Tuesday Metro presented a list of proposed services changes slated for next March to members of King County Council’s Transportation, Economy and Environment Committee. The proposal includes adding over 50,000 hours of service and eliminating bus Route 99.
As the proposal added service to only one Eastside bus route, Councilmember Claudia Balducci criticized the proposed changes.
“The Eastside took the brunt of the hits during the downturn,” Balducci said during the committee meeting. “And we haven’t seen that service back, yet every time one of these maps comes through, I don’t see it. So where is it? Why don’t we get made whole?”
Balducci said there’s a tremendous amount of demand for bus service east of Lake Washington north and south, and “it seems like pulling teeth to get service.” Councilmember Kathy Lambert echoed Balducci’s remarks.
The proposed changes needing council approval are:
- Route 74: Additional trips added between University District and Sand Point portion of the route to provide every 30-minute midday service on weekdays
- Route 99: Route deleted
- Route 102/101: Reassigns eight peak Route 101 trips to Route 102, which will add five northbound AM peak period trips and three southbound PM peak period trips to Route 102
- Route 153: Adding every 30-minute midday service (currently there is no midday service)
- Route 183: Adding every 30-minute midday service and 60-minute weekday night service (currently there is no night service)
- Route 930: Additional weekday hours so every 30-minute service extends later into the morning and begins earlier in the afternoon
Once construction begins on the Center City Connector Streetcar, Route 99, which connects Belltown with Chinatown-International District via First Avenue and Pioneer Square, will be pushed off of 1st Avenue.
“When we looked at a variety of alternatives for rerouting, we really weren’t able to find that one that was suitable to serve that area,” said Katie Chalmer, Metro Service Planning Supervisor. “If the waterfront is not available and First Avenue is not available, Third Avenue becomes the next likely candidate. And there is so much richness in transit service already on 3rd Avenue we just didn’t think it didn’t make sense to keep the 99.”
Chalmer added the 99 does serve some unique areas so Metro plans to add a pair of stops on the north end of Route 29 along Broad Street.
Bill Bryant, Service Development Manager director for Metro, said the elimination of Route 99 would be temporary and once construction along the waterfront is finished the agency has “a clear goal and intention to have waterfront transit service that is better than what we had in the past.”
“The Office of the Waterfront, SDOT and Metro all agree once the waterfront is back together it clearly merits good transit,” Bryant said.
Other changes scheduled for March 2018 but are under the threshold needing council approval include adding service hours to Route 150, F Line, 181, 269,156, 5, 24, 31/32 and 30/74EX. The proposed changes will return to the Transportation, Economy and Environment Committee before going before the entire council for approval.