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.