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Central Seattle: What does the Emergency Snow Network mean for you?

In response to ongoing freezing weather and snowstorms in the forecast, King County Metro activated its Emergency Snow Network (ESN) on Feb. 9 at 4 a.m. Due to the forecast, worsening road conditions and buses requiring repairs, the ESN will continue Monday, Feb. 11 and Tuesday, Feb. 12. There are only 67 routes and shuttles in operation until further notice.

What does it mean for me?

ESN transit service is focused on plowed and treated arterial roadways maintained by the state and local jurisdictions.

However some residents are along routes that are not possible to serve under major winter storm conditions. 

The following are nearest alternatives for Central Seattle residents who need to use transit and are not directly served by the ESN. 

Please note all routes listed are traveling on their snow route pathways.

  • Seattle’s Madison Valley and Park areas – Connect with service on 23rd Avenue provided by routes 48 (map) and the 90 Shuttle (map).
  • Seattle’s Madrona and Leschi neighborhoods – Connect with service on 23rd and 24th Avenues provided by Route 48 (map) and on 34th Avenue provided by Route 3 (map).
  • Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood – Connect with service on 15th Ave and Olive Way provided by Route 10 (map).
  • Central Area – Connect with service on 23rd and 24th Avenues provided by Route 48 (map) and the Route 90 Shuttle (map) and on 34th Avenue, East Cherry and East Jefferson Streets provided by Route 3 (map).
  • Link Light Rail Stations – Link light rail will be operational on Monday. For most up-to-date information on Sound Transit Link, Sounder, and Express Bus service alerts go HERE.

For specific stop locations, use the “Stop and Next Arrival” feature of Metro’s Puget Sound Trip Planner. DO NOT use the schedule or trip planning information on the Trip Planner for Emergency Snow Network information.

Note: Metro and transportation agencies intend for most bus stops along these routes to be available, but in some cases such as on steeper uphill slopes, buses may not be able to stop at all designated locations.

Why activate the ESN?

Transit vehicles are only able to safely operate on effectively plowed, sanded, and/or de-iced arterial streets, roads, highways, or freeways. When major winter storms occur and significant snow or ice accumulates on street surfaces, Metro installs tire chains on all buses and the ESN is activated in order to allow the backbone of the network to continue operating. The goal is to serve as many customers on these high-ridership routes and corridors reliably during the winter weather over several days.

All routes not in operation

1 132 277
2 143 301
4 Shuttle 148 303
8 153 304
9 154 308
11 156 309
12 157 311
13 158 312
14 159 316
15 164 330
17 167 342
18 177 346
19 178 347
22 179 355
26 182 373
27 183 628
28 186 630
29 187 631
33 190 635
37 192 823
43 193 824
47 197 886
49 200 887
50 201 888
55 204 889
56 208 891
57 212 892
60 214 893
63 216 894
64 217 895
67 218 901
71 219 908
73 221 910
74 224 913
76 226 914
77 232 915
78 234 916
105 236 917
107 237 952
111 238 980
113 240 981
114 241 982
116 243 984
119 244 986
118 246 987
121 249 988
122 252 989
123 257 994
125 268 995
131 269

What riders should know

Metro encourages people to avoid traveling if at all possible.

Riders who intend to use Metro’s services should visit the Emergency Snow Network webpage to view details about routes in operation and to identify their options. Routes will travel on posted snow routes unless otherwise communicated.

Metro’s Customer Information Office opens at 6 a.m. Monday to assist riders with trip planning. Get in touch at 206-553-3000.

Posted timetables on Metro’s Schedules and Maps page are a good point of reference for the 60 ESN routes that are operating, but unforeseen roadway and weather conditions may result in delays or unplanned reroutes.

Customers should be aware that Puget Sound Trip Planner and third-party apps will not reflect ESN service and will not be accurate for planning itineraries on ESN days.

However, once intending riders know which ESN route they want to use, other Puget Sound Trip Planner features, such as maps, bus stop locations and timetables for ESN routes are valid.  Puget Sound Trip Planner and other apps are still accurate for planning trips or getting schedules for regular service days. Next Departure features and Text for Departure tools are working for only bus routes that are in service.

4 thoughts on “Central Seattle: What does the Emergency Snow Network mean for you?

  1. Yes, Route 90 will be stopping at regular bus stops along the route. It is planned to be operating every 20 minutes but with weather and road conditions there may be delays. Thanks for your patience.

  2. @Seth, I agree, it’s hard to figure out where the stops are. As far as I can tell – and from what it seems like per the website too – it just stops at the marked bus stops that exist along the route it takes (I used OneBusAway to see where these were), i.e. there are some stretches without any stops at all, like along 15th Ave, since that’s not part of any regular bus route. I’ve also heard the “every 20 minutes” figure but I think it’s hard to have any estimation be too accurate with these sorts of driving conditions. A driver today told me that there were three shuttles/buses total driving the loop.

  3. What’s the best way to find the bus stops and schedule for the 90 shuttle route? I’ve found a map on the website, but the bus stops aren’t marked, only the route. Also, the timing isn’t super clear. Is it every 20 min?

  4. Why can’t the city plow, sand and salt Union Street to allow the #2 and snow route #8 to operate?

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