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King County Executive
Dow Constantine


Popular transit-to-trails program returns with new service in Seattle connecting to more hiking destinations

Summary

A popular public-private partnership that provides direct transit service to trailheads in the Issaquah Alps will return April 21 with expanded service from Seattle to more hiking destinations. On May 19, a second transit service to Mount Si and Mount Teneriffe near North Bend will start at Sound Transit’s Capitol Hill Link light rail station.

Story

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Trailhead Direct, a popular transit-to-trails program, will return April 21 with expanded service in Seattle to more hiking destinations along the Interstate 90 corridor.

The public-private partnership between King County Metro Transit, King County Parks, the Seattle Department of Transportation, REI Co-op, and Clif Bar and Company will provide weekend and holiday service every 30 minutes starting at the Mount Baker Transit Station in South Seattle to trailheads in the Issaquah Alps on weekends and holidays. A second route to Mount Si and Mount Teneriffe will start May 19 at Sound Transit’s Capitol Hill Link light rail station.

“We are making it easier than ever to explore the Issaquah Alps without having to own or drive a car,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine. “Our creative public-private partnership will connect more people and families to the spectacular mountain forests our region is famous for.”

“We are fortunate to live in one of the most beautiful places in the world, and Trailhead Direct makes it easier for all our residents and visitors to access our incredible outdoors using transit. Trailhead Direct builds on our investments in the Seattle transit network, where we’ve improved the frequency and reliability on 64 other routes,” said Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan. “We are excited about this innovative public-private partnership that is creating new opportunities for all who call Seattle home to get outside and explore our mountains."

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Trailhead Direct was first launched in August 2017 as a pilot project sponsored by King County Metro’s Community Connections program and King County Parks to expand access to hiking trails and reduce trailhead congestion in the Issaquah Alps, where illegally parked vehicles created traffic hazards and safety concerns.

The new service will operate 19- and 27-seat vans with capacity for two bicycles for each trip. Passengers pay Metro’s standard off-peak adult fare of $2.50 until July, when Metro implements a $2.75 flat fare. Passengers can pay with an ORCA card, Transit Go Mobile ticket, or cash. 

In early summer, the popular Mailbox Peak trailhead will get Trailhead Direct service from a free satellite parking lot in North Bend.

The other partners that helped develop Trailhead Direct include the cities of Issaquah, North Bend, and Seattle, the Issaquah Alps Trail Club, Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust, Outdoors For All Foundation, Si View Metropolitan Park District, The Mountaineers, The Wilderness Society, TOTAGO, U.S. Forest Service, Washington State Department of Natural Resources, and Washington Trails Association.

Trailhead Direct – Issaquah Alps

Service begins: Saturday, April 21
Start and end point: Mount Baker Transit Center: 2824 Rainier Ave S, Seattle, WA 98144
Stops: Eastgate Freeway Station, Issaquah Transit Center
Trailheads: Margaret’s Way, Chirico Trail-Poo Poo Point, the High School Trail, and East Sunset Way

Trailhead Direct – Mount Si/Mount Teneriffe

Service begins: Saturday, May 19
Start and end point: Sound Transit’s Capitol Hill Link Light Rail Station: 140 Broadway E, Seattle, WA 98102
Stops: Broadway and John Street in Seattle, Pine Street and Ninth Avenue in Seattle, Eastgate Freeway Station, North Bend Park & Ride
Trailheads: Mount Si and Mount Teneriffe in North Bend


Relevant links


Quotes

We are making it easier than ever to explore the Issaquah Alps without having to own or drive a car. Our creative public-private partnership will connect more people and families to the spectacular mountain forests our region is famous for.

Dow Constantine, King County Executive

We are fortunate to live in one of the most beautiful places in the world, and Trailhead Direct makes it easier for all our residents and visitors to access our incredible outdoors using transit. Trailhead Direct builds on our investments in the Seattle transit network, where we’ve improved the frequency and reliability on 64 other routes. We are excited about this innovative public-private partnership that is creating new opportunities for all who call Seattle home to get outside and explore our mountains.

Jenny Durkan, Seattle Mayor

At REI Co-op we believe a life outdoors is a life well lived. As employees, Co-op members, stewards, and most of all lovers of the outdoors it is important to us that we support innovative solutions like Trailhead Direct that will provide equitable access to the outdoors for all.

Joe Impecovan, Puget Sound Market Coordinator, REI Co-op

The parks and public lands of the Mountains to Sound Greenway are an essential part of our regional identity and offer tangible health and recreation benefits for all residents. Yet those benefits are out of reach for many who do not have personal vehicles to drive there. By connecting our public transportation system to the outdoors, Trailhead Direct offers an affordable, equitable, environmentally friendly transportation option for people to get outside and enjoy their public lands.

Jon Hoekstra, Executive Director, Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust

The Trailhead Direct shuttle service is an excellent way to connect more Seattleites with our nearby outdoor experiences. Extending the service in to Downtown Seattle is great step forward to creating more equitable access to our spectacular public lands in Washington. People without cars can now take public transit all the way from Denny Ave to the Mount Si trailhead - that's the future, that's how it should be.

Kitty Craig, Washington state Deputy Director for The Wilderness Society

For more information, contact:

Scott Gutierrez, King County Metro Transit, 206-477-8502
Doug Williams, King County Parks, 206-477-4543
Norm Mah, Seattle Department of Transportation, 206-684-8114


King County Executive
Dow Constantine
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