Traffic/transit today, from & to West Seattle: Thursday 10/11

October 11, 2012 at 6:24 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle traffic alerts | 60 Comments

(Live view from the only WS Bridge camera currently in operation; see other cameras on the WSB Traffic page)
6:24 AM: We asked on Wednesday what you think about a daily dedicated thread for traffic and transit reports, from you and from us – consensus seemed to be, go for it. So here we go. No big trouble currently – we’re monitoring various sources and will update if there’s anything of note.

7:39 AM: Still quiet. No rain yet but the weather folks say tomorrow might bring a wet commute. Also of note tomorrow, no classes Friday in Seattle Public Schools, which will likely alter traffic patterns.

9:58 AM ALERT - ramp from West Seattle Bridge to I-5 north is closed, apparently a diesel spill. Keep an eye on the live camera at the top of the page – we’ll update when it’s cleared.

10:42 AM UPDATE: SDOT says a stalled vehicle linked to this is cleared and the live cam looks OK now so we’re dropping this story back to its time-appropriate slot on the home page.

5:19 PM UPDATE: Couple of Metro-related notes – First, County Councilmember Joe McDermott, who represents West Seattle (and White Center, Vashon/Maury, and some surrounding areas), has sent his latest “e-newsletter” summarizing his view of the bus changes, what’s been done about concerns, what’s in the works, and what he says “you can do” – read it all here.

Meantime, Metro has not yet provided the numbers it used to generate the information referred to in the “Very preliminary numbers, from some initial checks, show about a 15 to 20 percent ridership increase” quote from the system’s boss, Kevin Desmond. What we got back from spokesperson Jeff Switzer today was:

Metro planners made direct field observations Oct. 4 and 9, 10, 11, with plans for more data collection in the field and through our automatic passenger counters that are on about 15% of Metro coaches (more on RapidRide). The increase noted was during the morning commute from 7-9 a.m. We also had reports of crowded buses and passed stops that prompted us to add trips for the RapidRide C line. While the data is preliminary, we hope that this continues to signal increasing ridership demand.

We have renewed our request for the actual numbers – however preliminary and small they might have been – that suggested a “ridership increase.” Switzer subsequently elaborated, “Metro is still gathering data to confirm that the initial observations are accurate and consistent.”

8:08 PM UPDATE: Thanks to Trileigh for the tip – stuck semi-truck at California and Edmunds causing some trouble, with traffic having to make its way carefully around it.

60 Comments

  1. Just saw a C at 35th and Avalon with a few seats left before people boarded!

    Comment by West Seattle since 1979 — 7:12 am October 11, 2012 #

  2. Another C at 35th and Avalon had a few seats left – - I’m on it now.

    Comment by West Seattle since 1979 — 7:19 am October 11, 2012 #

  3. Passed a C and there were open seats at 35th & Fauntleroy. Bridge car traffic is awful at 7:15am. Lots of people driving instead of bussing?

    Comment by Ixobbp — 7:20 am October 11, 2012 #

  4. 56x at 7:20 am moving smoothly over the WS bridge with a few seats open and nobody standing.

    Comment by Glenn — 7:25 am October 11, 2012 #

  5. I hope this doesn’t mean that a lot of people have given up on taking the bus in the morning.

    99 seems to be moving kind of slow.

    Comment by West Seattle since 1979 — 7:27 am October 11, 2012 #

  6. Are there blackout times for the lower bridge to be opened? Twice in the last week at peak morning commute it has been opened, once for what looked to be a private sailboat going through… Bit frustrating!

    Comment by BV0621 — 7:39 am October 11, 2012 #

  7. On the 55, got on at AlaskaJunction at 7:27. No stops are being missed so far, and we are now near the bridge.

    Comment by Chris W — 7:41 am October 11, 2012 #

  8. Another day of a jam packed 120 on Delridge at 6:20am. Do we know if there are plans to help alleviate the completely full, standing room busses in this corridor or is standing room only really the new normal? It’s frustrating and I can only imagine how much it gets worse by 8am.

    Comment by pigeonpoint — 7:43 am October 11, 2012 #

  9. To Sue, who posted yesterday about the floor clearance on the new buses: You were right. It may be OK on flat surfaces, but it’s terrible getting of the back of the bus on hills, such as Seneca between 2nd & 3rd, if you have any kind of leg, knee or other mobility issues.

