Metro seeks feedback on upgrading Route 120 into future RapidRide H Line

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Do you ride Route 120? King County Metro is working with the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) to expand the frequent, reliable RapidRide network to new parts of Seattle and King County. A public survey released today asks riders to prioritize their transportation needs and to identify opportunities for upgrading Metro Route 120 to the future RapidRide H Line. The survey builds on input the community shared in Seattle in spring 2017 and helps the agencies evaluate the performance of future improvements.

Upgrading route 120 achieves goals in the Metro Connects long-range plan and voter-approved Levy to Move Seattle. RapidRide H Line service is scheduled to launch in 2020.

Route 120 map showing future RapidRide corridor from Downtown Seattle through Delridge/West Seattle, to White Center and Burien.Today, Metro Route 120 is tied for ninth-busiest bus route in King County and carries approximately 8,800 customers each weekday along the corridor between Burien, White Center, West Seattle and Downtown Seattle.

To upgrade the route to RapidRide levels of speed, frequency and reliability, improvements are envisioned along the corridor that include transit priority treatments and RapidRide amenities like unique stations, off-board ORCA fare payment kiosks, and real-time information signs. Metro operates six RapidRide lines across King County with these standard amenities.

This project is funded by King County Metro, the voter-approved Levy to Move Seattle and additional grant funding, which has in part been secured and is also being sought by both Seattle and King County.

Metro and SDOT are working collaboratively to develop a preferred alternative in coming months. Metro is planning community meetings in Burien and White Center during the second week of December. Details will be announced once confirmed.

How do I get involved?
• Take Metro’s RapidRide H Line online survey
• Follow the Metro Matters blog to receive stories and updates
• Learn more about improvements planned for Delridge Way SW in Seattle

About King County Metro RapidRide
King County Metro began RapidRide planning in 2006 and launched the RapidRide A Line in 2010. Today, Metro operates six lines across King County, offering the best of Metro with frequent and reliable service, efficient off-board ORCA fare payment, fast all-door boarding and on-board wifi for riders. RapidRide routes carry more than 67,000 rides each weekday.

Metro Connects, our long-range plan, envisions 26 RapidRide lines by 2040. This includes 19 in King County by 2025 – of which seven are in partnership with the City of Seattle. The future RapidRide G Line in Seattle’s Madison neighborhood is scheduled to begin service in 2020.

 

Next steps as Metro considers improvements to routes 3 and 4

Metro heard from more than 1,300 community members this year when we asked for public input on our ideas for improving Routes 3 and 4.  Together, these routes carry more than 11,000 riders each day, but are often stuck in traffic along James Street near the I-5 on-ramps.

Metro is considering whether to move both routes from James Street to Yesler Way, Eighth Avenue, and Ninth Avenue (see map) to improve their speed and reliability.

Based on what we’ve heard so far from community members, Metro will study ways to improve bus reliability and continue to serve riders’ needs along James Street. We plan to present updated proposals in summer 2018 and depending on the findings, potentially conduct another round of public outreach.

Visit our webpage to learn more about what we heard and our next steps.

All Are Welcome Here

As King County Metro grows and changes in our role as the regional mobility provider, there’s something we’ll never leave behind: our commitment to keeping Metro safe and welcoming for everyone who uses our services or works here. The recent terrible events in Texas, New York City and elsewhere are grim reminders of how important that commitment is.New signs you’ll see on our buses for the long term reflect our promise to always look out for one another. They assure customers that “all are welcome here,” regardless of race, color, religion, gender, age, veteran status, sexual orientation, disability or national origin. They make it clear that harassment won’t be tolerated.Metro staff installs an announcement that All Are Welcome Here on Metro

Metro’s policy is unchanged, but we’ve renewed our energy and commitment to help address problems when they are identified by riders, either through our drivers or directly through law enforcement via 911.

Innovative program (literally) sets employees on road to success

by Jason Argo (crossposted from the KC Employees News blog)

The first graduates from an innovative new program that helps employees get a key credential for moving their careers forward were recognized by King County Executive Dow Constantine and Metro General Manager Rob Gannon at a small ceremony this week.

Through a partnership between King County Metro, South Seattle College, and the Amalgamated Transit Union 587, a customized curriculum was created that helped frontline employees train for and apply for their Commercial Driver’s License, an essential requirement for advancing to other positions in the County as well as across Washington.

“We shouldn’t think of this as extraordinary,” Executive Constantine said. “This is what we should have been doing, what we should be doing, and what we have committed to doing much more of – providing equitable opportunities for all of our employees to get the skills, get the training, get the credentials that they need to pursue their dreams.”

