‘We can all win’: RapidRide-affected business owner’s counterproposal

February 6, 2011 at 8:55 pm | In Luna Park, Transportation, West Seattle news | 16 Comments

EDITOR’S NOTE: As mentioned in our just-published overview of where RapidRide-related parking/traffic changes stand after a series of recent meetings, the plan to ban morning parking on SW Avalon across from the heart of the Luna Park business district is not sitting well with business owners, particularly those whose businesses depend heavily on morning sales – Luna Park Café and Java Bean Coffee. As our story notes, they feel insult is being added to injury by the fact not only does the current plan take away parking across from their businesses, but also, RapidRide will not stop in the business district. Java Bean’s owner wrote a letter to various government addressees after the most recent Luna Park Merchants’ meeting, suggesting moving the station is a must. He asked WSB to “share it with the community”:

Subject: Rapid Ride along Avalon Way West Seattle (Java Bean) A little less Potter, a bit more George Bailey!
Joe, Michelle, Brian and Bill,

As you are aware, quite a bit of discussion concerning the Rapid Ride parking issue in the Luna Park Business District of West Seattle has taken place over the past year. Many different options have surfaced, that would both accommodate the goals of Metro, the livelihood of the businesses and the retention of jobs in the Luna Park neighborhood. As the owner of Java Bean I am greatly concerned that the choices being proposed regarding the rapid ride program will put me out of business and cause 5 full time jobs to be lost in West Seattle. Given what’s in the balance I would guess most West Seattle residents would side with us – the business owners, our teammates and our fans if given the choice of either saving their neighborhood amenities or getting to work a bit quicker. Why can’t we do both?

During (last Wednesday’s) meeting I brought up a question concerning how the location of the bus stops were chosen for the C-line. One of the key factors: an average of 150 people board the bus on a daily basis up the street from our business district (the proposed Rapid Ride stop) vs. the 120 people who board the bus on a daily basis directly across the street from my Coffee Shop (Java Bean) and other businesses in our business district. Based on this as a factor, I was told, at least at this point, the plan is to remove surface street parking between the hours of 6-10 am M-F for the Rapid Ride bus line that will NOT stop in our business district. This will put me out of business, eliminate 5 full time jobs, and decrease the quality of life of the residents of West Seattle who frequent my business. Not to mention the adverse affects it will have on my associate business owners.

In fact, with the goal to get people out of their cars and on the bus, not only will my customers (who continue to drive) be unable to park from 6-10am, but my customers who do decide to use Rapid Ride will not be afforded the opportunity to jump off the bus to grab a cup of coffee since the bus won’t be stopping in our business district.

It’s a serious double whammy to the Java Bean. You take away the parking, put people on the bus and then those on the bus can’t get off.

(Tony continues)

If the Bus Stop were moved North a few blocks to our district, the people would continue to be served and the fabric of the community would strengthen. Think about it – The Bus arrives every 7-10 minutes…you jump off grab a coffee, Say “Hi’ to your neighbor, ask about the kids, grab a paper and you’re right back on the Bus. This is what Rapid Ride should be about. What it shouldn’t be about, is putting people out of business and losing jobs.

I believe we need to address the more creative facets of a neighborhood and its user-friendliness in order to create a quality of life for it’s residents. In this instance we need to be ruled less by the numbers and a bit more by our creativity. When we base our decisions solely on numbers and less on amenities, culture and community, we begin to lose something that is very difficult to replace. Sure you can put a bus stop a few blocks south of a vibrant creative neighborhood because the “numbers” say it’s a good idea, but in the balance are the businesses (Java Bean 21 years, Luna Park Cafe 21 years, Avalon Glassworks) and the jobs of the people within those businesses, not to mention the community connections that keep the neighborhood, safe, fun and enjoyable. Why limit access? Why cut us out of the picture?

If you take away the morning parking along Avalon Way and don’t give us a Rapid Ride stop the quality of life for our customers will decrease, the Java Bean will go away, and the community will suffer.

I propose the Rapid ride bus stop be positioned in our Business district should the choice go through to eliminate on-street parking from 6-10 am Monday – Friday. This way we continue to meet the needs of the citizens of the neighborhood and eliminate the tough choice for those who want to take the bus, but want to live in and participate in a vibrant community. No representative or community leader would ever want to be held responsible for a vibrant 21-year-old business closing its doors and putting its employees in the bread line. We can all win, if we all work together.

A little less Potter a bit more George Bailey!

Anthony C. Hoyt
Owner – Java Bean, Inc.
www.javabeancoffee.com

16 Comments

  1. He seems to be advocating having the local apartment residents hike down the hill every morning and up the hill every evening, simply in order to “replace” the business “lost” by removing the parking.
    .
    While that might help his bottom line, it really doesn’t make a lick of sense for convincing residents to bus instead of drive.
    .
    The RapidRide will have a big strike against it as it is, once that people realize it won’t be Rapid (current lines only save 5-10 minutes a trip from end to end). What we really need are dedicated, grade-separated busways (or better, trains!), but let’s not cripple this multimillion-dollar service even further.
    .
    Hey, can we kill this line altogether and put the $$$ toward the light rail line Mayor McGinn promised to fast-track??

    Comment by Michael — 10:39 pm February 6, 2011 #

  2. Let’s support our local businesses – they’re what makes West Seattle special. And we could all use a little exercise. Walking up and down a hill isn’t exactly a hardship, compared to a business shutting down and putting people out of work.

