Buses moving out of downtown

A new transit center may spur affordable home construction

The downtown transit center is moving, opening up more possibilities for activity and development around the Renton Pavilion Event Center and Piazza Park.

Sound Transit is purchasing a new site for the Renton Transit Center, moving the bus hub from downtown to South Grady Way to accommodate its new Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) lines. It’s set to complete in 2024.

The new stop would be at the old Sound Ford property, next to the existing South Renton Park and Ride, at Rainier Avenue South and South Grady Way.

The site was approved by the Sound Transit board to be acquired a couple years ago, knowing the location would get more expensive in the future, Sound Transit Public Information Officer Rachelle Cunningham said. Right now Sound Transit is going through an environmental review and negotiating with the property owner for the purchase.

The BRT service will offer two lines, one goes along Interstate 405 and off State Route 518 into Burien. It has stations from Lynnwood to Bellevue, and Bellevue to Burien.

The South Renton Park and Ride will include 700 parking spaces and connect with King County METRO and local buses. Sound Transit has worked with City of Renton to create a “transit hub” for Renton commuters that moves the bus traffic out of the downtown, Cunningham said.

In Mayor Denis Law’s weekly newsletter, he stated buses will still stop in downtown but moving the transit center will allow for the city to continue its work on converting the one-way streets to two-way streets and possibly expanding Piazza Park into part of South Logan Street.

This will be the only BRT stop that requires the bus to leave the freeway, so Sound Transit is looking at ways to keep the route rapid in that location, like adding a bus-only lane or an intersection signal that allows buses to get a head start.

Cunningham said after station designs, construction will begin in 2023. She said they’re trying to work with the city to align with their vision for the area.

In a recent story on Renton’s growth, City Councilmembers Ryan McIrvin and Randy Corman both said this new transit hub will also be a focused area for new housing, possibly affordable housing as well, and that the transit center will hopefully set the stage for a light rail connection in Renton.

More information on the BRT line is available at soundtransit.org/system-expansion/i-405-BRT.

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