Sound Transit has put out its proposed 2021 Service Implementation Plan, with a user-friendly online synopsis, and is taking public input through Thursday, September 24. You can offer your input through an online survey (with eight language choices), through remote participation in a public hearing scheduled for 11 am on September 24, or by submitting written comments through September 24.
Sound Transit continues to suffer revenue losses due to COVID-19, with more cuts taking effect from September 19-21. But there is good news in the proposed Service Plan: the opening of Northgate Link in September 2021, adding new stations in the U-District (NE 43rd St & Brooklyn Ave NE), the Roosevelt District (NE 65th St & Roosevelt Ave NE), and the Station at what is currently Northgate Mall, along with a pedestrian bridge over I-5 to North Seattle College.
The Plan document buries the lede regarding Link Light Rail’s September 19 service change:
- September 2020: On weekdays, trains operate every 8 minutes during the morning and afternoon rush hours, every 15 minutes during the early morning, midday and early evening, and every 30 minutes late at night. On weekends, service operates every 15 minutes during the day and every 30 minutes late night.
- March 2021 Proposal: Maintain September 2020 service levels.
- September 2021 Proposal: Service to Northgate begins, using the same frequencies implemented in September 2020, but with four-car trains instead of three-car trains.
Sounder service will continue at pandemic levels through 2021, to wit:
- Sounder North will continue to have just two trips in each direction, weekdays only.
- Sounder South will add two more peak-direction trips back in September, in each direction. The Plan would maintain that level of service through 2021. Weekdays only.
Several Sound Transit Express routes will be directly impacted by the proposed 2021 Service Plan. While the Plan does not impact the upcoming service changes, those changes for routes impacted by the Plan are detailed in the Plan’s online presentation.
- Route 510 will lose 12 daily weekday AM peak-hour trips on September 21, but otherwise maintain its current service level through 2021. In September 2021, the route is proposed to start serving Mountlake Terrace Freeway Station, but otherwise continue its long express path to downtown Seattle, bypassing all north-end Link stations.
- Route 511 will lose 10 AM peak-hour trips on September 21. The trips are proposed to be restored in September 2021, when the route’s southern terminus will move to Northgate Station.
- Route 512 will be restored to its full pre-pandemic weekday schedule on September 21. It’s southern terminus will move to Northgate Station in September 2021, at which time it will also cease serving the 145th St freeway stops. No trips are proposed to be added then, keeping 15-minute headway most of the time, and 30-minute headway in evenings and on Sundays.
- Route 513 will lose 8 of its 20 weekday trips on September 21. In September 2021, its southern terminus will move to Northgate Station, and peak-direction headway is proposed to be improved to 15 minutes for most of the peak period, surpassing pre-pandemic trip counts. It will also add stops at Lynnwood Transit Center and Ash Way Park & Ride at that time, making it much less expressey.
- Route 522 will lose 5 early AM trips on September 21. In September 2021, its southern terminus will move to Roosevelt Station. At that time, it will start running every 15 minutes, 7 days a week, except for late evenings when it will run every 30 minutes, and during its night owl shutdown. The drop in AM peak service at that time is probably a typo.
- Route 541‘s suspension of service is proposed to continue through 2021.
- Route 542 will lose 9 peak trips on September 21. In September of 2021, its western terminus is proposed to move to two blocks east of U-District Station (while still serving UW Station), with no proposed change in trip count.
- Route 544‘s suspension of service is proposed to continue through 2021.
- Route 555 is proposed to be restored in September 2021, but just operating between U-District Station and Bellevue Transit Center, with new stops on the UW campus including at UW Station.
- Route 556 is proposed to be restored in September 2021, with its western terminus moved to U-District Station (and still serving UW Station).
- Route 567‘s suspension of service is proposed to continue through 2021.
- Route 586 will lose 2 trips on September 2021. It is proposed to be discontinued with the opening of Northgate Link.
- Route 592 will lose 7 trips on September 21. There is no proposal to bring them back.
- Route 595 will drop from 5 to 3 trips in each direction on September 21. A new stop at Tacoma Dome Station is proposed for March 2021, but no trips are proposed to be added back.
ST Express routes 532, 535, 545, 550, 566, 577, 578, 580, 594 and Tacoma Link will get further surgical cuts with effective dates ranging September 19-21.
ST Express route 594 will get additional trips starting September 21 to help with overcrowding.
Routes 522 and 577 will have reroutes.
The ST website features a full menu of PDFs for all the reduced schedules already implemented. While most routes are not explicitly mentioned in the proposed 2021 Service Plan, their absence can be seen as a de facto proposal to either not restore their cuts or to restore on an ad hoc basis with budget adjustments.
This post may be updated with details of how to submit written comments and more details of the impending service cuts.