This artist’s rendering gives an aerial view of the planned Seaway Transit Center near Boeing’s Everett plant. (Contributed)

Community Transit starts Paine Field work for rapid bus line

Related: More bus rides coming to Paine Field, UW, downtown Seattle

The first phase of construction on Community Transit’s Swift Green Line started last week, with orange safety fences going up around the site of the new Seaway Transit Center, across from the entrance to Boeing’s Everett factory near Paine Field.

Swift is a bus rapid transit-style service that uses dedicated bus lanes in as many areas as possible to provide a quicker and more reliable trip. There also are fewer stops, people pay at stations before they board, and buses aim to arrive every 10 minutes and leave within 10 seconds — much like a light rail or subway system.

The Seaway Transit Center will open in mid-2018 and serve as a hub for Paine Field-area bus service, including Community Transit, Everett Transit and King County Metro Transit buses, along with private shuttles. Swift service itself won’t begin until early 2019.

The transit center will mark the northern terminal of the Swift Green Line. From there, the Green Line will follow Airport Road south, intersect with the existing Swift Blue Line at Highway 99, continue east on 128th Street, and then head south on Highway 527 to end at the Canyon Park Park and Ride in Bothell’s technology hub.

Community Transit’s Swift Blue Line has operated on Highway 99 since 2009. The service attracts more than 1.6 million riders a year.

Excavation of the Seaway Transit Center site is expected to begin within the next few weeks. Contractors also will widen and add turn lanes on 75th Street SW.

The $11 million transit center project is funded with a state grant, federal funds and Community Transit funds.

Meanwhile, a compromise budget deal reached by Congress ensures $43.2 million in federal funds will continue to flow to Community Transit to finish the Swift Green Line.

Speaking of the Green Line…

Street Smarts reader P. Tierney, of Mill Creek, worries traffic backups at 164th Street and Highway 527 (Bothell-Everett Highway) will only get worse after Community Transit expands bus stops there to serve the Swift Green Line.

“Cars will not be able to pass when the bus is there and traffic will back up more. If transit would move the stop 60 to 80 feet south, both pedestrians and motorists would be safer and the traffic backup could be reduced,” Tierney wrote.

The location of the bus stop is aimed at safety, Community Transit spokesman Martin Munguia said.

“Locating Swift stations close to the intersection is the safest choice for pedestrians,” Munguia said. “It allows easy transfers to other buses and easy access to local stores and destinations. It also discourages jaywalking.”

About 300 people each day use existing bus stops at that intersection, which is near Mill Creek City Hall and Mill Creek Town Center. The Swift Green Line station is expected to serve more than 600 customers a day when it starts operation.

“Swift buses in Mill Creek will come by every 10 minutes and are only stopped for about 10 seconds at a time,” Munguia added. “That’s just 60 seconds every hour that a (Swift) bus will be at the station.”

Construction of that station and 30 others is pending until a contractor is selected, likely late this summer. The stations are expected to be built between fall 2017 and fall 2018.

Have a question? Email us at streetsmarts@heraldnet.com. Please include your first and last name and city of residence. Look for updates on our Street Smarts blog at www.heraldnet.com/tag/street-smarts.

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