South Bellevue Park & Ride (photo by author)

Two park & rides on the Eastside will close in early 2017 for East Link construction. The South Bellevue P&R, with current capacity of 519 cars, is expected to close later in the first quarter. It will reopen in five years with an expanded capacity of 1,500 cars in a five-level garage. In the second quarter, the smaller Overlake Transit Center P&R will close for up to six years so it can be used for staging materials. Capacity at Overlake is about 220 cars. The future Redmond Technology Center Station will include a 320-stall parking garage.

Sound Transit will lease five new Park-and-Ride lots on the Eastside (in blue), and add capacity or service at several others.

Closure dates are dependent on construction scheduling and will be announced 60 days in advance. As the dates are confirmed, a more extensive public outreach effort will educate riders about alternatives.

To serve users during the closures, Sound Transit has expanded two existing leased lots and leased space at five new locations, accommodating 350 cars in total. All of the added capacity is at churches in Bellevue excepting one Renton location. The leased lots opened in December. That is less than a 1:1 replacement, but there is also unused capacity at some other Eastside locations such as South Sammamish, Houghton, Newport Hills, and Tibbetts Valley in Issaquah.

Buses will continue to serve South Bellevue during the closure. These include ST 550, 555 and 556, and Metro 241 and 249. The southbound stops will be relocated across the street. Road capacity will be reduced during some of the construction, but a reversible lane ensures two lanes can remain open in the peak direction throughout.

The closure of the P&R at Overlake Transit Center is being mitigated in part with ST Express service to nearby Overlake Village on ST 541, launched earlier in 2016. Sound Transit Express service on the SR 520 and I-90 corridors was increased in 2016, improving the frequency of service at several historically under-utilized lots.

Most riders from South Bellevue are taking ST 550. The temporary lots will not have direct access to ST 550. However, studies of South Bellevue P&R users reveal that they are drawn from all over the Eastside. The replacement lots all have connecting bus service to ST 550, or alternative connections to Seattle destinations.

2015 license plate analysis of cars parked at the South Bellevue P&R (Map: PSRC).

Like many other P&Rs near Seattle, drivers use South Bellevue because it is close to their Seattle destination and they can avoid paying for parking in Seattle. It’s often not particularly close to their homes. A 2015 license plate analysis suggests 43% of users are driving more than five miles. For most Bellevue residents, parking near transit has become less important, with only 18% of Bellevue transit users using a P&R to access transit (down from over 40% a decade ago). Connecting service from more distant suburbs is less frequent, so driving to a P&R nearer Seattle is convenient. Sound Transit hopes it can offset that with well-distributed leased lots, and also by publicizing alternatives even if they are less frequent.

The license plate analysis hints at a mismatch between demand and the location of the leased lots, with many riders apparently living in Newcastle or Renton. Metro 114 could serve some of those riders, but it makes only five trips a day each direction. There is capacity at Newport Hills for some of those riders, which is currently about 80% full.

After South Bellevue closes, Mercer Island will be the only P&R with ST 550 service. There are concerns on Mercer Island that this lot will fill early in the morning with commuters from elsewhere on the Eastside. 53% of Mercer Island P&R users are already estimated to be from off the island. Residents nevertheless opposed a plan to add 200 spots on the island that could have been used by ST 550 commuters. Accordingly, Sound Transit did not seek other temporary parking on the Island. Mercer Island has withdrawn from Sound Transit’s carpool permit pilot program because the reserved spaces could be used by non-Islander commuters.

68 Replies to “Eastside Park & Rides to Close for Link Construction”

  1. I suspect a lot of the outlying dots are using S Bellevue as a a satellite lot for Downtown Bellevue.

      1. Parking in business core can be very expensive. One coworker said her old job was $300/month because their garage is full. OTOH, my building has free parking. So it depends on the company.

        Anecdotally, the SBellevue P&R is predominantly for Seattle bound traffic, but the is a decent amount of Bellevue bound riders every day.

