Luna Park businesses say RapidRide parking removal could kill them

December 2, 2010 at 12:11 pm | In Luna Park, Transportation, West Seattle news | 58 Comments

(From the RapidRide C Line route map)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Imagine West Seattle without the art glass of Avalon Glassworks, the “salubrious” beverages of Java Bean Coffee, the burgers of Luna Park Café, and the rest of the Luna Park business district.

That’s what the businesses’ proprietors warn could happen if the forthcoming Metro RapidRide “C Line” takes away Avalon Way street parking nearby – as is currently planned – a risk they say is even more dire in their area than in The Triangle, where related fears have surfaced.

The Luna Park district merchants have been talking with Metro over the past few months, without convincing them to preserve the parking, so now they’re taking their concerns to the community at large. Wednesday morning, we were invited to sit in on their monthly merchants’ meeting, which also included businesspeople dealing with related RapidRide-parking-removal concerns in The Triangle, as well as three county reps.

The meeting packed the back section of Luna Park Café, with about a dozen businesspeople, including three from The Triangle (which has voiced its own RapidRide concerns) as well as West Seattle Chamber of Commerce board chair Jerome Cohen (whose law office is in the heart of The Junction). They discussed their concerns for about 20 minutes before three county delegates started arriving – transportation specialist Chris Arkills from King County Executive Dow Constantine‘s office, and Jack Lattemann and Paul Roybal from Metro. (Another government representative was there, Christine Alar from SDOT.)

The major concern for the merchants along Avalon Way, just south of the West Seattle Bridge is this: The RapidRide bus service, scheduled to replace the 54 in September 2012, is supposed to have a dedicated lane heading northbound down Avalon to the bridge. Though there had been some community sentiment to route it along Fauntleroy, the King County Council approved the Alaska-to-35th-to-Avalon-to-The-Bridge route two years ago, and as was noted today, it would take a vote by six of the nine councilmembers to change that.

To create the bus lane along Avalon, the street parking across Avalon from the Luna Park businesses would go away.

“We’ll be an island,” declared Avalon Glassworks’ Shannon Felix as the meeting began, “if that access is gone. … This (neighborhood) is going to revert to what it was 20 years ago.”

“I’m really nervous right now,” the block’s major landowner, John Bennett, picked up from there. “We need to build up our defenses and get a plan going … That’s 80 percent of my parking.” He turned to the proprietors of Avalon, the new restaurant taking over the former Café Revo on the block. “You’ll be out of business before you even start,” Bennett warned them. Later, he and others pointed out the small business district already has barely enough spaces to deal with their needs: “If anything, we want MORE parking” (than currently exists).

Bennett had invited another journalist to the gathering, Seattle Times columnist Nicole Brodeur, and noted that his acquaintance with her dated back to a battle in another neighborhood where he has significant holdings, Georgetown, over location of a transfer station there (here’s a column from 2006), a community campaign in which he recalled learning that just saying you don’t want something isn’t good enough.

It was revealed during the meeting that Metro has been meeting with the merchants’ group for several months – this was the sixth meeting, the county reps pointed out. However, Avalon Glassworks’ Felix told us afterward that every alternative the merchants proposed was ultimately shot down.

During the back-and-forth of the meeting, while the Metro reps said they would “take a look at (the situation) again,” there were no promises. Executive’s office rep Arkills said that the issue of changing the route from Avalon to Fauntleroy would be difficult to say the least, and, he observed that Fauntleroy had been found to have other problems as a potential route, including a lack of connectivity with the much-used transfer point at 35th/Avalon.

The business owners stressed they weren’t opposed to buses or even RapidRide. Said Bennett, “We all agree we need rapid transit – but if we’re going to do this, why don’t we do it right?” He went on to suggest that would mean above-grade or underground transit, rather than buses, and briefly lamented the loss of the once-planned monorail.

That’s unrealistic, suggested Metro’s Lattemann, after Patrick North of Mary North Travel in The Triangle suggested that business closures resulting from parking loss in his district and Luna Park would lead to “blight.” Lattemann said, “I disagree about blight. We’re heading into a future where we simply have to rely less on cars. This [RapidRide] is the biggest transit improvement that West Seattle is going to see this generation. There’s no money for light rail [etc.] …” Lattemann suggested that ultimately, RapidRide would be a boon for Luna Park businesses: “This area will be known as one of the areas that’s easy to get to by bus.”

The county delegation did offer one alternative they said would preserve 15 parking spaces: Eliminating the left-turn lane between Yancy and Bradford. They acknowledged that still means drivers would have a block-long hike to the major Luna Park businesses. They also suggested another look to see if every possible parking space already had been squeezed out of the streets on the west side of Avalon (Bennett insisted there’s nothing left to squeeze, and “we’re already short parking NOW”).

