Vol. 2, No. 6  June 2011

In this issue: 
Spotlight on: Making a transit vision happen for Seattle
Options: Foot ferry to Kingston, bike-friendly stairs, Burke-Gilman detour and more
Tools: Walk Score transit tool, bus routes by neighborhood and new a carpooling tool
InspirationBiggest Walk Bike Ride Challenge of 2011, trading cars for smart phones and more
Upcoming: Beacon Rocks, SR 520 closures, Bike Sundays and Summer Streets

SpotlightSpotlight of the Month: Making a Transit Vision Happen

"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.

OptionsHeaderOptions to Get Around

Seattle-Kingston foot ferry returns

This option is back as of late May.  The Soundrunner ferry lets you avoid a significant amount of driving, sitting in traffic and burning gas.  This service started in October, but it was put on hold in November because of rough weather and problems with the boats.

Interlaken Dr E closed to vehicles, open to walkers and cyclists

Interlaken Dr. E is temporarily closed to cars but open to bikers and walkers between E Galer St in north Capitol Hill and E Interlaken Blvd in Montlake.  The Capitol Hill end of the closure connects to bike sharrows on 19th Ave E while the Montlake end is a just a handful of blocks away from sharrows on E Boyer Ave and bike lanes on Delmar Dr. E.  The temporary closure is necessary while the City assesses damage and determines the stability of the area, and then plans for repairs caused by erosion and soil settlement.  Parts of the road are open to motorized vehicles for local access.

Roll your bike up that staircase

SDOT is adding narrow ramps to stairways connecting important bike routes.  No more lifting your bike up and down the stairs is required.  One such ramp has been installed on the stairway connecting the West Seattle Bridge Trail with the buffered bike lane on Admiral Way SW, making a better connection between downtown and the Admiral neighborhood.  More details are here.

Burke-Gilman Trail detour between north Seattle and Kenmore

This week King County temporarily closed a two-mile stretch of the trail in Lake Forest Park to make improvements.  A 6.7-mile detour starts in Seattle near Matthews Beach Park and ends at Log Boom Park in Kenmore near the eastern border of Lake Forest Park. The detour map with turn-by-turn directions is on the project's website.  A King County press release says that the detour is circuitous and hilly, and that for many cyclists the best option will be to ride the bus or carpool until construction is complete in about six months.  Sound Transit Express Route 522 and three Metro bus routes provide service along this corridor every six minutes during commute times. 

ToolsTools to Help You Walk, Bike and Ride

How far can I get by bus in 30 minutes?

Walk Score's Transit Time Maps show how far you can go on the bus from anywhere in Seattle within 15, 30 or 45 minutes. Select "Seattle" just above and to the right of the map and click on a starting location.

Find bus routes serving your neighborhood

These websites let you find bus routes grouped by the areas they serve.
   o Metro routes listed by neighborhood  

   o Bus routes serving SR 520  Click on the "SR 520" tab.

New Zebigo online ride-sharing website

Using Zebigo's website, carpoolers pay to get a ride and drivers earn money by filling empty seats in their car.  That's a win-win.  Another company, Avego, provides a similar service focusing on trips across SR-520.

InspirationInspiration to Walk, Bike and Ride

Get moving, get active, get prizes: special round of the Walk Bike Ride Challenge

It's always a good time to switch to walking, biking and transit in the Walk Bike Ride Challenge, but our July/August round makes it a great time!  The weather is perfect for active transportation and we have extra prizes for this special round: an e-Moto electric bike, a night stay at the Pan Pacific Hotel, gift certificates to Zipcar and Nordstrom and more.  Register for the July/August round today.

In Motion programs coming to four Seattle neighborhoods this summer

King County Metro is bringing its popular In Motion program to Georgetown, Squire Park/Swedish Hospital, South Park and West Seattle.  If you live in these neighborhoods you'll hear a lot about this program to help you get around in new ways.  Programs launch between June 11 and July 8.

Young people are swapping cars for smart technology

This article in Grist says we may be reaching peak driving, as more young people use technology such as smart phones to make different choices about getting around.

Zombies on light rail

Just for fun: Do zombies use ORCA cards?

Here's another example of how "social transportation"--walking, biking and riding--lets you interact with the very interesting world and people around you.  On May 27th, riders on Sound Transit's LINK light rail got to interact with some interesting...zombies.

Long commutes can be bad for you

Speaking of zombies, too much time behind the wheel may have negative impacts on your health according to this article in  


Lander festival street in Beacon Hill rocks

Beacon Rocks makes full use of the festival street next to the light rail station with big fun on June 26, July 31 and August 28.

Prepare for summer closures on SR 520 Bridge and Mercer St ramp

Plan ahead for weekend closures this summer of SR 520 and the on-ramps from Interstate 5 to Mercer St.  Currently, there is a SR 520 Bridge closure and a Mercer ramp closure scheduled for the weekend of June 17-20.  The best way to stay on top of construction-related detours for buses is to sign up for Metro's Transit Alerts.

Bicycle Sundays continue through September

Bicycle Sundays close Lake Washington Blvd to motorized traffic between Mount Baker Beach and Seward Park, making it a great place to practice riding or stroll through Rainier Valley.  Bike Sundays occur 10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. through September.

Summer Streets coming to Greenwood and Rainier in August

Mark your calendars for Summer Streets in Greenwood/Phinney on August 12 and along Rainier in Columbia City August 20.  Summer Streets are a great time to walk, stroll, ride your bike and simply hang out on streets free of cars.

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Dave Allen

Way to Go, Seattle! Team


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