Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Photo tour: Sound Transit’s Link light rail construction in Snohomish County

With updated health and safety procedures in place to address COVID-19 concerns, construction of Sound Transit’s Link light rail extension into Snohomish County has progressed throughout the spring and early summer.

Please see below updated photos from work building the future light rail stations in Mountlake Terrace and Lynnwood, as well as earthwork along the future track route. To learn more about the Lynnwood Link Extension project and its 2024 opening, you can visit Sound Transit’s project page here: Lynnwood Link Extension

Concrete columns to support the future Mountlake Terrace station. The earthwork in the upper left of the image will eventually be a temporary parking lot and bus loop during light rail station construction.  
Concrete columns being poured to support the future Mountlake Terrace station.

Looking south at concrete columns to support the future elevated light rail tracks.

A rendering of the future Mountlake Terrace light rail station at the Mountlake Terrace Transit Center, looking south.
(Courtesy Sound Transit)

The light rail tracks will cross I-5 just north of the current Mountlake Terrace Transit Center Freeway Station (seen in the background), which is currently closed for this construction. This view is looking south from the 228th St SW bridge.

The light rail tracks will come from the left (south) side of this image, cross to the west side of I-5, on the right, and then travel north to the Lynnwood City Center station at the Lynnwood Transit Center.

Column and foundation work to support the future light rail tracks.
Looking north along the west side of I-5 from the 228th St SW bridge.

Future light rail path along the west side of I-5, looking south from 212th St SW.


Column and support work for the future Lynnwood City Center station at the Lynnwood Transit Center.

Column and support work for the future Lynnwood City Center station at the Lynnwood Transit Center.

Support columns on the northeast side of the Lynnwood Transit Center.
A rendering of the future Lynnwood City Center light rail station, at the current Lynnwood Transit Center
(Courtesy Sound Transit)
A panorama from the Interurban Trail showing the scale of the future Lynnwood City Center light rail station.

Friday, June 19, 2020

Community Transit driver featured on Amazon Prime's Regular Heroes program

Community Transit bus driver Tiffany Underwood appears on the Amazon Prime Video program Regular Heroes in an episode released today. The series highlights the stories of essential workers on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Each episode of the eight-part series, which premiered in May, follows three essential workers who go above and beyond to serve their communities during the pandemic.

Amazon Prime Video promo shot of CT Driver Tiffany Underwood

Tiffany has been driving essential workers and others throughout Snohomish County and to the University District. She's currently assigned as an extra-board driver, meaning she gets different route assignments each day based on work needed.

Filming of this segment took place in early June
The program captures the heart-tugging story of her role as a bus driver during the pandemic while caring for her teen daughter and other family members who live outside of her home.

Tiffany is especially excited for people to learn about what a day in the life of a driver is like. "I take so much pride in my job, so I was really thrilled to be part of this experience and so was my daughter Kipani," she said.

This episode also features Country music singer Brad Paisley who gifts each of the three featured heroes with special donations. Previous episodes have featured Alicia Keys, Nick Jonas and other stars.

Episode six of Regular Heroes premieres on Amazon Prime Video today. Watch a preview below.




Thursday, June 18, 2020

Agencies Partner on Pop-Up Event for Unsheltered Riders


Community Transit temporarily suspended the collection of fares in March and asked all riders to board and exit through the middle and rear doors. This was done to allow for physical distancing to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as recommended by public health officials.

During this time, we saw an increase in “non-destination” riders, many of whom shared with us that they were unsheltered and did not have access to hand-washing facilities, sanitizer or face coverings.
Riders heading to a bus after receiving hygiene kits

To support the health of these and all our transit riders, several agencies joined Community Transit to host a "pop-up" event at Everett Station in May to connect unsheltered people to community resources and personal protection equipment. The event was held in a parking lot close to Everett Station where agencies had set up pop-up tents.