    Comment by Sonoma — 10:57 pm February 6, 2011 #

  3. Sonoma

    Have you walked up that hill? Ive nicknamed it “asthma attack hill” because it gives me an asthma attack every time I have to walk up it. And dont go blaming me for being lazy or overweight. I have asthma due to genetics, like my father, and his mother and her father, etc.

    Comment by asthma — 12:37 am February 7, 2011 #

  4. How will this rapid line effect those who live on Avalon in the Apartments? It’s already harder then hell to pull out safely from our garages.

    Comment by argiles — 1:07 am February 7, 2011 #

  5. meh.

    the purpose of “Rapid” Ride is to provide transportation. People are not going to ride the bus if it’s not convenient; that’s the bottom line.

    Comment by visitor — 1:18 am February 7, 2011 #

  6. I’ve not read every story about this issue but I have been to the Luna Cafe. Can someone explain if the morning parking restriction is to allow for an extra lane for buses? Would the curb lane coming down the hill (maybe bus only lane?) just stop at the parked cars if this parking were to remain for the morning commute?

    Comment by ScottA — 6:22 am February 7, 2011 #

  7. Here’s an example of another person who suffered from asthma:
    http://edition.cnn.com/2011/SPORT/02/05/marathon.record.engels.365/index.html

    Maybe walking a hill isn’t that bad after all.

    Comment by austin — 8:32 am February 7, 2011 #

  8. This is what I don’t get about the decision to not have a stop across from the Luna Park businesses: there is parking under the bridge, which is often referred to as a park & ride of sorts. If they had an additional stop at the Luna Park area, people could park under the bridge to get it. If I parked under the bridge, I’m not likely to trek back down to the previous stop.
    .
    Also, despite the fact that the bus leaves frequently, I think it’s a bit delusional if Mr. Hoyt believes that people would get off a bus to get a cup of coffee and then wait for the next one. If I’m already on a bus headed downtown, and especially if I have a seat, I am going to stay there, go downtown and then get coffee at one of the dozen places that sell it within a block of my office. It would be one thing if I lived there, or parked there for the bus, but to get off, get coffee, and return to the bus? I find it highly unlikely.

    Comment by Sue — 10:54 am February 7, 2011 #

  9. Sue, that parking under the bridge is not “referred to as a park & ride of sorts,” it is a KC Metro Park & Ride. People always seem to forget that yes, we do have a p&r here in WS.

    Comment by SarahScoot — 11:22 am February 7, 2011 #

  10. Didn’t realize that, Sarah – I’ve never had to park there, so wasn’t sure. I just hear people refer to it. Thanks for the clarification. In that case, it makes even less sense to not encourage people to park in the actual park & ride and take the bus.

    Comment by Sue — 11:39 am February 7, 2011 #

  11. Exactly, Sue! I don’t understand how some remain so oblivious to all the options we do have. I really don’t believe there’s a shortage of parking in WS in the first place, but that’s another issue. ;-)

    Comment by SarahScoot — 11:47 am February 7, 2011 #

  12. Anyone who thinks there’s a parking shortage in West Seattle must never have tried to park in the U-District or Capitol Hill.

    Comment by KBear — 11:58 am February 7, 2011 #

  13. KBear you are so right. I get tired of hearing people complain about parking in West Seattle. They should try Ballard!

    Comment by Traveler — 3:04 pm February 7, 2011 #

  14. I don’t think I agree with the comment, “you jump off grab a coffee, Say “Hi’ to your neighbor, ask about the kids, grab a paper and you’re right back on the Bus. This is what Rapid Ride should be about. What it shouldn’t be about, is putting people out of business and losing jobs.”

    Huh?

    Seriously, that’s a stretch. In all my years on the bus in the morning, I’ve never seen one person “jump off” the bus stop at ANY coffee shop, let alone to yak and build community. So I doubt such a thing would cause the loss of jobs … even though I respect and share my neighbors’ desire to keep local jobs. I just think that quote is a bit far-fetched. Really, no offense intended — it’s just not believable to me.

    Comment by (required) — 9:21 pm February 7, 2011 #

  15. Every time there is the slightest change to roads around here, there’s this flood of doomsday chatter. Anyone remember last summer when there was a lane EB on the Bridge blocked off to build the 4th Ave offramp? Or the summer before that when a chunk of NB I-5 blocked for construction? People were ALL up in arms about the hardship caused by these awful intrusions into their automotive lives. Mysteriously, we all adapted, and the species, including the part of it that lives in WS, survived. Even thrived, I think.

    The same might even happen to these businesses. Yeah, the first thing they’ll say is that it’s unfair to compare these temporary changes to this permanent one, but my point here is about adapting. We do it all the time, and it makes us stronger.

    Comment by New Guy — 10:53 pm February 8, 2011 #

  16. There really ought to be a stop on the Line A as far north as possible before the bus turns onto the bridge. That increases the walkshed of the line to include the park&ride and connect to other bus routes.

    (We need more bus riders on the blog to point out these obvious opportunities.)

    Nor should the stop in front of apartments be moved to accomodate businesses.

    The store owner got it backwards, but the grain of a right idea. People might jump off the bus on the way home, but not on the way to work. But the best way to capitalize is to appeal to riders transferring near the park&ride.

    Either way, having parking in front of your store will annoy any bus rider caught in general-purpose traffic in front of your store. It is a sure-fire way to get on a lot of former customers’ do-not-patronize list.

    My heart also goes out to those who will have to change their lifestyles because they have a car in a garage next to a rapidride bus line. But, you will have to adapt your lifestyle (move the garage exit, sell the car, or something) because you are next to a rapidride bus line. We voted for it. It’s coming.

    Comment by Blue Collar Enviro — 9:51 am February 12, 2011 #

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