West Seattle traffic/transit today – as rain returns! – Friday 10/12

October 12, 2012 at 6:03 am | In Transportation, West Seattle news | 38 Comments

(Live view from the only WS Bridge camera currently in operation; see other cameras on the WSB Traffic page)
Welcome to the third edition of the daily WSB traffic/transit report, a dedicated space each weekday (weekends if necessary) for updates on the roads and buses, from you and from us. While it goes live each morning, we’ll updating it with any notable traffic/bus news throughout the day, and we hope you will do the same. You will always find the current edition linked under the BIG STORIES heading on the sidebar. We start Friday with some notes:

*No classes today for Seattle Public Schools (and independent schools following the SPS calendar).
*Rain is indeed moving through the region as forecast (here’s the radar – thanks to Patrick K for the link) – share what you’re seeing, when you can do so safely (no driving/reading/typing, please!).

Two Metro-related notes so far today:

*County Councilmember Joe McDermott‘s office confirms a tip we got from Lisa – explained by McDermott staffer Michelle Allison: “In order to give (Denny) students a bit more time to catch the bus, the Route 22 2 pm southbound trip from Alaska Junction will be adjusted to depart five minutes later. School gets out at 2:10 and the bus has been going by at around 2:15, which was tight for the students. Starting next week, the bus will pass the SW Thistle/26th Ave SW stop by about 2:20.” Councilmember McDermott’s latest “e-newsletter” is all about the bus changes – in case you missed it on yesterday’s traffic/transit thread, here’s the link again.
*Jon Grant has started a petition “to return bus service to Arbor Heights.” He writes:

The new schedule changes have been a calamity to many in our neighborhood.

For anyone who does not commute during peak hours and cannot or does not own a car, this means walking quite a distance to catch the once an hour bus that only runs til between 6 and 7 pm. Before 9 am (on weekends, during the week we have the 21X) or after 6/7 pm (everyday) the closest stop is 35th and Barton, up to 2 miles for some Arbor Heights residents.

My son is 8 and he has had to walk with either myself or my wife that long walk 6 times in the past 10 days that the new routes have been in effect. I truly worry about what we and others in our area will do once it gets colder and darker – the hills are steep, the lighting poor, and in many places the sidewalks are nonexistent or unusable for disabled residents.

If you could, please post the link to my petition. If the response is good, I will deliver the first batch of signatures to Seattle City Councilman Tom Rasmussen this Monday at Sustainable West Seattle’s transit forum.

The goal is to have some sort of transit every 30 min run the Arbor Heights loop.

change.org/petitions/king-county-metro-transit-return-reliable-and-frequent-bus-service-to-arbor-heights

Here’s more on the forum Jon mentioned – 7 pm Monday, Senior Center of West Seattle (Oregon/California), tackling all facets of West Seattle transportation, with a panel including county and city reps.

10:10 AM UPDATE: Trouble on the ramp from the eastbound bridge to northbound 99 – one of our team members just saw it and we also have a reader note: “I was just on the bridge and a semi has died at the end of the on-ramp from the west seattle bridge to Highway 99. Its location is blocking all vehicles from getting past it and people are backing off the on-ramp.” (Our info on this is about 10 minutes old so if you have been through and saw the ramp open again, please comment – it’s out of webcam range.) Metro has issued an advisory:

Routes 21, 120, 125 and RapidRide C Line are temporarily rerouted off of the northbound Alaskan Way Viaduct, due to an incident. Metro service heading toward downtown Seattle is rerouted via 4 Av S until further notice. Expect delays for RapidRide C Line until the incident is cleared.

11:00 AM UPDATE: Metro says the ramp is clear and bus service is back to normal, which means other traffic can use the ramp now too.

2:35 PM UPDATE: Metro has sent the numbers we’ve been looking for – ridership estimates before and after the changes, and number of runs on the corridor. Way too much info to add to this story so we’ve published it separately – find the story here.

3:48 PM UPDATE: From WSDOT – “On SR 99 southbound just north of W Marginal Way (MP 25) there is a collision blocking the HOV lane. Medical Aid, Fire Assistance, and the WSP have arrived on the scene.” This is in the 1st Avenue South Bridge vicinity, according to the Seattle Fire 911 log.

