This October and next February, Metro will add service to Routes 255, 265, 271, and 311 as part of the Lake Washington Urban Partnership Agreement (UPA). Sound Transit is also adding service in October by introducing Route 542 between Redmond and the University District. The increased service will provide an alternative to paying a toll to cross the 520 bridge or driving other congested routes. Variable tolling on the SR 520 bridge will begin in Spring 2011.
According to the SR 520 and SR 522 Service Implementation Plan, tolls are expected to increase transit demand by 15-35%. A recent poll suggests that tolls will encourage transit use, with 16% of respondents choosing transit as one of many alternatives to tolls. That figure increases to 22% if both 520 and I-90 were tolled. Currently, 15,000 riders cross the 520 bridge every day. Routes 255 and 271 together provide 4,300 crosslake trips each weekday.
Funding for the 28,000 additional annual service hours will come from the property tax for transit, a part of which is dedicated to SR 520 service. On the transit capital side, the UPA grant provides $41 million, including $31 million for 41 new hybrid buses—28 for Metro and 13 for Sound Transit. Other investments include the recently completed Redmond P&R garage, a South Kirkland P&R garage (by 2014), new bus shelters, and real-time information displays.
Details of service additions and changes after the jump.
- October 2010 – All peak-period trips that currently begin or end at the Kirkland Transit Center will now be extended further north to the Totem Lake Transit Center. Service to Brickyard P&R will not change.
- February 2011 – Increased weekday frequency between Totem Lake Transit Center and downtown Seattle from 30-minute headways to 10-20 minute headways. Headways will be shorter in the peak direction and longer in the off-peak direction.
October 2010 – Revised routing in Seattle to serve Boren Ave on First Hill. Up to 3 new trips in the morning and up to 3 new trips in the afternoon. These changes will encourage greater use of the Houghton Park and Ride and provide a one-seat ride from Houghton and Redmond to First Hill employment centers.
October 2010 – Service frequency between U District, Bellevue, and Eastgate P&R will increase to every 10 minutes during peak, more 15 minute service during midday, and to extent funding allows, more frequent service during the evening (30-60 min instead of 60 min headway). Routing in U District changed to layover on the UW campus at Memorial Way and delete service north of NE 45th St and west of 15th Ave NE, matching the 540.
October 2010 – Up to 3 morning trips from Woodinville to downtown Seattle and up to 3 afternoon trips to Woodinville will be added. No changes to Duvall trips.
Sound Transit Route 542 (new)
October 2010 – New express route serving Redmond to I-5/NE 65th St P&R via University District Express with 15-minute service in both directions, from 6 am to 10 am and from 2 pm to 7 pm.
Route 309 (new but unfunded)
In addition to these service increases that’ll be implemented soon, Metro developed a new Route 309 designed to mitigate impacts of traffic diversion from a tolled SR 520 to SR 522. The peak-only route will provide up to 10 trips (5 morning SB, 5 afternoon NB) between Kenmore P&R and South Lake Union/First Hill. It will access SLU via the I-5 express lanes at Mercer St and First Hill via Boren Ave. However, this proposal is currently not funded.