April 22, 2024 1:37 pm

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Community Transit’s Swift Orange Line now open for business, on time and under budget

LYNNWOOD—Community Transit launched its new Swift Orange line with a ribbon cutting ceremony at Lynnwood Transit Center on Saturday, March 30. The Swift Orange Line is an 11-mile Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) expansion that connects Edmonds College in Lynnwood to McCollum Park & Ride in Mill Creek with stops at Lynnwood Transit Center, Alderwood Mall, Ash Way Park & Ride and Mill Creek Town Center.

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Swift Orange Line ribbon cutting ceremony at Lynnwood Transit Center on Saturday, March 30, 2024. SOURCE: Lynnwood Times | Mario Lotmore.

“You cannot have a big-league economy with little league infrastructure. Thanks in part to historic federal investments, Community Transit is expanding high-quality service to connect residents to jobs, school, the store, recreational opportunities and more,” said Rep. Rick Larsen, Ranking Democrat on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

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Representative Rick Larsen (WA-02) at the Swift Orange Line ribbon cutting ceremony at Lynnwood Transit Center on Saturday, March 30, 2024. SOURCE: Lynnwood Times | Mario Lotmore.

The new rapid bus service will also act as a premier bus-to-light rail connection in Snohomish County when the Link light rail extends to Lynnwood later this year. The bus also connects to the Zip Alderwood Shuttle, Swift Blue and Green Lines, Interurban and North Creek Trail, and other local and regional bus routes.

The Orange Line joins a network of rapid transit lines in Community Transit’s system including the Blue Line, that runs from Aurora Village Transit Center in Shoreline to Everett Station, and the Green Line—that will be expanding in 2028 to run from Canyon Park & Ride in Bothell to Seaway Transit Center in Mukilteo—and the upcoming Gold Line, that will connect Everett Station to the Smokey Point Transit Center in Arlington starting 2027.

Community Transit’s BRT schedule will have buses arriving every 10 to 20 minutes, depending on the time of day. Signal priority technology and bus lanes keep Swift buses running quickly through traffic to usher its users to their destination more efficiently.

Marko Liias
Chair of the State Transportation Committee, Senator Marko Liias (D-Edmonds) at the Swift Orange Line ribbon cutting ceremony at Lynnwood Transit Center on Saturday, March 30, 2024. SOURCE: Lynnwood Times | Mario Lotmore.

“Everyone deserves reliable, affordable transportation and when the mobility of our community increases, we see our economy grow and thrice right along with it,” said Senator Marko Liias who chairs the Senate Transportation Committee. “I am passionate about expanding public transportation in Snohomish County and the Swift Orange Line is especially exciting because it means everyone will have the opportunity to get around more efficiently, no matter what their circumstances are.”

At Saturday morning’s event, dignitaries, community members, elected officials, and members of the Community Transit board gathered in honor of this momentous occasion before heading off to a Block Party celebration at Edmonds College.

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Community Transit CEO Ric Ilgenfritz at the Swift Orange Line ribbon cutting ceremony at Lynnwood Transit Center on Saturday, March 30, 2024. SOURCE: Lynnwood Times | Mario Lotmore.

Notable attendees included Federal Transportation Administration Acting Administrator Veronica Vanterpool, members of Washington’s federal delegation Representatives Rick Larsen (WA-02), Suzan DelBene (WA-01), and Kim Schrier (WA-08), Washington State Secretary of Transportation Roger Millar, Chair of the State Transportation Committee, Senator Marko Liias, State Representatives April Berg (D-Mill Creek) and Brandy Donaghy (D-Snohomish), State Representative and Snohomish County Councilman Sam Low (R-Lake Stevens) and Strom Peterson (D-Edmonds), Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers, Lynnwood Mayor Christine Frizzell, Mukilteo Mayor Joe Marine, Mountlake Terrace Mayor Kyoko Matsumoto Wright, Mill Creek Mayor Brian Holtzclaw, Snohomish County Sheriff Susanna Johnson, Snohomish County Executive Policy Officer Stephanie Wright, and Lynnwood City Councilmembers George Hurst, Julieta Altamirano-Crosby, David Parshall, Nick Coelho, and Shirley Sutton.

