Westwood/Roxhill Park transit-center concerns: Metro’s response to WWRHAH

December 5, 2013 at 12:11 pm | In Safety, West Seattle news, Westwood | 24 Comments

Four weeks ago, the Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council sent Metro Transit general manager Kevin Desmond a letter detailing community concerns specific to the expansion of the Roxhill Park/Westwood Village area as a transit hub, some of which were discussed again at this week’s WWRHAH meeting, as reported here last night. (added) Here’s the November WWRHAH letter:

Today, Desmond has answered that letter; we were CC’d on its reply, which we are publishing here in its entirety:

Thank you for your email of November 7, 2013 about the Transit Center located at the
Westwood Village Shopping Center near Roxhill Park. I appreciate you bringing the concerns of the Westwood/Roxhill/Arbor Heights Community Council to my attention. Safety and security is a high priority for all of us involved in keeping transit riders and community members safe. I apologize for not getting back to you before your December 2nd meeting. We were working to make sure we had all the components to respond to your email as completely as possible.

In the fall of 2012, Metro implemented a series of route restructures in West Seattle that provided additional service to Westwood Village on the RapidRide C Line and Route 21, both of which end service on Southwest Barton Street adjacent to Roxhill Park. In addition, routes 22, 60, 125, and 560 were routed to the east side of Westwood Village along 25th Avenue Southwest. These changes have resulted in the creation of a new transit hub at Westwood Village that connects people to the many services offered there – shopping, dining, fitness, medical services, recreation, and other opportunities. Connections between transit services at Westwood Village also expand the number of places that people can travel and offer new mobility to many residents of West Seattle and beyond. As you have observed, these transit enhancements have generated new activity in and around the bus zone.

After receiving your email, we took some immediate actions to assess the situation in your community, including inspecting the stops involved and increasing Metro Transit Police patrols. Below you’ll find a summary of the steps we’ve taken:

* Provision of security: A special Metro Transit Police detail provides enhanced patrols in the West Seattle/Southwest King County area, including at Westwood Village. These patrols address transit crime and disorder issues, and any behavior that is not consistent with the Metro Code of Conduct. We have stepped up patrols at Westwood Village bus stops for a limited period of time in response to your concerns. We are also continuing to work closely with the Seattle Police Department (SPD) to support policing activities in the area. Metro Transit Police will contact the local SPD precinct to review security issues in the area and evaluate potential additional policing activities that could be undertaken at Westwood Village.

* Additional lighting at Southwest Barton Street and area bus stops: The RapidRide bus stop is well lit with pedestrian-level light fixtures, but the sidewalk to the west towards Southwest 29th Street has no lighting. Existing street lighting in the area is on the north side of Southwest Barton Street. Metro staff evaluated this area and determined that it would be difficult and costly to provide additional lighting along the sidewalk adjacent to the park as there are no existing power sources that could be utilized. Metro then contacted the Seattle Parks Department to see if they have any plans to upgrade the lighting in Roxhill Park. Capital projects at the park were recently completed, and at this point in time the Parks Department has no funding for additional projects in the area. The Parks Department indicated that it will consider this need as a major maintenance request list, and may conduct a lighting study that would guide future investments in this area.

* Cleaning and maintenance of the Roxhill Park RapidRide bus stops: Metro is committed to the ongoing cleaning and maintenance of the RapidRide bus stop located just past Roxhill Park in front of the greenbelt. Metro Facilities Maintenance crews clean this stop three times a week on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The crews empty the litter receptacle, pick up trash in the vicinity of the stop and shelter, remove graffiti, repair vandalized elements, and pressure wash shelter pads as needed. We reviewed our cleaning schedule, which exceeds many Rapid Ride stops and is consistent with sheltered locations of similar ridership and customer patterns. As an improvement, we will be changing the existing litter receptacle at this location to a solar compacting receptacle in order to control and confine the amount of litter that may accumulate.

* Provide better connections to White Center: While the fall 2012 route restructure did shift service away from White Center to Westwood Village, White Center continues to be served by six all-day routes. Routes 60, 120, and 560 provide all-day connections between Westwood Village and White Center. Despite the changes, we have been able to maintain good transit connections for many people, including enhanced service between White Center and Westwood Village.