    Next time I’m going to ride it to the next stop, or better still take the 21 local like I had been doing and leave a seat on the C for someone who needs to get to downtown instead of Pioneer Square!

    Comment by West Seattle since 1979 — 7:55 am October 11, 2012 #

  10. BV0621 – in short, no. The city has tried. But marine traffic has priority, and the Coast Guard, which has jurisdiction over requests such as those the city has made (we covered extensively in past), says that has to continue. – TR

    Comment by WSB — 7:58 am October 11, 2012 #

  11. 120 was SRO by the time it hit north Delridge a little before 7am.

    Comment by Dancingeek — 8:01 am October 11, 2012 #

  12. The past few mornings getting on the C line at Alaska & Fauntleroy (printed schedule says 5:33 & 5:48 as the scheduled times, also says buses arrive every 7-10 minutes from 5:30 to 8:30 – hard to know which is correct) the driver has only opened the front door. I told her I paid outside and she said that was fine but that she can only open the front door before 6am. I’m confused, wasn’t the point of rapid ride not to waste time boarding/paying at the front?

    Comment by Hilary — 8:02 am October 11, 2012 #

  13. You’re right about the clearance at 2nd & Seneca, but even bad at flatter stops if driver doesn’t line up with the curb. It’s better to fight ones way to the front door and exit there. I am so slow getting out of the back, and the driver has limited sight of that door. Last week the door started to close on me. At least at the front I can hobble off at a safe pace.
    I’m a bit disappointed because when they had the “SEE OUR WONDERFUL NEW BUS” event at the Morgan Street Fair, they were touting that the clearance would be much better than the old 54, and also that all buses were “kneeling,” so it would be an easy drop at all stops. Apparently not true unless the driver wishes it.
    I also noticed on my trip in yesterday that the “C” around 10:30 was ahead of schedule at several stops, so we sat blocking traffic for several minutes. Yet, in between stops, the driver sped like the proverbial bat, and he was rude to slow passengers and didn’t wait for someone running for the bus.
    Did they fire all the old (polite) drivers?
    Okay, enought grumbling for today. I have been sending my comments to Metro as well as posting here. And I am trying hard to be upbeat and embrace the new normal.

    Comment by iggy — 8:04 am October 11, 2012 #

  14. Waited fifteen minutes for a C at Barton & 35th, was told that the bus that finally came was eight minutes late, and nothing was said about the extra bus that we had had earlier in the week and part of last week. And the bus we finally got was not only overcrowded, but there was a problem with the farebox (driver had to call it in, and she ended up HITTING it, per instructions. On a brand-new bus). Not encouraging.

    Comment by Eilis Flynn — 8:07 am October 11, 2012 #

  15. I completely agree with BC0621, having the lower bridge open during the commute really puts the kibosh on the flow of traffic and makes for a miserable commute. WSB, do you know how/where we can file a complaint on the matter? That’s been among my biggest points of contention for years.

    Comment by Mrs Tiggy Wiggle — 8:11 am October 11, 2012 #

  16. Tiggy Wiggle – you can contact Councilmember Tom Rasmussen’s office. He heads up the Transportation Committee. He’s been working on this since even BEFORE he took over the Transportation Committee. I don’t ever like to say anything is futile but the city’s gone down this road several times. You can also look up public contact info for the local Coast Guard district – I’m sorry I don’t have that handy – but as I wrote, it’s their jurisdiction.

    Comment by WSB — 8:21 am October 11, 2012 #

  17. Drove again today, traffic on bridge just about 645 am seemed heavier than usual. I would guess more folks driving these days? Can’t wait for the first rainy commute…..

    Comment by donofAdmiral — 8:22 am October 11, 2012 #

  18. Today I was questioned by the driver about paying. I used the ORCA card reader. Yesterday, a man wrote and said Metro doesn’t question riders about paying. That maybe his personal experience. I’m a woman.

    Anyway the 520 drivers complained for extra limitations for bridge openings during peak hours and extra warnings (like an hour) before bridge openings. They got it. We should be allowed the same courtesy despite our citizens not having the political clout coming from having all the $s. I would also call the coast guard as they enforce waterway regulations.

