Help set the 25-year plan for Metro

"Frequent" and "RapidRide" routes on the Metro Connects service map

“Frequent” and “RapidRide” routes on the Metro Connects service map

Yes, Metro is running yet another planning survey. But this one you’ll probably only have to answer once every 25 years.

The county public transit agency is rolling out its full Metro Connects draft plan April 18th but the draft’s summary is available now:

Metro Transit created an online survey and will co-host a series of open houses with Sound Transit where residents can provide their thoughts on the draft of the plan — Metro Connects — that will set the course for what transportation will look like in 25 years as King County’s population continues to grow.

Metro says the draft plan is the result of rider research and outreach done in 2015. “Residents told Metro that they want more frequent, better-connected bus and light-rail service to more destinations, starting earlier and ending later each day,” the announcement of the draft plan reads. “Metro Connects is the plan to deliver that service.”

The proposed draft plan includes elements ranging from customized local services for “unique” areas to investments that will reduce the amount of time buses spend waiting at stops and changes that will make it easier for buses to navigate the city quickly like more bus only lanes and traffic signal priority. The draft plan also calls for Metro to deliver better real-time information for riders and efforts to “make it easier to move between Metro and other transportation providers” through elements like integrated payment options.

“I invite everyone to share their ideas as we finalize the long-range plan that will shape the future of transportation in our region,” said County Executive Dow Constantine says in the announcement. “Metro Connects will be our atlas as we create an integrated transit system that provides more choices to get to more places on time.”

The survey, in addition to collecting some of your usage habits, is focused on your take on the draft plan. So you’re going to have to read it. You can check out the summary here.

The plan breaks down to five components: 1) More Service, 2) Count on Metro, 3) More Choices, 4) One System, and 5) What We Need to Succeed.

We’ve pulled out Metro’s bullet points for each section:

1) More Service

  • We’ll offer frequent service within a half mile of 70 percent of the county’s population. With service that comes every 5 to 15 minutes or better all day, you’ll be able to just show up and go.
  • We plan to add 20 new RapidRide lines and upgrade existing lines, connecting the county with 300 miles of new and upgraded RapidRide service.
  • Metro will operate all-day, limited-stop express buses that arrive every 15 to 30 minutes or better throughout the day. Express buses will connect centers where many people live and work across King County.
  • “One size fits all” doesn’t work in our diverse county. Recognizing unique local needs, we’ll work with community members to put in place the right type of transit or alternative service. These services will allow users to get around locally, connect to the network, or travel the last mile home.

2) Count on Metro

Improvements to reduce the time buses spend at stops

  • Faster fare payment through off-board payment, all-door boarding, increasing ORCA use, mobile ticketing
  • Actively managed bus spacing to even out the number of people getting on at stops
  • Improved incident response to keep buses moving
  • Buses designed to easily and quickly accommodate people using wheelchairs, bicycles, strollers and baggage

Improvements to reduce travel time

  • Queue jumps that let buses stopped at intersections get a head start
  • Bus-only lanes
  • Transit signal priority
  • Optimized signal timing
  • Configuration of lanes approaching intersections
  • Bus bulbs or curb extensions that let buses pick-up and drop off passengers without pulling out and into traffic
  • Removal of parking spaces that slow down buses
  • Stops placed where most people go
  • Prohibiting turns at certain times of day
  • Major capital projects

3) More Choices

  • Increase the proportion of local service planned through our flexible transit program.
  • Practice inclusion planning to ensure we provide fair treatment, access, and opportunity for everyone we serve. We’ll work to make general public transit service more accessible, and find better and more cost-effective ways to provide ADA-paratransit service.
  • Grow our research and development function to study and pilot new products.
  • Make it easier to move between Metro and other transportation providers—for example, co-locating transit with carshare or bikeshare system, or integrating payment.
  • Increase the number of small employers and property owners who provide ORCA cards to employees and renters to further increase Metro’s highly successful ORCA Passport program.

4) One System

  • Deliver real-time information about more things (bus arrivals, seat availability, delays and re-routes, etc) to more customers.
  • Enhance wayfinding throughout the system and improve tactile and auditory information.
  • Make it easier to walk and bike to transit by investing with partners to fund hundreds of miles of new trails and paths, sidewalks, and bicycle parking facilities at transit hubs around King County.
  • Make the best use of our park and rides to maximize ridership through strategies such as parking permits, paid parking and real-time parking availability information.
  • Work with Sound Transit and other partners to increase park-and-ride capacity by up to 50 percent by 2040
  • Improve customer comfort and safety by investing in 4,500 accessible bus stops, shelters, stations and transit centers.
  • Making boarding easier and faster.

5) What We Need to Succeed

  • 2-3 more bus operating and maintenance bases
  • Fleet expansion and replacement
  • Replace trolley infrastructure and build new connections to support future service
  • Staffing and training for a growing and effective workforce, including drivers, customer service agents, skilled mechanics, field supervisors, and more
  • An expanded Transit Control Center that coordinates service and responds quickly to events
  • Safety, maintenance, and incident-response infrastructure.

Want to say more about the plan? Metro is hosting open houses on the plan later this month:

April 19: 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Ballard High School
1418 NW 65th St., Seattle

April 26: 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
West Seattle High School
3000 California Ave. SW., Seattle

April 27: 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Old Redmond Schoolhouse Community Center
16600 NE 80th St., Redmond

April 28: 11:30 a.m. to 1: 30 p.m.
Union Station
401 S. Jackson St., Seattle

April 28: 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Todd Beamer High School
35999 16th Ave. S., Federal Way

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