* The “wall of buses” on Southwest Barton Street: Due to frequent service provided by the RapidRide C Line and Route 21, buses do overlap at the terminal along Southwest Barton Street, with as many as three or four buses in this area at a time throughout much of the day. There are even more buses in this area during morning and afternoon peak periods when service operates more frequently. Metro staff is also concerned about the number of buses in this area during peak periods. This past September, we revised the schedules for some C Line trips to reduce the number of buses that end there in the morning, but have not yet been able to do that in the afternoon. We continue to look at other options including alternative sites to park the buses. However, any options that would extend the routes in search of an alternative layover location would increase our costs and are therefore not feasible at this point in time.

* Lack of parking in Westwood Village parking lot: The Westwood Village hub was not intended as a park-and-ride destination and park-and-rides are not generally provided in Seattle. That said, Metro Transit Route Facilities planners will be observing the parking situation at Westwood Village to identify parking needs for people trying to access transit service at this location. As a result of these observations, we may attempt to contact the mall and see if anything can be done to reserve a number of parking spots for transit users.

Thank you again for your email. I hope we can continue to work together to address these concerns. Metro Service Planning staff would be happy to meet with you on site to review these matters in more detail. If you have further questions or comments, please contact Marty Minkoff, Supervisor of Service Planning, at 206-477-5799 or via e-mail at marty.minkoff@kingcounty.gov.

24 Comments

  1. All for the low, low price of $700 car tabs.

    Comment by DTK — 12:29 pm December 5, 2013 #

  2. DTK:

    Of course, none of anyone’s taxes go towards maintaining the roads upon which you drive (probably alone) in your car.

    Comment by BWD — 1:03 pm December 5, 2013 #

  3. As Metro is (unsurprisingly, considering broader circumstances with Olympia’s foolishness) tapped for cash right now, we’re working in WWRHAH now on some alternatives detailed in the article linked above. If anyone would like to come by a WWRHAH meeting to work on this with us, we meet 1st Tuesday of every month upstairs in the SW Branch of the library on 35th. Meetings are short and brisk: 615-745pm.
    .
    Our site is: http://www.wwrhah.org
    .
    We’re also on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/WWRHAH/
    .
    We’re conducting a survey right now with our 200+ Facebook members to see what to prioritize in 2014–we can use more feedback!
    .
    This will help inform us for 2014 now that we’ve gotten a grip on what improvements to work on for Roxhill Park, the Roxbury Street safety study is done and public hearings are coming in January, and we helped found the West Seattle Transportation Coalition in 2013. I don’t know if we can top all that in 2014, but we’re going to try with your help.

    Comment by Joe Szilagyi — 1:18 pm December 5, 2013 #

  4. I know I’m late to the game but what concerns me about the “wall of buses” topic is safety and legality. I often see buses park on Barton, close to the 29th Ave SW intersection. They are parking too close to a fire hydrant and parking too close/partially blocking an unmarked crosswalk. These would get the average citizen a ticket. Perhaps most significantly, people can take a left legally from northbound 29th on to westbound Barton but it’s hard to see oncoming traffic from the right since there are buses parked all along the grade. These buses being stored here temporarily should be required to move far enough east to be compliant with the law and driver/pedestrian safety.

    Comment by enough — 1:32 pm December 5, 2013 #

  5. Another issue of concern to older people is that the RR C outbound, that is ending at Westwood, drops folks off quite a ways west of the main bus stop, where the RR C going inbound picks up people. Not only is is quite a walk to the crosswalk to cross Barton, it also is a very wet grassy area. You have to ask for the kneeler, and even then, you end up on the wet grass. It would seem that if this area is part of the Transit Center that the parking strip should be paved and the curb raised.

    Comment by iggy — 2:28 pm December 5, 2013 #

  6. Forgot to add, it takes much gall for Metro to cite “lack of parking in Westwood Mall” as an issue. Westwood Mall is a private company, not a public parking lot for Metro or any other non-Mall use. I don’t think Westwood Mall should apologize or feel guilty about this.