    At 8:10am, 2 buses came back to back. I got on the 2nd bus which had lots of seats.

    Comment by Single mother — 8:32 am October 11, 2012 #

  19. On the C Line and we are packed full. Just passed the last stop before the bridge with I would guess 20 people waiting because there was no room left on the bus.

    Comment by Tara — 8:44 am October 11, 2012 #

  20. Skipped RabidRide this week, I was one of the many stressed out standing people…. not safe and bad zen.

    Second day on the 50 caught at Spokane and California. Plenty of seats and silly easy connection with Light Rail at SODO. Thanks to earlier posts suggesting this route!

    Comment by Jamo — 8:47 am October 11, 2012 #

  21. Iggi, Metro has no standing policy about kneeling the bus except at the request of riders. It does take extra time, and not all riders want it. If you think it should be standard practice, keep doing what you’re doing and let Metro customer service know. As to negative experiences with drivers, do the same, preferably noting the bus number and time. The specific driver WILL receive your comments, across the desk from a supervisor.

    Comment by Jeff Welch — 8:50 am October 11, 2012 #

  22. Waiting to be called for a jury duty panel.
    Rode rapid-less ride in-could have walked faster.

    Comment by mc — 8:52 am October 11, 2012 #

  23. Tiggywiggle & BC0621: the Fremont bridge does not open for boats during rush hour. Not sure if it’s Coast Guard managed (no port access), but maybe there is a way to block boat bridge use here like in Fremont. I think in the afternoons boats are left waiting from 4-6 and in the am from 7-9, but that’s just a guess based on my past commuting through that area.

    Comment by Chris W. — 8:54 am October 11, 2012 #

  24. Ok .Metro the commute out of West Seattle is as bad as ever!!! EXPLAIN

    Comment by denbol — 9:00 am October 11, 2012 #

  25. Thanks for this dedicated thread, WSB. I always look first to WSB for traffic info, and this will make it much handier!

    Comment by Mike — 9:04 am October 11, 2012 #

  26. The C just stopped at Fauntleroy and Alaska and took only a few of the waiting people. Bus driver declared it full and the rest of us are waiting 15 mins for the next one.

    The issue is that the service is very inconsistent. Since I’m not sure if I’ll be able to get on te next bus I have to assume I won’t be able to, which means the reliable wait time I have to use when planning my trip is now 30 minutes. And then the trip to downtown is on top of that. An hour to go five miles (30 mins of waiting plus 30 mins of driving in traffic) is only slightly better than walking.

    Comment by Jenava — 9:12 am October 11, 2012 #

  27. On the next C line bus now. Totally packed but at least we got everyone on at each stop…barely!

    Comment by Jenava — 9:19 am October 11, 2012 #

  28. Mac, seriously? You could have walked faster from West Settle to downtown? Looking forward to the YouTube video of the “West Seattle Flash” :)

    Comment by Jeff Welch — 9:25 am October 11, 2012 #

  29. Something slippery on the roadway on the eastbound ramp to I-5 causing a few cars to slip or stop and not be able to get going again. Smells like garbage leaked or something. Thank goodness for the awd!

    Comment by Leann — 9:33 am October 11, 2012 #

  30. Follow up to my earlier post. Caught Rt 50 at Spokane & California and connected with Light Rail at SODO Link near Starbucks HQ. I timed the route from arrival at the Alaska Junction to doors opening on the train at Westlake Center. Wed. was 33 minutes and today took 36 minutes. I’m off the RabidRide for the near future – hope that opens a spot for someone else.

    Comment by Jamo — 9:34 am October 11, 2012 #

  31. Just heard northbound I-5 ramp from WS Bridge closed due to diesel spill. Aaackkk!

    Comment by george — 9:51 am October 11, 2012 #

  32. Thanks! Adding.

    Comment by WSB — 9:56 am October 11, 2012 #

  33. 9am C line at Fauntleroy/Alaska was packed. A few were able to get on, others were left behind. The water taxi shuttle was right behind, so I opted for that. I’m fortunate to have that flexibility, so I’m doing the water taxi from here on out to free up a spot on the buses. I continue to hope this all settles out.