The pilot program included a customized classroom and driving curriculum and also provided support for specific needs identified for employees in this workgroup, such as English proficiency and preparing for the CDL permit test. The pilot’s first participants worked in facilities management and custodial roles at King County.

“It’s not just the idea of a CDL, it’s what that represents; it’s an opportunity to grow and develop in itself but also to advance in the organization,” Metro General Manager Rob Gannon said. “I couldn’t be prouder of what you [program graduates] have accomplished but it also represents what we as an organization can accomplish.”

The four pilot graduates – Stevon Lenued, Tsegay Negash, John Keith and Jaime Gonzalez – have already begun or accepted Utility Laborer or Utility Worker roles at the County with their new accreditations, while a fifth, Nouane Thepvongsa, is working towards graduation.

Metro and its partners are now reviewing the results of the pilot to see how it can be adapted and expanded moving forward. The model will also help to inform Metro’s development of other apprenticeship and short-term training programs in the future.

Helping employees plot a career path and give them the support and resources to reach their goals is part of King County’s Investing in You strategy.

Help Metro improve SODO commutes with new services

About 950 people who work in SODO participated last summer in Metro’s survey on transportation needs in the area. We shared their input with a working group, which helped us develop six new transportation options that could help meet those needs.

Now we’re going back to SODO workers with a second survey to ask if they think these new services would help them get to and from work. We invite those who work in SODO to take the survey by Tuesday, Nov. 14.

The six new transportation options are:

  • Bus Route Extensions on Limited Trips
    Instead of going off-duty while driving through SODO back to the bus bases, some buses could provide service to SODO during some times of the day.
  • Flex VanPool
    Users could request rides in Metro VanPools without having to become members of the VanPool group or ride every day. These rides could be between home neighborhoods and work, between home neighborhoods and transit centers, or between work and transit centers.
  • Community Ride
    This reservation-based service would travel inside a specific service area. Trips would be based on where people want to go during the middle of the day.
  • Get Your Ride
    This service would provide rides on demand for people who need to connect to or from a transit hub when it’s dark out.
  • SODO Pathway Improvements
    Iimprovements along certain streets would make it safer to walk to the bus stop or train station.
  • Bike Share Partnerships
    A bike share service allows people to use a bicycle for a short period of time to get from one place to another within a few miles.

The SODO district is a key employment center but many of its workers have schedules not served by current bus service. Also, the pedestrian environment in SODO can make it more difficult to use transit.

This project is part of Metro’s Community Connections program, which uses community partnerships to learn how to close transit gaps where regular bus service isn’t the right fit. For this project, Metro is working with the City of Seattle and the SODO Business Improvement Area to identify transportation gaps and explore innovative, easier ways for people to get where they need to go in SODO.

Have a say

If you work in SODO, we invite you to take the survey by Tuesday, Nov. 14.

Learn more on the project website

Happy Halloween!

Howard and Kashata Shindler and young son, Thelo, show how the daily commute doesn’t have to be so scary.  Their homemade costumes were inspired by Thelo’s love for riding a Metro bus every day with his mom.

“He’s always really excited to be on the bus,”  Howard Shindler says. “He’s only 20 months and ‘bus’ is one of the main words he can say. I think it was one of his first words.”

Thelo rides with Kashata on the Route 60 from Georgetown to his daycare before Kashata heads to work.

“We asked him what he wanted to be for Halloween, and a bus seemed to be the primary thing,” Howard says.

They dressed up last weekend while attending the West Seattle Junction Harvest Festival. Several people came up and asked them if they worked for Metro, Howard said. Both parents are actually artists, although Kashata is “definitely more on the crafty side,” he says. She spent about a week putting this year’s costumes together.

Their costumes are definitely early favorites for our nomination for Halloween Costumes of the Year.

 

 

 

Graduation day for new Metro drivers!

Congratulations to our 20 newest part-time drivers! They’ve completed training and will be carrying riders starting Monday, Oct. 30. They join the ranks of 2,800 (and growing) part- and full-time professional transit operators who keep our community and economy moving!

New members of the King County Metro family: (pictured) David, Charito, Veronica, Najea, Shukri, Amos, Alex, Zachary, Said, Eli, Peter, Jashua, Jeremy, Oliver, Brandi, Va, Teshim, Mamo, Le’Ray and Kulwant.

We’re still hiring drivers to provide today’s bus service and prepare for even more service in the future. Hiring more drivers allows us to grow the ranks of operators, avoid cancelling individual bus trips during staffing shortages and better maintain the service customers rely on.

If you are interested in starting your career at Metro, visit DriveForMetro to take a self-quiz to learn what it takes to be a driver, and see the wages and benefits drivers receive at King County. Apply now!