In the Hall

Under the Bus


You're absolutely right (for all the good it'll do), Erica. Not only did the County Council decide not to increase bus service to the Columbia City light rail line - remember, this is supposed to be a reconfiguration of bus routes to take advantage of new light rail service - but they actually cut the frequency of the 39 from 30 minutes to 45 minutes. Seriously!

At the same time, they cut the 7 Express and the 34 Express in half. This was done theoretically in recognition of light rail being a much better option to downtown. Well, hard to see the improvement if you can get to/from the station except every 45 minutes. Walking 1.1 miles in the dark, the rain, and through a still-sketchy neighborhood isn't very appealing.

Seward Park, Columbia City, Hillman City, Lakewood commuters are screwed by light rail not helped.
i guess we have to cater to all dont we? well, i guess you do leave out those that live in north seattle, cause light rail sure dont go out that far does it?

Oh snap #2! Light rail may not go to North Seattle (yet, sorry, couldn't build it all at once) but SE Seattle (and SW King County) are the only areas with reductions and cuts in bus service. They claimed that all the cuts were duplicative (eg the 42, running along MLK) but they're reducing the frequency of the 39 which provides some of the very limited east-west connectivity in the southend. The lightrail isn't very accessible to people living in the Rainier corridor and east of that (F U Seward Park). They're also cutting off the 48 at the Mountbaker light rail station. So now, to get to the U-district from the southend, you've got to take a bus to the light rail (unless you live in walking distance from one of the stops), take the light rail for 1-3 stops, and transfer to the 48. Or do the same but transfer to a bus to the U-district downtown. Why is it easier and faster to get to UW on public transit from Redmond/Bellevue/Issaquah than anywhere in the southend?
A couple of points:
1) "Additionally, ACRS is located right between two light-rail stops, each about a five-minute walk away." Yes, it's true, it is about a five-minutes walk, assuming that the person is young and able-bodied. Much of ACRS' concern were the elderly and disabled who frequently visit the agency (and are not served by the Hyde shuttle) - that five-minutes walk, combined with very poor lighting, a new, silent train system and speeding drivers, does not make for save conditions.
2) "a human-services agency on Martin Luther King Jr. Way South with $17 million in annual revenue." Actually, the most recent annual report lists the agency's revenue at about $10 million. But, hey, what's a $7 million dollar typo?
3) "The 42 exactly parallels the light-rail line." The 42 replicates part of the route, but other important factors are completely ignored in this statement. The 42 is the only bus providing service from the ID directly to ACRS and bus lines will still be more affordable than the light rail. For low-income individuals who rely on public transportation, this does make a difference.
4) "The most immediate losers were people who ride the Route 60 (from Capitol Hill to Georgetown) and the Route 9 (between Columbia City and Capitol Hill)." Actually, because these people are still retaining the same amount of service, they really aren't losing at all. And the 42 isn't being maintained exactly as it stands now; only the portion from Pioneer Square to the Columbia City station, and it will run only once an hour from 8am-6pm.

As "a Southeast Seattle resident with a keen interest in improving bus service in the area," perhaps you should consider your own role as a "squeaky wheel" in reporting only the facts which serve your case.
Erica, you hit the nail on the head. Metro did a terrible job laying the groundwork for what should have been a total no-brainer: delete Route 42. After all, light rail cost what, $2.1 BILLION and the 42 does follow the EXACT SAME ALIGNMENT!?!? So "we" keep the 42 running to satisfy a tiny group that would, in fact, have continued to have bus service (route 48, soon to be replaced with route 8) right at their front door, connecting directly to Link for the teeny-tiny number of non-able-bodied folks who actually cannot walk five blocks to the station. Voters need to note that it was Executive Candidate Larry Phillips who nudged Metro into the idiot column on their planning spreadsheets. Ridiculous.

