoid traffic tie-ups that slow everyone down.

The most significant change will convert the center westbound lane of Denny Way between Stewart Street and Fairview Avenue into an eastbound bus-only lane. This measure alone will cut Route 8 travel time by about 60 seconds, with minimal impact on traffic according to our traffic studies.route8_map_blog

On Capitol Hill, on-street parking will be restricted on short sections of Denny Way, Olive Way, East John Street, and East Thomas Street. Also in the works are two expanded bus stops on Olive Way and East John Street so buses don’t have to leave and re-enter heavy traffic, and to provide more space and amenities for waiting passengers.

Many of these improvements will help traffic flow a little more smoothly for everyone, a win-win for both transit riders and motorists.

Metro received grants from the Federal Transit Administration to fund the improvements. The funds will cover SDOT’s costs to design and make the improvements, and also Metro’s costs to add new shelters, benches, and better lighting at bus stops from Denny Way and Second Avenue to 15th Avenue East on Capitol Hill.

To reduce construction impacts, Metro and Seattle are working to coordinate improvements with nearby projects such as the Denny Way Substation Project at Fairview Avenue.

Route 8 serves an estimated 10,000 riders a day, connecting people in Lower Queen Anne, South Lake Union, Capitol Hill, Madison Valley, Judkins Park, and Mount Baker to the Capitol Hill and in Mount Baker Link light rail stations as well as major employment hubs like South Lake Union.

Though reliability increased when Route 8 was divided into two separate routes in March 2016, late buses are still a problem, especially during rush hour and major events at the Seattle Center.

The project improvements will be made in phases during 2017 and 2018.

Northgate Transit Center Park & Ride Changes

As early as December 5, 2016, crews will begin building a new driveway for the Northgate Park & Ride (west) on NE 103rd Street, adjacent to First Ave NE. Driveway construction is expected to take two days to complete, weather permitting. This driveway is needed to accommodate the next phase of Sound Transit’s construction changes coming to the Northgate Transit Center Park & Ride.

In this new configuration, drivers will enter the Northgate Park & Ride (west) from the driveway on NE 103rd Street and exit from the driveway on NE 100th Street.

Upcoming construction of the Northgate light rail station will occupy additional space in the Northgate Park & Ride (west) as indicated on the map. Fencing will go up as early as December 7 around the middle section of the west lot. To replace the loss of those stalls a new replacement park-and-ride will open on the west side of First Ave NE between NE 100th and 103rd Streets. This new, North Seattle Park & Ride, has 102 new stalls and is expected to open as early as December 5, 2016.

Northgate Park & Ride Changes Mapphase-2-change-map

For more information:

Visit http://www.soundtransit.org/northgatestation/northgate-transit-center-park-and-ride

Contact Andrea Burnett, Sound Transit Community Outreach at 206-398-5300 or andrea.burnett@soundtransit.org

For issues that need immediate attention after normal business hours, call Sound Transit’s 24-hour construction hotline at 888-298-2395

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Transportation Survey Seeks Input on Community Shuttle Route 628

Take the survey online through December 7

Through a new transportation survey of people who live, work or go to school in Snoqualmie, Issaquah or North Bend, the City of Snoqualmie and King County Metro Transit are evaluating awareness of Community Shuttle Route 628 to better meet the community’s needs.

shuttle-blueskyKing County Metro Transit Route 628 operates every 30 minutes during peak morning and late afternoon commuting hours between North Bend, Snoqualmie, and the Issaquah Highlands Park & Ride. The transportation survey seeks information from local residents about their commuting times and area destinations, even if residents don’t currently use Route 628.

Residents can take the survey online through December 7. More info about Route 628 is available at the King County Metro Transit website.

Survey: Help Metro learn about transit gaps since Route 331 service was reduced

1016auroravillagetc001-2In September 2014, Metro reduced evening and night service on Route 331, which connects Kenmore, Lake Forest Park, Shoreline, and the Shoreline Community College campus. Now our Alternative Services Demonstration Program is working with the communities of Lake Forest Park and Shoreline and with Shoreline Community College to identify transit service gaps that might have been created by this reduction.

