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County Council integrates Metro bus service around new Link light rail system

Summary

Partial retention of Route 42 in the Rainier Valley among service revisions in SE Seattle and SW King County

Story

Bus riders will be able to take advantage of the new Link light rail system that arrives in July under service changes adopted unanimously today by the Metropolitan King County Council that will feed buses into the new system and improve bus service within neighborhoods and between communities.

“These service changes reflect the input of hundreds of Metro riders,” said Council Vice Chair Jane Hague, chair of the Physical Environment Committee. “We are happy to work with Sound Transit to provide the best coverage possible.”

The service changes will take place in September 2009 or February 2010. The service changes include new routes, the discontinuation of several bus routes to avoid duplication of transit services, and changes to others. In tandem with Link light rail, the changes provide many new opportunities to use transit for trips in Southeast Seattle and Southwest King County and provide new connections between communities:

Routes Service change

32, 126, 170

Eliminated to avoid duplication of light rail service between Westlake Station and Tukwila International Boulevard Station.

7 Express

With many riders expected to switch to Link light rail, this service reduced from eight morning northbound trips and nine afternoon southbound trips to five northbound morning trips and five afternoon southbound trips, increasing the productivity of this route.

8

This route now provides service from Seattle Center and Capitol Hill to the intersection of Rainier Avenue S. and Martin Luther King Jr. Way S. It will be extended south to serve local bus stops on Martin Luther King Jr. Way S. down to S. Henderson St.

9 Express

This route will now provide a connection between Rainier Ave. S. and the Rainer Beach Link Station. In February 2010, midday service will be improved to every 30 minutes.

36

Trolley service will be extended to the Othello Link Station, providing frequent connections from Beacon Hill. Trips during evening hours and on Sunday will serve the VA Medical Center from Beacon Ave. S.

39

Service will serve and terminate at the Othello Link Station. The 39 will continue to serve the VA Medical Center main entrance.

42

Metro proposed eliminating this route. The Council adopted a partial retention with hourly service from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. between Pioneer Square, the International District and Columbia City.

48

Service will end at the Mount Baker Link Station and Transit Center to improve schedule reliability. Through a “Transit Now” partnership with the City of Seattle, weekday evening service will be improved to every 15 minutes until 10:30 p.m. and weekday midday trips will be added to serve high school students.

60

Additional trips beginning in Feb. 2010 to help relieve standing passenger loads.

106

Will begin serving south Beacon Hill and make stops along Airport Way S., Beacon Ave. S., Carkeek Dr., and S. Henderson St. Service will increase to every 15 minutes northbound in the morning and southbound in the afternoon. This revised routing will provide connections to Rainer Beach Link Station from the Skyway, south Beacon Hill, and Georgetown neighborhoods.

107

Will connect parts of Skyway and Rainer View to the Rainier Beach Link Station. Service will increase every to 15-30 minutes from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. This revised routing will provide connections to Rainer Beach Link Station from the Skyway and Rainier View neighborhoods and replace Route 42 coverage.

124
(New Route)

Will replace Route 174 between Tukwila International Boulevard Station and downtown Seattle. This replacement service will provide connection to SODO from downtown Seattle and Tukwila International Blvd. Station.

129
(New Route)

Will replace part of Route 170 with a peak connection between Riverton Heights and the Tukwila International Blvd Station. This new route will provide five morning and five afternoon peak trips instead of three morning and three afternoon trips on the existing Route 170.

140

Revised, more direct routing between Burien, Tukwila/Southcenter and Renton, and east-west connections to the Tukwila International Blvd. Link Station.

156

Will replace portions of Route 140 and 170 and connect McMicken Heights with the SeaTac/Airport Link Station and Southcenter. This route will provide new service seven days a week along South 176th Street in SeaTac.

174

Route 174 will continue to operate between Tukwila International Blvd. Station and Federal Way and peak service frequency will be improved to 15-minutes compared to the current 20-30 minutes. Revised routing will provide connection to the Tukwila International Blvd. Station and the SeaTac/Airport Link Station from Federal Way and the SR 99 South corridor.

191

Will be eliminated. Replacement service in September 2009-June 2010 will be on Route 174 connecting with Link.

194

To be eliminated in February, 2010, to avoid duplication of light rail service between downtown Seattle and SeaTac / Airport station when Link opens in Dec. 2009. Service between Federal Way and downtown Seattle will be replaced by direct Sound Transit Regional Express service saving riders 10 to 15 minutes.

Testimony heard at a joint meeting of the Council’s Physical Environment Committee and Budget and Fiscal Management Committee on April 28 played a key role in the partial retention of some Route 42 service, which Metro proposed to eliminate because its route duplicates light rail service through the Rainier Valley. Concerns raised by the Asian American community about the loss of direct service into the International District led Councilmembers Larry Gossett, Dow Constantine and Larry Phillips to propose an amendment adopted by the Council to retain the portion of Route 42 that runs from the International District to the Columbia City Light Rail Station. Service will operate hourly from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

“After hearing the concerns of the community, I worked with Metro and my colleagues to find a solution to the proposed elimination of route 42,” said Councilmember Gossett, who represents the Rainier Valley and was prime sponsor of the amendment. “While the new route does not address all of the issues raised, I hope it will allow members of the community to retain some of the transportation services they have come to depend on.”

“In an effort to address the concerns by Asian Counseling and Referral Services and many neighborhood residents, I worked with Councilmember Gossett to find hours to partially restore the Route 42 by deferring some needed improvements to the Route 60 in our districts,” said amendment co-sponsor Constantine, whose district includes the International District. “We will continue to monitor this route and ask Metro to provide direct counseling to educate riders on their options.”

“These bus service changes are a bonus on top of the increased speed and reliability residents will gain with light rail, combining to create a better transit network with more options than ever before,” said Councilmember Phillips, co-sponsor of the amendment. “We balanced these changes with sensitivity towards our most vulnerable riders—the elderly, disabled, and non-English speaking—by retaining existing bus connections on which they rely.”

The extension of light rail to Sea-Tac Airport in December will also impact Metro’s service along the Tukwila-SeaTac-Federal Way corridor. Duplicate service along Route 194 to SeaTac Airport will be eliminated in February 2010. Route 174, one of Metro’s longest routes, will be split; new Route 124 will run from downtown Seattle to Tukwila International Boulevard Station, and Route 174 will run from Tukwila International Boulevard Station to Federal Way with more service along the southern portion of the route.

“The Metro service changes include the implementation of our new Rapid Ride bus lines, which result in the most frequent bus service in south King County in history,” said Councilmember Julia Patterson, who represents the cities of Tukwila and SeaTac. “Riders from Tukwila to Federal Way will have access to buses that run along Highway 99 every 15 minutes.

“Sound Transit and King County Metro are working together to make this a positive change, so riders have a user-friendly and efficient service,” said Councilmember Pete von Reichbauer.

The service changes are based on six months of community outreach conducted by Metro. Metro revised its initial proposals based on rider comments from open house meetings and surveys, and made a major effort to reach out to riders with limited English proficiency. Two community advisory groups worked with the agency over the six-month period to help Metro evaluate all public input. Metro also worked closely with Sound Transit to coordinate changes to service in the I-5 South Corridor between Federal Way and downtown Seattle and in the City of SeaTac.



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