    Comment by RichWSeattle — 10:04 am October 11, 2012 #

  34. love rabidride rename Jamo :)

    Comment by maryws — 10:06 am October 11, 2012 #

  35. Jeff Welch
    Yet Metro do have a policie on how close to the curb the driver is to be and it seems alot of the drivers of the “C” line are failing at it almost all of the time. So what riders need to do is correct get the bus number, the time and the route number and sent that info to metro via the phone, e-mail or snail mail. Send copied to Kevin Desmon and Metro CSO as that way they will see that there is still a problem and metro can start dealing with it.

    Comment by michael — 10:10 am October 11, 2012 #

  36. There is an agreement with the Coast Guard that the Fremont and University bridges won’t open for pleasure boats during rush hour, and commercial boats are asked to schedule around it, but can request an opening.

    I think the Coast Guard did limit openings during Viadoom last year.

    More info:
    http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/bridgeopenings.htm

    Comment by West Seattle Steve — 10:10 am October 11, 2012 #

  37. Hi Jenava — well that explains why my C Line bus at 8:20, right after yours, carried only 45 people downtown, with a few seats to spare.

    Comment by Mike Lindblom — 10:16 am October 11, 2012 #

  38. Jenava
    My trip to work now is over an hour and 30 minutes to 2 hours from West Seattle and it takes 3 buses where with the old RT 54 I only had to take 2 buses to get to work. The fact there is no posted time or time points to know when I need to be at the bus stop I’m now forced to guess as to when this new “C” line will be at my stop. I then only take it to 35th and Avalon as this new “C” line doesn’t have a stop that I can just connect to my bus to work like the old better RT 54 did. My choices now are to take the “C” line and walk blocks once I’m down town or take a much slower bus from WS to town. I find this totally sad too.

    Comment by michael — 10:20 am October 11, 2012 #

  39. pigeonpoint: I’m completely with you. I get on on Roxbury, so I can usually get a seat. It’s insanely packed by the time it gets halfway down Delridge most days. They have yet to respond to any 120 complaints, so we’re just out I suppose. For a route so heavily used, it’s surprisingly ignored. I took it Sunday to and from downtown and even then people were standing.

    Comment by jedifarfy — 10:25 am October 11, 2012 #

  40. Michael, getting 3-6 inches from the curb is harder than most of us make it look, especially the back doors in shorter zones. As one who served the community of people with disabilities long before becoming a bus driver, I hear your frustration. Don’t hesitate to ask for acccomodation at the front where the driver can see and hear you. We can lower the bus and even extend the ramp if the bus is too far out. It’s what we’re Here for.

    Comment by Jeff Welch — 10:34 am October 11, 2012 #

  41. 30 minutes to s lake union on bicycle, same as always.

    Comment by Common — 11:45 am October 11, 2012 #

  42. And THERE is the snarky bike comment!

    Comment by george — 12:22 pm October 11, 2012 #

  43. @george; thank you

    Comment by Diane — 1:15 pm October 11, 2012 #

  44. Not sure why, but my C bus driver this morning passed the rest of the Rapid Ride stops after the Junction on the 8am run even though nobody was standing. Everyone at the Junction was able to get a seat so I figured he would at least let people stand, but he just passed on by. He did stop at the last RR stop before the bridge. Not sure what the deal was, but I saw some pretty pissed off folks at those stops.

    Comment by natinstl — 1:26 pm October 11, 2012 #

  45. In the good ole days (13 days ago) bus drivers would often announce over speaker and/or talk to passengers to explain if something unusual was happening (like reroutes, or answer “why are you passing up all those people waiting at bus stop trying to get to work even though we have room on this bus?”); now it’s impossible to communicate with the driver unless you’re in the first few seats; I wish there were an intercom from back of the bus, where I have been going to get a seat; when it’s packed, which seems to be most of the time other than very much off-peak, riders cannot see past standing room only people in aisles or out the windows to see what stops are coming up, much less have any way to talk to driver; any ideas on this?
    ~
    yesterday I got on RR-C at Alaska/Fauntleroy 2:55pm, headed to Ballard Fisherman’s Terminal to catch a boat tour; soon as our bus started heading down Avalon, the digital reader board changed to “TO TERMINAL”, all the way to 3rd/Pike; so the entire ride, I was worried that this bus would stop, make me get off to wait/transfer to RR-D downtown, and miss my boat; as it was, the ride took an hour and I barely made it there in time; to my relief, once we got to downtown to fill up the bus, the reader board changed to RR-D and all the correct stops were on the digital reader rest of the way
    ~
    also, our stop at 3rd/Pike, filled up to the brim, took 7 mins to load riders; there was a metro guy at back door checking everyone

