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.

Take a survey, share input on park-and-ride parking

Our customers count on quick access to reliable parking at our park-and-rides. Yet many tell us it’s getting harder to find spaces, especially as more people use transit.1795

We also know some of our park-and-ride spots are being filled by people who aren’t there to catch a bus, vanpool, or carpool—instead, they’re going to nearby businesses, apartments, or construction sites.

Metro is now looking at a range of options to improve management of parking at our lots and garages, and we want your input.1830

One option might be permits for priority parking for carpoolers, similar to a program Sound Transit will roll out this fall.

We’d like your thoughts about permit parking, as well as any other ideas to help us better manage parking at our park-and-rides.

Take this 10-minute online survey to tell us what you think, or contact us at haveasay@kingcounty.gov or 206-263-9768.

The deadline for comments is Friday, August 19.

Learn more
Project website: www.kingcounty.gov/metro/parking
Sound Transit parking permits: www.soundtransit.org/permitparking
Metro Connects (our DRAFT long-range plan – see Pages 35-42):
www.kcmetrovision.org/plan/metro-connects-draft-plan

Link Connections – King County Metro bus riders will see many changes in March

Link Connections

Link is coming to Capitol Hill and Husky Stadium on March 19, 2016. Metro and Sound Transit have worked with the public to plan how bus service will connect with new light rail starting March 26, 2016.

On Saturday, March 19, Sound Transit will expand Link light rail to Capitol Hill and University of Washington stations, one week before Metro’s spring service change takes effect on Saturday, March 26. This new extension of the Link light rail network features frequent, fast service between downtown Seattle, Capitol Hill and the University of Washington near Husky Stadium.

Especially in areas with new Link service, transit customers will need to know that they will continue to use current bus routes and schedules for one week before new ‘Link Connection’ bus service becomes available.

During the first week of University Link service, use current bus service to connect with light rail
From Saturday, March 19 through Friday, March 25, the following routes will serve the new Link light rail stations:

  • Capitol Hill Station – at Broadway & E John St: Currently served by Metro bus routes 8, 9, 10, 11, 43, 49 and 60, as well as the new City of Seattle First Hill Streetcar.
  • University of Washington Station – at Husky Stadium: Currently served by
    Metro bus routes 25, 31, 32, 43, 44, 48, 65, 67, 68, 75, 167, 197, 271, 277, 372
    and 373, and on Sound Transit Express routes ST 540, ST 542 and ST 556.

Many bus routes change March 26
Starting Saturday, March 26, Metro’s spring service changes will take effect. These changes, shown on Metro’s Link Connections page, include a redesigned network of bus service to better connect riders with Link light rail and to provide new connections and service improvements you’ve told us you want, featuring:

  • New or improved connections to University of Washington Link Station on existing and new routes 31, 32, 45, 48, 65, 67, 71, 73, 75, 78, 372 and 373. See where these – and other routes that aren’t changing – connect to the University of Washington Link station;
  • New or improved connections to Capitol Hill Link Station on routes 8, 10, 11 and 49, and on unchanged routes 9, 60 and the First Hill Streetcar that will also connect with Link;
  • Route deletions or replacements: Routes 16, 25, 26 Local, 28 Local, 30, 66X, 68, 72 and 242 are deleted or replaced with other service.
  • Peak service improvements on routes 64X, 74X, 76 and 316;
  • Increased frequency on routes 8, 12, 48, 49, 65, 67, 70, 73, 75 and 372X;
  • More reliable service on routes 8 and 48 – currently often delayed by traffic; they will each be split into two shorter routes;
  • New east-west connections between Sand Point, Wedgwood, Ravenna, Roosevelt, Green Lake, Wallingford and Fremont on new Route 62;
  • New connections to South Lake Union and First Hill employment sites on
    new Route 63;
  • New night and weekend service on routes 8, 12, 67, 70 and 372X, and
  • Route 43 maintained with 30-minute peak period service on weekdays.

Find out how your routes are changing on Metro’s Link Connections website.

Other changes
In partnership with the City of Seattle, Metro’s RapidRide C Line will be extended to serve South Lake Union, and will no longer continue as the RapidRide D Line to Ballard. The RapidRide D Line will be extended to serve Pioneer Square, and will no longer continue as the RapidRide C Line to West Seattle. Read more.