Also discussed: Could the left-turn lane be completely removed? No, said SDOT’s Alar, since their studies indicated that would increase crashes about 30 percent. What about making the bus lane weekdays only, or even morning rush hour only (given that’s the time the buses would need to jump the northbound to-the-bridge queue to truly resemble “rapid”)? Neither generated much enthusiasm among the business owners, with morning being busy for both Luna Park Café’s breakfast business and vital to Java Bean’s coffee business. Not that either would necessarily work for the county’s goals, either, Metro reps warned; they ultimately said a new traffic/parking analysis would be in order, since the one used to draw up the current plan was done in 2007.

Adding insult to injury, in the businesses’ view, is the fact there’s no RapidRide stop planned in their area – the nearest one is uphill at Yancy (stops are marked with circles on the route map). According to Roybal, that’s so the people living in the high-density residential area centered on Avalon/Genesee can choose either to head toward Yancy, or in the other direction toward 35th. It was also confirmed that RapidRide isn’t stopping by the Park-and-Ride lot under the West Seattle Bridge, either, which led to some head-scratching. And a sore subject from the past briefly re-emerged – the 2007 removal of the crosswalk by Java Bean.

The meeting ran an hour and a half, with no resolution at the end. Avalon Glassworks’ Felix told WSB afterward that she hasn’t given up hope yet, saying the meeting represented a bit of progress. “I didn’t even think [the county reps] would come.” But she’s also not viewing their attendance through, shall we say, rose-colored glass, contending they have only “given us lip service” to previously proposed alternatives.

She also reiterated that the Luna Park businesses face a different challenge than those in The Triangle, where there is access from multiple directions – for her district, however Avalon goes, they go. (And indeed, regarding The Triangle, Metro’s Roybal said that recent discussions had indicated they might be able to get by without a bus lane between 35h and Fauntleroy after all – design for that area is just beginning.)

NEXT STEPS: The Metro reps promised to pursue a new traffic analysis, and to keep coming to the Avalon merchants’ meetings. The merchants, for their part, suggested a show of force at Mayor McGinn’s West Seattle town-hall meeting/community forum tonight (6 pm, Youngstown Cultural Arts Center) to voice their concerns on a larger stage. Asked what else they could do, Arkills suggested they could set up meetings with individual County Council members. Another meeting regarding RapidRide concerns in The Triangle is planned in January, with both merchants and residents. Meanwhile, construction of the Rapid Ride facilities – including bus stops and shelters – is scheduled to start next year, with the C Line service itself launching in September 2012; the county has said it will convene a new series of West Seattle public meetings next year to talk about what other Metro service changes might be in order once RapidRide is running.

58 Comments

  1. I agree that parking is already tight over there – there have been a few times I’ve headed over there for dinner but could not find parking, especially after Revo opened. When that happens, I go elsewhere, and I’m sure I’m not the only person who has done that.

    Comment by Sue — 12:28 pm December 2, 2010 #

  2. I’m all for buses if they work for people, but will be a LOOOOOOOOOOOONG time (like not in my lifetime) in the future when it will make sense for my family of four to take the bus instead of driving to businesses like Luna Park Cafe.

    That sucks for all of these businesses being affected. And I shudder to think of the parking situation at the Y if parking on Alaska is removed.

    Comment by west seattle person — 12:30 pm December 2, 2010 #

  3. I know it will hurt those businesses. I do not go there often as it is because of the lack of parking. Who does the studies for Metro anyway? Do they consider everyone?

    Comment by deb — 12:34 pm December 2, 2010 #

  4. More importantly, how old is the study that Metro is relying on? The business culture for the Triangle and for Avalon has changed and the residential nature of both Alaska Street and Avalon is significantly more residential in nature as well. Looks like Metro is relying on the 10 year old data collected for the monorail, not reality as it is today. Move Rapid Ride back to the arterial Fauntleroy Way after it leaves the Junction and send it directly over the high bridge. Let bus riders decide if they continue to take their 54 or 54 express as it is now or walk a couple of blocks further for a “Rapid Ride” to downtown.

    Comment by junction profile — 1:03 pm December 2, 2010 #

  5. That’s too bad for those businesses fighting for their livelihood…and I love burgers at Luna Park Cafe.

    It’s so frustrating to watch…

    The transit system in Seattle is completely in the ‘Dark Ages.”

    When will they learn that putting so much emphasis on the bus system will not solve anything. They’re slow (contributing to congestion during high traffic volumes), unreliable, take up space (such as the elimination of parking spaces), and in some places unsafe.

    Until this city starts to put some real resources into a commuter train system like the bay area’s BART system in California, the general public will still overwhelmingly prefer to drive their vehicles and the city will become increasingly closed off and less thought of as a hub of puget sound.

    Comment by Lou K — 1:09 pm December 2, 2010 #

  6. I don’t get it. We’re talking about a new bus route. Why would we need to eliminate street parking for a bus to get by? Don’t we already have roads and bus stops for the busses to drive on and stop in?

