Metro changing its proposed changes, planner tells Admiral Neighborhood Association

December 13, 2011 at 10:38 pm | In Neighborhoods, Transportation, West Seattle news | 41 Comments

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Admiral won’t lose as much Metro bus service as the first draft of the transit service’s “restructuring” plan proposed.

That’s what lead planner Jack Lattemann told the Admiral Neighborhood Association tonight, in the first public update on what’s happening since the public-comment period for that draft plan closed. The “restructuring” is planned in connection with next fall’s debut of RapidRide service in West Seattle (which will replace the 54).

And they got plenty of public comments, he said: 3,000 people took the online questionnaire; another 1,000 people provided non-online written comments. As an Admiral-specific result, he said, “I can assure you that we are going to submit a revised proposal that will include some level of bus service on California 7 days a week all the way as far north as Atlantic Street … it looks like that is going to be feasible,” said Lattemann. “We’ll have a second round of proposals out in about a month.”

That round will include another series of community meetings, he said, likely in the first two weeks of February. He says other “concepts” from the draft circulated online and at public open houses (including two in West Seattle) are being revised in response to public comments, too.

One option for that could be extending Route 128, Lattemann said, and that route already is up for an extension with service at least until midnight – California and Admiral both will be served at least that late, he said. (It also, he said, is up for the addition of two afternoon trips to help with the student load at those times.)

“The other possibility is Route 40, a new route we proposed from Alaska Junction to Georgetown, a new east-west route … to save people quite a lot of time,” he said. While it was proposed to end at The Junction, “it’s possible we could extend it farther north,” he said.

His bottom line: “I wanted to let people know, your comments have had an impact … stay tuned.”

He also wanted to be clear, though, that Metro is not talking about the status quo (the 51 and 53 are still proposed for elimination because they’re not performing up to expectations), but they’re looking at other combinations of service to cover more of North Admiral, and to cover late night. “We need to settle on what’s the routing pattern” before they know what stops might be dropped, he said, in response to a question. “In some cases, bus stops could be shifted,” he said, perhaps 3 could be changed to two. The guidelines are “every 1200 to 1500 feet,” he noted, averaging 4 per mile.

He also indicated they’ve noted public comments about safety hazards at road crossings near some bus stops, including some he said he had read about here on WSB. Dakota/California, in particular, came up, because he had mentioned The Junction, and then ANA members made sure that 47th/Admiral (scene of the 2006 pedestrian death that inspired their recent demonstration/tribute) was on his radar too.

ANA vice president Karl de Jong reminded Lattemann that saying “there’s a bus stop within a mile” means different things depending on where in West Seattle you are, given the topography – a flat mile is not equal to a hilly mile.

So what changed to enable Metro to pull back on some cuts? ANA president Katy Walum asked. Lattemann said he hadn’t supported everything in the proposal that was circulated, but the directive was for it to be taken to the public for comment, so that’s what they did. “I’m a believer in takng care of existing riders before (new ones),” he noted. “I asked the staff to take another look, and so they are.” But where’s the money coming from? Walum pressed. “There are lots of choices in running this transit system,” replied Lattemann.

However, he then tempered that statement, there’s no new funding – the decisions all have to be made with the “same pot” in mind. At that point, we asked about Route 37, which was proposed for the chopping block, leaving Beach Drive without service. Lattemann said they are looking at options for possibly keeping “some level of service” in that area – not what there is now, but something, rather than leaving Beach Drive busless. Again, it’s all in the works now, and the next proposal will be out in time for that second round of public meetings he expects to happen in about two months.

After Walum summarized Lattemann’s comments as “good news,” he said it might be better termed as “hopeful news.”

(Note that this was not a formal briefing on the entire West Seattle proposal; Metro was invited to update the Admiral group, and that’s what Lattemann focused on.)

Also at tonight’s ANA meeting: The group is drafting a list of its 2011 accomplishments, for distribution at events as well as via its website, so that people know it’s not just “the group that sponsors the concerts.” One of those accomplishments is facilitating the launch of the Admiral District’s new business association, which has been continuing to gather steam since the gathering we covered back in September.

