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Changes to bus schedules planned

"In the coming months commuting might get a little easier for mass transit commuters traveling in and out of Federal Way. The King County Department of Transportation wants area residents to voice their opinion as it considers changing its bus schedules and adding routes to serve a new park and ride lot in the Twin Lakes area. The Twin Lakes lot is scheduled to open next month at 21st Avenue Southwest and Southwest 344th Street.The purpose, said King County Metro Transit Planner Doug Johnson, is to intercept traffic from commuters in the west area of the city and drivers from Northeast Tacoma to lessen traffic congestion on heavily used city roads.Other park and ride lots are fully utilized, he said. This new lot has been in the works for a number of years.New bus routes and revised route schedules are the clincher that Metro officials hope will keep current riders and sway potential riders to take the bus.Bus rider Gary Young, who frequently rides the bus to downtown Seattle because he gets tired of sitting in traffic says any changes that make riding more convenient would be welcome.If they're going to add some afternoon times that would be best, he said. I think that would give people a little more breathing room in terms of times they could catch the bus.Proposed changes to service would include:* Add rush-hour trips to Route 196 between the Twin Lakes park and ride and downtown Seattle. All but three morning trips and all afternoon trips would be extended.* Revise route 176 with service from Convention Place Station. Because of neighborhood concerns of large buses on 26th Avenue Southwest, route 176 would no longer operate on 26th Avenue Southwest, Southwest 327th Street, 35th Avenue Southwest and Southwest 342nd Street. Instead it would operate on Southwest 336th Street, Southwest 340th Street, Hoyt Road Southwest and Southwest 320th Street.* Discontinue route 195 with service between downtown Seattle and the Federal Way park and ride with additional rush-hour trips on route 177. Added northbound route 177 trips would leave the Federal Way park and ride at about 5:30, 5:45 and 8 a.m. Added southbound trips on route 177 would leave Convention Place Station at about 6 and 6:30 p.m.* Revise route 178 to directly serve the new Twin Lakes park and ride. Route 178 now provides rush-hour service in the Mirror Lake area along Southwest 312th Street, South 312 Street and Eight Avenue South. Because of traffic delays, Metro wants to operate the route on First Avenue South instead of Eighth Avenue. The agency says bus drivers have difficulty making a left turn in the afternoons at the intersection of South 312th Street and Eight Avenue South because it does not have a traffic signal.To help communicate service changes Metro officials have planned a town meeting Jan. 18 at Olympic View Elementary School. In addition, transit planners have solicited a questionnaire, which can be submitted online or mailed in. "

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