    Comment by Alex — 1:17 pm December 2, 2010 #

  7. what is the vested interest and grass roots desire for the rapid ride bus?
    it doesn’t appear to really add anything extra to the existing bus services except from skipping a few stops.
    seems like a solution in search of problem that is causing more problems than it solves.

    Comment by Mark — 1:27 pm December 2, 2010 #

  8. how in the blank can Metro say that this will help their business when gee, there is not a stop nearby??? And how will it help their businesses when many of the customers live in West Seattle? I know for myself, just to take a bus there from my house I would have to take 2 buses. This study was clearly a D graded study.

    Comment by coffee — 1:31 pm December 2, 2010 #

  9. NO. Leave the parking as it is. The bus can use the road just the same as the rest of the vehicles. Most times the traffic isn’t backed up bad enough in that area to need a dedicated lane anyway.

    Comment by VBD — 1:39 pm December 2, 2010 #

  10. Why would Rapid Ride not stop under the Bridge at the Park and Ride? And why would RR need a designated bus lane from Fauntleroy to 35th on Alaska, taking away that parking? That road is hardly ever congested since everyone stays on Fauntleroy. This leads me to believe that no one at SDOT or Metro lives in West Seattle, cares about businesses, or listens to citizen recommendations. I hope the Luna Park businesses can reach some compromise, but it sounds like no one is listening. I’d walk half a mile or more to get a hobo scramble at Luna Park Cafe though!

    Comment by CMP — 1:44 pm December 2, 2010 #

  11. I’d be surprised if accidents would go up 30% if the left hand turn lane was removed. I never see anyone use it. Also, I think it would benefit traffic greatly if they put in a concrete seperation so that people can’t come down Admiral and take the right hand exit and cut the line at Avalon, it’s always a big problem on bad traffic days. Also, it would be nice if they had a stop close to the park and ride since it seems to be under utilized.

    Comment by Julie — 2:14 pm December 2, 2010 #

  12. I sometimes wonder if the people making these decisions are dealing with reality, or just looking at things on paper, and making a decision from that. Yes, being able to bus everywhere is ideal, however, I’m in the Admiral District, and getting to Luna Park Cafe by bus is time consuming and out of my way.It just wouldn’t be worth my time. As the gentleman on another thread said…we don’t do world class transportation here.

    Comment by JanS — 3:06 pm December 2, 2010 #

  13. This city’s benevolent rulers have made obvious their goal to annoy and harrass everyone out of their cars and into the Metro- ex: The Viaduct/Tunnel debacle was designed from the start to permanently destroy any functionality of the 99 through downtown and cause 1980′s L.A.-style 5+hour traffic jams on I-5. Imagine Snowpocalypse twice a day, every day. Instead we will be forced to sit through 2.6 miles with 15+ stoplights, stadium traffic and Pioneer Square cretins on 1st and 4th Avenues with thousands of other commuters.
    ***
    Our masters in city government have zero sympathy because they believe they are building a better world for us- we are just too dumb to see it. Besides, it drives up I-pod sales when everyone has to use earbuds to more gracefully ignore each other and the occasional violent bum on the bus!
    ***
    West Seattle will get hit harder than any other Seattle neighborhood because of our physical isolation. I already go to Southcenter for most shopping / food / entertainment because it is usually faster, cheaper and easier to park. Once they’ve finished the latest round of planned obsolescence for our road systems, I imagine I’ll back be on here suggesting we just unincorporate from Seattle and join Burien already!
    ***
    The 509 will be a delightful freeway to speed us from Downtown Burien to our North Burien Neighborhoods: Alki, the Junction, Delridge, etc. :D
    ***
    P.S.- This Rant was at least 5% in jest. Okay 3%.

    Comment by Cascadianone — 3:20 pm December 2, 2010 #

  14. Okay, so what about the half of West Seattle north of the junction? Rapid Ride would be great if it continued north on Calif. Ave to Admiral at least. I would actually use it then. But being one who lives near Calif. Ave but north of Junction it will not provide me ANY service. Lucky for the Vashon ferry folks tho as they get to be picked up right at the dock. Would love this line to serve both north and south parts of West Seattle.

    Comment by mickey mouse — 3:35 pm December 2, 2010 #

  15. This is a no brainer, really. Of course parking shouldn’t change along this route. If DOT had any sense at all, they would not have sold the Monorail location on the corner of Avalon and 35th and would have turned that into a small park and ride. Instead, they sold it to a poorly funded developer who has created a half finished monstrosity and are screwing us out of the very parking that would enable more people to use the rapid ride system. This kind of short sightedness really frustrates me!

