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.

Construction begins tomorrow on RapidRide F Line bus stops

Construction begins Sept. 4 on two RapidRide stops at The Landing in Renton. These stops will serve Route 140 riders starting Sept. 28, when Route 140 will be extended to follow the path of the future F Line north of the Renton Transit Center.

We will then install three more RapidRide stops north of the transit center, and Route 140 will begin serving each of them as construction is finished.

The F Line will begin service between Burien and Renton on June 7, 2014, replacing Route 140.

RapidRide stops and stations

RapidRide stations are placed where most riders gather. Their features include:

  • Electronic signs that tell how many minutes it will be until the next bus will arrive.
  • Large maps of the routes showing all stops and destinations.
  • ORCA readers that let riders with ORCA cards pay before they board and get on at any door.

RapidRide stops are well lit so people can see around themselves and be seen. They also have stop request signals that let riders trigger a light at night to let the bus drivers know they are waiting.

Learn more on Metro’s website»

Work along the F Line corridor includes upgrades to traffic signal infrastructure to support transit signal priority at certain intersections; installation of new passenger amenities at each RapidRide stop; and making some roadway changes to improve bus operations.

In March, we began construction on the F Line Intelligent Transportation System project, which will include installation of equipment cabinets, wireless access antennas, and fiber optic cables for real-time bus information signs, off-board ORCA readers, and transit signal priority. This work will continue through September, moving from Burien east through SeaTac, Tukwila, and Renton. When we finish this phase of the project, we can begin testing and fine-tuning transit signal priority equipment.

Existing bus stops will be closed as needed during construction of RapidRide stops and stations. When we close a stop,we’ll provide an alternative stop nearby and buses will continue normal operations. Only a few bus stops will be under construction at any given time, and we’ll do everything in our power to minimize disruptions.

Look for rider alerts at affected bus stops with details about where to catch your bus during construction. As work progresses along the corridors, we’ll also post construction updates here, along with this progress graphic:

 

C and D line update: working out some kinks

We’ve had some start-up challenges with the new C and D lines – overcrowded buses and delays during peak commute hours on the C Line, and some technology that isn’t working yet on the D Line. Here’s a rundown of what we’re doing to address these issues.

Adding buses

After adding two morning and two afternoon trips to both new lines to make buses less crowded and more reliable, we’re monitoring passenger loads. Things appear to be going more smoothly on the C Line during morning commute hours, but there are still problems with the afternoon commute. We may add more trips to these lines or to connecting bus routes if necessary. We’ve also stationed two extra buses near the C and D lines so we can put them into service quickly if the regular buses are delayed or overcrowded.

Actively managing service

Metro has a control center where a dedicated coordinator actively manages RapidRide service during peak commute hours, communicating with bus drivers to help them keep buses evenly spaced. This is a new approach for us, and continues to improve with experience.

Transit signal priority

Most major intersections on RapidRide corridors have transit signal priority systems. RapidRide buses send signals to traffic lights to make green lights stay green longer or red lights switch to green faster.

C Line transit signal priority systems are up and running at all but one of the intended intersections. D Line systems are now operating at more than half of the intended intersections. Metro is working with the Seattle Department of Transportation to turn on the remaining systems by the end of the year.

We’ll be refining traffic signal timing for both lines over the next six months. After that, we’ll continue to monitor the systems and adjust them as needed. The C and D lines are connected, so as signal priority improves on the D Line, the C Line should provide more reliable service coming out of downtown Seattle.

photo: RapidRide station with dark sign and hooded card reader

You’ll be seeing fewer nonworking signs and hooded ORCA readers as we get power and troubleshoot isolated connection problems.

Bus arrival signs and ORCA readers

The real-time bus arrival signs at RapidRide stations depend on network connections that have both hard-wired and wireless components. When a sign isn’t working properly, Metro has to identify the problem before we can fix it. The wireless access point may be faulty and require replacement, or the signal may be interrupted by something physically coming between the sign and its wireless access point (in which case we would move one of the antennas).

As of today, there’s still one arrival sign on the C Line that we haven’t fixed yet. On the D Line, we’re working with Seattle City Light to make permanent electrical connections, which will allow us to turn on the off-board ORCA readers and arrival signs. Experience with the A and B lines tells us that once we’re able to hook up the equipment, turn it on, and see if it’s working, most of it will probably work, with a few isolated issues.

Thanks for your patience

While we’re working to get everything running smoothly, we really appreciate our riders’ patience – and also your comments and suggestions, which help us know where improvements are needed.

Next time: what riders can do to speed up RapidRide

The whys of Metro’s RapidRide shelter design

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RapidRide shelters offer multiple waiting areas.

Some people have raised questions about Metro’s design choices for RapidRide shelters, including how much seating they have and how much protection they provide from the elements.

We’ve also been asked why, in this time of scarce resources, Metro is spending money to replace perfectly good shelters with new RapidRide ones.

First, let’s address the questions about design elements. Metro chose an open design for RapidRide shelters in response to input from both passengers and Metro bus drivers, who told us increased visibility is important to them for personal security.

Narrow side walls allow the shelters to fit within the public right-of-way and still accommodate pedestrian travel on sidewalks. The open lower side panels make it easier for both bus drivers and passengers to tell from a distance whether the shelter is occupied.

Passengers have told us they sometimes feel uncomfortable entering a shelter that’s already occupied. For this reason, RapidRide shelters have places to stand under cover without entering the area enclosed by the windscreens.

All RapidRide shelters provide at least one seat under cover, plus leaning rails and space for at least one wheelchair. There aren’t as many seats as in regular shelters, but RapidRide buses come more often than regular buses, so wait times are shorter. More seating is provided outside the shelter, so riders have more choices about where to wait, in both good weather and bad.

RapidRide shelter

RapidRide shelters come in several different sizes, designed to meet different ridership demand levels at the various RapidRide stops, and also to respond to a variety of site constraints. The smaller RapidRide shelters provide about one-third more roof cover than the standard Metro shelters they replace. The largest RapidRide shelters, which are being installed at the more heavily used stops or stations, provide almost three times more cover than the smallest ones.

In response to the financial question, RapidRide shelters and other capital elements of the RapidRide program are mostly grant-funded.  Metro has been very successful in nationwide competitions for funding because its bus rapid transit program is robust and includes the elements that funding agencies look for when making their awards—including improved passenger waiting areas.

As for the old Metro shelters that we remove from RapidRide stops, rest assured that they’re not going to waste. We refurbish them and reuse them elsewhere in the system.