    Comment by Diane — 2:12 pm October 11, 2012 #

  46. I caught a C bus around 8:30 in the Junction–it was crammed and standing room only. The driver passed most of the rest of the stops after that. When we were stopped at the light at 2nd and Seneca I noticed a guy on the sidewalk, closely examining the bus and taking notes on a clipboard. Did anyone else see him? Metro employee perhaps?

    Comment by Lynn — 2:28 pm October 11, 2012 #

  47. Left work early to get a seat on bus because I was bringing home a heavy armload of work. No luck!!! SRO on the 3:05 pm from 2nd and Seneca. Crammed like sardines!

    Comment by Annette — 3:10 pm October 11, 2012 #

  48. There is a group trying to build a modern, all electric, grade-separated (meaning NOT sitting in traffic!) subway line to downtown and on north to Ballard:

    http://www.seattlesubway.org

    Comment by cascadianone — 3:28 pm October 11, 2012 #

  49. Metro appears to be tempting WS commuters back by offering free orca passes and unlimited rides through Dec 8. More can be found here at the link below http://www.kingcounty.gov/transportation/kcdot/MetroTransit/InMotion/WestSeattle2012.aspx .

    Comment by Glenn — 4:50 pm October 11, 2012 #

  50. Just to be clear, InMotion was “in motion” before the service change, so it’s not an out and out bid to win people “back.”
    .
    P.S. Adding to today’s ongoing story – County Councilmember McDermott’s e-newsletter with his summary of the West Seattle bus situation, what’s being done, and “what you can do.”

    Comment by WSB — 5:19 pm October 11, 2012 #

  51. 4:55pm I passed Alaska/Fauntleroy on the 116 and there were 2 RR C buses in the westbound stop back to back. At 3rd/Seneca a RR C came by just after 4:30, and it was boarded on the back door by a man in a white polo shirt that said “Rapid Ride Fare Enforcement” on the back. He entered and a minute or so later got off, then walked to the front, got on the bus there, and the driver had his emergency blinkers on. It was another minute or two before the bus left. Not entirely sure if he rode on the bus or got off again. I can appreciate that they’d like their fares, but it seems as if the bus was held up by this, in the middle of rush hour, and with all the other issues going on with the line with crowding, etc., it hardly seems the time to worry about this.

    Comment by Sue — 5:35 pm October 11, 2012 #

  52. I too waited at Fauntleroy & Alaska at 9:00 a.m. Everyday is like a “Snow Day”, you have no idea if you will get a bus or be able to sit.
    First bus could only take a few, then it was packed. Reader board indicated another RRC was due in 11 minutes. Well it was confused by a route 50 that came thru. Then it said one was 2 minutes out. Then it was due….but nothing in sight. RRC shows up (think it was coach #6048) and only 1 seat available. 10 left standing. Many more get on at next 3 stops. Packed as we get on bridge. Downtown at 3rd & Seneca another RRC/D is right behind us. Where did that come from? No one saw it in W Seattle!!

    Comment by Hock — 5:52 pm October 11, 2012 #

  53. “30 minutes to s lake union on bicycle, same as always.”

    It took me 60 minutes, but I ride a unicycle.

    Comment by Bill at Duwamish Head — 5:52 pm October 11, 2012 #

  54. Dian, you likely caught one of the “add in” bususes , see to relieve overcercrowding on he inbound C line buses. Those may turn around downtown.

    Comment by Jeff Welch — 6:04 pm October 11, 2012 #

  55. 6:20. C Line @ 3rd & Pine packed standing room only.

