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.
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.