In the year ahead, the group wants to get more involved with volunteering for area nonprofits, particularly ones working in the Admiral area; if you know of one that could use occasional help from their group, contact ANA via their website. Speaking of which:

The ANA is on the web here, and on Facebook here. Its meetings are usually on second Tuesdays, 7 pm, in the basement meeting room at Admiral Congregational Church.

41 Comments

  1. Any discussion of the 56? Metro’s first proposal would replace 56 with a new route that does not go downtown, but would require a transfer in SoDo.

    Comment by Russ Walker — 10:59 pm December 13, 2011 #

  2. The 56X was mentioned in passing as “doing well” as in, perhaps it will survive, was my interpretation – or something like it. His main message was (a) North Admiral won’t lose all service after all and (b) “you spoke, we listened,” so there weren’t a ton of specifics, as they are drafting the second draft. – TR

    Comment by WSB — 11:21 pm December 13, 2011 #

  3. The 56X was never slated for deletion — in fact, with the revised 57X would have added trips to provide 15 minute headways during commute hours. The *56* does not perform well, and was slated to get the axe.

    “I’m a believer in takng care of existing riders before (new ones)”

    Yup, and that’s a huge chunk of the reason why Metro’s Seattle service has such a high cost per boarding compared to peer agencies that serve large cities with dense urban cores and hideous traffic problems. Metro underserves the densely-urbanized areas of the city and wastes money driving empty buses around places like Beach Drive.

    Sorry folks, Route 37 needs to die. There’s just not enough people on Beach Drive using it to justify its existence. The fact that we’re even contemplating replacement service on there is nuts.

    Comment by Bruce Nourish — 11:31 pm December 13, 2011 #

  4. I’d like to see all of Metro’s planners fired and replaced with people who care a whit about rider needs. Why is the northbound Metro zone at California SW & SW Lander still bus layover parking with no rider access?
    Never mind that we’re talking an existing Metro zone immediately next to the corner entrance stairs of Hiawatha Park and at the same intersection shared by Admiral Safeway and Lafayette Elementary School. Never mind that parked #128 buses routinely endanger school children and pedestrians by obstructing crosswalk curb views for 20 minutes at a time, and never mind the bus layover parking could easily be moved a few hundred feet south to the Metro mid-block stop that only serves Hiawatha’s least used and least accessible staircase.
    Metro planners masterminded the rider-unfriendly situation ten years ago when they replaced the northbound #55 passenger stop at Lander & California with bus layover parking. And Metro planners still refuse to admit and correct their own rider convenience error — Metro bus riders and potential bus riders be damned
    .
    (End of rant.)

    Comment by Alvis — 1:16 am December 14, 2011 #

  5. No mention at all of changes to the most drastic cuts of all, #21 service to Arbor Heights? This is a large area that will be completely cut off from ANY access to service for much of the day, and all of the weekend. Anyone needing transportation outside of banker’s hours will be SOL. Personally, the cuts to the #21 and #125 will mean that I will either have to buy a car or lose my job.

    Comment by anonyme — 5:56 am December 14, 2011 #

  6. Amen, Alvis.

    Comment by Gina — 6:20 am December 14, 2011 #

  7. Its outrageous that they are trying to kill the 37! Beach Drive and around Alki has nothing except where the 56 stops near the old Alki Cafe. You can tell they hate a route when they stop printing bus schedules for it.

    Comment by SA — 6:45 am December 14, 2011 #

  8. Barely anyone on beach drive takes a bus. It’s a waste of money to service so few people.

    Comment by Joe — 7:23 am December 14, 2011 #

  9. This was a visit by the Metro planner by request of the *Admiral* Neighborhood Association, so that’s what he focused on.

    Comment by WSB — 7:39 am December 14, 2011 #

  10. I will be the first to admit that I was extremely critical of the first community meeting that I attended. So that said, I will give props where they are due. While it certainly did not come across at the time of the meetings, Metro really is showing that they took in the many legitimate concerns that were raised. I am excited to see the new revisions… nothing will be perfect and there will be areas hurt but it seems like they are trying to meet some of the areas bigger transportation needs. I truly hope my friends who live in the Arbor Heights area fair just as well!

