Open houses focus on transit and traffic changes while the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel is retrofitted for light rail

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Starting on Sept. 24, the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel (DSTT) will be closed for up to two years while it is retrofitted and upgraded for joint use by light rail trains and buses. Two upcoming open houses will provide a chance for community members to learn what the retrofit will entail, including changes that will affect transit riders and downtown drivers.

Tuesday, Sept. 13
3 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Union Station, Great Hall
401 S. Jackson St., Seattle

Wednesday, Sept. 14
11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Grand Hyatt Hotel
721 Pine St., Seattle

Detailed information on the retrofit and how it will affect the public is also available at

During the closure, 20 bus routes will move from the DSTT to downtown surface streets and 50 additional routes will be modified to make transit service more efficient. Service is being re-organized to promote the movement of buses through downtown and so passengers can wait at the same location for multiple routes going to the same or very close destinations. Changes will also help balance the number of buses on any one street and passenger volumes on sidewalks.

The Seattle Department of Transportation, Sound Transit, King County Metro Transit and Community Transit are carrying out a $16 million package of projects to keep Downtown Seattle moving during the retrofit. The package includes major street projects such as dedicating Third Avenue as a transit-only corridor during peak commute hours. Others changes to help move traffic through downtown include adding parking restrictions to increase the capacity of designated transit priority corridors; improving street configurations at key locations; adding a new signal-priority system for emergency vehicles; and increasing traffic enforcement.

Representatives of the partner agencies will be on hand at the open houses to provide information. Also present will be representatives of the Urban Mobility Group which was recently launched by the Downtown Seattle Association in partnership with King County Metro Transit and the City of Seattle to provide information on making the most of Downtown commute options.

The tunnel will reopen to buses by September 2007. Light rail trains will begin running between Downtown Seattle and the airport in 2009 and by 2020 will carry 45,000 riders daily.




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Sound Transit plans, builds and operates regional transit systems and services to improve mobility for Central Puget Sound.