Proposed Eastside transit changes include Newcastle bus routes

May 6, 2011

By Staff

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King County Executive Dow Constantine has proposed changes to King County Metro Transit bus routes as part of a plan to offer more and faster transit service on the Eastside.

The proposal includes changes to Route 240, which runs from the Renton Transit Center to Clyde Hill, serving Newcastle.

Under the proposal, Route 240 would be shortened, ending at the Bellevue Transit Center — at the corner of 108th Avenue Northeast and Northeast Sixth Street — instead of Clyde Hill, reducing wait times, according to Metro Transit’s website. It would also stop along 112th Avenue Northeast in Bellevue instead of 108th Avenue Northeast, better serving offices, homes, hotels and the King County courthouse in the area, according to the site.

The revised Route 246 would serve Clyde Hill.

Constantine presented the proposal to the King County Council at a public hearing April 12.

In the proposal announced April 8, Constantine called for additional Eastside transit service through the launch of RapidRide buses between Bellevue and Redmond.

“RapidRide will allow you to just show up to catch a bus between Bellevue and Redmond every 10 or 15 minutes, without having to check a schedule,” he said in a statement. “We heard from Eastside residents, businesses and public agencies, and this proposal reflects their wishes to consolidate resources and make Metro an easier alternative to driving a car.”

The plan aims to revise 24 King County Metro Transit bus routes at the same time RapidRide B Line service launches between Bellevue and Redmond via Overlake and Crossroads. If the council adopts the service changes, the updated routes should take effect Oct. 1.

Some Eastside routes could be eliminated under the proposal, though none of the affected routes serve Newcastle.

The existing RapidRide line — serving a route from Tukwila to Federal Way — has proven to be popular among riders. In the initial four months, ridership is up 25 percent from the less-frequent route RapidRide replaced.

Through the partnership between Metro Transit and the First Hill Transportation Group — a consortium of the Harborview, Swedish and Virginia Mason medical centers — the proposal calls for trips to be added to routes serving suburban cities.

Route 211 runs between First Hill and the Eastgate Park & Ride. The proposal aims to extend the route to the Issaquah Highlands.

Implementation of the Transit Now partnership should add about 7,500 annual hours. If adopted, the agreement calls for Metro Transit to be responsible for two-thirds of the cost and the partners to cover the remaining one-third.

Overall, Constantine said the proposed transit service changes should improve Eastside connections to take advantage of recent service additions made by Metro Transit and Sound Transit to the all-day routes between East King County and Seattle.


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