Although the north Eastside’s primary regional transit corridors are I-405 and SR 522, which have their own Stride bus rapid transit projects in the works, Metro identified several opportunities to optimize service in this area when the Link 2 Line to Redmond Technology (Overlake) opens in 2023 and extends to downtown Redmond in 2024.
Woodinville, Duvall, and Redmond Ridge will be one bus away all-day from Link. Peak-only service to Seattle will make stops in South Lake Union and no longer travel on local streets in Kingsgate. Peak-only service to Bellevue and Overlake is replaced by all-day service to Link.
30-minute service all week on Route 535. Service increases on the forerunner to the Stride S2 Line between Bellevue and Lynnwood are proposed for 2022. Bothell, Brickyard, and Totem Lake will have fast access to Link at both ends of the line. It is not part of Metro’s restructure but worth mentioning again as it is a welcome addition in the interim as Sound Transit’s project realignment has delayed Stride BRT to 2026.
Duvall, Cottage Lake, and Redmond Ridge get hourly weekday service to Link via Route 224. Service increases from every 90 minutes to hourly, making travel in these outlying areas slightly easier. The 224 moves from Redmond Way to NE 76th St to directly serve the Downtown Redmond station. However, it will still operate weekdays only from 4:50 am to 8:00 pm.
Peak-only Route 232 connecting Duvall and Cottage Lake areas to Overlake and downtown Bellevue would be deleted in favor of more all-day service to Link on the 222 and 224.
No changes proposed for Route 225. It serves Kenmore, Finn Hill, Totem Lake, Rose Hill, and connects to Link at Redmond Technology station (Overlake Transit Center). Existing service is half-hourly during the day on weekdays and hourly after 7 pm and all day weekends.
A simplified Route 250 brings frequent service to Avondale with a catch. The 250 will directly serve Downtown Redmond station. The route east of downtown Redmond currently has two branches to either Avondale or Bear Creek Park & Ride. Metro proposes to simplify the pattern and have all trips extend to Avondale and serve the Bear Creek Park & Ride. The deviation is 0.5-0.75 miles longer than the direct route and requires traversing a busy intersection twice which adds minutes to every Avondale rider’s trip if they are not traveling to the businesses around the park & ride. An extended and frequent 542 would be the only other route serving the park & ride.
New Route 251 connects downtown Woodinville to Link and fills a transit gap in the Sammamish River valley. The 251 would run along Woodinville-Redmond Road (State Route 202) providing a connection to Link at Downtown Redmond and SE Redmond stations. Not only is this the most direct route between the two cities, it also runs the entire length of Woodinville’s brewery/wineries district as well as serving several industrial areas and parks. Service is proposed to run all-day and all-week every 30-60 minutes. Weekday service would end at 9 pm.
Woodinville and Kingsgate peak-only service would be restructured. A new peak-only Route 256 replaces routes 252, 257, and 311. It will take advantage of new transit/HOV ramps that allow it to use the I-5 express lanes to bypass congestion in the general purpose lanes. The new 256 is essentially the same as the existing 311 but serves South Lake Union via the Mercer St ramps on its way to and from downtown Seattle.
The 252 and 257, which run on local streets in the Kingsgate neighborhood north of the Kingsgate Park & Ride, would be deleted. Their local tails are lightly used and mostly duplicate all-day service that was restructured last year. Route 252 continues to be suspended for the duration of the pandemic. Riders can use all-day routes 231 or 239 to access the new 256 for service to downtown Seattle at the Brickyard Park & Ride or Totem Lake or Route 930 to Link in downtown Redmond.
The 237 Woodinville-Bellevue express is replaced by a transfer from the new 256 to the 342, 532, or 535 at Totem Lake Freeway Station for downtown Bellevue. Alternatively, Woodinville riders can use the new 251 to access Link in Redmond.
Hourly weeknight and weekend service would be added to Route 930 DART serving Kingsgate Park & Ride, Totem Lake, Willows Road, and Redmond.
Duvall is reconnected with Bothell and Woodinville via Route 931. This peak-only DART route beginning at UW Bothell will be changed to serve Duvall instead of Redmond, restoring a connection provided by Route 311 before it was cut back to Woodinville. Portions of the 931 between Cottage Lake and Redmond are replaced by all-day service on the new 222 and 251.
What do you think? Complete the East Link Connections survey on the proposed changes before October 25.