As part of East Link light rail construction, the Rainier Freeway station at I-90 will be closed starting Sept. 22 2018. It will reopen as Judkins Park Link Station in 2023. This may have a major impact on Bellevue residents, visitors and employees who use the Rainier Freeway Station. Read on the find out how this may affect Bellevue readers, and what you need to know to change your travel plans if you are affected:
Most bus routes that currently serve the Rainier Freeway Station, like Route 550, will bypass the area, but Routes 554, 217, and select Route 212 trips will serve new stops on Rainier Avenue South and S Charles St. The transit-only roadway that connects the Rainier Freeway Station to Downtown Seattle will also close, leading to modest increases in travel time.
Route 550 will no longer stop at Rainier Avenue South due to the closure of the Rainier Freeway Station. 550 buses will continue to access all normal Downtown Seattle stops (International District, Pioneer Square, University Street,Westlake). This route also will not use the transit-only roadway on I-90 to get downtown. It will proceed on the I-90 mainline into Downtown Seattle.
For Bellevue Route 550 Riders:
- If you stop at Rainier Avenue: Route 550 will no longer stop at Rainier Avenue South. To access the Rainier Valley, you may take Route 550 to North Mercer Wayand 80th Avenue SE (Mercer Island Park and Ride) and transfer to Route 554. You may also ride the 550 to the International District Station and transfer to a Rainier Valley bound service such as Link or Route 7 or 106.
- If you ride between Bellevue and Downtown Seattle or other parts of the Eastside your stops will not change, but expect slightly longer travel times.
While route 550 will bypass the area, Route 554 will exit I-90 at Rainier Avenue South and access downtown Seattle via South Dearborn Street, including new stops at Rainier Avenue South and South Charles Street.
Bellevue-Eastgate Route 554 riders:
- If you get on or off the bus at Rainier Avenue: Route 554 will serve a pair of bus stops at Rainier Avenue South and South Charles Street all day, every day, and will continue to serve the Eastgate Freeway Station. The 212 and 217 will also continue to go from Rainier Avenue to the Eastgate Park & Ride in the mornings, and fromEastgate to Rainier Avenue in the afternoons. Routes 216, 218, and 219 will no longer serve Rainier Avenue.
- If you travel to Eastgate on this route from Downtown Seattle: Route 554 will pick up riders at existing stops along 2nd Avenue and a new stop at 2nd Ave Extension South and Yesler Way in Downtown Seattle, making similar stops as today.
- If you travel to Downtown Seattle on this route from Eastgate: Route 554 will drop off riders on the eastside of 4th Avenue in Downtown Seattle.
- If you travel within the Eastside: your route will not change.
Going eastbound, Route 554’s last stop in downtown Seattle will move to Second Avenue Extension South and Yesler Way from Fifth Avenue South and South Jackson Street. The nine King County Metro routes that serve I-90 will also change. View those changes by visiting the King County Metro Service Change Page (Scroll down to Route Revisions and filter the list by “Rainier Freeway Station Closure”)
Overall, frequency will decrease slightly and trip times will be adjusted to maintain on-time performance. You can also keep up to date on the latest changes by joining Sound Transit’s Service Planning, Route 550, or Route 554 email lists.
Much of this information has been collected from the Sound Transit I-90 Services Change website. If you have questions email us at firstname.lastname@example.org! Are you affected by the closure and need some help figuring out travel options? Submit a request for a custom Commute Inquiry and we’ll do the planning for you!
-Choose You Way Bellevue Staffer Tim