    Comment by Street Parking — 3:40 pm December 2, 2010 #

  16. As the real largest land owner (over 30,000 sq.ft.)in this neighborhood, no one informed me of any meetings nor was my input sought out. What these warm and fuzzy neighborhood business owners fail to realize, is that this is C-2 zoned property, i.e. primarily automotive (check the Seattle DPD website for definition of C-2). Thirty years ago when Revo was Seaway Marine and Luna Park was Pat and Ron’s Tavern and British Auto Center was British Auto Center we did not need much parking. People would drop off their car or boat and pick them up after the repairs were completed. Most auto and boat parts were shipped out or delivered. There was no need for lots of parking for numerous short term customers as required by restaurants. Look at the size of the parking lot The Charlestown Street Cafe up on California provides for its customers. Bennett, on the other hand, took some of the parking in front of Luna Park Cafe and converted it into outdoor seating, thus making the problem worse. More people, less parking. He also has an old tin building in back of Java Bean he could tear down and open up a few parking spaces. I say let the buses use the east side of Avalon Way. Those of us who need the ever disappearing C-2 zoning and are using this zoning in the manner for which it was intended, will not be affected.

    Comment by e.h.russ — 3:59 pm December 2, 2010 #

  17. I really do feel badly for the business owners on the route. It’s pretty scary to think about access to your business changing, and not knowing what the future will bring.

    That said, I think there’s benefits for removing that parking, and it seems like they’re not mentioned here. I’m both a bus rider and a car driver. On the benefits of the bus lane, I think about the times I’ve sat in the bus along with all the cars when there’s a backup on the bridge. Having a bus-only lane that extends up Avalon would not only make for a reliable ride on the bus, but it would also help move emergency vehicles around traffic jams as well.

    Every possible solution is going to optimize one scenario over another one. We’ve been optimizing the drive-up-and-park-in-front scenario (not just here, but everywhere) for so long – I’m ready to try some ways to change that. This solution may not be perfect (nothing is), but I’m desperately wanting to have more ways of getting around Seattle without always needing a car.

    Comment by JW — 4:13 pm December 2, 2010 #

  18. The anti transit people paint a really cartoonish picture of what they think riding a bus is like.

    Comment by austin — 4:18 pm December 2, 2010 #

  19. In response to E.H. Russ–Aren’t you responsible for taking up every single space around ‘British Auto Center’ with cars you service? Obviously when you take as many spaces as there are vehicles you can drag out onto the street, your view of your neighbors’ needs goes out the window. The neighborhood has evolved during the last 30 years.

    Comment by TBreuler — 4:34 pm December 2, 2010 #

  20. e.h.russ, while I respect your point of view, it seems that you are digging up some personal issues that you have with the other Luna Park businesses. If Bennett used the outdoor seating space for parking it would probably free up about TWO spots, and drastically hurt business for the cafe. The “old tin” building could be used, but again it would free a couple spots and in my opinion open up a lot of problems with people parking like idiots in the alley and up the row of (your?) houses.

    .
    Sometimes there are dozens of cars parked on Avalon across the street. Opening up a few spots around the businesses will NOT meet that demand for parking.
    .

    On a side note, I want a real pumpkin latte right now. It could almost be considered a meal. YUM.

    Comment by traci — 4:42 pm December 2, 2010 #

  21. Sounds like everybody won’t be happy with the outcome once this one gets solved.

    Comment by NotMe — 5:05 pm December 2, 2010 #

  22. This story breaks my heart. When did transportation (that will go mostly un-used) become more important than small businesses in our community? Shame on Metro and the City of Seattle for not really (truly) listening to the concerns of these business owners. As per usual, the drums of “PROGRESS” seem to outweigh the importance of community and a vibrant business district (more than one) for the citizens of this community.

    Comment by Cheryl — 6:04 pm December 2, 2010 #

  23. On Google Earth street view you’ve got 6 Range Rovers a Jaguar and it looks like an MG parked on the sidewalk with another Rover. Must have been a busy day at the British Auto Center if the customers had to start parking on the sidewalk.

    Comment by Jim — 6:28 pm December 2, 2010 #

  24. Jim, maybe that’s a tiny bit why the “warm and fuzzy” business and property owners didn’t tell their neighbor about the meeting. E.H, would you have shown up to support your community?

    Comment by traci — 6:45 pm December 2, 2010 #

  25. I used to live above Murphy’s (later Cafe Revo) and can attest to the fact that British Auto Repair would park the vehicles all along SW Charlestown off of Avalon, and usually a full block on Avalon. They are a big part of the parking issue along there.
    Parking enforcement would come along and issue warnings, and I would watch the employees shuffle the cars around to avoid ticketing and/or towing.

    Comment by SarahScoot — 7:37 pm December 2, 2010 #

  26. at least e.h. built his business around the zoning, instead of forcing something else to work and then crying foul when things change.

    i can understand small business owners concerns over parking, most patrons can’t even walk down the block to use the crosswalk.. no wonder they can’t expect them to walk a block or two after they park their cars.

    the rapid ride solution is a joke, lets get a light rail system built over the next 2 decades so our kids have something to use. in the meantime i’ll continue driving my car as there is not a metro solution that works for me or my family.