    Comment by Thistle — 8:15 am December 14, 2011 #

  11. If you live at 55/Genesee and you use the 51 to get to the Junction or Admiral, have a nice hike. Small circulator buses are really that much of a cost sink? Metro pay grades also seem inflated compared to other urban areas–ones that are even more dangerous, et al.
    -
    I was also under the impression that the 56 (which does have riders) remained. The new 50 line was to connect Alki/Admiral to the much visited Beacon Hill area and the light rail…Guess we will see.

    Comment by JayDee — 8:24 am December 14, 2011 #

  12. Maybe they should improve their on-time issues before adding/deleting routes. No matter what changes they make, if they continue to run late every day, people are going to stop riding. Anyone that rides the 56x during the morning commute knows, it doesn’t matter what time you want to leave, the bus just goes when it wants to. For instance, this morning I was scheduled to take the 7:50, bus doesn’t arrive at alki and 61st until 8 and then the driver goes into Starbucks for a coffee. We don’t leave until 8:10. Rediculous.

    Comment by Jen — 8:28 am December 14, 2011 #

  13. Does anyone know about the changes to the 125 and 128 to South Seattle Community College?

    Comment by Sandi — 10:44 am December 14, 2011 #

  14. Agree with Jen re reliability and JayDee re circulator 51 & “56 (which does have riders)” and Alvis’s very valid rant
    ~
    for 2+ yrs I’ve been begging metro to make the 51 usable; there’s actually a stop at my apt building (I see the 51 go by from my window, on time every 30mins, empty; what a waste of money); I never use it because it only goes 1 way, and doesn’t run late enough for me to use for connecting to downtown routes; at the 1st metro restructuring meeting, there was a guy at my table who said it perfectly, “planned obsolescence”; he was referring to the 21, but it pertains to many routes; the 51 is not well utilized because it only goes 1 way and does not connect well with downtown routes and it stops running too early; so instead of metro responding to neighbor requests to run the 51 both directions, connect with routes that run outside of WS, and run later so we can get back to the neighborhood from downtown, so we don’t have to drive/park to catch downtown routes, they keep it dysfunctional and then say “we’re canceling because it has no ridership”; planned obsolescence
    ~
    RELIABILITY is biggest issue of all, really needs to be addressed way before altering all the routes; last night I had a function down at Stadium Nissan; metro trip planner told me to take 22; so I drove to Alaska bus stop to park (would gladly take 51 to 22 if it ran both ways and later), but the 22 never came; I called One Bus Away, which said there was no information about that bus (does the 22 still exist?, and why did trip planner tell me that was best route to take?); so I scrambled back to my car, drove like crazy to Olga/Admiral to park and pu the 56; it was late, so again I was getting nervous about missing my downtown function; thankfully it did arrive, but I caught a ride home at end of function, because after 8:30, the 56 only runs once per hour; 56 is insanely unreliable, chronically late; the last time I took the 56 from downtown in eve, it took 1 ½ hrs to get home (45 min wait at bus stop, then stuck at train tracks on 4th); can’t even count the times I’ve attempted to go to events downtown, bus is so late that I give up and drive so I don’t miss entire event; so again, planned obsolescence; bus in unreliable, so people stop riding, then metro says not enough ridership, blah blah blah
    ~
    despite unreliability of 56, it still has huge ridership to/from downtown, so redirecting the 56 to SODO and Beacon Hill seems absolutely crazy
    ~
    at the metro restructuring meeting, focus of most was understandably on loss of access to Beach Drive and Arbor Heights; the metro planner at our table brought out a book full of statistics to demonstrate how/why decisions were made; I think they need to put a whole lot more focus on the live human beings who rely on the bus; it would be more educational/wise for metro planners to step out of their statistic laden cubicles, come out to our neighborhoods, and ride the buses, see first-hand what the problems are that need fixing
    ~
    aside from the restructuring issue, just try to find a printed schedule these days; past few weeks, bus schedule racks on the buses have been empty; I’ve gotten varied answers from bus drivers; some told me metro has stopped printing schedules to save money; last week I ran into Chris Arkills at Transportation Choices Coalition party, asked him about what’s up with no printed schedules available; his answer was metro saving money, that printing schedules is expensive; me, “there are tons of us without smart phones who need printed schedules; is there anywhere to get them?”; he suggested kiosk down in the tunnel, so I went down there, and the schedule rack was half empty; all the WS routes were completely empty; I saw Tom Rasmussen (transportation chair) at City Business Casual the next night, asked him about schedules no longer being printed; apparently this was first he heard about it, and agreed with me that if you want people to ride the bus, people need access to schedules; not everyone, especially on the bus, can afford a smart phone