Metro was so utterly clueless in their dealings with ACRS it is unbelievable. At the same time they are shopping around scenarios that would cut some 50,000 daily riders from the Seattle part of their system. Total, utter incompetence on the part of Metro management and their King County "leaders". And I'm not easily riled up.
Or, instead of complaining, we could try and come up with a new idea based on the (alleged) giant turd that metro seems to have dropped on SE seattle residents.

There were supposed to be service boosts, to work with the new light rail. But, a few people complained that their buildings weren't served by light rail and that the old people that used those buildings were going to have to walk, or (pardon the morbid cliche) die trying.

Option 1. Complain until Metro caves to the needs of the few over the needs of quite a few more. (Check.)

Option 2. If it's so goddamn dangerous to walk a quarter mile (literally. It's like 4 blocks to the mt. baker station, at Rainier and MLK S.), then make it un-dangerous. Give a few crosswalks a fresh coat of paint, fix up sidewalks with those wheelchair ramps, re-time a few traffic lights, and there you go. Throw in an occasional beat cop or patrol car, and you're golden. (Counterpoint: This isn't Metro's problem, nor is it Sound Transit's. This one falls to SDOT, the idle bystander to this clusterfuck.)

Option 3. Tell the VA to shut the fuck up and buy an Astrovan. (American-made for posterity, if desired.) According to the demigods at google maps, the VA is also served -- at its very front door, no less -- by the also-condemned route 60 and some night-owl service from the 36. The columbia city light rail station is at MLK and S Alaska - less then a mile down columbian way. Put a sign at the platform with a phone number. Or just run a shuttle every 15 minutes to the station. That's what a reasonable place does when the new train system doesn't plunk down a station in the building lobby.
i'm hard-pressed to understand why everyone is so up in arms about the city deciding to maintain the 39, which is the only route with consistent front-door service to the VA. (yes, the ONLY one. neither the 36 nor the 60 go into the facility itself.) the 36 and the 60 stop at the end of the facility driveway, which is quite a ways, and a long hill, from the front door. wheelchair and other disabled passengers should not be required to make that journey. and anyone who suggests that it's simple thing for a wheelchair passenger to do that, or to just "jump in a shuttle" to get to their nearest bus or light rail stop (which would have to be paid for by the VA which, i dare say, can scarcely afford to funnel any more money away from patient treatment) has a cold, cold heart.
The 42 also goes up 51st from Rainier Ave to the top of the hill, by the old Rainier View Elementary. There are people all up and down this hill who rely on that bus. From the top of the hill, it's two miles down to the closest bus stop -- and two miles up if you live up here. This service was not going to be replaced after the 42 was cut. If lived up on the hill and didn't have a car, it sucked to be you. If you didn't have a car and either had kids, were elderly, or were disabled, it sucked even more.

I wouldn't have minded it if they'd made the 42 go essentially along the southern half of the route and then drop it by the light-rail -- lord knows I'm not able to take my car to the light-rail stop and park it for a few hours to take the train downtown. But there are people who would have been badly impacted. I'm glad they kept it.
with sound transit's budget, you'd think maybe they would have talked to some folks about this before wasting billions on reinventing the wheel.
Oooohhhh that's annoying.

The 60 is such a nightmare.

Ummm, NM, the Route 60 does too in fact serve the VA's front door. Every daytime trip does an expensive, time-consuming loop in to and out of he VA's long driveway, right to their front door. Check it out yourself at…

A good question to ask is why do agencies like the VA and ACRS design their facilities to be so hard to serve with transit? The VA could just as easily, perhaps more easily, designed its facility with its front door on Columbian Way, where the transit could serve directly without expensive detours.

ACRS knew where the light rail stations were going to go, before they built their new facility. They chose cheap property over better transit access. And remember, Sound Transit rebuilt the entirety of MLK, including brand new sidewalks connecting ACRS directly to the nearby rail stations. Sidewalks complete with curb ramps, new traffic signals with pedestrian pushbuttons, new streetlighting, the works. In short, there are NO impediments for pedestrians on that street any more.