Background
Implementation of Link light rail service to Capitol Hill and the University of Washington, and the related bus network revisions, are a culmination of several years of work by Metro, Sound Transit and the City of Seattle, along with many other stakeholders, and have included an extensive multi-phase public outreach that has featured online information, surveys and comment periods, public meetings and a Sounding Board composed of area residents. The King County Council adopted these changes on October 19, 2015. Additional administrative changes have been made since Council acted in October. For details on the history of this project and what has changed over time, read our series of blog posts categorized as Link Connections.

What do riders need to do to prepare, and when?
Starting now, riders can prepare for changes by:

You can plan bus trips to and from the new Link stations now by using current timetables in Metro Online, or by using a travel date of March 25 or earlier and
entering the station names as your destination or starting point in Metro’s online Trip Planner. Specific information about University Link trips and schedules will be in the
Trip Planner in early March.

In early March, we’ll let you know when you can:

  • Use a travel date of March 26 or later in Metro’s online Trip Planner to plan transit
    trips in the new network that will be effective on March 26;
  • Sign up for Transit Alerts for any new routes you may be riding, and
  • Review – during the week prior to March 26 – any trip plans or other information
    you may have previously obtained, as minor revisions may have been made.

Online timetables for Metro service effective on Saturday, March 26, will be posted
on the Metro Online website on the afternoon of Friday, March 25.

This will be the first of several updates related to transit service changes associated with the upcoming expansion of Link light rail to Capitol Hill and the University of Washington. We’ll keep you informed as new information becomes available via this blog and on social media using the hashtag #Bus2Link and #ULink2016.

 

 

Link Connections – Light rail to begin serving Capitol Hill and the UW on March 19

Link Connections

Link is coming to Capitol Hill and Husky Stadium on March 19. Metro and Sound Transit are focused on ensuring a smooth launch of train service and implementing changes to bus routes to better serve transit customers.

Sound Transit today announced the University Link light rail extension will open to passenger service on Saturday, March 19. Read Sound Transit’s news release.

Metro plans a major restructure of bus routes to serve the new light rail stations and improve connections.

Bus route changes start March 26, which gives a week for train operations before Metro adjusts transit routes and schedules. Both agencies are focused on ensuring a smooth launch of train service and implementing the restructure of bus routes to better serve transit customers. Learn more about how bus routes are changing.

Link Connections – Metro to change Route 10, thanks for your feedback

Link Connections

Link is coming to Capitol Hill and Husky Stadium in early 2016. Metro and Sound Transit have worked with the public to plan how bus service will connect with new light rail.

Two weeks ago we shared with you that Metro won’t be able to change routes 8 and 11 to operate on shared pathway between 23rd Avenue East and Bellevue Avenue when the Capitol Hill Link light rail station opens in 2016. We asked for your feedback about a potential change to Route 10 that would move the route to serve East John Street, Capitol Hill Station and Olive Way. This routing of the 10 would follow the same path in Capitol Hill that Route 43 uses west of 15th Avenue East. Read the full blog post.

1,269 of you responded to our online survey. With your feedback and our analysis, we have decided to change Route 10.

Here’s what you told us:

  • A two-thirds majority of respondents support or can accept this change. Your comments in support of the change reflect our own rationale for making it.
  • For those of you who commented to us that you don’t like the change, but could live with it, you told us that moving Route 10 is not what you desire as an outcome of this restructure, but it will help address ridership needs in Capitol Hill and more equitably distribute bus resources on the corridors that need it most.
  • Those opposed to this change are concerned about capacity on Route 11 as the only route service Pike/Pine between Broadway and 15th You are also concerned about a loss of inter-local connections. We heard from people who live, work, shop, go to school, and play who use Route 10 to travel between the Pike/Pine corridor and the 15th Avenue corridor. Whether you are students who live along 15th going to the Northwest School or residents on Pike/Pine headed to bars and Volunteer Park on 15th, these trips become less convenient if we make this change.

Read a summary of the feedback we received on Route 10.