    1. Anecdotes aren’t data per se, but as a counter-peak 550 rider I can say I’ve run into a fair number of people who live in Sammamish or Renton (for example) and are doing this very thing.

    2. If you look at figure 10 in the linked PSRC document, you’ll notice that most AM peak 550 boardings from the SBP&R are going to downtown Seattle, not downtown Bellevue (though some park and ride users seem to be using it for trips to downtown Bellevue).

    3. The distant addresses could also be outdated address information, or people staying with their boyfriend/parents/whatever for the night on the Eastside.

      1. Yeah, I think it was Sound Transit who cautioned about not trying to make sense of every remote dot. People are required to update vehicle registration addresses promptly when they move, but many don’t. I didn’t even get around to removing my Texas plates until they expired many months after moving to WA. I’m sure compliance after in-state moves is worse.

        But directionally, the data still works. Errors are somewhat off-setting, because some of those who appear to live nearby have moved to more distant locations.

      2. @Dan — That makes sense. If you ignore the outliers, you basically have a bunch of people from the east side, but especially the south east side (Newcastle and Renton). Makes sense to me. As mentioned, most of Bellevue has other, more direct options (which is why their park and ride use numbers have gone down) but for places like Newcastle, it just makes sense to drive and then catch an express. The high number of Issaquah riders is a bit surprising, I’m not sure why you would drive all the way to South Bellevue Park and Ride instead of just to an Issaquah Park and Ride. Maybe park and ride capacity is the issue?

      3. RE: Issaquah riders:
        South Bellevue P&R has much higher frequency than Issaquah TC/P&R. Also, all the dots are west of the TC, and people don’t like driving backwards to catch a bus.

        Eastgate P&R might be able to absorb some of demand along the I90 corridor including western Issaquah, but it’s pretty full.

      4. @AJ — all the dots are west of the [Issaquah] TC …

        Ah, good catch. I didn’t look at the map closely enough and you are absolutely right. Makes sense. Yeah, Eastgate would make sense too, but if it is full then it isn’t too far from there to South Bellevue.

        The best solution would probably be a nice flyover stop and park and ride “upstream” a bit. Maybe where West Lake Sammamish intersects the freeway. That way you pick up a fair number of additional riders for the Issaquah line, allowing it to run more often.

      5. @Ross – you are basically describing the Lakemont station that is provisional in the Issaquah rail project. I’d love to put a giant parking garage there if it means limited or no parking at the central Issaquah station.

        At both Lakemont and Central Issaquah, you could build the parking directly over I90 (which has a very wide footprint) so you minimize wasting land for TOD on parking.

        Note that for Eastgate, the flyover stop is only for bus & HOV. Therefore the garage is very convenient for carpool traffic coming in from I90, but very inconvenient for SOV. The SOV access is design for traffic coming from local streets. If I’m an SOV driving coming from Snoqualmie, I’d rather drive all the way to South Bellevue because it’s much quicker access from I90 to the P&R.

  2. In related news, the west half of the Northgate surface park and ride is also closed as construction is beginning on the three stations for Northgate Link.

  3. Mercer Island turned down the 200-space additional lot despite the promise that it would be returned to MI after the new South Bellevue garage opens in 2022. The city could then have restricted the lot to MI residents, if it wished.
    The lot would have been located in Luther Burbank Park, and many residents objected to that location, though I suspect ANY location would have drawn objections. As far as I know, the city did not offer another location within walking distance.
    After saying no to additional capacity in the existing P&R when it was rebuilt several years ago, and now rejecting this compromise – not ideal but better than nothing – we should not be complaining about parking problems. But of course we will.

      1. Mike, I’ll assume this is not snark about recent news that some downtown bike lanes are being removed – to make room for on-street parking.

        Most (not all) of MI’s residences are a hilly bikeride from downtown. Nice workout when I do it, but not really a practical commute.