    Comment by en — 7:48 pm December 2, 2010 #

  27. i’ll second and expound on what CMP said: the city owns the space under the w.s. freeway; use it as a transit hub. (and it’s only one block from luna park!) lease it to KC metro with the stipulation that metro runs west seattle-only routes that link all of the neighborhoods in the peninsula, and which never leave the peninsula.
    .
    and i’ll ask this question again: how is rapid-ride superior to vanilla metro? it just gets commuters to the traffic jams 5 minutes faster. IMHO, the city, county, and sound transit are stupid for pursuing and funding rapid-ride instead of grade-separated light rail.
    .
    @cheryl: really? “transportation (that will go mostly un-used)?”
    .
    i’m not sure how it escaped your attention, but buses to/from downtown are full to capacity. and they do one hell of a job keeping cars off of the roads. while it’s not an ideal mass-transit solution – and until serious transit options are funded and implemented – a lot of people in this city continue to rely on metro. for good reason.
    .
    unfortunately, buses are the best we have until someone in this town grows a spine and gets serious about transportation issues.
    .
    lastly, to the KC metro [expletive] who said that buses would be the only transit solution for this generation:
    .
    bravo! just throw up the white flag without even trying. while i don’t agree with axing public sector jobs “just because,” that person needs a serious job review.

    Comment by redblack — 7:53 pm December 2, 2010 #

  28. boy, this is a tough one. i live in north delridge and can and do walk to these businesses. my wife works downtown and takes the 54 most days. what i think is being overlooked in the comments are the people that live in the south end of W. seattle or even white center that the Rapid Ride will really help. and yes, it is a real bummer when you are taking the bus to work and it is still stuck in traffic, so a dedicated lane would be great. oh, and if the food was better i would take my family to Luna Park Cafe a LOT more.

    Comment by benjamin — 8:22 pm December 2, 2010 #

  29. WSB,
    Any follow-up planned with John Bennett (JOHN BENNETT PROPERTIES, LLC) regarding the development planned for this property? DPD shows open/active applications:
    .
    LAND USE: Land Use Application to allow an addition to existing restaurant in an environmentally critical area. 07/20/10
    .
    CONSTRUCTION: Establish and construct mixed use building and occupy, per plan. 08/02/10
    .
    Were those attending the meeting aware of these applications?

    Comment by M — 10:09 pm December 2, 2010 #

  30. The note from E.H. Russ is a helpful reminder that businesses and types of businesses in a given area change over time, even when the amount of parking stays the same.

    We all love our nice cups of coffee and our milkshakes and burgers, etc. etc., but these aren’t national institutions, no offense to the people who run these restaurants. This blog is chock-full of stories of businesses like these closing shop for ALL KINDS of reasons. Is it so blazingly important to get all up in arms about the possibility of parking a bit farther away or (gasp!) taking the bus to go get this specific double cheeseburger or double latte? ‘Cuz it quite easily might not be there tomorrow for reasons that have nothing to do with the availability of free easy parking.

    Count me for those who want dedicated right of way for public transit in this corridor, on tires or on rails.

    Comment by New Guy — 10:25 pm December 2, 2010 #

  31. M, that application has been out there for months, and I assigned a reporter to inquire as soon as it showed up in the application pipeline. It’s an addition for office space, was the reply, as is also noted on the tab here:
    http://web1.seattle.gov/DPD/permitstatus/Project.aspx?id=6236169
    .
    New Guy – This is not a comment on the merit of any side of the argument, nor anyone in particular in the business district. However, so you know, since you describe yourself as new, Java Bean has been in that location for 13 years – after several years in another West Seattle location (the Thriftway store that burned down before being rebuilt at the site of the current one). They also have a Ballard branch. Luna Park Cafe, according to its website, goes back 21 years.
    http://www.lunaparkcafe.com/page.php?page=history
    .
    Not to say longtime businesses aren’t at risk of going out. But suggesting that either is a potential here-today-gone-tomorrow, in this case, would not be accurate.
    .
    Meantime, in watching comments on this thread, it is not going in a civil direction. Comment discussions here haven’t been perfect but they’re usually a cut above the rest of the online-news world because we have civility rules and we do our best to enforce them. If you are interested in discussing the topic at hand – a bus lane potentially replacing street parking, and whether that’s a threat to local businesses – great, discuss away. Otherwise, offtopic comments will not be approved (and we’ve already killed a few ugly ones). Thanks. – Tracy

    Comment by WSB — 11:01 pm December 2, 2010 #

  32. -benjamin has a great point. Much time was spent discussing the southern end of the peninsula. Back in 2007/2008 there was a lot of debate about which areas should get the Rapid Ride line. Travel to and from the Westwood area and Fauntleroy was a major plus for this route.

    -There are a lot of issues and aspects of Rapid Ride that can be debated and how the implementation of the route shakes out is yet to be seen, but the part of this current discussion that surprises me is that much of this plan seems to be new information to a lot of people.

