To relieve overcrowding at parking lots near trailheads in the Issaquah Alps, starting Saturday a new King County Metro bus route will ferry hikers to three trailheads between the city’s two park and rides.
Partnering with King County Parks Department, Metro’s new Trailhead Direct service will run Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays through October, with buses coming every half hour between 7 am and 6 pm.
The loop route will stop at the Issaquah Transit Center then travel down State Road 900 stopping at the Margaret’s Way Trailhead. Wrapping around the south side of Squak Mountain, the bus will then stop at the Poo Poo Point Trailhead then travel toward Issaquah’s downtown for the East Sunset Way Trailhead. Then the bus will then head to the Issaquah Highlands Park and Ride and then back to the Issaquah Transit Center to begin the loop again.
The nineteen-seater buses will be free this weekend after that riders will be charged a non-peak fare.
Trailhead Direct, a pilot project, is part of Metro’s Community Connections program and is funded until the end of 2018. The seasonal route will begin running again in the early spring of 2018.
Cathy Snow, a program manager with Metro, hopes this new service will get hikers “to leave their cars further behind,” and relieve congestion and improve safety at the trailheads. She said this new route made sense allowing the agency to use vehicles that are idle during the weekend.
Based on input from a recent survey, Ryan Dotson, development program manager at King County Parks, said out of the three proposed solutions a trailhead shuttle met the needs of hikers.
Dotson said easing congestion at popular backcountry trail parking lots is a problem that “really needs to be solved and mostly on weekends and holidays.”
The five stops:
- Issaquah Transit Center – Newport Way NW and Renton Issaquah Rd SE
- Margaret’s Way Trailhead – Renton Issaquah Rd SE and 190th Ave SE
- Poo Poo Point Trailhead – Issaquah Hobart Rd SE and SE 106th Pl
- East Sunset Way Trailhead – E Sunset Way and 6th Ave SE
- Issaquah Highlands Park & Ride – Highland Drive NE and NE High St