Now you see the park, now you don’t: Touring the ‘transit hub’ with Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council leaders

December 30, 2013 at 10:49 pm | In Transportation, West Seattle news, Westwood | 15 Comments

Five years ago, when community members lobbied Metro to make sure RapidRide went all the way to Westwood instead of turning around at Fauntleroy, they didn’t envision what’s become a “wall of buses” alongside Roxhill Park. A new community council has since emerged, and park-safety concerns are high on its list. So today, Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council leaders took a group of visiting officials on what you might call a wall-to-wall tour.

It started and ended on the east side of Barton, alongside the park. This tour didn’t go into the park – though some of its challenges were well within view:

Liquor stolen from nearby stores – four places stock it in Westwood alone, plus Safeway on the other side of the park – is often consumed nearby, and the bus wall hides it from scrutiny. So WWRHAH suggests other places buses could lay over:

The tour around the outer perimeter of Westwood Village was led by WWRHAH chair Amanda Kay Helmick, above in purple, and secretary Joe Szilagyi, above in gray. Those who came along to see and hear about the situation included not only reps from Metro, but also from King County Councilmember Dow Constantine‘s staff, City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen‘s staff, the County Sheriff’s Office – which is responsible for Metro Transit Police – and Seattle Police, Seattle Parks, even state legislator Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon (below at left), a frequent transit rider who told his stories of getting around Westwood:

One frequently noted problem, not enough light for people to get around safely at night, including at 25th and Trenton, near the bus holding/bus stop area on the east side of Westwood:

Pedestrian and driver safety is at stake too, with cars exiting onto 25th jutting out to see around the buses and other vehicles there:

At each stop, the WWRHAH leaders offered suggestions, as tour participants took notes. And each area offered its own challenge:

While that stretch along Barton has an official RapidRide area, it was noted that bus passengers also exit much further west along the block, in the layover zone, which is unlit. WWRHAH stressed that they’re not requesting lights for the entire park – but that stretch needs something; our photo below, taken December 4th, shows how dark it can get:

This tour was part of the followup to other exchanges WWRHAH has had with Metro and other agencies that have jurisdiction in the Westwood/Roxhill area; here’s a previous story with a detailed reply to WWRHAH from Metro’s GM Kevin Desmond. The council’s November meeting was centered on park concerns and potential solutions. No specific next steps were announced as this afternoon’s tour ended, but WWRHAH plans to continue pressing for action.

15 Comments

  1. Tracy,

    Can you get the accident stats for the 25th stretch? Bet it is very high. Terrible sightlines which sets up road design liability for the center, city, and Metro. Let’s change it before someone gets killed here. Thx.

    Comment by Leslie — 11:12 pm December 30, 2013 #

  2. Bravo to the neighbors for voicing their concerns and initiating conversation and action! I live on Vashon so I rarely take the bus all the way to Westwood. However, I recently took public transit from the airport to Fauntleroy, and had a short layover at Westwood to catch the RR down to the ferry. The entire bus stop was full of smokers and litter! I sent an email to Metro from my phone right then and there with my observations, and asked if Metro Police could start monitoring the stop. You can email Metro Transit at customer.comments@kingcounty.gov with complaints, praise, concerns, questions, etc.

    Comment by Maggie — 6:21 am December 31, 2013 #

  3. Last summer I called and complained to metro because they had 2 of the entrance/exits on 25th blocked with busses. Metro said “It will take 3 to 5 months for you to get a return call on this issue” I am still waiting. Personally, this is a perfect award for horrible city/county planning. Right up there with California and Morgan stop in front of Washington Federal. Whom ever thought up these stops CLEARLY does not ride a bus. Darn I wish I could have attended this.

    Comment by coffee — 7:24 am December 31, 2013 #

  4. If anyone would like to get involved: We meet 1st Tuesday of every month at 615pm in the upstairs room at the SW Branch of the Library on 35th. Next meeting is January 7th!
    .
    We are on Facebook, join the group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/WWRHAH/
    .
    And our site: http://www.wwrhah.org
    .
    Let us know if we’ve overlooked a specific safety issue here.