    Comment by Diane — 12:24 pm December 14, 2011 #

  15. Please excuse the off topic, but I live in Arbor Heights and my wife does not drive. She uses the bus for shopping and medical appointments. After the #21 cuts, our closest bus stop for mid-day service will be 45th & Wildwood, at the bottom of a steep hill. Weekend trips to downtown will no longer be possible. If the loop must be cut, how can we get something like DART to take up the slack?

    Comment by MH — 12:30 pm December 14, 2011 #

  16. The relaibility issue is huge and never seems to get exposed for just how bad it can be.

    After several years of busing and waiting ridiculous amount of time for a bus from downtown, I finally gave up and decided that the amount of time I spent waiting for the bus cost more than the price I now pay to drive and park. It saves me about 3 – 4 hours per week, though it helps I commute well before morning traffic problems.

    Comment by rico — 1:51 pm December 14, 2011 #

  17. agree with rico; reliability issue is #1 reason people give up on riding the bus

    Comment by Diane — 2:17 pm December 14, 2011 #

  18. I totally agree with Diane and Rico. Reliability IS the #1 issue. I’ve had the same late/no show issues with both the 56 and 55. If you want people to ride the bus to downtown events or anywhere else, stop getting them there LATE! I’m a woman nearing 70. I need downtown transportation that’s RELIABLE! I don’t want to spend an hour and a half hanging out at 3rd & Pine.

    Comment by Jan Jarrell — 3:54 pm December 14, 2011 #

  19. Diane, the 22 doesn’t run into the evenings either. The last one on weeknights leaves White Center just before 6:00 pm. However, Trip Planner should have known that, and given you other options.

    .

    Mike

    Comment by miws — 4:27 pm December 14, 2011 #

  20. Re: the comment that “nobody on Beach Drive takes a bus” — The 37 isn’t just to bus people down Beach Drive; it’s also the only way that many people living on Harbor or Alki can take public transit to get to and from work downtown. The 37 is packed during commuting hours between downtown to West Seattle. The water taxi is useful for some people, but many don’t live close enough to take advantage of it, and water taxi hours are quite restricted during the winter months.

    Comment by SH — 4:48 pm December 14, 2011 #

  21. I cannot speak for the Beach Drive folks, but I rely on the 37 for my morning commute, as do many others along Alki and Harbor Aves. I’ve noticed that not as many people seem to take it home…I wonder if this is something Metro could consider. In the morning, when we’re all zombies, and on auto-pilot, could we just keep the 37? I’m willing to put more effort into getting home…water taxi, 56x, carpool…

    Comment by SLH — 6:11 pm December 14, 2011 #

  22. Metro has data showing exactly where people do and don’t ride all their buses. I made a chart for Route 37:

    http://seattletransitblog.com/2011/11/11/ridership-patterns-on-route-37/

    You can see that on Beach Drive, south of Alki Point (say, Carroll St to be specific), there are, on average, two or three people on the bus. By the time the bus gets to the West Seattle Bridge, the average passenger load is 15 — not empty by any means, but not spectacular compared to other express buses.

    The most important thing to see in that chart is the lion’s share of the riders on the 37 are boarding and deboarding near Alki Beach — exactly the same area as is served by the 56/56X. In fact, the busiest stop is the one outside the café, which is shared between the two buses.

    Riders on Alki Drive will have access to an improved shuttle service that connects to the Water Taxi. I realize that route travels in a circle and is thus rather more useful when heading inbound to downtown in the morning than outbound in the evening.

    The bottom line is that while it’s true the 37 isn’t totally empty for much of its route, there are very few riders who wouldn’t have access to another service. Those buses currently used on the 51/53/37 could be redeployed elsewhere in Seattle to serve far more people.