Do you live, work, or go to school in Shoreline or Lake Forest Park? Tell us about how you use or would like to use public transportation to get around.

Metro to extend routes 3 and 4 to serve Seattle Pacific University in March 2017

queenanne3_4-decisionMetro has decided to extend routes 3 and 4 to West Nickerson Street effective March 11, 2017, the first day of the spring 2017 service change. This change will:

  • Provide a new frequent service connection between downtown Seattle, Queen Anne business district, and Seattle Pacific University.
  • Improve bus connections at Nickerson Street, allowing riders from Queen Anne to more easily travel to Fremont and the University District via routes 31 and 32.
  • Provide access to a restroom for transit operators 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

In June, Metro heard from more than sixty people who expressed their opinion on the proposed change. These comments have shaped Metro’s work in the community.

We heard that it is important to schedule routes 3, 4, and 13 together so that buses come at even intervals between the Queen Anne business district and Seattle Pacific.  Metro will schedule these buses to alternate to the extent possible.  In particular, routes 3 and 4 will be scheduled together so that they come every 15 minutes for most of the day.  Due to connections with other services route 13 may not be as evenly spaced.

We heard from some people that the new connection will benefit people who live along route 3 or 4 and go to school or work at Seattle Pacific University.  We also heard that the change will help people who travel to the University District.

We heard concerns that routes 3 and 4 were being eliminated completely.  This change will remove service from the current turnaround loops on Queen Anne, but will not change how often the routes operate or the pathway of the routes through downtown and into Madrona and Judkins Park respectively. In addition, Metro will keep both route numbers so that riders who take the 3 and 4 today will continue to be able to take the same route number in the future.

We heard from some riders on both the 3 and 4 that we should consider only changing one of the routes and not both.  However, extending only one route would not meet the goal of this change, because the benefits of the new frequent service connections depend on both routes being scheduled and routed together.

We heard concerns about a new bus shelter that was installed at Rodgers Park that would no longer be served.  We heard that it is important to provide bus shelters where many people will be waiting for service, and that some of the other bus stops in the area don’t have shelters.  In response, Metro is working to install a bus shelter at the eastbound bus stop on West McGraw Street at 2nd Avenue West to ensure that riders who currently board route 3 north of West McGraw street have a sheltered waiting place at a nearby stop that will be served by routes 3, 4 and 13.

We heard that the additional walk distance would be a hardship for some people, and could make riding the bus difficult.  We understand the changes we plan to make will make riding transit difficult for some.  For these few riders, there are other options to consider:

  • The Hyde Shuttle provides door-to-door, shared ride trips within the neighborhood. It is free and available for seniors and people with disabilities.
  • Ridesharing such as a carpool with neighbors or forming a vanpool for your commute is also a possibility.
  • Access Transportation may be an option for riders who have a disability that would prevent them from riding bus service some or all of the time.

Stay tuned for more information about this change, including schedule information and maps, in March 2017. If you have further questions about this change or service planning, please email Katie Chalmers, Service Planning Supervisor, or call her at 206-477-5869.

Changes coming to Northgate Transit Center Park-and-Ride

As early as Monday, October 10, 2016 a new interim park-and-ride lot (Lot B) will open across the street from the Northgate Transit Center at the southeast corner of NE 100th Street and First Avenue NE. The new interim lot is needed to replace stalls that will be unavailable after the Northgate Link light rail station construction begins later this fall.

Construction will occupy the west side of the Northgate Transit Center Park-and-Ride along First Avenue NE. The park-and-ride entrance on NE 100th Street will stay open at this time.

The capacity of the existing interim park-and-ride lot (Lot A) at the corner of NE 103rd Street and Fifth Ave NE will be reduced as Northgate Mall resumes exclusive use of some stalls.

As construction of the station progresses, we’ll keep you informed about additional changes to the park-and-ride.

For more information:

 

Map of Phase 1 Changes

  • 20160920-northgate-link-extension-parking-phase1