A South Bellevue Park & Ride Alternative Story
The South Bellevue Park-and-Ride will be closing on May 30th, 2017. We would like to provide those who are affected by this closure some ideas for exploring a new commute, provided through our fictional commuter, “Caffeinated Carey.”.
Caffeinated Carey’s New Morning Commute
Current Route – 23 min from South Bellevue Park-and-Ride to King County Courthouse in Seattle
New Route – 44 minutes from Wilburton Park-and-Ride to King County Courthouse in Seattle
Every morning, I wake up, grab my cup of coffee and hop into my car to start my morning commute to the South Bellevue Park-and-Ride. This park-and-ride is usually full, but I can normally find parking if I get there before 8:30 a.m. A few weeks ago, a sign was posted alerting bus commuters that it was going to close for at least five years due to construction of the new East Link light rail station. I was slightly comforted in knowing that the future South Bellevue Station will include bus and paratransit transfer facilities and a 1,500-stall parking garage (almost 1,000 more than current stalls). But all I could think about was what about how my current commute was going to change during those five years.
I figured now is as good a time as any to try my new commute so I could be prepared for the closure when it happens.
I started researching the new park-and-ride lots Sound Transit has secured, as well as those park-and-rides with existing capacity, to help with the displacement of cars from the lot.
Sound Transit’s resources include a web page about the closure and their East Link Replacement Parking Interactive Map. I located the nearest park-and-ride to me on the interactive map, the Wilburton Park-and-Ride, which is only an additional five-minute drive from the South Bellevue Park-and-Ride. This trip did require a transfer, but according to Google Maps, it looked like the best option.
The following morning, I packed everything a few minutes earlier and headed to the new station to catch the 8:04 a.m. King Country Metro 240. Parking was relatively easy, though I made a note to remember the parking lot is much smaller than the South Bellevue Park-and-Ride. I walked about 5 minutes to SE 8th St & 118th Ave SE. I wanted to make sure I head I got on the quickest route, so I used my One Bus Away app that showed me arrival times of neighboring stations and bus stops. This bus then dropped me off a few minutes later at the Eastgate Park-and-Ride where I walked I caught route King Country Metro 212 dropped me off about two blocks away from my destination, and in less than five minutes I was at the Courthouse. Heading back home I had a few options, but I found that taking the Sound Transit 550 gets me faster to Bellevue in the evenings. I exited at the Bellevue Transit Center, and caught the King County Metro 246, or King County Metro 240, whichever came first since both buses travel to the Wilburton Park-and-Ride.
For now, this is a good substitution while I wait for the light rail to come across to the Eastside; and I still have time to grab my morning triple shot latte on ice before jumping on the bus!
-Sincerely, Caffeinated Carey
To those who can relate to Caffeinated Carey’s story due to the closure of South Bellevue and Park-and-Ride, Choose Your Way Bellevue is here to assist with making the transition to your new commute an easier one. The 550, 555, and 556, 241 and 249 will continue to serve Bellevue Way in front of the South Bellevue Park-and-Ride when it closes. There will not be a park-and-ride in that vicinity; however, I would encourage you to plan ahead and look for an alternative park-and-ride that may work for you. (Note that you may need to transfer buses from your alternative lot in order to get where you need to go.) Or, try sharing the ride!
In fact, your new route may turn out to be faster than your old one. Recently, a commuter discovered that parking at the Newport Hills Park-and-Ride and taking the King County Metro Route 111 was 15 minutes faster than her current commute parking at the South Bellevue Park-and-Ride and taking the Sound Transit 550!
Try checking for a new route from home, rather than the South Bellevue Park-and-Ride; you may be surprised what you find! Some other helpful resources for planning your route include:
If you are having trouble figuring out your new commute, we are here to help! You may request Choose Your Way Bellevue custom commute assistance at any time. Also check out our East Link and Travel Options page for resources and updates.
Stay tuned to our blog for more examples in the future of how people are adjusting their commutes regarding the South Bellevue Park-and-Ride closure.
-Choose Your Way Bellevue staffer Sandee