This spring we will see the opening of two light rail stations, the King County Metro restructure to link with light rail, and the opening of the new state Route 520 floating bridge. Many of these changes will affect the Capitol Hill area and the neighboring communities.
On March 19, Sound Transit will open light rail stations at Broadway and John Street and at Husky Stadium at Montlake Boulevard Northeast.
The Capitol Hill Station (CHS) has two access points: one at Broadway and John, and a second one just north of Seattle Central College, on the west side of Broadway.
The First Hill Streetcar is now operating and is an easy way to access CHS. The CHS will also be accessible by current Metro Routes 8, 10, 9x, 43, 49 and 60.
King County Metro is moving some of the bus stops closer to the Broadway light rail entrance at Broadway and Pine Street to make the transfer between Metro and the light rail as easy and safe as possible. Metro will also add a new stop at the west entrance to light rail just north of the college on Broadway for Routes 49, 60, and 9X.
The Husky Stadium entrance allows easy access to the stadium and pavilion, the University of Washington Medical Center and numerous bus connections to areas north. (Additional information on the Sound Transit Link light rail is at www.ulink2016.org.) The next light rail expansion will give us additional stations between Husky Stadium and Northgate.
If you plan to use light rail, it is best to have an ORCA card, which is honored by Metro and Sound Transit; Metro transfers will not work on Sound Transit’s light rail. The ORCA card is easy to get online (www.soundtransit.org/orca) or in person, easy to refill, gives you a two-hour transfer and eliminates the need for cash and paper transfers.
Sound Transit uses distance traveled to calculate fares and has no zones or peak-hour fares like Metro. When you transfer within two hours using an ORCA card between Metro and Sound Transit, your first fare applies as credit toward your next fare. (The fare schedule for Sound Transit is available at www.soundtransit.org/Rider-Community/Rider-news/q-how-much-will-it-cost-ride-university-link.)
The Metro restructure
The King County Metro restructure will occur on March 26, one week after the opening of the two new light rail stations. The Link Connections website describes the Metro Restructure: metro.kingcounty.gov/programs-projects/link-connections/adopted-changes.html. These major transportation improvements culminate years of work by King County Metro, Sound Transit and the Seattle Department of Transportation.
The major route changes for Capitol Hill are:
• New or improved connections to the CHS on Routes 8, 10 and 49 and on unchanged Routes 9 and 60.
• The First Hill Streetcar connection with CHS.
• Increased frequency on Routes 8, 12, 48 and 49.
• More reliable service on Routes 8 and 48, which split into two shorter routes.
• Route 43 will only have 30-minute peak-hour service on weekdays.
• Route 10 will go west on East John Street at 15th Avenue East to Olive Way/Bellevue Avenue and downtown, rather than going south to East Pine Street.
• Route 11 will stay on the current East Madison and Pike/Pine corridor, with new seven- to 15-minute service and 60-foot buses during peak hours.
• New night and weekend service on Routes 8, and 12.
There have been numerous public outreaches by the transportation agencies that resulted in the design that will start in March. There will be more changes in the future, with the passage of Move Seattle in November 2015. The Madison Bus Rapid Transit may be a game-changer for the entire Madison corridor and may impact other bus routes in the Capitol Hill area.
(Go to metro.kingcounty.gov/programs-projects/link-connections/adopted-changes.html#by-route to see how routes will change on March 26.)
Planning for change
In early March, Metro will notify when you can:
• Enter a travel date of March 26 or later in Metro’s online Trip Planner.
• Sign up for Transit Alerts for routes you use.
• Obtain online timetables for Metro service effective on March 26, which will be posted on Metro’s website on the afternoon of Friday, March 25.
• Route changes to One Bus Away, effective on March 26.
• Obtain printed schedules for Metro routes, available a week before they occur.
For more information, help with trip planning or access in other formats, contact DeAnna Martin from Metro at (206) 477-3835 or email@example.com.
New SR 520 Bridge
Westbound lanes on the new SR 520 bridge are tentatively expected to open April 11, and eastbound lanes are scheduled to open April 25.
The new bridge has two all-purpose lanes and a carpool-bus lane in each direction, subject to the same tolling as today. Cars will continue to use the old bridge just east of Foster Island until the SR 520-to-Montlake segment is completed.
REG NEWBECK is a Madison Park resident and an avid user of public transportation.