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Jan. 19, 2011

Changes for many of Metro's downtown Seattle bus routes are coming soon

Route and bus stop revisions for two dozen routes start Feb. 5

Big changes for bus service in downtown Seattle are only a few weeks away, and King County Metro Transit is urging bus riders to “know before you go.”

Starting Saturday, Feb. 5, Metro will make routing and bus stop changes for approximately two dozen bus routes serving downtown Seattle to keep people moving during the long-term construction in downtown Seattle and the SODO area.

Although the road closures and construction projects will be phased over many years, Metro thinks it is best for bus riders if their routes change as few times as possible. The major adjustments being done this February also helps Metro set the stage for two future RapidRide routes to downtown Seattle from West Seattle and Ballard that are scheduled to start in 2012.

This February, Metro is diverting much of its downtown service away from First Avenue between Edgar Martinez Drive and Broad Street. Most bus routes now serving First will move to Third Avenue. It will also result in some changes for bus travel on Second and Fourth avenues, as some routes are moved there to accommodate the bus changes on First and Third.

Here are the highlights of the February changes:

  • Routes shifting from First Avenue to Third Avenue are: 15, 18, 21, 22, 56, 57;
  • Routes shifting from Third Avenue to Second/Fourth avenues: 111, 114, 143, 157, 161;
  • Routes changing bus stop locations on Third Avenue: 16, 26, 28, 66;
  • Route 99 routing will loop to travel north on First Avenue and south on Alaskan Way. To avoid confusion when northbound service switches to First Avenue, Metro plans to identify the route simply as Route 99 rather than the Waterfront Streetcar Line. Buses will no longer be “wrapped” to look like the old waterfront streetcars; and
  • Other routing changes for routes: 37, 81, 85, 116, 118, and 119.

To maximize use of the bus stops on Third Avenue, Metro is expanding its alternating-stop system on that street. Bus routes skip every other stop, and some will be grouped differently at these stops than they have been in the past. Metro is using color coding at the stops to help bus drivers. Some riders may find these colors useful for quick reference, but always check signs at the stops to make sure your route number is listed there. Do not identify your bus stop only by color code, because they could change throughout the year.

Other February revisions for Metro include an increase in bus service across the State Route 520 Bridge, a new bus route connecting Kenmore to First Hill, and returning buses to the rebuilt Kirkland Transit Center later in the month on Feb. 26.

Detailed information about the February service change will be posted on Metro Online in the Special Rider Alert on Jan. 26. Maps highlighting the downtown streets with revised service are online now.

You can also use Metro’s Trip Planner. Enter a travel date of Feb. 5 or later to find the updated service.

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