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Metro, Sound Transit seek public input on future of SR 520 transit service

Summary

King County Metro and Sound Transit want to hear from transit riders and Eastside communities to help shape the future of transit service along State Route 520.

Story

Eastside residents have a chance to weigh in as Metro and Sound Transit consider strategies to keep buses moving through the State Route 520 corridor. Several major transportation projects and other changes over the next five years are expected to affect traffic flow through the corridor and into downtown Seattle.

Metro and Sound Transit are exploring several potential options, which include stopping cross-lake buses at the University of Washington light rail station so riders can transfer onto trains headed to downtown and providing Eastside communities with new transit connections to destinations such as  South Lake Union. Routes potentially affected include the 252, 255, 257, 268, 277, 311, 540, 541, 542, 545, 555 and 556.

This month, the agencies launched a public outreach process to hear from riders on potential changes and how transit service can be improved.  Feedback will be used to shape service concepts that will be presented for public review in May and June. Final proposals will be presented later this fall to the King County Council and Sound Transit Board for consideration.

Metro is recruiting a sounding board of 15-20 community members to advise the agencies through the planning process. The sounding board will meet once a month through November 2017. People of diverse backgrounds who reflect the affected communities are encouraged to apply. More information is available online.

The public has several options to share feedback

  • Take an online survey through April 2.
  • Participate in a Community Conversation.
  • Talk with Metro and Sound Transit “Street Teams.” Teams will be out along SR-520 on Thursday, March 9 from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m.

The public can find the survey and a calendar of community conversations as well as sign up to receive updates via Metro’s Link Connections SR-520 website.

Connecting 520 routes to light rail could link riders with congestion-free service to Downtown Seattle at the University of Washington.  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.

Nearly 230,000 people 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 the Alaskan Way Viaduct demolition; the Washington State Convention Center expansion; and the conversion of the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel into a rail-only facility, which will send additional buses to surface streets.

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.