Despite concerns, we think this change would better meet ridership demand along East John Street and in the Summit neighborhood, where there are nearly 1,000 bus boardings every day (940 people getting on and 1,300 getting off buses) on current Route 43. The Summit neighborhood and Olive corridor are the densest parts of Capitol Hill. Residents in this part of Capitol Hill face a steep climb to the light rail station. While the Route 43 will continue to operate in the peak periods, making this change avoids a significant net reduction of service at other times of day.

While this change would remove bus service along 15th Avenue East between East Madison Street and East John Street, a large majority of the average daily ridership along this part of Route 10 are at the stops closest to 15th Avenue East and East John Street and 15th Avenue East and East Pine Street or East Madison Street. These stops would still be served by routes 8, 10, 11, and 12. For those getting on and off Route 10 in the middle of this stretch (approximately 80 per day), they are no more than 4 blocks on a flat stretch of 15th to the nearest service.

Moving Route 10 will result in more bus service connecting Capitol Hill to the regional light rail system – including an easy bus connection from Capitol Hill Station to Group Health, the 15th Avenue retail core, and Volunteer Park.

To address concerns with bus capacity on the Route 11 in the Madison and Pine Street corridor we are planning to use 60-foot-long articulated coaches when ridership is at its highest. We will also actively monitor ridership after all changes are implemented and make adjustments as needed.

We’re in the process of updating our project website to reflect this decision. In the meantime, sign up for our project email list to be informed about when our website is up-to-date. Please contact DeAnna Martin at deanna.martin@kingcounty.gov or 206-477-3835 if you would like help figuring out how to get where you need to go after this change is made.

 

 

Link Connections – Metro moves toward making changes adopted by council, needs to fine-tune Capitol Hill connections

Link Connections

Link is coming to Capitol Hill and Husky Stadium in early 2016. Metro and Sound Transit are working with the public to plan how bus service will connect with new light rail.

Routes 8 and 11 will keep their current routing

Weigh in on a potential change to Route 10: take our survey

The King County Council has approved bus service changes for March 2016 that will integrate Metro buses with new Link light rail service to Capitol Hill and the University of Washington. The adopted changes will make transit service more frequent and reliable, create new connections, and improve mobility for thousands of King County residents. Find details of adopted changes on our project website.

Metro is working with the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) and other partners to make sure these changes will be successful. SDOT has agreed to make roadway modifications and other improvements in eight places, but declined to make modifications that would support our approved changes for routes 8 and 11 on Capitol Hill and in the Central Area.

We were planning to revise routes 8 and 11 to operate on E Madison Street and 19th Avenue E, continuing to/from E John Street. The purpose of these changes was to keep frequent east-west service that connects with light rail at the new Capitol Hill Station, to improve transfers with Route 48 at 23rd Avenue E, to maintain service on all parts of E Madison Street, and to serve Route 43 riders after that route becomes a peak-only route.

Metro tested the turns with buses, and our traffic engineers developed a traffic rechannelization plan, which SDOT rejected. So we’ll keep routes 8 and 11 on their current paths, resulting in a gap in frequency for riders along this pathway as well as much less bus service to downtown Seattle for the Summit neighborhood (service that would have been provided by our adopted changes to Route 11).

One solution to this gap is to improve frequency on Route 8 above the levels originally approved by the County Council, to partly replace the planned combined frequency of routes 8 and 11 on E John and E Thomas streets. We will be increasing Route 8 frequency from every 30 minutes to every 20 minutes on weekdays and Saturdays between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m., and on Sundays between noon and 7 p.m.

We’re are also considering moving Route 10 to serve E John Street, the Capitol Hill Station, and Olive Way (the same pathway that Route 43 takes today). We did consider this idea during earlier phases of the planning process, including with our inter-agency partners and our Sounding Board, but never brought it to the broader public for feedback. Now that network conditions have changed, we believe it could allow us to better serve Capitol Hill riders.

Please tell us what you think about this idea to change Route 10 via a short survey. The deadline for comment is this Sunday, Dec. 13. Your input will help us more fully understand the implications of this change and decide whether to move forward with it.

Find details of what King County Council adopted on our project website. Stay informed as decisions are made and new information becomes available: sign up for our project email list.