4:30 PM UPDATE: Via Twitter, Chris says the rechannelization striping (related to Route 120) appears to have been done today in North Delridge. We’re off to check.

38 Comments

  1. I don’t see the McDermott link. Can you re-add? Thanks.

    Comment by Brian — 6:21 am October 12, 2012 #

  2. Maybe we could use some crowd-sourcing today to develop some good questions for Metro or some clear statements about what WS needs in light of the recent changes (for use at the Monday event)?These are some questions I’d like asked at Monday’s session. Maybe the folks here can improve these questions and add their own concerns. Personally, I’m more interested in how and when things will improve than in trying to find the reason someone’s head should be chopped off:

    1. The recent transit changes eliminated many routes and altered many others. How did these changes affect the overall bus-carrying capacity from West Seattle?…or from Alaska Junction?

    2. In addition to route changes, did Metro consider communicating capacity changes to their WS (or other) customers?

    3. Metro press releases have mentioned large increases over initial WS ridership projections (based on Spring surveys). What data can Metro share on ridership projections and actual ridership after the changes (WSB has been developing reporting on this)?

    4. There were many complaints about drivers, but also from drivers suggesting a failure to communicate/educate drivers on changes in stops, routes and entry policies (including accessibility)? How did this happen?

    5. Despite Metro’s adjustments to RR-C, the system is still not providing enough capacity at peak times. Other routes are also affected (120 mentioned a lot). What is the time-frame on which riders can expect some relief?

    6. What do WS riders expect in terms of service? For instance, there sure are a lot of complaints about standing…do people expect Metro to provide a seat for everyone? There are also many specific route/transfer concerns, e.g., getting to schools or specific work sites. Is there a way to express those needs beyond “please bring the 54 back”?

    Comment by Brian — 6:29 am October 12, 2012 #

  3. Please sign the petition.

    Comment by DaPuffin — 6:33 am October 12, 2012 #

  4. I signed Jon’s petition, I will be moving into Arbor Heights at the end of October. Even if I wasn’t, I would still sign it as that is just crazy to have pulled the bus service to this area.

    Comment by GoGo — 7:02 am October 12, 2012 #

  5. There are just five of us on the 50 that left the junction 5 minutes ago, headed to Othello Station.

    Comment by Chris W — 7:50 am October 12, 2012 #

  6. Oh but the bus struggled to head down Genessee Hill safely on a wet road. I am fearful of upcoming mornings with frost on the roads!

    Comment by Chris W — 7:54 am October 12, 2012 #

  7. I am wondering how many disabled people have switched to using those little Access buses since the bus overhaul and how that is affecting Metro’s bottom line.

    Comment by Loretta — 8:14 am October 12, 2012 #

  8. Thanks for signing. Please also consider coming to Sustainable West Seattle’s transit forum this coming Monday at the Senior Centerbon the corner of Oregon and California streets at 7pm. Here’s a link to the meeting info

    http://www.sustainablewestseattle.org/2012/09/october-forum-transportation-and-west-seattl/

    Comment by Jon Grant — 8:52 am October 12, 2012 #

  9. I really feel bad for the folks in Arbor Hills and other neighborhoods abandoned by Metro. Instead of strengthening the underserved but still very effective bus network we already had in place, the system was radically redesigned to magically solve all the problems of public transportation in WS. Can we get some rational minds working on our problems instead of political hacks and dilatants, please?

    Comment by sardine — 8:58 am October 12, 2012 #

  10. Bus arrival sign not working this morning at Faunt/AK at about 9am. Bus came within ten mins of my arrival at the stop, though, and only about five people standing on bus now, with a couple of seats still available.

    Comment by Jenava — 9:24 am October 12, 2012 #

  11. I so appreciate this new section! I’ve been lurking for two weeks and trying different ways to get from 22nd and Barton to South Lake Union(target arrival time: 9 am). Here’s my tale of – whoa!

    Fastest commute: drive I-5 to the U district, catch 70 at 50th and Brooklyn. 65 minutes. Insane.

    Second-fastest: bike – and I am a slooow rider. 70 minutes.

    Third-fastest: drive 509>99,stop downtown to let spouse off: 85 min

    Slowest: RR C from 26 and Barton to DT, transfer to 70: 100 min

    Wish I enjoyed biking in the rain!