People who stopped by the event were offered health screenings, information resources on shelter and food, hygiene kits (including face coverings and hand sanitizer), and information on ORCA LIFT, the reduced transit fare program available to income-eligible residents. Participants were also provided information on how to ride transit safely during the pandemic.

Community Transit employees made contact with more than 60 unsheltered people, and directed many of them from our buses to the outreach area.

Community partners included staff from the Snohomish Health District, City of Everett (Everett Transit and SAFE Team members), and Snohomish County (Emergency Management, Human Services, and Sheriff's Office).

We are evaluating the need for more pop-up events in the future. Meanwhile, fares on all Community Transit service resume July 1 and the agency will continue to support transit safety for our riders and employees.


 
Hygiene kits included face coverings and sanitizer 

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Message From CEO Emmett Heath: Our Commitment to Each Other and to Our Core Values


Community Transit Colleagues,
I am sending this on behalf of myself and our entire leadership team.
This past week we have witnessed a passionate response across the nation and within the communities we serve to a pervasive, persistent and destructive pattern of systemic injustice. The death of George Floyd is the most recent tragedy of the injustice of racism and the abuse of power. Intolerance in general, and intolerance toward African Americans in particular, is perpetuating a loathsome practice of racism and inequity for African Americans in this country. Together with the family, friends, and community, we mourn the unjust death of George Floyd.
Many within the communities we serve may be experiencing pain, grief, and mental and emotional fatigue. We want to acknowledge that there is an additional layer of stress, fear, trauma and perhaps a feeling of the need to bury these feelings and go about business as usual for African American people in our community. To those feeling this way, we see you and we acknowledge your pain.
At Community Transit, we are committed to bringing together and supporting employees and community members of every race and background. This commitment is outlined very clearly through our Core Values, most notably Equity & Inclusion and Mutual Respect.
Our goal is to serve all in our community equitably. We respect, value and celebrate our employees and our customers as unique individuals with equal worth. As a service provider, we consistently seek opportunities to better meet the needs of all in our workforce and in our community so they may reach their full potential. As an employer, we are deeply committed to equal opportunity and do not tolerate discrimination in any form in our workplaces.
For all of our employees, please remember that we have Employee Engagement staff ready to listen and an Employee Assistance Program that provides emotional, financial and legal support for all our employees and dependents. Please reach out if you need help.
You have my commitment and that of the entire leadership team that we will continue to work to ensure each and every one of our employees and the community members we serve feels supported and respected at all times. We will use our Core Values to guide us as we seek to listen, to understand, and to do better.  We can always do better. We are learning and are always open to feedback. We are here for each and every one of you. As you may engage in discussion and reflection in the coming days, please model our Core Values as we work together to make progress toward an ever more equitable future for all. Thank you.
Emmett Heath 
Chief Executive Officer

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Transit ridership patterns in Snohomish County during COVID-19

Across Snohomish County our agency tracks transit ridership in real time, allowing a view into how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted transit use. Two weeks into Governor Jay Inslee’s “Stay Healthy, Stay Home” proclamation, overall ridership on buses had decreased by approximately 70 percent.

Since April 1, ridership levels have remained steady at about 11,000 riders (29% of normal levels) each weekday, 7,500 (60% of normal levels) on Saturdays and 6,000 (67% of normal levels) on Sundays.

However, looking at our ridership levels map which compares February 2020 to April 2020, the decreases in ridership vary widely across our county. According to Roland Behee, Community Transit’s Director of Planning, the changes in ridership correspond to different ridership groups and the types of service available in each area.

Ridership map during COVID-19
Click to enlarge
I asked Roland for some insights into the patterns we’re seeing in transit use during this unprecedented time.

What routes have seen the lowest change in ridership?