        Agree with your comment elsewhere – ST should manage P&R demand – and pay for some of the infrastructure – with (serious) pricing. But this goes with managing highway capacity with tolls, a windmill oft tilted at here %^)

    1. Given all the angst between MI and ST on this P&R, once East Link is up and running I’d really like to see ST just sell the P&R to MI. ST can take those dollars and reinvest it elsewhere in the system, and MI can have a nice P&R that it can reserve for MI residents. As long as MI pays market value for the land & structure, I have no problem with them limiting it to only MI registered cars.

      1. Yeah, that makes sense to me. Sounds like a great win for everyone, really (ST makes a few bucks and Mercer Island can invest in park and rides if they want to). Sounds like a great idea, and it would set a wonderful precedent (Seattle would sell off the Northgate park and ride and put it into other transit projects). It might not be legal, though.

        The main thing that needs to happen with the Mercer Island station is that the bus to rail interaction needs to be optimized. Like so many of our stations, that really is key.

      2. In the Boston area, many towns own the park-and-ride spaces near commuter rail stations. They. Reste the best parking program that works for them – and they use the lots for revenue generation.

        It’s a good solution to suburban parking controversies and the region doesn’t have to subsidize it.

      3. In the Chicago area many cities build and own their P&Rs also. Complaints are leveled against local elected officials, who can convince people that what they’ve done is good or work to change it. Sometimes downtown parking issues, including P&R issues, end up being significant in local elections. And it means actual transit riders are contacting the elected officials with their concerns. It’s like parents always tell kids: if you want something done right, do it yourself — and what we learn after we grow up a little is that this meaning of “right” is subjective.

        I think ST likes to plan and own P&Rs so that they can manage them to the end of promoting ridership. Personally I don’t think they have much to fear — I think if cities are left in charge they’ll provide ample parking for their citizens. But having P&R capacity planned by the agency certainly makes ridership projections easier, and ridership projections are needed for local planning and prioritization and for grant applications. Another downside is that if cities generally decide to limit parking to their own residents this would exclude some people from access to transit service they’re taxed for. This suggests the downtown/non-downtown split that some people have mentioned. Or it suggests that the agency could negotiate with cities in some cases: build its own P&Rs in key spots for wide access but allow some cities that want to pay their own way in exchange for local control to just sign an agreement to operate some number of spaces exclusively for transit access for some number of years (giving them a number for planning purposes).

      4. (At this point, ST already being committed to build the MI P&R, I’m not sure why potential conflict over selling price should be something to worry about. ST determines its lowest acceptable sale price, MI determines its highest acceptable purchase price, each prepares a list of other demands and desires, they negotiate and prepare a contract, like any other entities buying and selling stuff. Or they negotiate a lease. If they can’t agree on terms, if local control isn’t worth enough to MI for ST to give up its various interests in the property or garage, ST runs it their way like they’ve planned to do and everyone gets on with life.)

      5. Selling the P&R to Mercer Island makes the most sense. Mercer Island is in a unique siiuation because resident’s can’t realistically go tp another P&S, and the island is so low-density is can’ty support all-day buses, and the city is opposed to another garage or expansion. It’s really cheating the system for off-islanders to come and park; they should use their closest P&R. They do it to save time (the shortest transit trip, the most buses stop there). Sound Transit itself can’t restrict people but Mercer Island can, but ST would have to be compensated fairly for the facility.

        The reason we don’t have East Coast style municipal P&Rs and toll roads is people are used to infrastructure being free after they pay their transportation taxes. They see it as an expense that should come out of the transportation budget, not cities’ general budget. It’s the same reason paratransit comes out of the transit budget: people don’t want to cut other things to provide it, and it “is” transit.

        So Mercer Oslanders would probably be reluctant to but the P&R. But if it’s a way to keep off-islanders out and not build a second garage in the park, well, that’s an unprecedented opportunity and it might pass.

      6. @Mike Orr,

        In theory the sale of the MI PaR to MI would seem to make perfect sense, but the problem with that approach is the “compensated fairly” part. MI has had multiple opportunities to solve this supposed “problem” already, but they have declined every chance they have been given.