    WSB posted many updates and articles dating back to January of 2008 (the earliest post I could find)
    http://westseattleblog.com/2008/01/a-tale-of-two-open-houses

    King County Metro really did do community outreach back in early fall of 2007. I was one of the West Seattle citizens on the advisory panel. We met for months from October 2007-March 2008. KCM held several open houses on this and did direct mailing to residents and businesses in the routes planned corridor. The Metro team DID listen to citizen input and there was a diverse group of residents and business interests on that panel. What they did with that input is not totally clear yet. Metro said they were going to have another citizens advisory panel to discuss the changes to the rest of the WS bus routes but I never saw anything about it.

    -Bottom line is pay attention to what is going on in your neighborhood and get involved early, you will have much more ability to affect the process early on than just months before construction is supposed to start.

    Look at it yourself and let Metro know your what you think. They do pay attention to the blogs but nothing beats direct contact.

    http://www.kingcounty.gov/transportation/kcdot/MetroTransit/RapidRide/CLine.aspx

    Comment by kr — 11:49 pm December 2, 2010 #

  33. why can’t the Huling / Gee mess be turned into park and rides? its empty, its useless as it stands now…

    Comment by homesweethome — 6:26 am December 3, 2010 #

  34. A couple of notes:
    -West Seattle does have a Park & Ride; it’s under the West Seattle Bridge.
    -There really is a ton of parking available along Avalon. As someone who (again) used to live above Murphy’s/Revo, and now lives near the top of the Avalon hill, I’ve never seen parking as an issue along here. There are always open stretches of space; as long as a person can parallel park, s/he can find parking for the Avalon businesses.
    -That said, the one car my husband and I have does not get much use. We use public transportation for our commutes to downtown and SoDo, and we’re both greatly looking forward to RapidRide service. It gets really old to repeatedly read arguments that Metro buses are always empty (which is a complete lie), or that it’s unfair that the buses get their own lane on the eastbound bridge. It’s not unfair; we are given a (very small) benefit for choosing to use public transportation. Anyone is welcome to hop on a bus and – voila! – legally travel in that bus-only lane. Or you can do what many do each day, and just continue driving your car, and still use that bus-only lane. I’ve never seen this particular law enforced, and almost every morning my bus is slightly delayed due to some entitled person who drives up the bus-only lane to the 99 exit, only to slam on the brakes to cut everyone off.
    In summary: either park a bit further and walk*, or use public transit. I hear these new RapidRide buses are nice!

    *Exceptions obviously made for those with disabilities barring walking or use of the bus system. You are entitled to be concerned about sufficient accessibility.

    Comment by SarahScoot — 9:52 am December 3, 2010 #

  35. Homesweethome: the Hulings still own that property, so Metro can’t exactly just turn it into a Park & Ride. Also, West Seattle already has an underused Park & Ride. The problem here is all the people who refuse to use public transportation, not KC Metro and its riders.

    Comment by SarahScoot — 9:56 am December 3, 2010 #

  36. I ride the 54 on most days. Having dedicated bus lanes on Alaska or Avalon is as necessary as having a “Do not feed the alligators” sign at Alki. The problem/congestion is ALWAYS either on the bridge, viaduct or Columbia St onramp. Seems like a waste.

    Comment by CandrewB — 10:28 am December 3, 2010 #

  37. It seems to me that the need for these dedicated bus lanes is at least as great as the need for more snow plows. Which is to say – you don’t need them until you do, in which case, you REALLY do.

    When the bridge backs up, the cars sit on Avalon, and the buses can’t get to the bridge, making the creaking public transit system that everyone likes to complain about more unreliable and of no particular advantage.

    I want a more attractive transit system for this thriving neighborhood and city we live in. The new apartment buildings (like the one in the Triangle) are just the beginning of the influx of new residents. If we want to keep the streets moving, how about we do everything we can to make it attractive to live without driving everywhere, and possibly to live without throwing sums of money at cars, gas and insurance every month? Dedicated bus lanes are very attractive.

    Comment by JW — 11:07 am December 3, 2010 #

  38. We used to be a frequent visitors to Atomic Boys Toys (Zach), Alki Bike & Board, Admiral Barbershop (Richard Alonzo) and Admiral Nails (Christina), Quality Cleaners (Diane & Tracy).

    I say frequent meaning buying things one or more a week…because that was the case. Parking was simple and easy right along admiral.

    Metro has now usurped those parking areas. It really pisses me off. Massively subsidized transit screws the local businesses and patrons of said businesses.

    I am all for the greater good of public transit, but a better solution to this issue of making the 4 corners strictly for transit stops and 24 hour no parking….move the bus stops. The westbound admiral stop could be moved 100 feet west. The eastbound admiral stop could be moved 200 feet west, and thus be directly across the street from the westbound stop and then allow parking in front of the business.

