Sound Transit is proposing a host of tweaks to service in the recently released 2019 Draft Service Implementation Plan. Several of the proposed changes respond to major closures like the Montlake Freeway Station and Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel to buses while others focus on improving efficiency and adding new service. Public comment on the proposals is open through November 15th.
Due to light rail construction to Lynnwood, Sound Transit plans to implement a deviation to Route 512 for the NE 145th St freeway stop in the northbound direction. Buses will be briefly routed on 5th Ave NE before jumping back onto I-5. The temporary stop location will be on 5th Ave NE just north of the NE 145th St intersection. This is expected to add a few minutes of travel time to northbound trips due to stoplight wait times.
With the opening of the Seaway Transit Center at Paine Field in March, Sound Transit is proposing a revision to Route 513 that would extend the service further west to the transit center. The existing terminal on Evergreen Way would be deleted to accommodate this change. Riders will be able to connect with other local bus services and the new Swift Green Line at Seaway Transit Center.
To mitigate for pedestrian access impacts from light rail construction, Sound Transit is proposing the addition of one stop to Route 541 in Overlake. The new stop would be located at the intersection of 156th Ave NE and NE 31st St.
Montlake Freeway Station
For as long as Routes 542, 545, and 555 have existed, they have stopped at the Montlake Freeway Station on SR-520. However, the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) will close the stop in an effort to lid SR-520 and build new transit facilities. As mitigation for this, WSDOT will help fund additional service on Route 542, which will bring seven-per-week and evening service on the route. The closure of the stop is estimated to affect 3% of riders, which could mean longer travel times and more transfers for them.
Sound Transit plans to move Route 550 out of the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel since the tunnel will be exclusively used for trains come March. This means that buses will dance on a couplet in the city center along Fourth Avenue northbound and Second Avenue southbound. Buses will terminate near the Washington State Convention Center and similarly use a Pike Street/Union Street couplet. Riders can expect trip times will increase due to meager transit improvements being rolled out on city streets during the Period of Maximum Constraint. Light rail riders, however, should see a vast improvement in speed and reliability of trains though the city center at all hours.
Due to low ridership and competition with a multitude of other services (e.g., Routes 214, 216, 218, 219, 271, and 554), Sound Transit is proposing deletion of a portion of Route 555 between Downtown Bellevue and the Issaquah Highlands. The transit agency estimates that this deletion would affect about 175 riders, which represents 24% of total route ridership.
Finally, Sound Transit is proposing to scale back operations of Route 580 by focusing most trips between South Hill and Puyallup and cutting out service on SR-512 to and from Lakewood Station. Only select trips would only be extended between South Hill and Lakewood Station when a Sounder train operates to or from Puyallup Station but does not originate or terminate at Lakewood Station. Additionally, all reverse commute trips would be fully eliminated. Sound Transit estimates that only 36 riders would be affected by this change, amounting to 6% of total route ridership.
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