As King County moves forward into a bright new year, we’d love to reflect for a moment on the many mobility highlights of 2021 your support made possible. Here are just a few of our shared achievements advancing our values of equity, sustainability, and safety.
Groundbreaking transit legislation co-created with community advocates and introduced by King County Executive Dow Constantine directs future investments upstream by intentionally weaving together Metro’s policies and the Metro Connects long-range plan. The result will ensure transit investments go where they are needed most.
King County, along with BRIDGE Housing Corporation and Community Roots Housing, announced the creation of 232 new affordable housing units near the location of the Northgate Link light rail station, beginning with a groundbreaking in 2023. Units will be affordable for households earning 60 percent or less of the area median income – in 2021, that’s $69,400 for a family of four.
Metro was honored for leveraging research conducted at the University of Washington’s Taskar Center for Accessible Computing Technology. The technology will make it safer and easier for the disabled and others to access transit.
The first of 40 zero-emission battery-electric coaches rolled off a trailer to prepare for testing. Purchased from New Flyer, these 60-foot-long battery-electric buses can hold up to 120 people and travel about 140 miles on a single charge.
Trailhead Direct – the weekend and holiday transit-to-trails service co-led by King County Metro and King County Parks – began connecting hikers to the Issaquah Alps and Mount Si in June. The Issaquah Alps route left the Mount Baker Transit Center with service to Margaret’s Way, Squak Mountain, Chirico Trail-Poo Poo Point, High School Trail, and East Sunset Way. The Mount Si route started at the Sound Transit Capitol Hill Link light rail station with service to Mount Si, Mount Teneriffe, and Little Si. (Service is only available during the warmer months.)
King County Metro began our next steps to ensure riders and operators feel safe throughout our mobility system while ensuring all communities are afforded dignity and respect. King County Executive Dow Constantine transmitted to the King County Council our outline for the Safety, Security, and Fare Enforcement (SaFE) Reform Initiative, Metro’s plan to reimagine safety and security by reexamining and restructuring our security and fare enforcement practices. Thousands of community members, customers, and Metro employees shared their experiences, priorities, and recommendations to make transit safer and more welcoming for everyone.
In support of our many health enhancements guided by experts, Metro installed free mask dispensers in all 1,404 of its buses. Since 2020, we have given out more than 6. We look forward to continuing to protect the health of our riders and employees.
We upgraded air filters throughout our fleet to ensure consistent, safe, fresh air for passengers. All coaches received new air filters (a minimum of MERV-9) manufactured at the highest level possible that still allows air to circulate.
We’re looking ahead to achieving even more in 2022, including completion of the RapidRide H Line and planning for new bus connections to sync with the region’s expanding rail network. Together, we’ll continue to take on challenges and deliver equitable, sustainable, and reliable transit for everyone.