    Comment by circuitous — 9:35 am October 12, 2012 #

  12. I also wondered about people needing to switch to Access. Unfortunately, it’s not so easy to just sign up for Access. You need to fill out an application and get it signed by your MD. Then you actually need to get an assessment by a PT – usually at Harborview – and they will determine whether or not you qualify for Access. This whole process usually takes a while.

    Comment by Suzanne — 9:36 am October 12, 2012 #

  13. Blocking incident on upper portion of ramp to 99.

    Comment by L — 9:41 am October 12, 2012 #

  14. Re: Questions for Metro – I’d like to hear why they could afford to put free wifi on the new RR busses, but had to cut service to areas like Arbor Heights, because of budget constraints.

    Comment by oneanne — 9:52 am October 12, 2012 #

  15. Oops – forgot to say that, tied with biking (70 min) was driving to the Water Taxi (where there were enormous purple starfish on the pilings – yay!) and taking the 66 from the ferry terminal.

    I think the Water Taxi has it.

    Comment by circuitous — 9:58 am October 12, 2012 #

  16. @oneanne – Jeff Welch posted this a few days ago regarding wifi:
    .
    “West Seattle, WIFI is actually a fringe benefit to riders. The buses are equipped with WIFI not as a luxury, but as a necessity associated with the GPS tracking, real time info and other data processing (ORCA, etc.) there for the operation of the bus. Riders are simply being allowed to piggyback on a system that would be there anyway.”

    Comment by redfoxx — 10:07 am October 12, 2012 #

  17. Oneanne, it was explained in an earlier discussion that the wifi is a side effect of a new system necessary for the buses’ operation. Paraphrasing. Not a decision “oh boy, we’re going to give everybody wifi!”

    Comment by WSB — 10:10 am October 12, 2012 #

  18. Thanks to both… I’ve been following the RR threads but had missed those posts.

    Comment by oneanne — 10:14 am October 12, 2012 #

  19. Ok I’m just wondering if anyone knows if this is actual policy or not – otherwise I will submit it to Metro. Each week this morning my driver (same driver) has only opened the front door. When questioned, she says it’s because it’s before 6am. Another rider asked and the driver said “it’s been the same policy for years.” Shouldn’t this have changed with RapidRide?

    Comment by Hilary — 10:16 am October 12, 2012 #

  20. Hilary, most of the station Orca readers have a sticker above them saying that paying before boarding is only from 6a-7p; signage in the bus now reflects this too. I believe it’s not particularly cost effective for Metro to have fare inspectors late or very early in the day.

    Comment by AndrewN — 10:22 am October 12, 2012 #

  21. I’ve noticed all along California between PCC and the Alaska Junction the bus stops still have the old schedules. These schedules don’t mention the 50 and show all-day service on the 55. (I wish!) I feel sorry for an occasional bus rider not paying attention who sits at the stop for hours waiting for a non-existent midday 55. I sent in a note to Metro. I’m sure it’s on a to-do list, but I thought they swapped out schedules pretty quickly.

    Comment by Mightymoh — 10:40 am October 12, 2012 #

  22. I still don’t understand why they cut the service to the park and ride under the West Seattle bridge from six routes to two. One of the two routes is the 37 which only has a few runs in the morning and a few in the afternoon. I know a lot of people who live in the Admiral and Alki areas that park there but now it is barely served.

    Comment by Karen — 10:42 am October 12, 2012 #

  23. Why did they get rid of the 7-11 stop in the Junction? That’s a far walk when you have a knee replacement…mofo’s!

    Comment by carlton — 10:46 am October 12, 2012 #

  24. circuitous, can I recommend another route? Take the 120 (I highly recommend a Roxbury stop if you want to sit) to 3rd and Pike. It’s been taking about 35 minutes in the morning when I catch it between 6:45 and 7:15. Then just walk around the (nasty) corner of Macys to the stop there for the 70, or take the trolley on 5th and Olive/Stewart two blocks east.

    My week: 120, SRO leaving South Delridge is the new norm. One thing I have noticed are buses are pretty evenly spaced in the morning by 10-15 minutes, yet at night they are about 2-7 minutes apart. Are there more buses, or are they just getting bunched up? For the third time in 2 weeks I got off the 120, stood for 2 minutes waiting for the light to change, and had another 120 pull up.

