Factoria Boulevard. How Lovely. Yet that's one of Bellevue's main transit destinations.
Factoria Boulevard from the back of a bus. It’s pretty hard to believe that it’s one of Bellevue’s main transit destinations.

Factoria is a Bellevue neighborhood located just southeast of the I-90/I-405 interchange. Home to T-Mobile, Factoria also boasts many other office buildings, small hospitals, a large strip mall, a 1700-student High School and an growing amount of condos. While it does not provide a very transit-positive experience, Factoria was found to be a major transit destination in the city of Bellevue’s Transit Master Plan, along with Downtown Bellevue, Overlake and Crossroads.

The Current Situation

Five bus routes currently run along Factoria Boulevard, the main north-south arterial.

– Route 210 runs to Downtown Seattle via Eastgate Park-and-ride in the morning and coming back from Seattle in the evening serves Eastgate, Lakemont to end at the Issaquah Transit Center. Buses run every 30 minutes during two hours in the peak direction, weekdays only.

– Route 240 runs to Downtown Bellevue via the Eastgate Park-and-ride northbound and to Renton via Newcastle and Renton Highlands southbound. Buses run half-hourly into the early evening on Weekdays and Saturdays and hourly at night and on Sundays.

– Route 241 runs to Downtown Bellevue via the South Bellevue Park-and-ride northbound and to the Eastgate Park-and-ride via the Eastgate neighborhood southbound. Like route 240, buses run every half-an-hour on weekdays and Saturdays and every hour on Sundays and at night.

– Route 245, which has its southbound terminal in Factoria, runs to Kirkland via the Eastgate Park-and-ride, Bellevue College, Crossroads and Overlake. A part of Bellevue’s frequent transit system, the route runs every 15 minutes on weekdays and every 30 minutes at night and on weekends.

– Route 246 runs to Clyde Hill via Downtown Bellevue northbound and to Eastgate Park-and-ride via the Somerset hill southbound. Buses come every hour on weekdays only.

Route 114, while not running on Factoria Boulevard, runs to Downtown Seattle in the morning and to Renton Highlands via Newcastle in the evening. The buses run via I-90 and a short stretch of I-405 between Coal Creek Parkway and I-90. The route follows the 240’s from I-405 to Renton Highlands. Five trips, all spaced by 30 minutes run inbound while outbound only four trips, similarly spaced by 30 minutes, run.

The Problem

The problem is, of course, the lack of frequent service to local destinations. While Factoria is well-linked to both Crossroads and Overlake via frequent route 245, the main local destination of Downtown Bellevue is not linked frequently to Factoria.

While the departures of routes 240 and 241 from Bellevue Transit Center outbound to Factoria are timed so that buses depart every half-an-hour, the ones inbound to Bellevue Transit Center depart Factoria almost at the same time to provide no service during half-an-hour (except when 246 is running in which case headways during one of the 30-minute downtime period is reduced to 15 minutes).

Routes 114 and 240 as well as 210 and 241, while sharing routings in the the neighborhoods of Newcastle and Eastgate, respectively, do not provide even headways during the peak periods.

Lastly, route 210 from Factoria to Seattle is not frequent enough that residents use it to commute. Many will rather drive to Eastgate Park-and-ride and catch an ultra-frequent express bus from there.

Other, more technical issues also exist:

In the Afternoon rush hour, route 114 constantly gets stuck in the I-405 backlog while on the ramp from I-90 to I-405. Delays can be up to 10 minutes.

Signals on Factoria Bloulevard are not well-timed, causing the buses to stop at almost all lights when traffic is heavy. A significant amount of time is wasted that way.

The last issue consists of confused passengers that need to get to the Eastgate Park-and-ride from Factoria. Buses go to the park and ride in both directions, 240 and 245 northbound and 241 and 246 southbound. Drivers often have to give directions or tell riders which bus to take in order to get to Eastgate.

The Solution

Re-routes are needed for bus routes 114, 240 and 241 and major scheduling changes are necessary on routes 114, 210, 240 and 241 in order for this proposal to work.

Frequent Service between Factoria and Bellevue:

Route 240 would need to be re-routed to Downtown Bellevue using the same routing as the 241, via South Bellevue. To further improve travel times, route 241 would be re-routed off 108th Street, which has numerous speed bumps and poor ridership onto 112th Street. Schedules would have to be re-written northbound to provide frequent service from Factoria. 240 ridership between the Eastgate Park-and-Ride and Bellevue TC would need to move to the slightly slower but much more frequent 271.

The result would be a frequent route between Factoria and Bellevue. Headways along the shared segment would be 15 minutes from 6am to 8pm on weekdays and Saturdays (starting at 8am on Saturdays) and 30 minutes on Sundays and at night. An added benefit of the line would be a possible convenient transfer at South Bellevue, to provide connections with route 550 trip to and from Seattle. There would be a 240/241 transfer available for every 550 trip provided in the off-peak and on weekends.

Frequent Service between Factoria and Downtown Seattle:

Route 114 would be re-routed to Factoria (like the 240 does) then head to Downtown Seattle via the 210’s routing. While this would add 7 minutes to inbound trips, the new routing would be time-neutral in the evening peak because of the I-90 to I-405 ramp backup. The two routes require schedule changes to operate at even 15-minute headways.

Frequent service to Downtown Seattle would be provided on weekdays from 6am (in Factoria – buses depart the terminals earlier) until 8am and from Downtown Seattle from 4.15pm unitil 6pm.

Frequent Service in Eastgate and Newcastle:

Since both the 114 and the 240 as well as the 210 and the 241 share common corridors in Newcastle and Eastgate, respectively, it is important to time those routes so that 15-minute service can be provided during the peak hours.

Frequent service would then be provided to Factoria on weekdays from 6am to 8am and from Factoria from 4.30pm until 6.15pm. The service would mainly be used by Factoria employees as well as Newport High School students.

To recap…

  • The 240 and the 241 provide frequent service on Weekdays and Saturdays along a shared corridor between Factoria and Bellevue TC.
  • The 114 and the 210 provide frequent service between Factoria and Downtown Seattle in the peak direction during the weekday peaks.
  • The 114 and the 240 provide frequent service between Factoria and Renton Highlands in the peak direction during the weekday peaks.
  • The 210 and the 241 provide frequent service between Factoria and Eastgate in the peak direction during the weekday peaks.