        Why? Because they simply don’t think they should pay for any part of a solution. From their POV transit is a scourge that has brought parking and traffic issues in addition to too many undesirable off-islanders into their community.

        As such, they believe that the agency creating the problems should pay for their mitigation. Namely ST should pay to solve the parking and traffic problems for the Islanders because ST caused these problems.

        So ya, selling the PaR to MI makes sense, but the problem is getting MI to actually pay.

      7. You don’t know if they’d say yes until you ask them and start negotiating. ST has never offered anything like this before. I read Mercer Island’s position not that transit is a scourage but off-island drivers are a toxic plague. The failure of the second garage and the downzoning of downtown I attribute to the balance of local politics. And the garage was defeated partly because it would shave an edge off Mercer Island’s biggest park, don’t forget that. But keeping outsiders out of “its” P&Rs is something desirable to islanders; it might be something they’ll pay for after all. It doesn’t matter to ST or us one way or the other; they can take it or leave it.

  4. The Martin comment is correct; I have seen riders alight from inbound Route 550 trips in the afternoon as if they worked in Bellevue. The same is true for South Kirkland and routes 234, 235, and 249.

  5. I understand that the parking at South Kirkland also draws drivers from a wide and dispersed area. It’s the last lot on SR 520 before Seattle, and probably a convenient satellite lot for UW (and downtown Bellevue offices).

    The stereotype of the P&R user is that he’s the guy who drives a few miles to a nearby lot and takes a bus many miles to downtown. But some of these users are flipping that, driving many miles and only using the bus for the last short segment.

    I don’t think there’s a non-intrusive way to manage that. But it does weaken the case for P&Rs close to urban centers if they aren’t reducing miles driven by much. (They are still keeping cars out of core downtown, so that’s something).

    1. “I don’t think there’s a non-intrusive way to manage that.”

      Charge for parking. If it costs $4 to park in downtown Bellevue and $2 at the P&R, maybe it won’t be worth turning off the freeway two exits earlier.

      1. Charging a nominal fee at the P and R’s makes sense as a way to control use of lots that get filled by early in the morning rush hour.

      2. Absolutely: Charge for using to control demand. And this can also help fix two other problems: non-transit use and long-term use.

        Pick a fair rate for parking. Subsidize transit users or carpools if that’s your policy. And let the business thrive.

        What’s that you say? Sound Transit isn’t in the paid parking business? Fine! Lease the lots to Diamond or sell them to cities.

        ST should get out of the parking business overall. Because right now, it’s a charity that steals from transit finding.

    2. I do like the Bellevue model of keeping the P&R out of downtown and having a separate station for it. Renton and Lynnwood and Burien should pay attention.

      1. Redmond will do the same – large P&R at SE Redmond, which will presumably collect most of the car & bus traffic coming from east and south. Downtown Redmond is classified as urban with zero parking. Tacoma arguably does, putting all the parking at Tacoma Dome.

        Perhaps accidentally, both Everett and Renton are setting themselves up for this nicely in a ST4 expansion, with ST3 stations & parking at the outskirts of their commercial cores. Even Kirkland can pull this off in ST4 with the parking at South Kirkland.

        Question for the commenteriat – looking at the ST3 projects, are there other opportunities for this separation of downtowns & parking?

    3. It’s not just South Kirkland. Many people from Snohomish will also drive down to Brickyard or Totem Lake for the 532/535. And people from Brickyard will drive down to Totem Lake to get more frequent buses. I tend to walk to Brickyard, but I know my neighbor will sometimes drive to Totem Lake.

      1. It feels like there’s a lot fewer people doing this now with the 3 person restriction on the toll lanes. With the 2HOV limit the flyer stop was a defacto kiss and ride (albeit a really dangerous one) where someone would get out of the car and the driver would then take the surface streets somewhere. It was sometimes as many as 2 or 3 people per bus at peak, now I at most see one and often none.

