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Wednesday, February 8, 2006 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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New lots will make it easier to park, ride

Seattle Times Eastside bureau

New schedules


For information on service changes, visit Metro Online at transit.metrokc.gov, call 206-553-3000 or pick up new Metro or Sound Transit schedules at libraries, malls and government offices. Sound Transit rider information also is available on its rider information line 888-889-6368 or www.soundtransit.org.

Those who wander park-and-ride lots each morning on the hunt for an elusive parking space could find the search a bit easier next week.

Sound Transit and King County Metro are opening three park-and-ride lots in Issaquah Highlands, Federal Way and Sammamish this month that will add nearly 2,500 spaces to their collection of 124 lots in King County.

A few lots, such as the 1,600-slot Eastgate Park-and-Ride in Bellevue, have space in the mornings. But many fill up early as commuters shed their cars to snag a bus to work or school, forcing latecomers to move to the next-closest lot.

The additional spaces will give hundreds of drivers the option to park closer to home rather than add their cars to the crush of rush-hour traffic on Interstate 90 and Interstate 5, Metro spokeswoman Linda Thielke said. Commuter data from 2002 along the I-90 corridor showed some drivers traveled from as far as Maple Valley, North Bend, Carnation and Covington to reach the Eastgate Park-and-Ride in Bellevue, for example.

"It has an immediate impact on traffic because you're taking them from the stream farther up the road," Thielke said. Park-and-ride use rose 9 percent as of September 2005 compared with the previous year. Issaquah, South Bellevue, Mercer Island and Tibbetts park-and-rides and the temporary lot at Issaquah Highlands all have been full or nearly full.

Two of the new lots will open in coming weeks as Sound Transit, Metro, Pierce Transit and Community Transit in Snohomish County also update their bus schedules.

Issaquah Highlands Park-and-Ride: The new lot at Highlands Drive Northeast and Northeast High Street opens Monday and features a 1,000-stall garage. The new Metro route 218 will provide direct service to downtown Seattle during peak commute hours. Metro route 269 also will serve the lot, as well as Sound Transit route 554.

Federal Way Transit Center: Opening Saturday, this lot at 23rd Avenue South and South 317th Street offers 1,200 parking spaces. Sound Transit Express 577 will link the center and downtown Seattle during peak commuter times, as well as routes 565 and 574. Metro routes 174, 181, 182, 183, 187, 194, 197, 901 and 903 and Pierce Transit routes 402, 500 and 501 will serve the center. Metro routes 173, 174, 177 and 194 will continue to serve the renamed Federal Way/South 320th Street Park-and-Ride.

South Sammamish Park-and-Ride: The 265-stall lot at 228th Avenue Southeast and Issaquah-Pine Lake Road will open in coming weeks, with service from Metro routes 216, 269 and 927.

Mercer Island Park-and-Ride: This lot will close for up to a year Monday as Sound Transit builds a garage with twice as many spaces to replace it. Lots have been designated around the island for parking in the meantime and Metro and Sound Transit will provide shuttle service between them and the park-and-ride, where buses will continue to pick up passengers. Both agencies recommend the Eastgate Park-and-Ride in Bellevue for additional parking. Visit www.soundtransit.org/pdf/projects/st-express/MercIsPR2-06.pdf for a map of island lots.

Other Feb. 11 service changes include:

• Metro routes 111 and 114 through downtown Seattle will travel northbound and southbound on Third Avenue through the central business district. Buses on these East Renton and Newcastle routes will enter and leave downtown via Fifth Avenue South.

• Metro route 308 trips to Lake Forest Park will move to Pike Street and stop just east of Sixth Avenue in the downtown area, instead of connecting with I-5 via Olive Street.

• Metro has assigned bay numbers to the six bus stops at the Alaska Junction in West Seattle, near Southwest Alaska Street and 44th Avenue Southwest to make transfers easier.

Karen Gaudette: 206-515-5618 or kgaudette@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company

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