    A bus costs Metro about $120/hr to operate and gets about three miles per gallon; those are average number across the whole fleet. In total, Metro spent about a million bucks in 2010 to operate the 51+53+37, and while I don’t take pleasure in suggesting people should drive more (or have to walk a long way to another bus), that’s a heck of a lot of money to move a very small number of riders who can’t take other services.

    (And for the guy who was asking above, yes, those smaller buses on the 51/53 cost almost as much — a lot of what you’re paying for is the driver).

    Comment by Bruce Nourish — 6:55 pm December 14, 2011 #

  23. Hi Mike; good to hear from you; yes, I knew the 22 did not run later, so was planning on taking another route home; but the metro trip planner said to take the 22 from Alaska at 5:12pm to downtown; I was at the 35th/Alaska stop by 5:10, so it should have arrived about 5:15; I called ‘One Bus Away’, which said there was no information on the 22

    Comment by Diane — 11:45 pm December 14, 2011 #

  24. Ride a bike!!

    Comment by McGuinn — 12:13 am December 15, 2011 #

  25. I like to take the 37 home, but have found the service to be degraded for the trip to downtown in the morning. The routing was degraded over the last two years due to all the other WS rerouting they have done. Consequently, I am sure usage has dropped.

    First they work to ruin the service, then they point to declining numbers as an excuse to degrade or eliminate the service further.

    Both the 21 and 37 service are vital. Shutting this down is ridiculous.

    Comment by TJ — 7:23 am December 15, 2011 #

  26. I don’t know who “Bruce Nourish” thinks he is but his arrogance is outlandish. Just because Bruce doesn’t live here, means that Bruce thinks the 37 or the 21 or the 56 should get the axe. We “should” after all, relocate to the Alaska Junction if transit is important to us.

    There are no suburban areas in the City of Seattle limits. The entire city should be treated as a metropolitan city, not just the U-District, downtown, and Capitol Hill. The current plan as proposed by Metro treats much of West Seattle as though it were out in Newcastle.

    Comment by Saffo — 9:23 am December 15, 2011 #

  27. exactly TJ; that’s another way of describing ‘planned obsolescence’ that I was referring to re the 51, 56, and the guy who called it out at the metro restructuring meeting re his Arbor Heights 21

    Comment by Diane — 11:04 am December 15, 2011 #

  28. I don’t know who “Saffo” thinks he is, but his stupidity is offensive. Buses in much of the rest of this city are packed, and he is defending buses with a handful of people on them that could be far better deployed elsewhere. The population within walking distance of Route 37 (that isn’t served by other routes) is minimal — less than many routes in Seattle’s suburbs.

    And yes, if you want really high quality transit service, you need to move somewhere where it is economically feasible to provide — the Junction would be a great example. In return for great access to transit, I sacrifice a private yard the ability to park a car for free; if you want those things, you may have to give up the access to transit that you apparently want.

    That’s the way the cookie crumbles.

    Comment by Bruce Nourish — 11:06 am December 15, 2011 #

  29. Bruce Nourish thinks it’s far better to force Alki residents and visitors into cars so Metro can keep running routes like the 101 which duplicate the Link. Funny position for a so-called transit advocate to take.

    Of course, once lines like the 37 are eliminated, there will be a new group of lowest-performing routes. Eliminate those – and then we’ll have a new group of targets. By definition, there will always be routes at the bottom of any performance list.

    So Bruce’s logic leads ultimately to one inevitable conclusion: the most efficient mass-transit system is one that doesn’t run at all! With “friends” like Bruce, mass transit doesn’t need any enemies.

    Metro transit planning should start from one principle: every resident of the city of Seattle should be within six (OK, maybe eight or ten) blocks of a bus line, period. Anything less isn’t a true mass-transit system, it’s a private shuttle service for political patronage clients.

    Comment by Admiral California — 11:34 am December 15, 2011 #

  30. One only has to compare, say, the 55 and the 70 to see that there’s more to these decisions than mere “efficiency”. The buses perform almost identically, with the 55 actually having a slight edge – but nobody’s talking about eliminating the 70, are they?

