Way back in August, Frank told you about a raft of service changes that would accompany RapidRide I (Renton/Auburn). Although RapidRide will open in 2023, the Metro network revision will happen in September.
The status quo
The current Renton/Kent/Auburn corridor is far from the frequent grid ideal. There are two frequent routes. The 150 goes west from downtown Kent, then turns north on 68th Ave up to Tukwila and on to Seattle, The 169 goes east from Kent, then uses 104th and 108th Avenues before arriving in Renton.
Less frequently, the 153 and 566 run between the two, one on surface streets and the other on SR 167. Below Kent, it’s just the 566 and the 180, which starts in Burien, connecting Kent and Auburn. The 164 goes way out to the East while connecting the same two cities.
Three DART routes radiate out from Downtown Kent to do loops in the surrounding neighborhoods. A few more, plus the 181, do the same in Auburn.
There are a few genuine east-west routes. The 906 starts in Fairwood and almost reaching I-5 on S 180th St before turning north to Southcenter. The 168 shoots straight east from Kent to Covington and Maple Valley, while the 166 goes west to Des Moines before turning north to Burien.
The proposed change
Here is a pdf with maps of the proposed change.
The 169 and the Kent-Auburn bit of the 180 will combine to form the 160, which will eventually become RapidRide I. The 160 extends 15-minute all-day frequency to the Kent-Auburn corridor for the first time.
There are two improved long east-west routes: The 906 becomes somewhat straighter, and twice as frequent. Regrettably, a SouthCenter tail that largely duplicates the 150 remains, instead of making it an arrow-straight east-west line to the Seatac Link station. The new 165 combines the 164 and 166, going in both directions from Kent, west to Kent/Des Moines Station (and then north to Burien); and east for about 2 miles before turning south to Green River College. The western segment meanders through some pedestrian-unfriendly apartment complexes rather than taking the direct but unpopulated route on Kent/Des Moines Road.
There are three changes to long point-to-point routes. The Burien-Kent bit of the 180 becomes the 161 with similar frequency. The 183 from Federal Way to Kent gets more frequency. The 168 (Kent/Black Diamond) is a little straighter and gets more night trips.
Various short feeder routes suffer varying fates. The 105 to downtown Renton and 917 from Pacific to Auburn get more trips. The 180 tail south of Auburn Station becomes the 184. The 148 exchanges one squiggly, indirect path for another. A handful of DART routes cease to exist (908, 910, 913, 952) or consolidate (914, 916).
There are also significant changes to peak-only routes, but like all peak-only routes they have limited implications for the network. Notably, a proposal to truncate the peak-only 102 in Renton has died, and we’re back to a one-seat ride from Fairwood all the way in. Perhaps fittingly, the 102’s frequency is dropping.
Metro transmitted the changes to Council on March 5. With County meetings canceled left and right, there’s not telling when the briefing will occur. The Council will review the changes and the service change should take effect this September.