    Comment by Joe Szilagyi — 8:03 am December 31, 2013 #

  5. Great job to Joe and Amanda, and to WSB for being there! Thank You!

    Comment by Josh — 9:46 am December 31, 2013 #

  6. Only have one bus there at a time. This is silly. They are a eyesore and dangerous.

    Comment by no — 11:08 am December 31, 2013 #

  7. Way to go, neighbors. Thank you for working this issue.

    Comment by bluerose — 11:37 am December 31, 2013 #

  8. Great job WWRHAH !!!! As an older person, I would like to comment on the difficulty when the bus drops us off way, way up the street from the actual bus stop area. Even with the kneeler, you end up being dumped on the wet, grassy parking strip. Then, it is quite the hike to the marked crosswalk at the “real” Rapid Ride stop. I don’t know the solution, other than having the RR discharge passengers at the “real” stop and then driving elsewhere for the layover. I totally agree that the gigantic wall of buses is totally inappropriate in a residential neighborhood. I also drive in the area, and I agree that the buses block the sight lines of drivers.

    Comment by iggy — 11:46 am December 31, 2013 #

  9. Indeed, great job Joe and Amanda. And Eric, and Chris, and everyone else on the WWRHAH council who are working to build up the community you live in. Everyone is benefitting from your efforts, myself included. Thank you. Hats off.
    .
    A big thank you also to the electeds and agencies who responded to the concerns of this community. Much appreciation for your willingness to be there and cooperation in finding the best solution. That’s good government.
    .
    West Seattle has a deep bench of committed folks in neighborhood councils all over the entire peninsula. Regular folks who started by saying “I wish there was something I could do about that”. If that statement applies to you, consider looking up you local council, meet your neighbors, and make it happen. If that council doesn’t exist, start it (WWRHAH did, less than a year ago). If you aren’t sure where to begin, our two District Councils (Southwest and Delridge) can help you spin up. Good people doing good things. I’m looking forward to the new year.

    Comment by McBride — 11:50 am December 31, 2013 #

  10. Iggy makes another good point. There is a ridiculously long hike uphill for anyone having to de-board in the layover area and try to make another connection. My connection is almost a block away, all uphill. I’m not elderly, but it’s very difficult getting to the actual stop area. Now we have buses making pointless runs around the block instead of providing actual service. If they’d just allow the #21 to make a short loop through Arbor Heights, providing needed service, this waste of resources could be avoided.

    This was a poor idea all the way around.

    Comment by enid — 2:15 pm December 31, 2013 #

  11. @Enid the claimed reason to cut the local 21 out of Arbor Heights was poor ridership. After many of us fought they added that little afterthought loop, where the #21 is supposed to go PAST Westwood and loop once more around the block to 35th & Roxbury before layover. If you or anyone else ever sees a 21 *NOT* do this please let us know. It is a mandatory part of the route and we’ve had to have Metro deal with this previously.

    Comment by Joe Szilagyi — 2:55 pm December 31, 2013 #

  12. I also think the owners/management of Westwood Village need to step up the security presence.

    Comment by WestofJunction — 8:44 pm December 31, 2013 #

  13. “Metro said “It will take 3 to 5 months for you to get a return call on this issue” I am still waiting.”

    It’s because of examples like this I consider Kevin Desmond inept.

    Comment by West Seattle Hipster — 9:14 pm December 31, 2013 #

  14. Maybe we just need circulator buses that have multiple areas of layover/break areas in west seattle and buses that come in and out from west seattle to go to main transit stops and turns around and goes back. Like -beginning in the north- admiral junction, Alaska junction, Morgan junction, triangle (Fauntleroy/Alaska), Westwood village, etc. The transit layover doesn’t work in front of Roxhill Park. Maybe metro will have to rent parking space from Westwood village. Can you look into this Jeff S. (Metro)?

    Comment by Neighbor — 10:25 am January 2, 2014 #

  15. @Joe
    I am someone that would ride the 21 bus. My main issue with that route is that it honestly too long of a route. Since my stop is the very first stop going into town and the very last one coming in. It takes about an hour and half each way with average traffic. The alternative I use is I drive to the Tukwila sounder station which takes about 20 min and then I take a 20 min ride to downtown. Saves me nearly 1.5-2 hours of my time. Just an FYI.

    Comment by Wes C. Addle — 12:33 pm January 3, 2014 #

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