    The only impact would be to individuals receiving massively subsidized transportation would have to walk 30-60 paces more to board the service WE ALL pay for….The sacrifice should be made by the folks getting the subsidy, not those paying in full.

    Comment by Mark — 11:40 am December 3, 2010 #

  39. I’d love to take a bus to work. Unfortunately I live in kinda South Admiral area and work in the U District and would have to take 2 or 3 buses to work.

    Meanwhile my co-worker living in White Center can take just 1 bus to get to the U District.

    Comment by LinWS — 11:43 am December 3, 2010 #

  40. Mark, Metro didn’t take those parking spaces on Admiral, it was at the complaint of people who would have to wait for three, four, five cycles of the Admiral/California light before continuing along their drive. Yes, me included as I tried to come up from Alki to the West Seattle Bridge and beyond. One single lane for both cars going straight and turning right made no sense. As for the parking issues discussed in this article, I will sadly say our visits to Luna Park Cafe will end with no parking. It just doesn’t make sense to try to shuttle the four of us (including a baby) on public transit for a meal. So sad.

    Comment by DownOnAlki — 11:54 am December 3, 2010 #

  41. Mark, I know which parking spots you’re referring to along Admiral and honestly, when those few parking spaces were taken away, traffic flow along Admiral was improved for everyone, not just buses. Again, people need to stop blaming public transportation for their woes; imagine if all those buses did go away and were replaced by thousands of single-occupancy vehicles clogging the roads; would you be happy then?
    Also, I’ve never had issues finding parking within two blocks of anywhere in Admiral. It’s disingenuous to blame Metro KC for the fact that you can’t be bothered to walk a little farther to businesses you supposedly loved so much.

    Comment by SarahScoot — 12:01 pm December 3, 2010 #

  42. To DownOnAlki-
    Thanks for correcting…I never did experience the wait you mentioned but do remember the back-ups. I still would offer moving the bus stops west to in-between 44-45th might be a better solution for all.

    Parking for now is even tougher with the Safeway project.

    Comment by Mark — 12:21 pm December 3, 2010 #

  43. It seems to me that the reengineering of Seattle into mass transit riders is both short sighted and unrealistic. Wtihin 15 years there will be dozens of alternative fuel cars that will be both cheap to use and cheap to buy. The Misconception in Seattle govt. that as oil becomes more scarce and more expensive people will move to mass transit is simply that, a misconception. When cheap electric green cars come in the future people will still need roads to drive on and the same number of people who drive now will still be driving then. But our state and city’s DOT’s have never built anything with vision. Just look at how many times the 405 intersection with 167 has been rebuilt in the last 25 years.

    Comment by Tim — 1:44 pm December 3, 2010 #

  44. As a near daily rider on the 55/54 to downtown, this rapid ride plan will not save any significant amount of time. The problem is the choke point at the bottom of Avalon Way entering the WS Bridge. On bad traffic days this is sheer gridlock. Sure the bus can get down the hill, but then it’s back to the same gridlock. Mean time saved: 2-4 minutes.

    Comment by Scott — 2:50 pm December 3, 2010 #

  45. I sympathize with business owners’ concerns to an extent, but it seems as though they are portraying the city/county as completely unwilling to compromise when they too are tepid on the idea of rush-hour-only restrictions. I can’t get too worked up on behalf of Java Bean and Luna Park Cafe’s morning rush considering that they share a (small, admittedly) lot, and for John Bennett to refer to street parking as “80% of my parking” displays a sense of entitlement to community right-of-way that he does not own.

    As a rider of the (packed) 21E, I can attest that Avalon is usually jammed at least to Yancy by 7:30 and often back to 35th or beyond by 8:30 most weekday mornings. An Avalon bus lane would benefit all transit users in that corridor, not just the Rapid Ride ones. (I’m a big transit booster, but I share the sentiment of many that Rapid Ride looks to be a boondoggle.)

    To Scott, with an Avalon bus lane the only choke point would be the Avalon/Spokane intersection – buses then hop back in the bus lane onto the bridge. Maybe only 2-4 minutes saved, but that’s enough to make it the more attractive option for many. I love zipping by all the stopped vehicles. And to Tim, even if cars are cleaner in the future, where are you going to put them? During (the ever-expanding) rush hour, there’s no room now!

    Despite the seemingly hostile feelings all around, I still see room for compromise. The Yancy stop could be moved closer to Spokane. People around Gennessee could walk a few blocks uphill or catch a local. Or perhaps the turn lane could be reduced to turn pockets, with parking restricted only at the intersections.

    Comment by jno — 3:55 pm December 3, 2010 #

  46. But Scott…once the bus gets to the bridge, there’s a bus lane all the way to Highway 99, and once the Spokane St Viaduct project is done, there could be a bus lane all the way to 4th Ave S.

    Right now, on bad days, the problem is getting down the hill to the turn onto the bridge, where the dedicated lane is now. Metro wants to clear the path to the bridge. On bad days, a lot more time saved than 2-4 minutes. And with the Alaskan Way Viaduct work coming up, there’s going to be many, many bad days indeed.

