Community Transit recently teamed up with Snohomish County in an attempt to unclog traffic along 164th Street Southwest between Lynnwood...

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Community Transit recently teamed up with Snohomish County in an attempt to unclog traffic along 164th Street Southwest between Lynnwood and Mill Creek.

The idea is to reduce traffic congestion and cut down on passenger-vehicle trips along that street by implementing a campaign that encourages people to use alternative transportation.

Last year, the county declared that 164th Street Southwest had reached “ultimate capacity,” which meant the street could not be widened and the effects of new growth and transportation demands would need to be met in other ways.

While lifting a moratorium on development along the street, the county wanted to create a plan to push the use of buses, car pools, biking and walking during peak commute times.

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The six-year agreement with the county starts this month, and Community Transit hopes to get 100 passenger vehicles off that street during peak times this year, said Community Transit spokesman Martin Munguia. The program will be evaluated annually to see if the goals should change for the next year.

Educating people about transit and offering incentives, such as subsidies for the cost of riding buses or van pools, will be part of the program.

Community Transit also plans to purchase 23 double-decker buses — dubbed Double Talls here — for its daily commuter runs from Snohomish County to Seattle and put them into service in 2010.

The agency said the number of its passengers last year rose by 10 percent to 11 million trips, and the new coaches will help accommodate the growing number of passengers.

Last August, Community Transit put a double-decker bus into regular service for a year to study how it did and how well people liked it. This year, the transit board requested an $8 million federal grant to go toward the purchase of the new Double Tall fleet, which would cost $18 million total, said Munguia.

The Double Tall buses, meant to replace 60-foot articulated buses that are nearing the end of their service life, take up less space on the road while transporting more passengers, Community Transit said.

The double-decker bus has 70 seats plus standing room, versus the agency’s regular articulated 40-passenger buses.

Christina Siderius: 425-745-7813 or csiderius@seattletimes.com