Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Neighborhood Bus Route 25 Proposed To Be Replaced With Week-Day Only Route 78 When Light Rail Starts, Learn More wwAt Public Meeting Tonight

Animated map showing frequency improvements in NE Seattle

Metro Bus Route #25, which serves Laurelhurst once an hour, may be deleted and change to week-day only service with the new proposed route #78 with fewer neighborhood stops but more frequent service.

Metro states that "Route 25 has low ridership. Metro proposes to delete it and use its resources to improve service in areas with more riders.

Metro gives this new option: "In Laurelhurst, use new Route 78 or go to Sand Point Way to reach revised Route 65 or Route 75, which would have more service."

This is one of thirty-three Metro bus route changes proposed and currently under consideration by the King County Council, which is holding a special public meeting tonight starting at 6:30pm at the Mountaineers Club (7700 Sand Point Way NE).

The public can learn more about proposed bus service changes, detailed here, at the meeting which starts with an Open House and public testimony at 7pm.
The changes would start at the beginning of next year when Link light rail starts operating from the University of Washington and Capitol Hill stations.  Link will provide an eight-minute trip between Husky Stadium and downtown Seattle.

Metro says the new routes would make it easier for riders to connect with the new light rail service and that the changes would also improve bus networks in northeast Seattle, major corridors and east-west service between places like Sand Point using resources saved by trimming bus service that duplicates the new Link service.
Here are the proposed route changes affecting bus travel in Laurelhurst:
Route 78 - replacement for 25 that travels through Laurelhurst.
service weekdays only every 30 minutes from 6:30am-midnight
Route 65 - touches the corner of Laurelhurst by Children's Hospital
service every 10-15 minutes
Route 31 or 32 - both start near Children's Hospital on Sand Point Way
service every 20-30 minutes

The Laurelhurst Community Club has proposed a 7-day shuttle loop running every 15 minutes from the UW station to the University Village and several points in Laurelhurst (not just on Sandpoint Way NE), then to Children's Hospital, Center for Spiritual Living, Magnuson Park, and return to the station.  The route would be run through the back sides of the E-1 parking lot at the UW to avoid Montlake traffic and keep it moving. However, LCC said that the UW does not want it.

LCC said about Metro's #78 proposed new route:

It will offer a shorter ride to Light Rail since it goes directly along Montlake Boulevard and not through the UW campus. However, there will be only about 4 stops, compared to #25 that had about 17 stops. 
Here is the final proposed #78 route: 
-Originates as before in Wedgewood, down to Sandpoint Way at NE 65th Street.  -Runs along Sandpoint Way NE , and turns onto 47th Avenue NE.  -Turns right onto NE 45th Street at Laurelhurst Elementary School corner.  -Turns left onto 42nd Avenue NE.  -Turns right onto NE 41st Street.  -Exits neighborhood at 5 corners lights near Baskin-Robbins and goes back to NE 45th Street and through to Montlake Boulevard and to Light Rail station at Husky Stadium.  
#78 would replace the originally proposed DART (Dial a ride transit) , week-day route #941, every 60 minutes from 6am-7pm, travelling on 47th Avenue NE , off Sandpoint Way NE , turning right at Laurelhurst Elementary School, and travelling west along NE 45th Street, then re-joining Sandpoint Way NE along Montlake Blvd.   Or, a passenger could dial a ride to come to their old bus stop if they did it 2 hours in advance.

LCC urges  that neighbors provide their input to Metro and SDOT or attend tonight.

The Laurelhurst Community Club said they are glad they achieved more than the very few proposed stops originally proposed for inside Laurelhurst as the neighborhood was going to get nothing but Sandpoint Way service "which is really inconvenient for many residents."
A Laurelhurst resident commented about the changes:

We recently moved to Laurelhurst and were surprised by how bad the bus service is to downtown. My wife works in Pioneer Square and tried a couple bus options.  
The 25 meanders through the U District and Capitol Hill taking an hour to get downtown in the morning. She also tried parking by the Center for Urban Horticulture and taking a bus on Sand Point Way to the U District and transferring to an express bus. It was still just under an hour. Now she ends up driving to Sodo and catching a bus there.
It's nice to see the proposed route changes are centered around connecting with the Link light rail. The frequency of the trains is being increased to every 6 minutes during commute times. Combined with the advertised "8 minute travel time to downtown," Laurelhurst will hopefully be only a half hour away from downtown via a connection with the new route 78.

Alex Pedersen, a Northeast Seattle neighborhood advocate said in his monthly newsletter:
"SDOT and King County Metro are cutting some commuter bus lines or re-routing them through the U District to feed the light rail stations, even after Seattle voters approved more $ for buses." 
King County Council is accepting comments until they make a decision on the changes.

For more information about the proposed changes go here. and here for the King County Council announcement.

Go here for detailed bus route changes.

For questions about the process, contact King County Council at 206-477-1000.

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