    Comment by MSW — 6:26 pm October 11, 2012 #

  56. Thank you WSB for keeping this thread alive and giving West Seattle Metro riders a voice. I have ridden Metro for 9 years and adapted to ever changing service. I’ve always kept in mind that the drivers are more closely connected to the riders and are at the mercy of Metro policy makers. However, today that all changed. Drivers are now making false accusations and overreacting when being asked simple everyday questions. Today was the final straw. I am a 48 year old professional woman. I was subjected to the most humiliating bus ride to date. I boarded the 50 at the Kentucky Fried Chicken and asked the bus driver what his stops were. He didn’t answer so I asked again. Mind you, I was being very respectful. He suddenly pulled the bus to curb within one block and accused me of causing him to have an accident. He was highly defensive and made it clear he didn’t have to answer any questions about the route.

    Ultimately I asked if he stopped in front of the Jiffy Lube. He made it clear he didn’t cross Fauntleroy. He overreacted and acted like I was victimizing him by asking where I should get off. This is not normal behavior. I asked the same simple question many riders ask on a routine basis. Next thing I knew I was being falsely accused of distracting him, and causing an accident. In 9 years I’ve never witnessed a bus being pulled over and service interrupted because a rider/pay customer asked a reasonable route question. The accusation was so ridiculous and out of the blue. This driver made a false accusation and had absolutely no fear of repercussion. It was like he was ready from a script. Metro drivers are clearly being coached on this method.

    In 9 years I have never been treated this way on a Metro bus. If I treated my customers this way I would be terminated immediately without cause!! This is WRONG. Riders have the right to ask where they are going and not be treated with total hostility. They must have recruited drivers with a Soup Nazi’s mentality to drive Rapid Ride C and 50 routes.

    Comment by CrzyCatLdy — 10:03 pm October 11, 2012 #

  57. CrzyCatLdy
    It to me sounds like you got the same driver that had me removed from the new “C” line the second day it was running by Seattle Police when I tried to let him know about the new stop going towards the KFC at 35th and Avalon. The driver leaving down town Seattle stated” that his next stop was 35th and Avalon and I simplely stated there was a brand new stop before that one and the driver started in with a rude naste tone of things like I was tring to tell him how to drive the bus. I then said well you might want to check as there is a stop by the storeage unit place. Once the driver saw I was correct he pulled the bus over at the KFC and told me to get off the bus. This was at 12:30 AM and I was on my way home from work. I said I wasn’t getting off and asked him to have his sup come out he then called the police and had me removed from the bus. I’m disabled and so once the police got there I stepped off the bus to talk with them and then the police forced me to sit down on the bench as I was asking if I could stay standing as I find it hard to get up and down alot and the police officer didn’t want to take the time to hear what I was trying to say before he did what he did. I was wearing a jacket that clearly stated where I work on the front of it. Which is one of the major medical hospitals here in Seattle. I am a tall person yet not violent at all and I like you feel that the way this driver reacted was totally out of line with what a drivers job is. Sorry you had to deal with the way that that driver acted. Just know there still are alot of very helpful drivers too.

    Comment by michael — 6:16 am October 12, 2012 #

  58. Drivers do not ask riders to leave the bus simply for asking questions. If on the other hand you act like an aggressive, rude, profane jerk, you may be asked to leave the bus for harassment. Turning your back on someone behaving in an aggressive manner is more than just a mere distraction. Its a safety issue. Something in both of your stories rings false.

    Comment by Jeff Welch — 11:55 am October 12, 2012 #

  59. So how often do you rid Metro Jeff Welch, I am guessing not much if at all. Again, I really think it would be a good idea (and abit classy of Metro management) to actually ride Metro like so many of us do everyday, walk many blocks or miles to ca tchthe bus in all kinds of weather, and in the early morning and late at night. Then your answer will be justified, by experience. So Jeff Welch, are you up for the challenge as well as other Metro management?? Try Alki first, then Admiral and finally Arbor Heights. all areas with very limited Metro services.

    Comment by Lisa — 1:31 pm October 15, 2012 #

  60. Lisa, I both ride and drive Metro buses at least 5 days a week. My wife and daughter are also both daily riders. Who said I was Metro management? Not me, certainly. My direct supervisor rides dailyhowever, as do many others throughout Metro. Why would you presume otherwise? We get free passes after all.

    Comment by Jeff Welch — 2:09 pm October 20, 2012 #

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