Metro, Sound Transit planning how best to restructure routes, connect buses to Capitol Hill Station

link_connections_logo_500x519When light rail service starts serving Capitol Hill and the University District by 2016, the public transportation system serving Seattle’s Inner City will undergo massive transformation that goes well beyond the new subway.

Here’s how the announcement on a new public outreach initiative explains it:

Metro and Sound Transit are thinking about ways to connect the new light rail service with buses to make an efficient network of service. Some buses will connect with new Link stations to make it easy for riders to transfer between buses and light rail. Other changes will restructure service to create a faster, more reliable, and easy-to-use transit network.

Take the survey by 11/30/2014

Take the survey by 11/30/2014

Metro and Sound Transit officials will be at 1111 Harvard’s Seattle First Baptist Church on November 17th as part of the first round of community discussions. King County Metro has already identified the need to recalibrate some bus lines ahead of the light rail launch, and now they’re seeking public input on the best ways to do it.

You can also provide your feedback online via the survey found here.

The full announcement of the outreach process is below.

Public meetings ahead as Metro, Sound Transit begin Link Connections outreach

King County Metro Transit and Sound Transit are preparing for improvements to the Seattle transit network in 2016 with the launch of Link light rail service to Capitol Hill and the University of Washington.

In coming weeks, the two agencies will begin the first round of discussions with riders about current and future bus service in those areas.

“Our riders will enjoy more convenient transfers and a smoother, swifter trip when we better integrate light rail and bus service,” said Dow Constantine, King County Executive and Sound Transit Board Chair.

Under a directive from Executive Constantine earlier this year, Metro and Sound Transit are increasing planning and service integration to create a service network that is efficient, convenient and reliable for riders. The University Link light rail extension will provide a six-minute trip between the University of Washington Station at Husky Stadium and downtown Seattle with a stop at Capitol Hill Station.

Public meetings are planned in Seattle Nov. 13, 17 and 20, during which Metro and Sound Transit staff will hear how riders use today’s transit service and what connections are important for the future. Feedback received during this round of outreach will be used to shape service change concepts to be shared early next year in a second round of outreach. The public will have the opportunity to weigh in a third time in the spring on a final proposal. The King County Council and the Sound Transit Board are expected to make a decision about service changes sometime next summer.

Link Connections community conversation meeting information

·         Nov. 13, 6–8 p.m., Ravenna-Eckstein Community Center, 6535 Ravenna Ave N.E.

·         Nov. 17, 6–8 p.m., Seattle First Baptist, 1111 Harvard Ave.

·         Nov. 20, 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m., University of Washington HUB, 4001 E. Stevens Way N.E., Room 250

Metro also is recruiting 15-20 people for a Sounding Board to advise planners on transit service concepts for Link and bus service integration, as well as the public outreach process.

More information is posted online about upcoming meetings and the Sounding Board. Additional outreach is planned in coming months as transit service concepts are developed and proposed. Some changes to transit service in the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel are expected in September 2015 to make room for testing of the Link light rail service extension to the University of Washington.

Testing of the Link light rail service extension to the University of Washington begins in September 2015 and is slated to begin passenger service the first quarter of 2016. At that point, Link light rail will connect Sea-Tac Airport, Rainier Valley, downtown Seattle, Capitol Hill and the UW.

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16 thoughts on “Metro, Sound Transit planning how best to restructure routes, connect buses to Capitol Hill Station

  1. Link has been operating for 5 years, and it was just this past summer that the Beachon Hill station bus waiting area across the street (southbound) was made somewhat user friendly. The 60 bus used to let me off in the middle of a large puddle when dropping me off there. I’m glad that there is more early efforts to make bus/train transfers easier, but from everything I’ve seen, I don’t see any coordinated station/stops.

    One instance is the terminus for the FH Streetcar. That should be a streetcar/busstop as it is near the west entrance to the light rail, however, with the barrier that was put in, it is unusable by bussess. So you’ll have a bus stop, a terminus for the streetcar, and then Link. Has E. John St. been designed to have a good busstop seating/shelter for people transferring east bound? Are the 49, 60 and 9X going to have busstops on the same block as the light rail, or are they still going to have cross north across John St?

      • Don’t the transit authorities have professionals whose job it is to see things like this? What’s with making people jump through hoops to bring obvious statements to transit officials’ notice?