        Heavier traffic on surface streets going to the 128th interchange has been making getting to Kingsgate harder and more time consuming now. The lot is filling about 10 to 15 minutes later than it did a year+ ago.

      2. “I tend to walk to Brickyard, but I know my neighbor will sometimes drive to Totem Lake”

        Part of the problem could be this intersection design, which forces people living literally across the street from the P&R to jaywalk to reach it, or take a long detour to the nearest legal crossing (which is a light at a freeway off-ramp, with tons of turning cars). For those that don’t want to do either, getting to the P&R means literally getting into their cars to drive across the street, except, as you can see from the street view, you can’t just drive across the street either – you have to turn right onto Juanita-Woodinville Way, then turn around somewhere – which means, once you’re already in your car, you may as well just drive to Totem Lake and catch the bus there.

    4. See also the unofficial use of Westlake parking as a P&R.

      As long as these close-in P&Rs have better transit service (vis-a-vis frequency, span), and SOV traffic is moving pretty well between your house and the close-in P&R, the incentives tend to favor doing exactly this. In some cases people will save on fares this way, too! Sounds like a case for paid parking to me. But, you know, I’m not from the northwest, it would obviously never work here (even though it works fine everywhere else).

      1. Wow I didn’t know Westlake was doing that now too as much.. Dexter Ave N and the surrounding neighborhood parking which is unzoned (Newton to Wheeler esp) has been used a lot for that too. When I used to live there and work from home I would count 10 or more people parking and walking to the bus stop from my window on an average day.

      2. Or, an extreme case – downtown, itself. While parking in downtown is obviously not free, some parts of downtown cost significantly more to park in than others. I wonder how many people drive to one part of downtown to ride the bus to the other part? I’m guessing this was a lot more common when the Ride Free Area was in effect than it is now.

    5. Paid parking would help, but better bus service would help as well. Why did Bellevue suddenly see a huge drop in park and ride ridership (or the opposite, a huge increase in walk up passengers)? My guess is that it is because bus service is fairly good.

      Look at Newcastle, for example, where there are a bunch of dots on that map. The biggest park and ride is right off the freeway. One Google reviewer says that “Bus service is very limited, but parking is always available”. In other words, folks who have finally worked their way onto I-405 (or at best very close to it) just keep slogging away, and make their way to South Bellevue, where the bus service is much better. From what I can tell, the reviewer is right (e. g. the 111 only runs every 30 minutes). For the other park and rides, it seems worse (requiring a transfer).

      it is pretty crazy to build a system that seems to be designed so that people drive for miles on the freeway and then park to catch a bus and then be surprised that people do exactly that.

      1. That’s basically the 405 BRT model. P&Rs adjacent to the freeway so that the lot can be serviced with high frequency.

    6. Except that Renton is moving its transiot center too and apparently is unconcerned about which buses will go downtown or how often. Tacoma has Tacoma Link, which by definition is frequent,

  6. If ST & Metro offered good transit service to affordable suburbs surrounding Seattle & Bellevue, perhaps many of the people driving 5+ miles to South Bellevue would take transit door to door (or at least drive to a neighborhood park & ride). I remember taking the 564/565 from Renton to Bellevue back in the day. Express? *chuckle* The article says it all. Metro 114 could serve some of the riders but only make five trips per day. This type of statement could be made about so many Metro & ST routes. Either it only makes a few trips per day, or it takes some long, slow, cumbersome routing that doubles or triples your travel time. Given the choice of driving 5 or 10 miles to a park & ride on a convenient transit route and doubling my travel time to take door to door transit, I’ll happily drive halfway. So, now the question becomes, are we going to provide fast reliable transit service to those people who have been price out of Seattle & Bellevue, or will we continue providing bare-bones service to place like Renton & South King County?

    1. The problem here is that “good transit service” is impossible given the nature of the road grid in those affordable suburbs. This where stuff like self-driving cars may be the only good solution.

      1. While I won’t argue that flooding certain areas with bus hours would result in lots of ridership, I see a lot to question in a rather short post.