    Comment by Admiral California — 11:43 am December 15, 2011 #

  31. Saffo & Bruce Nourish, name calling “his arrogance” & “his stupidity”, both against westseattleblog rules
    ~
    it’s not really all that hard to state your point of view without name calling; be nice please

    Comment by Diane — 12:16 pm December 15, 2011 #

  32. @Admiral California

    Thanks for misrepresenting my views. The 101/102 don’t really duplicate Link when you look at the ridership patterns on the route. The 106 and 42 do duplicate Link. I’ve repeatedly pushed to have Metro delete the 42 (which it looks like they will do in June), and I’ve advocated for restructuring the 106 to run to West Seattle as an additional crosstown route, perhaps joining up with the proposed routes 40 and 50 to improve the frequency of service.

    Regarding the 70, I wouldn’t eliminate it — I would eliminate the underperforming routes 66 and 25 that run a very similar alignment but cannibalize Eastlake riders from the 70. If those duplicative competing services were deleted, the 70 would perform very well.

    The 55 performs well because the segment to Alaska Junction performs well (density drives ridership). The segment on California is pretty sleepy. I can show you ridership charts that demonstrate that if you’re interested, although I fear you aren’t.

    Comment by Bruce Nourish — 12:52 pm December 15, 2011 #

  33. agree Admiral California; what you describe is similar to what happened in the 1930’s, mass transit affordable, efficient, accessible street car lines were destroyed in most cities in the U.S.; check out the documentary “Taken for a Ride” (1996) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0236785/
    ~
    I have a copy and it’s available at the library; everyone should learn the history of transit in our country; before most of us were born, we had mass transit lines in most of our cities; they were destroyed using similar tactic of ‘planned obsolescence’; now it will cost billions to build new, what already existed in the 30’s; meanwhile, many are dependent on mass transit bus system, until the new light rail lines connect all neighborhoods again, and I will probably be long dead by then
    ~
    this is how the mass transit street car lines were killed: “In the mid-1930s, GM worked hard to create the impression of a nationwide trend away from rail. But there was no trend. Buses were a tough sell. They jolted. They smelled. They inched through traffic. City by city, it took the hidden hand of General Motors to replace streetcars with Yellow Coach buses. In 1936, a company was founded that would grow to dominate American city transportation. National City Lines had no visible connection to General Motors. In fact, the director of operations came from a GM subsidiary, Yellow Coach, and members of the Board of Directors came from Greyhound, which was founded and controlled by General Motors. The money to start this new company also came from Greyhound and Yellow Coach. To hide these connections the company needed a front man. Roy Fitzgerald got his start in Northern Minnesota where he hauled miners and school children in a couple of buses. General Motors would groom him to become president of National City Lines. Over the next few years, Standard Oil of California, Mack Truck, Phillips Petroleum and Firestone Tire would join GM in backing this venture.”

    Comment by Diane — 12:54 pm December 15, 2011 #

  34. Many more details here:
    ~
    Excerpts from the Film by Jim Klein and Martha Olson
    http://culturechange.org/issue10/taken-for-a-ride.htm
    ~
    “Taken for a Ride”, “The Pacific Electric Railway served the Los Angeles basin with trolley service through World War II. In 1950, it abandoned most of its lines. The “Red Cars” were junked, stacked and left to rot. Similarly, General Motors targeted over 100 other U.S. cities through its front company, National City Lines.”

    Comment by Diane — 1:00 pm December 15, 2011 #

  35. From the script of “Taken for a Ride”,
    ~
    “They don’t take the service out, they just cut it back. They’ll take and cut it from 10 minutes to 12 minutes, from 12 to 15, from 15 to 20, from 20 to 30. So they reduce the service.
    ~
    And every time you reduce the service you make it less attractive. And the less attractive the fewer riders. And then they say, `Well see, we can’t make any money.’ So they abandon it.”
    ~
    sound familiar?

    Comment by Diane — 1:09 pm December 15, 2011 #

  36. oh look what I just found; you can watch it on youtube:
    ~
    Documentary Film Video General Motors History = Taken for a Ride.flv
    “How American Public Mass Transit was undermined and destroyed.”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rAc4w11Yzys

    Comment by Diane — 1:51 pm December 15, 2011 #

  37. @Jen,

    You said: “bus doesn’t arrive at alki and 61st until 8 and then the driver goes into Starbucks for a coffee. We don’t leave until 8:10.”

