New Redmond Transit Center opens Saturday
The new Redmond Transit Center opens Saturday, Feb. 9 with improved boarding areas, passenger shelters, and lighting for bus riders traveling on more than a dozen Metro and Sound Transit routes.
Located at 16160 NE 83rd St. in the heart of downtown Redmond, the $7.2 million transit center is a joint project between King County Metro Transit, Sound Transit, and the City of Redmond. It replaces a smaller, cramped set of bus stops originally constructed in 1978.
“Redmond is a growing, thriving community and its bus riders will soon benefit from the services available in this modern transit center,” said King County Executive Ron Sims. “In Redmond and across the Eastside, people are turning to public transportation to personally help reduce local traffic congestion and slow global warming. King County is supporting those efforts by providing more transit services and options.”
Those increased options at the Redmond Transit Center include two new Metro routes and more service on one of Sound Transit’s busiest routes.
“Sound Transit and our regional partners are giving Redmond more ways to get around,” said Sound Transit Boardmember and Kirkland City Councilmember Mary-Alyce Burleigh. “We at Sound Transit understand that improving mobility on the Eastside is critical to improving the livability and the economic vitality of the community and the entire region.”
The transit center is located adjacent to the existing Redmond Park-and-Ride, which will soon be replaced with a three-floor garage offering more than 380 parking stalls. Metro begins construction on the garage this spring. Work is already underway on a Transit Oriented Development (TOD) next to the garage site that includes housing and commercial space.
“These three projects help to support my vision of two vibrant and economically viable urban centers in Redmond – one here in downtown and the other in Overlake,” said Redmond Mayor John Marchione. “With the transit center in place, downtown and Overlake will be joined by convenient new transit routes, and the new TOD development will further enhance our walkable downtown.”
The new transit center has six bus bays and a separate bus layover area that will concentrate transit service into a central downtown location. It improves pedestrian safety by providing more visible crosswalks and continuous sidewalks on both sides of Northeast 83rd Street. The addition of off-street layover space and the transit turnaround for buses will significantly improve transit efficiency. These two elements will allow the transit agencies to put more service hours into carrying passengers, instead of “deadheading” empty buses to satellite layover locations.
As of Saturday, Feb. 9, the transit center will be served by: Metro routes 221 (new), 230, 232, 248 (new), 250, 251, 253, 265, 266, 291, 922, 929; and ST Express 545. Beginning Monday, Feb. 11, Sound Transit will be doubling midday service on ST Express 545 from every 30 minutes to every 15 minutes, and adding extra peak period trips during times when loads are heaviest. Ridership has steadily grown each time Sound Transit has increased service on Route 545, making Route 545 Sound Transit’s second-busiest bus route, after Route 550 serving Bellevue, Mercer Island, and Seattle.
The $7.2 million transit center was designed and constructed by Metro, with $6 million from Sound Transit and the remainder from a federal grant. The transit center was constructed on county property and city street right-of-way. Metro is designing, constructing, and funding the new garage, while private developer Trammell Crow Residential is building the TOD project. The city is reviewing and permitting all of the projects, which are designed to meet goals of Redmond’s Downtown Transportation Master Plan.
There will be a few “growing pains” over the next year as construction is completed on the garage and TOD project. Approximately two-thirds of the parking spaces at the park-and-ride lot were closed in December for the development. In addition to the remaining 100 spaces at the park-and-ride, Metro has acquired 110 spaces two blocks away in a temporary surface lot near the City Hall Campus Garage. There are also 178 temporary spaces close to the Bear Creek Park-and-Ride, which is served by several of the same bus routes that stop at the Redmond Transit Center. Parking at the transit center will return to former levels in Spring 2009, when the new garage opens.
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Sound Transit’s regional network of express buses, commuter rail, light rail and transit facilities connects communities in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties.