Community Transit has released a set of proposed route changes for southern Snohomish County that would take effect in September 2020 and March 2021. These changes are a continuation of other small tweaks to the route network that are meant to prepare local connections for the arrival of Lynnwood Link in 2024, which will involve a massive commuter route restructure and a new bus rapid transit line.
Public comment on these proposed service changes can be made via email, phone, social media posts, or at a hearing set for April 2 (barring a COVID-19 cancellation). Community Transit will also have a live Facebook webcast on March 24 to take questions from the public.
Routes 109: New corridor
Route 109 has remained mostly unchanged since it debuted in 2016 as the southern half of new service on State Route 9. The route overlaps with Routes 201/202 on Ash Way, but a proposed route change would move it to an entirely unserved suburban street on the other side of Interstate 5.
The Meadow Road corridor between McCollum Park and Ash Way Park and Ride lacks bus service, but has seen new development in the last decade, including a 24/7 medical clinic operated by Swedish, two apartment complexes, and several townhouse subdivisions. The move would require buses to traverse a notoriously congested part of 164th Street Southwest to cross over Interstate 5, without the assistance of the queue jumps added to 128th Street Southwest for the Swift Green Line.
Routes 107, 112, and 435: More peak trips
Community Transit also plans to add more peak-hour trips to Routes 107, 112, and 435 in September 2020. Route 107, which connects Lynnwood Transit Center to the Boeing Everett Factory at Seaway Transit Center, will have four additional round trips that would start slightly earlier and later. The route would also be modified to loop around the Harbour Pointe area, following the route of Route 113 instead of bypassing the area on State Route 525.
Additional trips are also planned for Route 112, boosting it to 15-minute frequencies during the morning and afternoon peak periods. The route connects four major park-and-ride lots in Lynnwood and Mountlake Terrace, as well as the 44th Avenue corridor. The change is driven by recent light rail construction, which has impacted parking access at Mountlake Terrace TC and Lynnwood TC, and to encourage more drivers to use Swamp Creek P&R instead of the overloaded Ash Way P&R.
Route 435, which connects Canyon Park P&R and Downtown Seattle, would get one northbound trip in the early afternoon to address crowding issues.
Route 111: New corridors and service
The most ambitious proposal comes for Route 111, which will have the entire March 2021 service change to itself. The route is currently a short, peak-only, peak-direction connector between the small city of Brier and Mountlake Terrace Transit Center, created to compensate for the loss of direct commuter buses to Downtown Seattle in 2011.
The new and improved Route 111 would have bi-directional service all day on weekdays and Saturdays. Buses would run every 30 minutes during peak hours and hourly at all other times, including on Saturdays. The route would be extended via local streets to Edmonds Community College, the Lynnwood civic campus, and Alderwood Mall. The corridor includes sections of 66th Avenue West, 68th Avenue West, and 188th Street Southwest, which all lack current bus service.
The new route forms a U-shaped loop that resembles a game of snake rather than the preferred straightened alignments favored for simplified bus networks, but is made necessary by the incomplete nature of the suburban grid. The route will have to make some dips with additional turns to serve the Edmonds Swedish Medical Center and the college, but both are likely to be high-demand destinations. The U-shaped routing will also allow it to create two new east-west corridors that connect well to the Swift Blue Line on Highway 99 but would be awkwardly short routes on their own.
The new Route 111 would also provide additional connections to Edmonds Park & Ride, which is underutilized and has mediocre connections to the I-5 corridor beyond its own commuter route (Route 405). The park-and-ride is expected to lure away some commuters deterred by the six-month closure of the Mountlake Terrace Freeway Station and other parking disruptions in the area because of light rail construction. Sound Transit will be providing a “special shuttle” service to Downtown Seattle during the closure.