Veronica Vanterpool
Federal Transportation Administration Acting Administrator Veronica Vanterpool at the Swift Orange Line ribbon cutting ceremony at Lynnwood Transit Center on Saturday, March 30, 2024. SOURCE: Lynnwood Times | Mario Lotmore.

“Providing high-quality, frequent transit service is the best way we know to get people where they need to go faster so they can work, visit family, receive healthcare and shop,” said FTA Acting Administrator Veronica Vanderpool whose agency supported the project with $68 million in grants. “President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is making projects like the Swift Orange Line possible wall over our country, and I’m so happy to be in Snohomish County to help make this new route a reality.”

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The Swift Orange Line received $68 million from federal funds, including $37.2 million from Capital Investment Grant funds. Lynnwood Times | Mario Lotmore.

“The new BRT will be helpful for all the working communities,” Councilwoman Altamirano-Crosby told the Lynnwood Times. “I want to thank our federal delegation, Representatives Laren and DelBene and all the hard work from the Community Transit team who are making Lynnwood a major transit hub.”

Community Transit CEO Ric Ilgenfritz was first to speak noting that 2024 will be a “huge year for transit in the Pacific Northwest” and he is excited to kick things off with the opening of the Swift Orange Line.

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Lynnwood Mayor Christine Frizzell at the Swift Orange Line ribbon cutting ceremony at Lynnwood Transit Center on Saturday, March 30, 2024. SOURCE: Lynnwood Times | Mario Lotmore.

Lynnwood Mayor Christine Frizzell didn’t have far to travel, she said, walking to Edmonds College from her house Saturday morning and catching one of Community Transit’s newest electric buses to the Lynnwood Transit Center. Mayor Frizzell who is also a Community Transit Board member added that she looks forward to the expanded transportation service linking community members to vital resources such as jobs, education, and health care.

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State Representative and Snohomish County Councilman Strom Peterson (D-Edmonds) and Mountlake Terrace Mayor Kyoko Matsumoto Wright at the Swift Orange Line ribbon cutting ceremony at Lynnwood Transit Center on Saturday, March 30, 2024. SOURCE: Lynnwood Times | Mario Lotmore.

“It’s exciting to see all of the partners come together to really strengthen what we have in the community in South Snohomish County,” Rep. Strom Peterson told the Lynnwood Times adding that he’s looking forward to taking the bus up to Everett on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

“Lynnwood is a regional city and this firmly plants us at the center of Snohomish County in many ways. With Light Rail opening up soon, everyone is going to be pouring into town. It is going to be good for housing and quality of life…I am excited,” Councilman Nick Coelho told the Lynnwood Times.

The Swift Orange Line was an $83 million project that received $68 million from federal funds, including $37.2 million from Capital Investment Grant funds and $6.5 million of American Rescue Plan stimulus funding. The project also received $5 million as part of the Connecting Washington package. An additional $10 million came from local sales tax approved by voters.

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Representative April Berg (D-Mill Creek) and Lynnwood Council President George Hurst at the Swift Orange Line ribbon cutting ceremony at Lynnwood Transit Center on Saturday, March 30, 2024. SOURCE: Lynnwood Times | Mario Lotmore.

Not only was the project completed on time and under budget, it also actually opened earlier than projected with original plans to open in October. Community Transit made the decision to open early so as not to interfere with the launch of the Lynnwood Link light rail extension in the fall.

Riders of the Swift Orange Line can expect upgraded features including 13 stops with rain shelters, additional seating, improved lighting, and real-time arrival and departure signage. Service begins at 4:15 a.m. on weekdays, 6 a.m. on Saturdays, and 7 a.m. on Sundays.

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Community Transit Board Chair and City of Snohomish Council President Tom Merrill at the Swift Orange Line ribbon cutting ceremony at Lynnwood Transit Center on Saturday, March 30, 2024. SOURCE: Lynnwood Times | Mario Lotmore.

“We are eagerly looking forward to Link light rail arriving in Lynnwood later this year where it will connect with Swift service,” said Community Transit Board Chair and City of Snohomish Council President Tom Merrill. “With it comes opportunity — with light rail in place we can improve local service for our residents by redeploying the nearly one third of our service currently dedicated to commuting to downtown Seattle.”

Pictures from the Swift Orange Line Event

Gallery not found.

FEATURED IMAGE: Courtesy of Community Transit

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