        What about the “road grid” makes good transit service impossible? Seems to me a lot of different road network shapes could support good transit service if people are making common trips. Is it really the road grid or the layout/distribution of homes and destinations?

        If people aren’t making many common trips (i.e. trips starting and ending within walking distance of some route) what problem would self-driving (presumably pooled) cars solve? Self-driving cars don’t pollute any less or (in the presence of other cars) take up any less space than human-driven cars. It’s not clear that a car service would be significantly more affordable than private car ownership while providing the level of availability and flexibility that car owners have built their lives around, unless people are sharing rides in great numbers. So if it’s not pollution, congestion, or affordability, we’re left with accessibility and safety? Accessibility and safety are worthy goals, but the exurban public probably isn’t soon going to trade off the flexibility of private car ownership (e.g. to drive to rural areas at any time) to achieve them.

        ZipCar doesn’t work in the suburbs for lack of proximity; Uber still isn’t cheap enough for anything but occasional use; maybe a self-driving car service combines their strengths and hits a sweet spot for replacing second/third cars in households? Without lots of true ride-sharing, though, how is it more efficient than private ownership?

      2. What about the “road grid” makes good transit service impossible?

        Walking pathways to arterials that greatly exceed the straight-line distance.

        what problem would self-driving (presumably pooled) cars solve?

        Parking scarcity at the stations.

      3. Yet we still spend billions on a light rail line serving those very areas. What if we spent billions on serving those various neighborhoods with bus service instead?

        Sorry, couldn’t help myself. I agree that spending that kind of money would be a similar waste. It is unlikely to work. But we aren’t limited to those two extremes. We can simply improve the express service from the various suburban park and rides. The maps shows a very large cluster of people coming in from Newcastle, for example. As I mentioned up above ( I think this is because service to the Newcastle park and rides is very poor. If they improved the service from the various park and rides, then you would see plenty of people driving to the closer ones, as it would make sense to do so.

        It wouldn’t surprise me if the big problem is simply because there are two agencies doing everything here. Sound Transit picks a handful of locations and runs some very good express service. Metro, on the other hand, is looking at things holistically, trying to figure out where to focus their efforts. So Metro might not have run as much express bus service from South Bellevue, for example, but since ST did, it makes sense for drivers to take advantage of the superior service, even if it means slogging on I-405 traffic a while.

      4. I think for some neighborhoods – Newcastle is a good example – with current technology it’s still cheaper in the long term to just build a parking garage than to run low ridership bus routes. That’s basically the engineering defense of P&Rs.

        “So if it’s not pollution, congestion, or affordability, we’re left with accessibility and safety” – accessibility and safety are important; that is why Metro runs DART service. A self-driving car system would make a DART service significantly cheaper.

        The use-case for self-driving cars and P&Rs in suburbs is that cars can be reused throughout the day, so shared rides isn’t necessary (though it certainly helps). The parking garage is still needed because there is a strong “into the city” trip bias in the morning and strong “out of the city” in the afternoon, so the garage . The same thing is seen with Zip cars disappearing into the residential neighborhoods in the evenings. The benefit for society is 1) P&R usage is increased, and 2) People don’t have to drive during their commutes. You are correct in that the stress on the road network between home to P&R is the same.

        “So Metro might not have run as much express bus service from South Bellevue, for example, but since ST did, it makes sense for drivers to take advantage of the superior service, even if it means slogging on I-405 traffic a while.” – that’s an excellent point, Ross. South Bellevue P&R got excellent service because it was “on the way” … that’s why it is a good spot to stick a giant P&R (insofar are you are putting a P&R somewhere).

      5. Newcastle isd thje kind of place P&Rs were invented for. where it’s too low density for frequent buses and they wouldn’t be within walkibng distance of many people anyway.

        “What about the “road grid” makes good transit service impossible?”

        Part of the area between Bellevue and Renton does not really have through streets; 405 is the most straightforward way through. Although I assume Martin was talking about the more universal issue of cul-de sacs, and mazes of small streets from arterials.

