I-90 Service Changes

Image of bus crossing Interstate 90 in Seattle

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To request accommodations for persons with disabilities or for information in alternative formats, call 1-800-201-4900 / TTY Relay 711 or email accessibility@soundtransit.org.

Introduction

As part of East Link light rail construction, the Rainier Freeway station at I-90 will close for five years beginning in September 22, 2018. It will reopen as Judkins Park Link Station in 2023. Most bus routes that currently serve the Rainier Freeway Station will bypass the area, but Routes 554, 217, and select Route 212 trips will serve new stops on Rainier Avenue South and S Charles St. The transit-only roadway that connects the Rainier Freeway Station to Downtown Seattle will also close, leading to modest increases in travel time. Sound Transit and Metro will invest in lane and signal improvements to help with bus traffic flow.

Find out more by visiting our online open house at I90servicechanges.participate.online

Impacted routes

  • Sound Transit route 550
  • Sound Transit route 554
  • King County Metro routes 111, 114, 212, 214, 216, 217, 218 & 219

I-90 service change

Goal of service changes

Sound Transit’s primary goal is to maintain a comparable level of service to riders during construction of the Judkins Park Link Station. For us that means providing consistent bus access to communities in the Rainier Valley and minimizing travel times for riders as much as possible.

Why restructure I-90 bus routes

Construction of the new Judkins Park Link Station requires closure of the Rainier Freeway Station. In 2011 Sound Transit completed an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to evaluate the East Link Extension, a project to give riders fast, frequent and reliable connection between the Eastside’s biggest population and employment centers and destinations across King, Pierce and Snohomish counties. During the EIS process, Sound Transit looked at the impacts of construction on the Judkins Park Link Station, where the Rainier Freeway Station is located today. Construction will close this station and the I-90 bus ramp that connects buses to the downtown tunnel. Learn more.

Since the Rainier Freeway Station provides important access to the Eastside and Downtown Seattle for communities in the Rainier Valley, Sound Transit determined that bus routes need to change when construction starts to maintain current services to the Rainier Valley area.

What's happening

To find more specific trip planning, visit our online open house at I90servicechanges.participate.online

Route Changes Matrix

Route 550

Route 550 will bypass Rainier Avenue South and will access the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel via the I-90 mainline. No routing changes on the Eastside.

Route 554

Route 554 will serve a pair of bus stops at Rainier Avenue South and South Charles Street and will access Downtown Seattle via Rainier Avenue South and South Dearborn Street. No routing changes on the Eastside.

Routes 111, 114, 212, 214, 216, 218 & 219

These peak-only routes will bypass Rainier Avenue South and will access Downtown Seattle via the I-90 mainline and 4th Avenue South. No routing changes on the Eastside.

Route 217 and Select Route 212 Trips

Route 217 and ‘reverse peak’ Route 212 trips will serve a pair of bus stops at Rainier Avenue South and South Charles Street and will access Downtown Seattle via Rainier Avenue South and South Dearborn Street. These trips operate eastbound during the weekday AM peak, and westbound in the weekday PM peak.

 

Sound Transit and Metro are also investing in roadway improvements at key locations near areas expected to mitigate higher volumes of traffic due to service changes. These improvements include:

  • Allowing buses to turn left from the right lane on the I-90 westbound off-ramp at 4th Avenue South. 
  • Adding a northbound bus only lane between the westbound I-90 off-ramp at 4th Avenue South and South Jackson Street.
  • Adjusting transit signal times at 4th Avenue South and Edgar Martinez Drive for southbound buses.
  • Adding a 3rd lane on I-90 between 4th Avenue South and I-5.
  • Bus stop improvements at Rainier Avenue South and S Charles St.

The end result

When East Link opens in 2023, commuters will enjoy traffic-free 20-minute trips between Downtown Seattle and Downtown Bellevue. The expansion of light rail and bus service on the Eastside will be a game changer for our rapidly growing community. We thank you for your patience during the challenging construction period.