 

Link Connections – Proposed #Bus2Link changes amended, move ahead to full King County Council

Link Connections

Link is coming to Capitol Hill and Husky Stadium in early 2016. Metro and Sound Transit are working with the public to plan how bus service will connect with new light rail.

Proposed changes to bus service in Seattle are headed to the full King County Council Monday, Oct. 19, for consideration as part of a year-long effort to restructure bus service to better connect neighborhoods to each other and to Link light rail in 2016.

The Transportation, Economy and Environment committee voted Oct. 14 to send the proposed changes to the council.

Proposed changes to several routes came via an amendment offered by Councilmember Dembowski which responds to key concerns raised by riders regarding previously recommended changes.

Key changes affect routes 40, 43, 65, 67, 71, 73, 76, 78, 316, 346 and 373, finding ways to balance tradeoffs within available service hours. Further fine-tuning of language is expected prior to the council’s final adoption.

  • Rather than being completely deleted, Route 43 will operate during peak times in both directions on its current path.
  • Rather than being deleted, Route 71 will operate between Wedgwood, Ravenna, Roosevelt, the University District and UW Station Monday through Saturday.
  • The new Route 78 will operate only between Laurelhurst, the UW, and the UW light rail station at times when Route 25 currently operates. This avoids duplication with the retained Route 71 segments.
  • Routes 73 and 373 will pair up to provide service along 15th Avenue NE and along the Ave in the U District, but route 73 will not operate at the same times as 373 to reduce duplication. Both routes will connect with Link light rail at UW.
  • Route 73 will keep Saturday service.
  • Routes 67 and 73 will stay on their current pathways through the U District via the Roosevelt/11th couplet and University Way, respectively.
  • Through-routing routes 65 and 67 is proposed to save money needed to apply to service included in the changes listed above. This means Route 65 will operate differently than previously proposed. Rather than loop through campus and around to the Montlake Triangle, it will operate via Stevens Way in the south/westbound direction and via Montlake Boulevard in the east/northbound direction.
  • Route 67 will operate every 15 minutes instead of 10 minutes heading away from the University District in the afternoon peak hours.
  • Revising service to be added to route 76 and 316.
  • Routing changes for Routes 40 and 346 in Northgate to improve connections with revised Route 26X.

In addition to amending route changes, the committee added language to address customer satisfaction and ensure the work Metro has already begun with its partners best serves the public. This language addresses the following:

  • Customer satisfaction – Metro is asked to conduct a “customer and resident service assessment survey” to be completed by March 2017.
  • Transfer environment – a list of transfer points are identified where Metro is expected to work with partners to make the transfer environment as convenient and safe as possible.
  • Customer education/communications – Metro is expected to conduct a large-scale education and outreach effort to prepare people for these changes.

The amendment identifies reporting milestones at which Metro is asked to present its plan and work on these items to council.

Metro plans to update its website with route and service change information after the council takes final action in coming weeks, including remaking affected maps so riders can clearly see what changes can be expected in 2016. Members of the public can comment on these changes at the King County Council meeting this Monday. Public comment is accepted at the beginning of the meeting, which starts at 1:30 pm in King County Council Chambers (map/directions.)

Link Connections – Thank you for having your say, next steps

Link Connections

Link is coming to Capitol Hill and Husky Stadium in early 2016. Metro and Sound Transit are working with the public to plan how bus service will connect with new light rail.

Thank you to the hundreds of people who showed up last night to testify to King County Councilmembers about bus changes (detailed here) proposed when Link light rail begins serving Capitol Hill and UW at Husky Stadium. Metro staff answered questions during an open house that preceded testimony.

Those in favor spoke of the new possibilities a frequent transit network will provide them, with connections to the regional light rail system. They spoke of how these changes will benefit thousands more who don’t use transit today because of the lack of frequency and connections in the current network. They urged council to act now rather than wait until light rail is extended to Northgate. Among those speaking in support were organizations representing the University of Washington, Futurewise, Transportation Choices Coalition and Solid Ground.

IMG_4454Opponents who spoke view the proposed changes as a degradation of their service – exchanging a one-seat ride for a two-seat ride, having to transfer at Montlake, concern about the effects of these changes on seniors and those with mobility issues, and said they doubt the ability of bus service to be as reliable as Metro is promising. Specific routes mentioned consistently were the 71, 72, 43, and changes to the 16 and 26X.

