(Editor’s note: We also have a related April 29 post: ‘Revised proposal designed to increase service and coverage in Georgetown.’)

Metro is updating its recommended changes to bus service in Southeast Seattle after coming to agreement with the City of Seattle on cost sharing to improve Route 124 service to operate every 15 minutes. Metro is now working with the King County Council to amend the current service change ordinance. Details are described below and more information will be posted on Metro’s website in coming days.SESeattleSnip

The recommended changes are similar to a larger proposal shared for public comment last year – that included changes to routes 9X, 38, 106, 107 and 124 – but now with several improvements to address concerns we heard. Now, the recommended changes to Route 107 include a short route deviation into the Georgetown community to maintain this neighborhood’s connection to Skyway and Renton (also serving the same stops as routes 124 and 60, strengthening these connections for riders). See proposed changes here (PDF 2mb) SE Seattle recommended transit changes map

In addition, through a partnership with the City of Seattle, Route 124 will more thoroughly serve Georgetown by operating every 15 minutes throughout most of the day. Today, riders in Georgetown choose between the 106 and 124 – two infrequent routes operating on different streets into downtown with uncoordinated schedules. With this proposal, riders will be better served with consistent, evenly scheduled service to get into downtown on a consolidated single pathway.

Under this proposal, riders will receive the 15-minute all-day transit service that Metro’s service guidelines call for in these communities, Monday through Saturday: Route 106 from Renton through Skyway to Rainier Beach, and 124 from Tukwila to downtown Seattle.

Midday riders of Route 9X will continue to have frequent service options to get between the Rainier Valley and First Hill via service provided by Route 7 and the First Hill Streetcar, or with a connection to Link light rail serving Capitol Hill.

It’s likely this set of changes will replace what the council is currently considering at the May 3 meeting of the council’s Transportation, Economy and Environment Committee (TrEE) meeting, beginning at 9:30 a.m. If the King County Council adopts these changes, they would be implemented this September:

  • Revise Route 106 – would be changed to go through the Rainier Valley along MLK Jr. Way South, Rainier Avenue South, and South Jackson Street to the International District. Route 106 buses would come more often—every 15 minutes during the day on weekdays and Saturday, and every 30 minutes later at night. That’s the same as the current Route 38, which the 106 would replace.
  • Revise Route 107would be extended beyond Rainier Beach, through south Beacon Hill, into Georgetown, then to the Beacon Hill Link light rail station, to replace this segment of Route 106. Route 107 would come more often—every 15 minutes on weekdays during peak periods and every 30 minutes later at night. That’s the same as the Route 106, which the 107 would replace along South Beacon Hill.
  • Increase Route 124 – Route 124 would be improved to come every 15 minutes 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday, every 30 minutes between 7:00 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. and hourly during the remaining times it operates today seven days a week. This would provide a more reliable service between Georgetown and downtown while keeping a comparable level of service now provided between Georgetown and downtown Seattle by the combination of Routes 106 and 124.
  • Delete Route 38 – New Route 38 would be replaced by Route 106 in September 2016.
  • Reduce Route 9X – would operate during peak periods only. This reduction in service would help cover the cost of changes to routes 106, 107, and 124. During the day and in the evenings, riders of Route 9X could use Route 7 and the First Hill Streetcar to go between Rainier Valley and First Hill. Link light rail also goes to Capitol Hill, stopping near Seattle Central College.

These changes are the outcome of a four year conversation with the Southeast Seattle community –culminating in a recent public process (November –January) on proposed changes to Routes 9X, 38, 106, 107 and 124.

Earlier this month, Metro forwarded a recommendation to King County Council that would have made changes to only routes 9X and 38. (Read the blog post.) That earlier proposal reflected what Metro could do with the resources available at the time to address consistent, persistent feedback from communities of color, low-income and non-English speaking communities in the MLK corridor. They shared concerns about the loss of historic community connections between the International District and Renton, seeking more convenient access for riders coming from around the county to access opportunities along MLK Way at times when they need it most.

While that initial proposal created impacts for only midday Route 9X riders, it still didn’t go far enough to meet the needs identified in our outreach and by Metro’s Service Guidelines. So Metro, elected officials, and the City of Seattle kept working to partner on an approach that would benefit more people while minimizing its negative impacts.