Central Bellevue is the closest to Link Line 2, so it’s to be expected that there would be significant bus changes. Here’s what Metro’s working on:
Untie the 245/B. These buses, among the most heavily used on the East side, would get rerouted on 148th Ave NE and 156th Ave NE. The 245 would stay on 148th and scoot through Microsoft campus, meeting Link at Overlake Park & Ride before heading down to Eastgate. The Factoria leg would be deleted.
Meanwhile RapidRide B would get a straighter shot past Crossroads and into downtown Redmond, with an extension to the future Downtown Redmond station. Given the infrastructure required to add a RapidRide line, this is a trivial investment.
New 222 connects Woodinville with Link. This hourly bus would replace the 221, 232, 931 and part of the 249. Once Downtown Redmond station opens, it’s a great Link connection.
The 249 plays clean up. It winds its way around all of Central Bellevue making stops within the walkshed of just about every Link station. It’s almost as if an inebriated planner drew a local underlay for East Link. With hourly service it won’t be a huge ride generator, but the span of service nearly matches Link’s, so riders won’t get stranded at the station.
A leaner, faster 270 replaces the venerable 271. Connecting UW Station and Bellevue Transit Center, this very frequent route would go down the much busier Bellevue Way instead of 84th Ave in Medina. (With dedicated transit lanes being added at 520 & Montlake very soon, this has me dreaming of bringing back the 48+271 through route idea Bruce had about a decade ago.)
Route 202 covers the rest of the deleted 271 into Issaquah (and actually a bit further into the Highlands. This is one the benefits of a transfer-based system: new one-seat rides that didn’t previously exist. (The 202 is also, if you squint, s a preview of Link Line 4, 20 years early. Metro thinks hourly service will do for now.)
Peak express 268 from Redmond to Seattle gets axed. Hard to justify with Link providing the same trip pair but better.
The 226 gets a new routing deeper into Lake Hills.
Sound Transit’s 54x restructure comes into play. Most of what we wrote in 2019 is still applicable here, but in conjunction with the rest of Metro’s changes, routes like the 544 now work as a connector to SLU for riders who are losing a 1-seat ride from the East side to downtown Seattle.
What else did you notice? Sound off in the comments!