New ‘Trailhead Direct’ bus service to popular Mount Si, Teneriffe launches in May, could help ease North Bend road congestion

So Trailhead Direct is going to have a new destination this summer – North Bend. Since the announcement earlier this month, some locals have debated whether the service will help with the notorious congestion on Mt. Si Road as hikers flock to the popular Mount Si and Teneriffe trailheads – or possibly hurt local businesses if those non-local hikers aren’t sticking around to eat and drink when the hike is finished.

This summer will likely bring an answer to the debate.

Trailhead Direct is a pilot program that launched last summer – a 19-seat transit van service that was designed to connect Seattle, Bellevue and Issaquah to hiking destinations along the I-90 corridor. This project is sponsored by King County Parks, Metro’s Community Connections program and Seattle Department of Transportation with the goal of easing vehicle congestion at trailhead parking lots, reduce safety hazards and expand access to hiking destinations along I-90.

The service that operates only on weekends and designated holidays. The Mount Si/Mt. Teneriffe route launches on May 19th and the Mailbox Peak routes is estimated to start in early summer.  Both will offer a pick up at the North Bend Park & Ride.

According to Washington Trails Association, about 900 hikers used the service last summer – about 40 riders a day – with a rider survey showing that a strong majority (91%) thought the service could reduce parking lot congestion, leaving the door open for this summer’s expansion.

This season, the service will operate 19- and 27-seat vans with capacity for two bicycles for each trip. Passengers pay Metro’s standard off-peak adult fare of $2.50 until July, when Metro implements a $2.75 flat fare. Passengers can pay with an ORCA card, Transit Go Mobile ticket, or cash.

The weekend and holiday ONLY routes run from approximately 7AM to 7PM, with pick-ups/drop-offs at each stop every half hour.

According to the county, in early summer, the popular Mailbox Peak trailhead will get Trailhead Direct service from a free satellite parking lot in North Bend.

Trailhead Direct – Issaquah Alps

Service begins: Saturday, April 21st
Start and end point: Mount Baker Transit Center: Rainier Avenue South and South Forest Street, Seattle, WA 98144
Stops: Eastgate Freeway Station, Issaquah Transit Center
Trailheads: Margaret’s Way, Chirico Trail-Poo Poo Point, the High School Trail, and East Sunset Way

Trailhead Direct – Mount Si/Mount Teneriffe

Service begins: Saturday, May 19th
Start and end point: Sound Transit’s Capitol Hill Link Light Rail Station: 140 Broadway E, Seattle, WA 98102
Stops: Broadway and John Street in Seattle, Pine Street and Ninth Avenue in Seattle, Eastgate Freeway Station, North Bend Park & Ride
Trailheads: Mount Si and Mount Teneriffe in North Bend

For more information visit Trailhead Direct

 

Photo: King County

 

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