      6. Just to clarify, Martin. Is the idea that self-driving cars will leave the passenger off at the transit stop, and then go home on their own? And pick the passenger up for the trip home?


      7. It’s usually not that routes out to the arterials greatly exceed straight line distance, rather that routes between two nearby points within a subdivision do, which makes planar proximity irrelevant, enforcing monolithic land-use patterns. Even these are often cut off by pedestrian cut-throughs in this region, but in sparsely populated areas where errands are almost hard-wired to cars they don’t amount to the sort of local street network that supports more granular land use (not to even get into the political issues…).

      8. Monolithic land use came first because it’s the law. If mixed neighborhoods were allowed it might act as a disincentive to cul-de-sacs. Routes out to arterials do greatly exceed sight-line distance; e.g., getting from Kelsey Creek Park to the Lake Hills Connector. We found our way in only with a map and signs, and our way out by remembering which way to turn.

        The neighborhood characteristics also vary over time. The worst cul-de-sac mazes probably occurred during 1960s-70s development rather than later development I would guess.

        In a mixed neighborhood, there would be demand for the businesses from all around,. But in a residential-only neighborhood there’s little demand between arbitrary points because those people are unlikely to know each other or visit each other. Proximity determines which neighbors they prioritize getting to know. When they travel somewhere, it’s usually to a commercial area outside the neighborhood. If they meet people in hobby clubs, they’re most likely from outside the neighborhood (because only a tiny percent of the community lives in the neighborhood). So the number of people visiting somebody across the neighborhood is pretty few per day.

        Master-planned greenfield developments like Snoqualmie Ridge and Lakeland Heights have to get a zoning waiver for the entire thing anyway, so they could presumably be more mixed and gridded if they wanted to. However, half a century of enforced separation has gotten people used to it, so even though things are better and the developments include a commercial district and the streets aren’t as mazey as they used to be, it still can’t be mistaken Mt Baker or Wallingford,

        And there is still only one way out to the arterial rather than intersections every block. Although I wonder how much that has become a city requirement. Did Snoqualmie require no more than three intersections on Snoqualmie Parkway? More intersections would also allow the arterial to be narrower, maybe it wouldn’t need all that highway-like four lanes. (Or maybe it doesn’t need it now and they overbuilt it.)

    2. Good you’re here, Engineer. We’re finally back in the world of Jim Ellis (the founder of Metro) not Joe Diamond. (Parking lots, not riverboat gambling!) Considering what projected blockage is going to do to regional circulation…. a single-car crash on any of our freeways at rush hour aleady jams Sound to mountains.

      Will be good if you’re a structural engineer, because I’m wondering whether construction will allow future rail lanes, which will doubtless be closed to traffic, to be operated with buses only- however much they have to slow down past machinery. At least something will be moving on I-90, even if it’s five miles an hour at a given place. We’ll be passing everything else on the bridge.

      If that’s not physically possible, very large amount of what’s allocated for temporary park and rides would be a lot better spent on added buses, as creatively routed as possible. When work is complete, we’ll definitely have a large amount of our future bus network already in place. And passengers in the habit of using it.

      Since ST-3 projects at least 30 years ahead, might be worth it to “borrow” future money to alleviate this phase of the project. Because repercussions I see will definitely affect voters’ future decisions. Anybody legal: Does the State Constitution allow ST-3 to be recalled? If not, wouldn’t bet against move for a Constitutional Amendment to make his possible before the ink on this announcement is dry.

      OK, what happens digitally instead? Bytes ripping each other to shreds with their little silicon teeyth?

      Mark Dublin

    3. Engineer,

      “We” will “provide fast reliable transit service to those people who have been priced out of Seattle & Bellevue” when the said people are willing to tax themselves to pay for it. Remember King County Prop 1? They had the opportunity to preserve their bus service and declined.

      Caveat emperor [sic].

