While it may be fair to look at 2015 as the final Year in Waiting™ for University Link to open, 2015 will bring about plenty of changes in its own right, and transit riders, people on bikes, and people walking have much to anticipate. Here’s a look at the upcoming year.
New Openings & Service Changes
- Assuming that the already-delayed vehicles start arriving soon, the First Hill Streetcar will finally launch sometime this spring.
- I-405 opens express toll lanes between Bellevue and Lynnwood.
- Mukilteo Station’s south platform project will be complete early this year.
- Metro’s new trolleys will begin entering service.
- The Mercer West project will be mostly complete by summer, with some North Portal work obviously delayed pending Bertha repairs.
- Sound Transit introduces ST Express route 580, with 20 daily one-way trips, between Lakewood Station and Puyallup Station, connecting with Sounder. (June)
- Seattle Pacific University gets its layover, with Metro routes 3 and 4 extending to SPU and losing their vestigial terminal loops.
- Metro will unveil its ULink Connections plan (June)
- Prop 1 funded service hits the streets. (June)
- As part of ULink testing, Link will go to 6-minute peak headways, the DSTT will be able to accommodate 4-car trains, and some tunnel buses (yet unnamed) will be surfaced to make room. (September)
- Metro fares go up $.25, to $2.50 off-peak, $2.75 1-zone peak, and $3.25 2-zone peak. (March)
- Link’s base fare will also rise by $.25. (March)
- Metro, Sound Transit (Link only), Seattle Streetcar, and King County Water Taxi implement the first-ever Low Income Fare (March)
- Community Transit fares will rise by $.25, to $2.25 Local, $4.25 for inner suburban expresses, and $5.50 for outer suburban expresses. (June)
- After more than seven years of design and environmental work just to rebuild an existing corridor, 2015 will see ground finally broken on the Point Defiance Bypass. The project is still on track to meet ARRA requirements for a 2017 opening.
- Late in 2015, Tacoma’s Freighthouse Square will likely begin renovations to accommodate Amtrak.
- Assuming no delays in the final design process, the Tacoma Trestle replacement should begin construction this summer.
- Spokane Transit goes to ballot seeking to fund its 10-year plan, titled STA Moving Forward. The measure would exhaust STA’s remaining sales tax authority in order to bring a frequent, high performance bus network to Spokane. (April)
- 2015 is the year that our City Council changes to mostly district representation, with an August 4 primary and a November 3rd election. Expect much of the year’s bandwidth to be consumed by crowded candidate fields and the elevation of neighborhood issues like sidewalks.
- Bridging the Gap expires this year, and renewal will be on the November ballot.
- Capitol Hill Station’s ‘Red Wall’ comes down. (spring)
- Sound Transit’s Northgate Link TBMs (Pamela and Brenda) will reach Roosevelt Station in early to mid-2015, and tunneling between UW and Roosevelt will begin.
- WSDOT and Seattle Tunnel Partners will attempt to surface Bertha’s broken cutterhead for repairs. (April)
- Angle Lake Link extension work will continue, with construction milestones about 6 months behind ULink. The project is still on track for a late 2016 opening.
- In preparation for East Link construction, I-90 two-way HOV will break ground between Seattle and Mercer Island.
- The Westlake Cycle Track begins construction (autumn).
- Year 1 of the Bicycle Master Plan implementation calls for protected bike lanes on parts of Roosevelt Way NE, NE Ravenna Blvd, S Dearborn St, more of Dexter Ave N, N 34th St, and a small piece of Rainier Ave S. (See map).
- SDOT will complete design for the Center City Bicycle Network for implementation beginning in 2016.
- Pronto Cycleshare will expand to the Central District, Little Saigon, and Yesler Terrace. (TBD)
- As part of Mercer West’s completion, there will finally be a safe way to bike from Lower Queen Anne to South Lake Union. Mercer Street will enjoy a protected bike lane between Queen Anne Ave N and Dexter Ave N.
Plans & Studies
- Lynnwood Link will have a number of milestones in 2015, including Final EIS publication, the Sound Transit Board formally selecting the project, the FTA issuing its Record of Decision, and the project moving into final design.
- Metro will begin work on its first ever Long Range Plan.
- The Center City Connector will begin environmental and design work, and will likely select an alignment to connect McGraw Square to 1st Avenue.
- SDOT will release prelimary concept design for Madison Bus Rapid Transit in March, with complete concept design by July.
- ORCA Monorail integration study results are due in June.
Sound Transit 3
- Its Long Range Plan update complete, Sound Transit will be seeking authority to place a 2016 Sound Transit 3 measure on the ballot. Regardless of the legislature’s actions, Sound Transit will begin the developing the measure in Q2 2015 with an initial round of public input. Later in 2015, we’ll see specific package proposals based on the 3 proposed funding sources, each of which raises about $15B in year-of expenditures. The legislature needs to approve new funding authority either in 2015 or 2016 in order for the Board to approve a ballot measure no later than July 2016 for a November 2016 vote. Depending on economic forecasts and subarea horsetrading, this is the measure that could get us light rail from Ballard-Downtown, Ballard-UW, Downtown-West Seattle, Des Moines-Federal Way-Tacoma, Lynnwood-Everett, Overlake-Downtown Redmond, I-405 BRT, and more.