No later than March 26th, ULink will be open and the big ULink restructure will be in place. Lost in the glamor of that event, a major restructure of service on South Lake Union will occur the same day, with southbound Route 40 switching to Westlake Avenue and Rapid Ride C extended into South Lake Union via Blanchard/Lenora and Westlake. With a bunch of intensive work to be done to make that a reality just 3 months from now, effective January 4th the South Lake Union Streetcar will run only during weekday peak periods, with no off-peak, evening, or weekend service. In addition, the streetcar will also not run during Friday PM peak. Service hours will be Monday-Thursday from 6-9am and 3-9pm, and Friday from 6-9am only.
When the streetcar is not running, SDOT and Metro crews will be busy restriping Westlake, adding RapidRide stops and amenities, improving sidewalks and waiting areas, and more. With roughly two-thirds of the streetcar’s ridership occurring during peak periods, the loss of off-peak service will impose only a small and temporary burden relative to the service improvement it affords. When full service resumes, Westlake will have 20 buses or streetcars per hour per direction during peak, and with unprecedented transit priority. With South Lake Union’s drive-alone rate (46%) more than double that of the traditional commercial core (22%), these improvements can’t come soon enough, and with the passage of Move Seattle we can only look forward to more projects like this.