    That Starbucks also serves as a “comfort station” – one of the few places where Metro Operators can use the restroom. We are contractually entitled to a minimum 5 minute break at the end of runs to allow time to use the restroom, get a beverage, etc. If you have the kind of job where you have ready access to a restroom, drinking fountain, etc. you have no idea how challenging (and at times painful) not to have such access. If the bus arrived late, it was likely due to traffic (there’s this thingy happening with the viaduct right now), not some form of incompetence on the part of the driver. Give us a break, will you?

    Comment by Jeff Welch — 9:20 pm December 15, 2011 #

  38. @Diane,

    You said: “56 is insanely unreliable, chronically late; the last time I took the 56 from downtown in eve, it took 1 ½ hrs to get home (45 min wait at bus stop, then stuck at train tracks on 4th)”

    As buses don’t fly – and have to stop for trains (one of the main causes of unreliability for the 56, 21, 22, 35 and even the 116 and 118) what would you suggest to make the routes more reliable? One solution might be to have those routes (except the 35 whose sole purpose is to serve the shipyard) take the viaduct instead of go across Harbor Island. Unfortunately – this means cutting out Harbor Island’s park and ride.

    Other ideas? I often hear people ranting about buses being late – at times even thinking that the driver is somehow to blame. What would you do to make them more reliable?

    Comment by Jeff Welch — 9:25 pm December 15, 2011 #

  39. good point and good question Jeff; I think the biggest part of the problem for the 56 has been the major delay in reopening the 1st Ave ramp; usually the 56 gets stuck at train tracks at the detour west of 1st; just so happens my last 56 home got stuck at 4th; so there’s really 2 places it can get stuck waiting for trains; from what I’ve heard of the new plans for the viaduct/tunnel rerouting, they are building roadway over the tracks to eliminate this problem; not sure if that could help the 56 route; and I hope to god the 1st Ave ramp opens again soon; but it sounds like metro is determined to eliminate the 56 before those solutions happen
    ~
    I’ve definitely never thought the drivers were at fault; it’s got to be terribly frustrating trying to keep on schedule with all the detours, trains, etc; and I’ve heard several drivers complain about never getting a chance to go potty; I don’t know how they can go for so long without a break; that would be impossible for me

    Comment by Diane — 11:43 pm December 15, 2011 #

  40. @Bruce,

    You said: “if you want really high quality transit service, you need to move somewhere where it is economically feasible to provide.”
    Bruce – this is one problem I have with you STB types: the idea that people who don’t have enough to public transportation are at fault for living in the wrong area.

    This attitude – blatantly elitist – ignores the ecoomic realities that include not being able to move on a whim, or to choose one’s area of residence based on income factors. It also ignores the fact that economic factors change – take the gentrification of the CD for example. I would hope that (good arguments about efficiencies aside) that you and other transit nerds (endearing term in this usage) take some of these realities into account before making comments like this.

    Comment by Jeff Welch — 9:24 pm December 16, 2011 #

  41. Jeff,
    Most of the areas losing service aren’t exactly what I would call “low-income”. Indeed the low density and relative affluence has much to do with why transit ridership is so low.

    As you know Metro has limited resources. Not everyone can have a bus stop at their front door much less a frequent express route. Metro needs to focus its resources on areas where people are actually using transit not wasting service hours on neighborhoods with ridership that would be embarrassing in Snoqualmie much less Seattle.

    To continue to provide expensive service to low-ridership areas of the city is a disservice to those living near high-ridership corridors who’ve already voted with their feet by riding transit. Why should they be forced to live with crowded, slow, and unreliable service that doesn’t run on evenings and weekends so a handful of people can continue to have a taxpayer subsidized personal taxi service?

    If people want high-quality transit service in their neighborhoods the best way to ensure it is to ask the city to zone for higher density where they live.

    Comment by Chris Stefan — 10:04 am December 17, 2011 #

Sorry, comment time is over.

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