"Seattleites want more transit: transit that connects our neighborhoods and business districts with dependable, frequent service. We've made important progress toward achieving that vision, but we have a lot of work ahead of us." -Mayor Mike McGinn
Seattle's Transit Vision
King County Metro Transit and Sound Transit provide almost all of the transit service in Seattle, but the City is responsible for developing its vision for transit and for street improvements which help buses and trains travel quickly and reliably. The 2005 Seattle Transit Plan established a network of routes to connect our neighborhood business centers with reliable transit service every 15 minutes, 18 hours per day, seven days a week. This direction resulted in many enhancements to transit service. A few examples are provided below, and SDOT's Transit Program website has more.
A lot has changed since 2005, and SDOT is developing a Transit Master Plan (TMP) to update the original plan and reflect what's new in transit: LINK Light Rail, the Seattle Streetcar, new bus routes and expanded bus service. This fall SDOT will release the TMP, which will identify priority transit corridors, the right type of transit for each of those corridors and important enhancements that will make the transit system meet Seattle's needs through 2030.
SDOT bought more bus service
SDOT has purchased over 43,000 hours of bus service on 19 routes, moving us closer to service every 15 minutes, 18 hours a day, seven days a week. This purchase is equal to adding ten buses on the road for over 12 hours per day every day of the year. More details are here.
Bus bulbs on 3rd Ave in Belltown help bus riders and walkers
SDOT improved six Belltown bus stops by widening the sidewalk six feet and adding benches, bike racks and better lighting. Now there is more room for folks waiting for the bus and people walking down the street. Bus trips are quicker since buses no longer pull out of the travel lane to pick up customers.
Bus lanes on Howell St, Battery St and Wall St move buses through downtown
The new peak period transit lane on Howell St gives bus riders a more predictable trip by reducing weaving and delays for all users in this important corridor. Routes 5, 26, 28 and 358 often experience traffic delays on Battery St and Wall St as they travel between the reliable 3rd Ave transit spine and Aurora Ave N. This is changing as SDOT installs 24/7 transit lanes on Battery St and Wall St.
Seattle Streetcar: More riders, more service and progress on second line
The Seattle Streetcar is seeing big ridership gains, and employers in the South Lake Union area recently donated $65,000 to the City to fund more frequent service. The streetcar currently departs every fifteen minutes. By the end of June, the frequency increases to every ten minutes during the afternoon/evening peak period. Meanwhile, the next streetcar line connecting First Hill, Capitol Hill, Yesler Terrace, Little Saigon, Chinatown and Pioneer Square is in final design and construction is expected to start by the end of 2011.
Transit priority and RapidRide corridors
SDOT is working to construct speed and reliability improvements and prioritize transit on city streets to create more frequent, reliable bus service on key routes. Improvements have been built or are in design on the Market/45th St and Rainier/Jackson corridors and on Metro's special RapidRide lines to Ballard/Uptown and West Seattle.