    Again, I don’t think Rapid Ride is perfect. But, as a way to get through a choke point that’s only going to get worse, it would help.

    Comment by JW — 4:04 pm December 3, 2010 #

  47. Why dont you say – hey businesses – leave West Seattle, we just don’t need you anymore. You can’t have families get together at your establishments to -maybe -celebrate a birthday with a party of 20 people – unless, of course, everyone takes metro to your businesses. WHAT! Are you nuts? Stop peddling your nonsense, metro. You are out of control.

    Comment by Bill — 4:09 pm December 3, 2010 #

  48. You’re right, Bill. After all, look at NYC: everyone just drives out to the suburbs for their dining and shopping, since there’s just not enough parking in the city. There are absolutely no successful businesses in NYC itself.

    Comment by SarahScoot — 5:44 pm December 3, 2010 #

  49. If there are no successful businesses in NYC itself, HOW is it one of most important and heavily populated cities in the world?

    Comment by JN — 2:46 am December 4, 2010 #

  50. JN, my comment was complete sarcasm…

    Comment by SarahScoot — 8:33 am December 4, 2010 #

  51. Well, NYC has REAL mass transit – a subway system. No comparison with that to Rapid Ride or our Metro. Apples and oranges.

    Comment by Carole — 11:47 am December 4, 2010 #

  52. Parking is always available on Avalon. It is hard to believe that so many people will abandon local businesses when their street parking walk is less than at the Costco parking lot!

    Comment by Nulu — 11:52 am December 4, 2010 #

  53. “…We’re heading into a future where we simply have to rely less on cars…”

    This is simply not correct. People will never give up the freedom that individualized transportation provides. In fact, the demand will only increase – re: China for example. Technology will evolve the efficiency and effect size etc of the automobile but the “car” will NOT only not go away but their numbers will continue to increase even in Seattle, no matter how much you try to “tax them” out of existence. What are you going to oppose when cars become so efficient and “green” that they leave a “foot print” comparable to a bicycle? Its coming, and sooner than you think.

    Comment by Dean — 12:13 pm December 4, 2010 #

  54. When you have a large percentage of the population that feels entitled to the use of personal transportation capable of moving multiple occupants plus cargo, the “footprint” of everybody using that type of transportation is always going to be a negative impact. No matter what. There are simply too many of them. That’s the reason behind mass transit.

    Comment by austin — 2:21 pm December 4, 2010 #

  55. We voted for RapidRide. One of the key elements of RapidRide is dedicated right-of-way free of SOVs and parked cars.

    If this or that neighborhood gets to throw parking in the way of RapidRide, then the travel time will increase, and in order to keep from raising the cost, the county will cut frequency. Then RapidRide won’t be particularly Rapid.

    Do what the voters voted for: Make transit more rapid.

    Comment by Blue Collar Enviro — 10:55 pm December 8, 2010 #

  56. It’s not the city’s responsibility to provide parking. That’s not what the road space and right-of-way land is for. If there’s extra unused room on the road, then yeah, sure, they’ll fill it with parking spaces, as a convenience. But parking is the absolute lowest priority for SDOT when it comes to street use.

    If a business wants to provide parking for its customers, they need to build or buy it themselves. Just because there has been street parking in front of a business doesn’t mean that business has any particular claim to those spaces, and it CERTAINLY doesn’t mean that those spaces will still be there in the future.

    Parking is a private sector problem, for the free market to solve. For example, take a look at what businesses have done in the U-district, where there’s little available street parking. There’s a handful of associated private parking lots throughout the neighborhood, and most local businesses can validate customers parking.

    Comment by Lack Thereof — 2:31 am December 10, 2010 #

  57. Excuse me folks. The clear answer is to buy the “British Auto Center” wrecking yard and replace it with an attractive minipark/parking lot. How expensive can that be?

    There would then be no need for parking on the isolated east side of the street. People would not be jaywalking to an from it.

    And “Yes”, put a stop at Spokane and Avalon.

    Metro should be jumping at that!

    Comment by Anandakos — 10:45 am December 28, 2010 #

  58. @Lack Thereof: You make some good points and I’m not here to argue with you, just going to point out that the location of luna park and the locations of the businesses in the U-District are very different. The U-District is hustle and bustle with college kids walking around who don’t have cars. Luna however is at the bottom of a hill near the on ramp to the west seattle bridge, right in between the junction and alki. Not a whole lot of people doing some meandering or window shopping in that location. I wouldn’t be surprised if over 95% of their business goes there using some mode moterized transpertaion or bike. Now i totally agree that the city does not have to provide parking for luna, but that doesn’t mean i don’t like the fact that they aren’t going to take lunas position into consideration. it’s one of those times where you just wanna say, “come on, really, come on”

    Comment by Lane — 9:25 pm January 16, 2011 #

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