As mentioned briefly Friday, and covered extensively in the past, Metro is extensively revising bus service in Southeast Seattle in response to the arrival of Link Light Rail. The main rounds of public comment are finished; the final staff proposal will be presented Tuesday, April 28, at 6:30pm in Room 1001 of the King County Courthouse to two King County Committees. The citizen sounding board for this project will also present their recommendation, and of course the hearing will be open for public comments as well. You can see the staff recommendation online, and the meeting will be on King County TV. There are absentee ways to comment as well.
There will be two rounds of changes: the first, in September 2009, will eliminate several routes, scale back others, and use the savings to fund other improvements and help Metro assume responsibility for the South Lake Union Streetcar. In February 2010, the completion of Airport Link will allow elimination of Route 194; half of these service hours “belong” to the Seattle subarea and will be repurposed to improve service there, as listed on the chart.
The Southwest King County proposals, on which I have much less to say, are available here.
Here are some reasons for the more interesting changes, both from current service and some of the earlier proposals.
- Route 8 will cover local service on MLK, rather than the 48, both because the 8 will be more reliable when running South along MLK, and to try to mitigate the 48’s legendary unreliability. Also, for UW-bound riders from the Rainier Valley, boarding Link and transferring to the 71/72/73 will actually be faster than the straight shot up 23rd Ave.
- Although Route 39 service (downtown-Seward Park) might have been replaced by the 50 to West Seattle, this would have cost a lot of service hours and ran afoul of a series of negative comments from VA Hospital patients and staff.
- Moving the 106 off of I-5 and on to Airport Way is thought to both improve reliability and open up new connections to jobs in Sodo.
- The 107 is moving far inland from Lake Washington (where ridership was poor) to cover the 51st Ave S corridor, previously served by the 42. At that distance from downtown the time savings of Link over buses will be profound.
Of course, the Council is free to ignore the staff’s recommendation.