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

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.

Expect transit delays during Rock ‘N’ Roll Marathon and Fremont Solstice Parade

Seattle celebrates two big annual traditions this weekend for those ready to rock ‘n’ run and bike in the buff. Metro buses The Rock ‘N’ Roll Marathon and Fremont Solstice Parade both will affect transit service, so riders should plan ahead and prepare for delays due to street closures and crowds.

Fremont Solstice Parade/Saturday

The Fremont Solstice Parade  starts Saturday at 1 p.m. from Northwest 39th Street and Fremont_solstice_avatarLeary Way Northwest and travels east along North 36th Street on its way to Gas Works Park.

Metro will operate a special shuttle from downtown to the south end of the Fremont Bridge. The shuttle service will operate every 15 minutes, from  10 a.m. to 7 p.m., starting from Sixth Avenue and Blanchard Street. Regular fares, transit passes and paper transfers will be accepted. (Try not to get body paint or glitter on the seats, please!)

Several bus routes that normally serve the Fremont area will be rerouted during Saturday’s parade, including routes 31, 32, 40 and 62. Sign up for transit alerts or check Metro online for service alerts.

Rock ‘N’ Roll Marathon/Sunday

On Sunday, runners will be out bright and early for the Alaska Airlines Rock ‘N’ Roll Marathon and half-marathon. The full race starts this year from Husky Stadium and makes its way through the Arboretum, down along Seward Park, up through the Rainier Valley and over to State Route 99 before looping back to CenturyLink Field.

For transit service during the race, the following routes will be affected by street closures: 2, 5, 7, 8, 14, 26, 27, 28, 43, 44, 45, 48, 50, 65, 106, 120, 125, 271, RapidRide C, D and E Lines, ST 522, ST 545 and ST 554. The Route 7 reroute will temporarily end at at Rainier Avenue South and South McClellan Street.

While runners are in the Rainier Valley, between 5:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., regular Route 7 service will operate between downtown Seattle and the Mount Baker Transit Center, and a free shuttle bus will provide service every 20 minutes between the Mount Baker Transit Center and South Henderson Street.

For information about regular transit service, or to plan other trips, visit Metro Online or Metro’s online Trip Planner. When planning your trip, check Metro’s Service Advisories page to find out about any known revisions to your routes.

Metro has new ideas for transportation in Sammamish

Metro is IMG_1704working with the City of Sammamish to develop innovative, customized services to meet local transportation needs.

Almost 500 people took our survey in January to tell us about transportation needs in Sammamish. We reviewed this feedback with the help of a stakeholder group and developed four service ideas that are tailor-made for Sammamish.

Tell us what you think by June 16

Take a survey: www.surveymonkey.com/r/SammamishMCC.

Learn about Metro’s Community Connections project in Sammamish: http://kingcounty.gov/metro/alt-sammamish

Plan ahead: South Bellevue Park-and-Ride closes May 30

The South Bellevue Park-and-Ride closes Tuesday, May 30, and Metro and Sound Transit are ready to help commuters who use the 519-stall facility find new options.

Sound Transit has to close the park-and-ride for up to five years to make room for construction of the East Link light rail extension from Seattle to Redmond. It’s the second big change this month for Eastside commuters, following closure of the Overlake Transit Center on May 1 — also to accommodate light rail construction.

While it may be stressful for some commuters to adjust, Metro and Sound Transit are here to help.

New locations

Sound Transit has leased several park-and-ride lots from property owners nearby and there are other existing lots with spaces available. More information on those locations is available via this map on Sound Transit’s website.

Customers may also want to try an alternate location that has spots available and offers direct bus service to Seattle, such as the South Sammamish, Tibbetts Creek, and South Kirkland Park-and-Rides. But plan ahead because those locations may fill up sooner.

ST Park_and_Ride map

Park-and-ride options during East Link construction.

How to get more info

For commuters who want to try something new, Metro’s JustOneTrip.org has information on alternatives to driving such as carpooling, vanpooling, and biking and walking connections; or where they can fill out a form online to request assistance creating a custom trip plan.

Metro’s customer service representatives (commute counselors) are available to help with online requests or to answer questions over the phone at (206) 553-3000.

Metro also is working to more efficiently manage other park-and-ride locations so as many transit customers can use them as possible.  This month, Metro stepped up enforcement at park-and-rides to ensure people are following the rules and spaces are being used by transit customers.

Metro will have extra staff monitoring park-and-rides with high rates of complaints and violations, such as Eastgate, Kingsgate, Redmond and Northgate, to make more room for transit customers and maintain a safe parking environment.

Carpool Parking Permit program

Metro also leases park-and-ride spaces on available properties near transit hubs (provided at no cost to transit riders) and launched a Carpool Parking Permit program in February that allows drivers with two or more regular transit riders (average of three days of ridership per week) to reserve spaces at any of six area park-and-rides.

Metro also launched a new partnership with Diamond Parking Service that connects people with new fee-based parking on commercial and residential properties near major bus routes.

Mercer Island Community Shuttle to be extended another 2 years

In partnership with the City of Mercer Island, King County Metro debuted the Mercer Island Community Shuttle Route 630 in June 2015 to give residents a new rush-hour option for getting to downtown Seattle after the loss of regular bus service. Launched initially as a two-year pilot, the shuttle is exceeding ridership goals and will be extended for another two years, until March 2019. Mercer Island Commnuity Shuttle_photo

The 630 Shuttle makes 10 trips per day during peak hours, from Southeast 46th Street/Island Crest Way and downtown Seattle via First Hill and includes a connection to the Mercer Island park-and-ride. It also includes flexible service for residents in the Shorewood area.

This week, Metro and Mercer Island are celebrating the 630 Shuttle’s two-year anniversary and previewing upcoming service improvements. Customers and others are invited to join the celebration from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, May 16, at the Mercer Island Community & Event Center.

Daily ridership is surpassing initial goals, and currently is 140 boardings per day. The shuttle is equipped with 19 seats and a wheelchair lift and a two-slot bike rack. Riders also are able to plan their trip using Metro’s online Trip Planner and track location status real time. Customers pay standard Metro fares and can use their ORCA cards.

Upcoming improvements will include moving the first stop to a sheltered location and extending the flexible service area.

The 630 Shuttle was launched under Metro’s Alternative Services program, now known as Community Connections, which focuses on cost-efficient solutions in areas that don’t have the infrastructure, density or land use to support, regular fixed-route bus service. Services can include routes with flexible service areas, real-time ridesharing between home neighborhoods and transit centers, reservation-based local trips and private carpool ridematching.