Some attendees live tweeted the comments being shared. You can read the commentary on social media using hashtag #Bus2Link.

IMG_4464The Transportation Economy and Environment Committee will hold a special meeting Oct. 14, 1:30-3:30 pm, to discuss and take action on the changes. It is expected that the changes will be before the full council at their meeting on Oct. 19.

You can still comment to council online using King County Council’s online comment form. Visit the King County Council’s website for details about the Council’s decision making process.

Link Connections – Metro adds trips for Oct. 6 King County Council night hearing

Link Connections

Link is coming to Capitol Hill and Husky Stadium in early 2016. Metro and Sound Transit are working with the public to plan how bus service will connect with new light rail.

Metro will provide additional evening buses following the King County Council’s Tuesday, Oct. 6, public hearing on recommended University Link bus changes. The council’s open house starts at 6:30 p.m. with public testimony scheduled to begin after 7 p.m. The council’s meeting will take place at the Mountaineers Club, 7700 Sand Point Way N.E., Seattle. (Please note: attendees can get to the Mountaineers Club by using the 74th Street entrance to Magnuson Park and taking the first left.)

Metro routes 30, 74 and 75 serve the location, however routes 30 and 74 don’t typically operate late enough in the evening to carry riders home again after the hearing. To make sure this hearing is more accessible to riders, Metro will:

  • Extend the last two trips of Route 30 farther north on Sand Point Way to deliver passengers closer to the hearing location, dropping off riders at Northeast 77th Street.
  • Operate two additional southbound buses after the hearing on Sand Point Way. Riders who typically ride routes 30 and 74 can board at the southbound bus stop at Northeast 77th Street to serve passengers. Based on demand, a Metro supervisor stationed on Sand Point Way will coordinate bus departures when buses are full and assess riders’ destination needs. Buses will travel along the path of Routes 30 and 74 through Ravenna and the University District. The route 74 will continue on to Downtown Seattle making stops along Third Avenue to accommodate any returning passengers. Regular fares apply.
  • Continue to operate Route 75 every 30 minutes until midnight, connecting people to the UW, U District, Lake City and Northgate.

Visit the King County Council’s website for information about the hearing. Find details about the recommended bus service changes for Northeast Seattle, Capitol Hill and the Central Area on Metro’s website.

Can’t make the public hearing? Read a related blog post for additional ways to tell King County Council what you think of these changes.

Link Connections – King County Council public hearing Tuesday, Oct. 6 – UPDATED

Link Connections

Link is coming to Capitol Hill and Husky Stadium in early 2016. Metro and Sound Transit are working with the public to plan how bus service will connect with new light rail.

The King County Council is considering recommended bus service changes (detailed here) that would begin after Link light rail reaches Capitol Hill and the University District in the first quarter of 2016.


UPDATE 10/1/15: Metro presented an overview of the recommended changes to the Transportation, Economy, and Environment (TrEE) Committee earlier this week. Here are some new ways to learn about what’s being proposed:


King County Executive Dow Constantine has proposed new Metro bus connections to get people to fast, frequent Link trains from North Seattle, Capitol Hill, and the Central Area. The proposal would also provide more frequent bus service on major corridors in those areas, and more east-west service between places like Fremont, Wallingford, Green Lake and Sand Point. Read the Executive’s news release

The County Council is accepting public comment on these proposed changes now. There are several ways you can tell the Council what you think.

Attend the public hearing
Tuesday, Oct. 6
6:30 p.m. Open house
7:00 p.m. Public testimony
Mountaineers Club
7700 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle
Served by Metro routes 30, 74, and 75
Use Metro’s Trip Planner to plan your travel

Attend a meeting of the Transportation, Environment and Economy Committee
Provide public testimony at the beginning of either of the following committee meetings where this item will be discussed:

Tuesday, Sept. 29, 9:30 – 11:30 a.m.
Wednesday, Oct. 14, 1:30 – 3:30 p.m.
King County Courthouse, 10th Floor
516 Third Avenue, Seattle

Submit your comments online

Visit the King County Council’s website for details about the Council’s decision making process.