Beryl Standley, who moved to Redmond in 1972, has lived here long enough to see the local bus system grow from almost nothing to having a number of lines serving the community.
Before coming to Redmond she lived in Seattle and Spokane — cities with sizable public transportation systems. So Standley is no stranger to riding the bus. She admits she doesn’t ride the bus as much as she used to, but she is still concerned about the upcoming changes to several King County Metro Transit routes serving the Eastside, including Redmond.
It was this concern that brought Standley to Metro’s open house meeting at City Hall Tuesday evening. The open house was an opportunity for citizens to learn more about the proposed changes coming in October, ask questions and give feedback.
The changes will be made to update bus service and reduce duplicate service with the new RapidRide B line, which will connect the Eastside this fall.
Jack Lattemann, a lead planner for RapidRide, said the B line will run from the Redmond Transit Center, through the Overlake Transit Center and end at the Bellevue Transit Center. The goal of the line — as well as the route changes — are to improve service for Eastside passengers.
“The whole idea is to speed up the service,” Lattemann said.
Metro’s efforts to do this include buses with three doors that will all open every time the bus stops to relieve congestion. Lattemann said at specific RapidRide stations passengers who have an ORCA card can tap their card before they even board. Because passengers will be boarding at multiple doors, Lattemann said buses will have fare inspectors to make sure people are paying.
He added that other measures to provide better service include modifying traffic signals that will stay green longer if a bus is approaching the intersection and offering service at night and on the weekends, including Sundays.
In addition to changes to certain routes, the new B line has prompted Metro to propose canceling a number of routes. Proposed changing routes are 212, 221, 222, 230 (west), 233, 234, 240, 245, 246, 249, 250, 255, 265, and 271. Proposed canceled routes are 225, 229, 230 (east), 247, 253, 256, 261, 266, 272, and 926.
Standley said she does not know where the proposed canceled routes go, so she has no opinion about them, but Alison Leathley works in downtown Seattle and commutes to work every day.
The Bellevue resident takes the 266, which may be canceled, so she has been attending as many Metro meetings as possible, including the one in Redmond Tuesday night. She said when she has attended meetings, she often recognizes fellow commuters, so she knows many people are concerned. This being said, Leathley does feel Metro is listening to the public’s questions and concerns and trying to accommodate as best they can.
Redmond resident Kym Williams commutes to Seattle for work regularly but also frequents the local routes occasionally. He attended Tuesday’s meeting to learn more about how he will be affected.
Williams understands Metro’s goal of creating a network of routes and providing more consistent service, but said some of the proposed changes seem to discourage that. Like Leathley though, he does feel Metro is doing its best to formulate a system that will create the least headaches.
As a lifelong bus rider, Standley is eager for the upcoming changes. She is looking forward to the convenience public transportation provides.
“I think I’m going to take the bus more,” she said. “This really makes it nice and it’s cheap.”
To learn more about the changed and cancelled bus routes, visit www.kingcounty.gov/metro/BRconnections. Comments about potential changes can be submitted online, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (206) 205-8788 (English) or (206) 269-5088 (Spanish).