South Bellevue park-and-ride garage opens
Facility available for bus riders nearly two years before completion of East Link light rail
Sound Transit has opened the parking garage at the future East Link South Bellevue Station nearly two years before East Link begins operating in 2023, providing easy transit access to Eastside passengers.
ST Express and King County Metro riders who had to use alternative parking spaces when East Link construction began in 2017 can now return to the new garage at the same park-and-ride location. Find bus stop and schedule information for ST Express routes 550 and 556 at https://www.soundtransit.org/ride-with-us/schedules-maps and King County Metro routes 241 and 249 at https://kingcounty.gov/depts/transportation/metro/schedules-maps.
With service to Seattle every 15 minutes on weekdays and Saturdays, and 30 minutes on Sundays and late night/early morning hours, ST Express 550 riders can use the garage to quickly and conveniently transfer to Link light rail to destinations between Angle Lake and Northgate, including local sporting events. ST Express 556 serves the University of Washington and Husky Stadium.
"Across our region in the coming years, Sound Transit will be delivering 25 new light rail stations and 36 miles of light rail, along with three new bus rapid transit lines," Sound Transit Boardmember and King County Council Chair Claudia Balducci said. "South Bellevue Park and Ride's early opening represents the leading edge of a set of transformative transit projects on the Eastside and it demonstrates that, together, we will accomplish big things to make our region more livable and economically competitive via great transit."
"The opening of the South Bellevue garage is another step in the right direction as we work to expand transit options in Puget Sound," said Senator Patty Murray. "With the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, we will see the largest federal investment in public transit in our nation's history. I'll keep fighting for Puget Sound in the other Washington so that we can continue to build on these investments and get people where they need to go—all while reducing commutes, cutting pollution and creating jobs."
"Today we are celebrating the first facility opening of the East Link project, fulfilling our commitment to make this garage available to riders as early as possible," said Sound Transit Deputy CEO Kimberly Farley. "We turned this long-term vision into a reality through strong partnerships with the City of Bellevue, WSDOT and King County Metro."
"I want to thank the citizen's advisory committee we formed in 2013 for their visionary recommendations that helped shape how the new park-and-ride looks and functions today," said Bellevue Mayor Lynne Robinson. "This garage and light rail station complements the beauty of the surrounding Mercer Slough Nature Park, and the new multipurpose path along Bellevue Way reflects Bellevue's commitment to provide mobility options for people who walk, roll, bike and take transit. I have ridden on this path multiple times now and I am delighted with this outcome of this entire project!"
In 2015, Sound Transit and the City of Bellevue agreed to evaluate early opening opportunities for the new parking garage in South Bellevue. To that end, contracts were executed in an order that would facilitate opening the parking garage in advance of light rail service. Project contractors Shimmick/Parsons Joint Venture and Mass Electric Co. completed civil and systems work this year to enable the early opening. Construction continues on the adjacent light rail station and guideway, but these activities will not impact the parking garage and bus transit operations.
The original South Bellevue Park-and-Ride lot, which was demolished in 2017 when East Link construction began, was built in the 1970s with federal funds to mitigate the impact of nearby I-90 construction. Operation and maintenance of the park and ride was overseen by WSDOT, in partnership with King County Metro. Sound Transit will maintain these partnerships as it takes over operation of the facility.
Features of the garage include:
- 1,500 stalls
- A connection to the I-90 and Mercer Slough trails to facilitate non-motorized access to transit
- Bicycle racks including a bike cage for secure storage of up to 35 bikes, with additional racks and on-demand lockers to be added when East Link opens
- A nature overlook of Mercer Slough, open to the public
- Public art by artist Katy Stone
When East Link opens, riders will be able to travel traffic-free between South Bellevue and the downtown Seattle International District in 14 minutes and SeaTac Airport in 48 minutes. Find more information about East Link at https://www.soundtransit.org/eastlink.