    Comment by jedifarfy — 11:02 am October 12, 2012 #

  25. jedifarfy, thanks for the reminder about 120. Will try it – and also 113 – next week. I’d given up on those two when my stops were shut down last month, but a little extra hike won’t kill me. The experiment continues!

    Comment by circuitous — 11:14 am October 12, 2012 #

  26. Carlton Knee replacement is fun isn’t it? I had both of mine done and it is no fun just to get up the steps on a bus.I feel for you

    Comment by Cinder — 11:14 am October 12, 2012 #

  27. I too think that only having two stops on California is idiotic. I wonder how metro determined how they would space the stops. That’s a major hike between the junction and Findlay.

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

  28. Interesting…on 10/10 at around 6pm, there were six articulated buses at 35th and Avalon at the exact same time (regular and rapidride), locking up traffic. I get that it was rush hour but it seems a little overkill for that many buses to be going the same direction and to not have better coverage in other areas of West Seattle including Arbor Heights, part of which is still Seattle, City proper. Yes, I signed the petition.

    Comment by JeriO — 1:32 pm October 12, 2012 #

  29. Still wondering why the 56 local was put on the chopping block?? I am fortunate to have 2 jobs, one which requires me to work on the weekend. I used to catch the 56 from 61st & Alki to 4th & Jackson, but not anymore… I drive in now. :) If not, then it would take me an hour and half to get home. What kind of sense does that make?!? And I have also noticed that no one parks at the PARK AND RIDE underneath the West Seattle Bridge. There are only 2 buses that stop under the bridge now. Can we PLEASE get the 56 local back into service?!?

    Comment by Dee — 1:41 pm October 12, 2012 #

  30. For those interested – the before and after numbers we’ve been asking Metro for are now in and way too much info to add to this story, so we’ve published a separate – I added the link above – and here it is:
    .
    http://westseattleblog.com/?p=125921
    .
    But this remains THE story du jour for updates, traffic trouble, etc. – thanks to everyone for pitching in! – TR

    Comment by WSB — 2:37 pm October 12, 2012 #

  31. THANK YOU JON GRANT!

    Comment by buddsmom — 5:14 pm October 12, 2012 #

  32. Got on the RRC at 3rd & pike at 5:08. Declined passengers at 2nd & Seneca.

    Comment by Stephanie — 5:16 pm October 12, 2012 #

  33. The joys of RR – C. Waited 15 minutes this morning finally caught a standing room only a little after 8. Then coming home had to wait 25 minutes, letting two pass completely full before boarding the third at 5:30.

    Comment by Lisa — 6:17 pm October 12, 2012 #

  34. How many of you have allowed yourself the gift of a peaceful, easy pace, crossing to the downtown district? If you have enjoyed the crossing and crew adventure then you know there are two local buses that bring folks to and fro. So how can we utilize these 2 buses to fill in the gaps in our transportation system. Side Bar: does anyone know another city other than Seattle that doesn’t run it’s trains everyday and night of the week? Back to our two water taxi buses that have several minutes between meeting the boat every hour and half hours. If your timing is perfect you can have the shuttle deviant from its route and take you pretty much to your door instead of going to the Juntion. Imagine utilizing these two buses to take up the slack when our areas either have no service, limited service or service inthe most hilliest neighborhoods in the Pacific Northwest one can find. I believe there is a gathering Monday at the WS Senior Center. The start of the meeting I’m not so sure about but there is someone in the community that does and will post soon. If memory serves I think I may have seen 5 pm’ish. See you there, I. want to experience some good ‘ole democracy in the present moment.

    Comment by Becky — 7:34 am October 13, 2012 #

  35. I would GLADLY attend the meeting on Monday evening to give them my input. One problem…I HAVE NO TRANSIT TO GET HOME!!!!

    Comment by buddsmom — 1:55 pm October 13, 2012 #

  36. Becky….It’s 7-9PM.

    Comment by buddsmom — 1:57 pm October 13, 2012 #

  37. Buddsmom … knowing the SWS folks … they might have someone who could give you a ride or organize a carpool. Just a thought … They’ll be boothing at the Farmers’ Market tomorrow and they have a contact e-mail on their site, I believe.

    Comment by WSB — 3:39 pm October 13, 2012 #

  38. WSB, Thank you!

    Comment by buddsmom — 8:40 am October 14, 2012 #

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