METRO CHANGES: Columbia bus-stop move is just the start

As previously noted, Metro‘s service change one week from tomorrow will include closure of a bus stop downtown used by many West Seattle-and-beyond riders, at Columbia and 2nd. Metro’s Scott Gutierrez says it’s just the start of changes for that street, related to the impending replacement of the Alaskan Way Viaduct by the Highway 99 tunnel:

The bus stop on Columbia Street and Second Avenue in downtown Seattle is a busy place for those commuting to West Seattle, Southwest Seattle, and Burien. Soon commuters who use that stop will have a more convenient location to catch the bus.

Work began in August to relocate the westbound bus stop one block up the hill to Third Avenue’s main transit thoroughfare. The new stop will open Sept 23 in coordination with Metro’s fall service change.

About 27,000 weekday riders will be affected, including routes 21X, 37, 55, 56, 57, 113, 120, 125 and the C Line.

Temporary wayfinding decals will be installed to point customers to the new location. A new street kiosk and off-board ORCA card reader will be installed for customers who use the RapidRide C Line.

The new bus stop marks the beginning of major changes for Columbia Street. It will be transformed into a two-way transit corridor from First to Fourth Avenues to provide a vital connection for buses moving through downtown once the new State Route 99 tunnel opens and the Alaskan Way Viaduct is demolished. Buses traveling from the State Route 99 off-ramp in SODO will use the corridor to connect with Third Avenue, downtown’s primary bus thoroughfare.

Construction to create a new eastbound transit lane from First to Third Avenues is expected to start in early 2018, and will take about four months.

Initially after construction, Columbia Street will function as it does today; the project will simply reconstruct the pavement and prepare the curb line for the future configuration. When WSDOT opens the State Route tunnel in early 2019, the Columbia Street on-ramp will be permanently closed and Columbia Street will temporarily end at First Avenue; West Seattle buses will be routed via interim pathways.

After the Columbia Street on-ramp is demolished, the City will reconstruct Columbia Street between First Avenue and Alaskan Way as part of the Waterfront Seattle Main Corridor project, with Columbia Street reopening to traffic in late 2019.

King County is funding reconstruction of Columbia Street between First and Fourth Avenues. Columbia Street between First Avenue and Alaskan Way will be reconstructed as part of Waterfront Seattle’s Main Corridor project, which also includes dedicated transit lanes on Alaskan Way south of Columbia Street that will be operational once that project is completed in 2023.

The official alert about the bus-stop closure is here; details of other September 23rd changes affecting riders in our area are here.

7 Replies to "METRO CHANGES: Columbia bus-stop move is just the start"

  • carole allen September 15, 2017 (10:04 am)

    The kiosk on Third near Walgreens hasn’t worked consistently for months. Any word on why or when to expect a fix?

  • Eastwestseattle September 15, 2017 (11:16 am)

    Bummer. This will make the bike to bus connection much harder. Currently, I bike down the 2nd ave bike lane, lock the bike share bike at the corner, then hop on a west Seattle bound bus. This new stop will require an out-of-direction hillclimb. I do understand that it’s necessary once the Columbia onramp is gone, but I wish they’d delayed it longer. 

  • Peter September 15, 2017 (12:35 pm)

    This is long overdue. The 2nd/Columbia stop never had enough room to accomodate the volume of riders. 

  • Swede. September 15, 2017 (5:44 pm)

    Also worth noting is that the whole block there is scheduled for demolition too. So the sidewalk where the current stop will obviously not be useful for a year or two anyways. 

  • CAM September 15, 2017 (5:48 pm)

    So is this an alternative to the prior proposal to have those buses reroute up Yesler due to the convention center construction? That should be happening around the same time, right? Making this plan moot if the buses were going to be rerouted off 3rd anyways. 

  • Steven Lorenza September 16, 2017 (9:42 am)

    The sidewalk on Columbia was never wide enough for the volume of bus riders.

  • Amy September 25, 2017 (2:53 pm)

    I don’t think the 113 is moving from its normal stop on 2nd and Marion…. official alert doesn’t mention the 113. I’ll find out soon…

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