Our Swift Bus Rapid Transit and rural routes have maintained the highest percentage of ridership. Prior on-board surveys and socioeconomic analysis have found that rural routes serve areas with limited travel options that can be supportive of transit ridership. Swift service, on the other hand, runs through areas of higher population density with many popular destinations along the corridors. We also know that many Swift riders in the past have reported that many do not own cars, so it remains a very convenient travel mode with more frequent service than other routes.

What about ridership on routes that connect to our core, higher-frequency service?

With the service reductions, Community Transit has tried to maintain service coverage so individuals in all of our communities can still use transit to meet their essential needs. Moreover, many of these routes allow transfers to and from our Swift service, which remains at almost 10-minute frequencies and provides access to some of the County’s most popular areas.

And what about commuter-focused routes to King County?

Since the University of Washington closed and many downtown Seattle workers have been asked to work from home, these routes have seen the biggest difference compared to normal ridership levels. Even now, though, we know people need to travel to fulfill their essential roles and we’re seeing approximately 425 riders per day traveling on these routes. It’s important to remember that we are accommodating for physical distancing on our buses and providing options for riders may not have any other way to get to their employment, go food shopping, or pick up their children from childcare. Moving forward we’re looking at options for service to match ridership demand while always keeping the safety of our customers and drivers as our number one priority.

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Washington State’s phased reopening plan will likely result in incremental increases in transit use. Please subscribe to rider alerts or follow us on social media for updates about possible changes in service levels. For more information on our actions responding to COVID-19, please visit our dedicated page: Community Transit Coronavirus updates.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Snohomish County Food Resources

There are many people in our community that face challenges putting food on the table.
Food distribution centers and food banks aid individuals and families in preventing hunger by providing free food items to be prepared at home.
Washington Food Needs
·       1 in 5 children live in a household that struggles to put food on the table.
·       1 in 5 Washingtonians rely on their local food bank.
·       Washington is the 23rd hungriest state in the nation.
Due to COVID-19, some people in our community may be visiting a food bank for the first time. During uncertain times, challenges preventing hunger can feel intensified. To help with this challenge we’ve gathered some community resources to help the fight against hunger:
If you or someone you know is in need of food, please contact Snohomish County Food Bank Coalition for information about the 21 food banks located within Snohomish County.

There are also many school district-related food distribution sites for students and anyone under the age of 18, at no cost, in Snohomish County. Those locations are listed here: Snohomish County School Districts are Offering Meals at no cost for Children at many locations.

The City of Everett and Snohomish County are leading a regional effort to recruit volunteers to assist at food banks and meal distribution sites throughout Everett and Snohomish County. If you are in the position to give back to your community and volunteer for a local food bank, please visit: https://everettwa.gov/formcenter/emergency-management-21/2020-volunteer-for-local-food-banks-and--326.

Community Transit has several bus routes that are within walking distance of food banks in Snohomish County. For a list and the bus routes to get to them, please visit: https://www.communitytransit.org/foodbanks.




Friday, April 10, 2020

In Their Own Words: I am an Essential Worker Who Depends on Public Transit


We read all the comments we receive on social media, email and phone calls. A month into #StayHomeStaySafe during this time of COVID-19, this comment caught our eye:


When we saw that, we reached out to Melanie. Here are her words:

"I have used Community Transit for the last three years; at first it was confusing and scary for this now almost 55-year-old.

Melanie Wentz
Thanks to your wonderful drivers, I now navigate five days a week (and sometimes more) successfully! I can even go to Puyallup and Tacoma on an enjoyable bus ride (seems like an adventure!) to visit family.

I work at Haggens in Lake Stevens and I'm a cashier. Your drivers are thoughtful and take good care of me-- without them I couldn't keep my job. I've worked for Haggens since 1997. It's like my second home. Without Community Transit, I wouldn't have my job.

Again, thank you for taking care of me during this time and during normal times. You are amazing!”
~ Melanie Wentz

Thank you, Melanie, for trusting us to get you to work.

Do you rely on public transit to get to your essential service job? Please share your experience by commenting below.