  7. For people commuting to downtown Bellevue a number of these church lots will work. I doubt that the majority of people who use S. Bellevue P&R with frequent one seat service to downtown Seattle will be interested in adding a transfer in downtown Bellevue to their ride home, especially if it is one that drops to 30 minute headways in the evening.

    The Houghton P&R is massively underused. A long time ago routes 251 and 254 provided services from Houghton P&R to downtown Seattle, and prior to the I-405 HOT construction, I think some 405 buses served a flyer stop that is somewhat near there. To make the Houghton P&R useful, there either needs to a route designed to properly serve it, or a center freeway stop constructed there. Otherwise the entire P&R is a white elephant. There could be a peak hour 255 branch that went to Houghton instead of downtown Kirkland.

    That could also help make up for the loss of the Overlake TC P&R. The ST541 hasn’t drawn much ridership and I’ve noticed that runs on the 541 get canceled when they are short of operators.

    1. Agreed, the Houghton P&R is basically useless right now. There’s two local lines: the 238 to Bothell and the 245 to Redmond/Bellevue. And two express lines: the 277 from Juanita to U-District and the 342 from Shoreline to Bellevue/Renton. The latter two are “peak”-only expresses that have 6 and 3 trips daily. The problem is that if you miss one of those buses (and both stop running shortly after 5:30 PM), then you’re stuck with taking the 255 to DT Kirkland and then the 245 or 238 (which both leave within minutes of each other and have 30 minute frequency after 6 PM). The 245/238 are fine, but they’re mostly local traffic anyhow.

      I don’t think you need to re-route the 255 – just add a few more buses onto the 342 and 277. You can probably shorten the 277’s route if you time the connection to the 238 – they basically go in the same direction almost until Juanita anyway. I don’t know how packed the 277 is, but the last 342 in the morning has been full the handful of times I’ve taken it.

  8. “The temporary lots will not have direct access to ST 550. However, studies of South Bellevue P&R users reveal that they are drawn from all over the Eastside. The replacement lots all have connecting bus service to ST 550, or alternative connections to Seattle destinations.”

    The dreaded connection. I foresee many riders trying to Ride and Hide near other 550 stops in Bellevue and on Mercer Island. It would be nice if ST could lease a church lot or something near the route and detour 550 slightly to stop there, rather than try to use connector buses.

    1. Yeah, connections. Particularly when the connecting services aren’t that frequent, flexibility tends to win out. OTOH, the travel time analysis for the leased lots looks reasonable for a lot of users, at least at peak.

      ST did look at several potentially leasable lots along Bellevue Way, but none of them worked out.

  9. Curious about how much ferry traffic Lake Washington and the Ship Canal can handle. Route 2 is already both frequent and wired between Downtown and the lake. Routes 11 and 27, though not wired. A ferry landing at Sand Point wouldn’t be that long a bus ride from UW station.

    Considering both the magnitude and length of the disruption here, I have a feeling that people will be willing to part with money that people refused to spend on King County Prop 1. Both employees and their employers. Can also see arrangements for many more people to work from home.


    1. Have you seen how excruciatingly slow the 2 is? And the 3 and 4 and 12 for that matter. Ferry commuters would not stand for it.

  10. Is there a guarantee that all of the South Bellevue parkers are using transit? Park-and-ride get people who are carpooling too.

    1. Carpoolers will use the other lots, but ST 550 users will likely do the “ride and hide” thing, which means that residential permit parking will end up coming to the area near those stops. I guess one benefit of South Bellevue is that street parking near there is naturally restricted due to narrow right of way.

  11. Would ST consider reopening the garage (partially or fully) before East Link light rail opens? It doesn’t take six years to build a parking garage. Getting riders back using the facility if it opens earlier would also help to build East Link travel patterns before the light rail opens.

    1. They’re hoping to have it open somewhat ahead. But it’s not just the garage construction. Before they build the garage, it’s a staging area for the guideway construction on Bellevue Way and 112th, hence the lengthy closure.

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