King County Metro is offering West Seattle commuters two months of free vanpooling!

Vanpooling across the Low Bridge is one way to avoid traffic along detour routes! Photo Credit: Tim Durkan.

Summary 

  • If you’re looking to shorten your commute via access to the Low Bridge, save money, share the responsibility of driving, and more, a vanpool group is an efficient and sustainable way to do so.  
  • Metro is offering people commuting to and from West Seattle the opportunity to get the first two months of vanpooling for free from January 4 to March 31, 2021 if you start a new Metro Vanpool with two or more commuters. 
  • Vanpools allow you to share the ride with people you know who share a similar commute–such as neighbors, co-workers, and family members. Per public health guidance, masks are required, all riders agree to regularly wipe down surfaces and to leave as much distance as possible, and windows should remain cracked or down to increase airflow. Metro has also temporarily reduced the minimum number of required riders and provides no-contact van maintenance. 
  • We’re also here to help make changing your commute possible with the new West Seattle and Duwamish Valley Travel Options portal
  • We know not everyone can change the way they commute and live. If you can make a change, you’ll make space for those who cannot because of financial, physical, or other reasons. 

Prior to the West Seattle High-Rise Bridge closure, many people drove on and off the peninsula using the High-Rise Bridge. Now that the bridge is closed, there are not enough travel lanes across the Duwamish to support that same number of cars. So, while we’re doing what we can to make commuting easier and safer until the bridge reopens in 2022, we’re asking you, to the extent you are able, to use methods other than private vehicles to move around. 

So, why not try a King County Metro vanpool if you can? 

If you’re looking to shorten your commute via access to the Low Bridge, save money, share the responsibility of driving, and more, a vanpool group is an efficient and sustainable way to do so. Metro is offering people commuting to and from West Seattle the opportunity to get the first two months of vanpooling for free from January 4 to March 31, 2021 if you start a new Metro Vanpool with two or more commuters! Commuters can be neighbors, co-workers or other people who live and work near you. 

Image that reads: Members working together for a healthy vanpool commute. Icons on left, text on right. Icon: Mask. Text: Wear your mask or face covering. Icon: Spray bottle. Text: Agree to regularly wipe down commonly touched surfaces of your van between trips, and practice good hand hygiene. Icon: Car with tool. Text: Use Metro's no-contact van maintenance to keep your van running smoothly as needed. Icon: Arrow pointing left and right. Text: Leave as much distance as possible between drivers and riders. Icon: Wind. Text: Keep the windows cracked or down to increase airflow when conditions allow.

Metro’s Vanpool Program is prepared to help you get to and from work and stay healthy on your commute. King County Metro Vanpool is adapting during the COVID-19 response and providing flexibility for social distancing and public health recommendations. Metro is supporting the safety and health of riders through fewer riders per van and flexible schedules, and encouraging public health recommendations. (Read our recommendations for staying safe here, too). 

Employers may also help employees match with co-workers by sharing the statewide free ride matching website, Rideshare Online!  

We’re also here to help make changing your commute possible with the new West Seattle and Duwamish Valley Travel Options portal

As we plan and implement the infrastructure projects you helped identify and rank, we are also working on programs that will help you move around the peninsula. The West Seattle and Duwamish Valley Travel Options portal is just a starting point for more resources to come.  

The portal’s six sections provide information about the different modes of transportation people can use to travel to and from West Seattle and the surrounding area: 

  • Walk and roll 
  • Bike and scoot 
  • Transit 
  • Rideshare 
  • Detour drive 
  • Stay local (information coming soon!) 

On the website, if you click on a mode of transportation, you’ll be directed to a page that has trip planning tools, maps, tips for getting around, and other resources that will help you navigate safely and seamlessly using that mode.  

With a little bit of exploring, you can find some unique resources you never knew you needed.

For example, through ridewithgps.com, we’ve linked to maps of specific bike routes to take you from the West Seattle peninsula to other neighborhoods like South Lake Union and Georgetown. Routing videos show you a ground-level view of what you can expect when you’re traveling along these routes. Watch the West Seattle Junction to Downtown video below:

If you’re an employer in the area, you can set up a free Commute Seattle Consultation to help you support your employees with their commutes across the Duwamish. (Speaking of employer solutions: don’t forget that vanpools can go across the Low Bridge – and have bike racks for your multi-modal trip.) 

We are also doing what we can to help people who continue to drive cars and freight trucks, and ride bikes, by updating the markings on the road, adjusting signal timing, and improving road signs. We are working with nearby communities to prioritize projects that will reduce the impact of increased detour traffic; prioritizing transit connections to and from West Seattle; building new bicycle projects; and establishing and improving detour routes. 

We know not everyone can change the way they commute and live. If you can make a change, you’ll make space for those who cannot because of financial, physical, or other reasons. 

Downtown Seattle viewed from the sidewalk. A RapidRide C-Line bus is stopped at a bus stop. People are seen waiting for the bus and boarding the bus.
Riding the RapidRide C-Line from West Seattle to Downtown Seattle is an excellent way to save time and be more sustainable. Not to mention – you might even be able to read a book or get some work done on your trip with the free Wi-Fi! Photo Credit: SDOT Flickr. 

If you currently drive on and off the peninsula but can change your commute, you’ll also: 

  • Contribute to the health and sustainability of your environment by reducing your use of single-occupant vehicles and not idling in traffic. 
  • Make your commute faster and avoid traffic (buses, vanpools, and bikes can use the Low Bridge – so if you’re on the bus, you can take this faster route!) 
  • Protect the health and safety of your neighbors by minimizing private vehicle pollution and the number of vehicles on the road 
  • Lower your stress level by avoiding traffic and making your trip more active.

These changes are even more important as we endure the COVID-19 crisis and look ahead to a post-pandemic world.  

We plan to reopen the bridge in 2022 once repairs are complete, so while these changes aren’t necessary forever, we hope that the bridge closure helps us build more sustainable, safe commuting habits as a city.