One feature of Metro’s planned Eastside service reorganization is shifting Route 240 to serve Eastgate. Here’s Metro’s writeup of the change:
Why these changes are being considered
- Attract more riders through improved connections and reduced wait times.
- Provide two-way, all-day service to portions of Richards Road and 112th Avenue SE, which have significant mixed-use density (offices, housing, courthouse, and hotels).
- Provide a new all-day connection between Renton and Bellevue College via Newcastle, Factoria, and Eastgate.
- Connect at the Eastgate Park-and-Ride with routes that serve Issaquah, Overlake, and Crossroads.
- Trips to and from Bellevue would be about five minutes longer for riders in areas south of Factoria, such as Newcastle and Renton Highlands, but those riders would have improved connections with Eastgate, Bellevue College, Issaquah, Overlake, and Crossroads.
- Riders along 112th Avenue SE, Richards Road, and SE 26th Street would have more frequent service and longer hours of service.
- Bellevue High School would be served via revised Route 249 on 108th Avenue SE and Route 550 along Bellevue Way SE.
- Riders between Clyde Hill and the Bellevue Transit Center would be served by revised Route 246 instead of Route 240, with shorter hours of service.
Much more below the jump…
Earlier this month, Bellevue DOT Director Goran G. Sparrman sent a letter to Metro indicating some concerns about this reroute:
[This project has] one notable exception to what appears to be the prevailing service design philosophy (i.e. attempting to minimize the degree to which a route deviates from the shortest path between start and end points of the route). While the City of Bellevue is very supportive of providing more frequent service to the Eastgate Park and Ride for riders coming from South King County we feel that the Connections Project recommendation for the Route 240 deviations comes at a significant penalty to customers oriented to downtown Bellevue…
The… recommendation for Route 240 would increase travel time by 10 minutes [actually 5*] for existing riders traveling to and from downtown Bellevue, the third largest employment center in the region and the Eastside’s major transit hub. This is due to the less direct, more circuitous routing via SE Eastgate Way and SE 26th St/Richards Road. This is a significant increase that would impact about 650 current weekday riders who originate in communities south of I-90 and board or alight in downtown Bellevue. As such, we urge you to discontinue consideration of extending Route 240 to Eastgate.
I find this discussion, which is being conducted at an amicable staff level, to be interesting because it cuts across a lot of debates about transit service.
The whole argument about direct routes and grids plays out here, as well as downtown vs. crosstown. Even the new service concept essentially connects the five main nodes in Bellevue rather than being a true arterial grid. That’s largely because old-school land use means that most arterial intersections don’t have enough there to warrant good service.
As someone who spends his fair share of time at Eastgate, I’ve always been struck by the total lack of connections from the South, which denies easy access to a wealth of routes serving the eastern part of Bellevue. It’s true that a better, more frequent connection between 240 and 245 at Factoria would solve a significant part of that problem. Furthermore, in the much longer run you have to think 240 riders would appreciate a connection to Link at South Bellevue.**
At any rate, I’m not all that familiar with this corridor, so I’m curious what the wisdom of the crowd has to say about all this.
* The previous proposal was for 10 minutes, which has been shortened to 5 with the new routing.
**Setting aside the alignment uncertainty here.