Issaquah to receive increased Metro Transit service

June 7, 2011

By Warren Kagarise

Commuting from Issaquah to “Pill Hill” in Seattle could become more convenient soon.

Route 211 is to be extended to the Issaquah Highlands Park & Ride. The route runs between the highlands and First Hill — nicknamed “Pill Hill” due to the hospitals in the neighborhood.

King County Council members approved the route change and more than 20 other revisions May 31. County Executive Dow Constantine proposed the overhaul in April to accommodate the launch of RapidRide buses between Bellevue and Redmond.

The route changes should start in October as RapidRide buses roll out on the Eastside.

RapidRide is part of the Transit Now initiative adopted in 2006. The initial RapidRide line between Tukwila and Federal Way is popular among riders.

Extending Route 211 to the highlands is possible due to a partnership between Metro Transit and the First Hill Transportation Group — a consortium of Harborview, Swedish and Virginia Mason medical centers. The transit agency shoulders two-thirds of the cost and the hospitals cover the rest.

Under the existing arrangement, Route 211 runs between First Hill and the Eastgate Park & Ride.

Route 271 service is also due to increase. Metro Transit is adding trips on the route from Eastgate to the University District. Riders can board a Route 271 bus in downtown Issaquah.

County officials praised the decision to reshape transit service for Eastside commuters.

“In a challenging economy, the RapidRide service will help Eastside families with affordable transportation options,” Councilwoman Kathy Lambert, Issaquah’s representative, said in a statement. “This expansion of King County transit services on the Eastside benefits the business and residential hubs that drive our economy. RapidRide helps reduce traffic congestion, and it also will make using transit more convenient.”

Warren Kagarise: 392-6434, ext. 234, or wkagarise@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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