      • It’s a trade-off for sure. They can create a survey and go do other things, or they can read blog comments all day. With a survey, you know that your input will be tallied. If you comment on a blog, you can’t really be sure that they’ve read your comment (what if you were too late? what if the blog is too obscure?).

  2. First Baptist Church is not at “11th & Harvard” as the story says; rather the church, at 1111 Harvard, is on Harvard & Seneca.

  3. No mention of why are there two separate agencies in King County to handle transportation. Why do we have both ST and Metro dealing with the same issues? The duplication in management, taxation, planning, and even the stupid way that ST spends advertising and promotion dollars is maddening.
    Of course when taxpayers willingly hand over money at every request there is no incentive for either agency to look for how they can do the same things cheaper and more efficiently. In every other large metropolitan area the transit systems are integrated so that you are not paying twice to ride both systems…but not here…two agencies, two separate fares, two separate requests for tax money.

    • For the sake of other readers, please note that Richard’s claim regarding other large metropolitan areas is not exactly what you’d call true. For example:

      – In New York City, public transit is provided by the MTA (which has several warring sub-agencies); PATH; NJ Transit; ConnDOT; and several suburban bus agencies.
      – In San Francisco, public transit is provided by MUNI; BART; Caltrain; VTA; Golden Gate Transit; AC Transit; and others.

      Those are just the examples I could think of off the top of my head. There are many others.

      • I guess my question is why the planners aren’t riding the train at least once to notice the big puddles and obstacles and unreasonably-inconvenient connections for themselves? Relying upon “surveys” to do planning is kind of stupid, I think. Certainly surveys should be used, and can be of value, but they are hardly sufficient, and the things the OP pointed out would be caught by anyone looking for this sort of thing. The surveys can point out things that are of a transient nature, like hundreds of kids getting out of school, or a popular night activity that lets out at 9:30 pm – so I’m not saying there isn’t a place for surveys, but I don’t think it’s unreasonable to have someone trained to look for ways to smooth connections actually check the routes for obstacles.

      • oops. I’m not used to this blog. This post was in reply to fs koala bear in the thread above, not here, where it ended up.

      • Why do you jump to the conclusion that because they’re doing surveys, they’re necessarily not also doing exactly what you referenced? Why wouldn’t they do both?

      • Yes, my assumption would be that they were doing both, but if that were the case, they wouldn’t have put the stops so far from connecting links, or in a place with a big dip in the road, or with obstructions. So they clearly didn’t do any reconnoitering or planning in situ. My post was a reaction that, if I were in charge of laying out the line and stops, and someone pointed out some stupid stupid mistakes, I would try to find out why those mistakes were made, explain what had changed to keep from doing them again, not just say “Fill out a form; we can’t be bothered with reading blogs”.

    • Sound Transit is a regional transit authority, not just King County. They have to coordinate with the local (Metro) service to make sure it goes smoothly. ST doesn’t accept transfers, but if you get an Orca card, you’ll only have to pay once.

      • To add to that— as their website says, Sound Transit includes the transit authorities of King, Pierce, and Snohomish Counties and includes the Sounder trains (which go at far as Tacoma and Everett) and the Light Rail, plus the inter-county Sound Transit buses. Not having to mess with the paper transfers and not getting double-charged is a great reason to have the Orca card. It will even tie into the Ferries fare system if you configure it to. If all you do is ride buses around Seattle you wouldn’t see any of that, though.

      • It didn’t work well for my brother who came to visit for a few days. Why would a tourist buy an orca card? It was so expensive and inconvenient for him to ride metro/ sound transit, we opted to drive instead. It’s always nice to have that freedom and not deal with wasted time, crazies and stinky peeps on the bus.
        Another topic, our public transportation system is nowhere near the level of NYC or San Fran. I could go from Astor place to Pelham pkway in about 45 minutes. Cap hill to Ballard an hour at least with no traffic and buses on time.

      • This stuff with transit is just disgusting. I was tied up on Rapid Ride from 7:00p.m. to about 7:45p.m. on Mercer just trying to get into town it was horrifying. What is wrong with this place. I don’t like this mess with these disabled passes breaking. Or a out of town guest being confused on how to get around and being ripped off by Metro. Also attacking blacks who fair paying adults and law abiding people but are still being racially profiled on and off the bus.