    Comment by iggy — 2:36 pm December 5, 2013 #

  7. For me, that crosswalk is very, very hard to identify at night.
    People crossing from the south RR stop north to WW Village are almost invisible against the glare of oncoming headlights.

    They need a pedestrian activated flashing road strip like Seattle U has across Madison. There. you can at least see where to look.

    Has anyone from Metro actually tried to drive thru this area on a rainy night, or do they sit in a cube with a computer to calculate the necessary lumens?

    Comment by old timer — 2:58 pm December 5, 2013 #

  8. Good point old timer. A woman was killed at this cross walk (or the one just east near McDonalds) a few years ago in the conditions you described.

    Comment by enough — 3:07 pm December 5, 2013 #

  9. “Forgot to add, it takes much gall for Metro to cite “lack of parking in Westwood Mall” as an issue. Westwood Mall is a private company, not a public parking lot for Metro or any other non-Mall use. I don’t think Westwood Mall should apologize or feel guilty about this.”

    Iggy, it would seem that this was a response to the letter sent to Metro, not something Metro suggested themselves. Your indignation at the Park and Ride suggestion should most likely go towards who suggested it to the WWRHAH community council.

    Comment by M — 3:13 pm December 5, 2013 #

  10. M & I – Yes, the “lack of parking” at Westwood was a point brought up in the WWRHAH letter. I will be linking to it here shortly – I intended to publish its text along with this for context, but had some trouble getting it into a format for that. – TR

    Comment by WSB — 3:17 pm December 5, 2013 #

  11. Thanks M and WSB: Now I see the letter you added from the WWRHAH that notes:”3. The lack of parking in the Westwood Village Parking lot to support a Hub.”
    It doesn’t necessarily mean that WWRHAH wants Westwood Village to supply parking; it could simply mean that Metro put in a hub in an area with inadequate parking nearby.
    In this context, the Metro response makes sense. Thanks for clarifying.

    Comment by iggy — 3:53 pm December 5, 2013 #

  12. What nice words to side step one of the real issues, the wall of buses.

    Comment by Sunny.206 — 7:27 pm December 5, 2013 #

  13. I’m confused.
    Spending money to make an already troubled transit area into a bigger transit hub–all while cutting over 70 routes citywide, including routes that would, well use this hub, it they existed.

    The Brain Trust Rides Again!!!! Next…

    Comment by WTF — 7:29 pm December 5, 2013 #

  14. Don’t complain about the parking…the mall will start charging for it!

    Comment by CeCe — 7:44 pm December 5, 2013 #

  15. To clarify the Westwood Village Parking. When 5 routes are eliminated in West Seattle, and all of Highland Park, Puget Ridge and other neighborhoods will have to TRANSFER within West Seattle to ride the C Line, 21 or the 120 downtown, people will drive their cars to Westwood Village and park to catch the bus. If you want to shop at any store there, this will be an issue. We have a real problem with Metro on many many levels. We are working really hard to help our Community. If you want to help us, send us an email!

    Comment by AmandaKH — 8:58 pm December 5, 2013 #

  16. There are many Transit Centers without Metro-provided parking. It’s a transit hub, not a park-and-ride.

    @WTF — I live in this area and it finally allows me I bus throughout west Seattle without transferring downtown. There are now buses at Westwood Village. Big deal. Pedestrian crossing poorly lot? That isn’t Metro’s fault, but they’re helping. Sounds like a net positive.

    Comment by Thomas — 9:35 pm December 5, 2013 #

  17. Joe, thanks again for the amazing work you and the council due for Westwood and Roxbury residents. It is because of people like you that the neighborhood is turning around for the better.

    Comment by T — 1:19 am December 6, 2013 #

  18. The “bog” is a homeless encampment.It is not a “green belt” it is any area and has been an area for 20 years where bad people do bad things. Now with booze basically being given to them, the homeless population in that “camp” has increased. The lack of security at QFC and Safeway and the fact that there is NO lighting in the park or around the entrances of the bog it makes it a great place to be. They have taken over the bog. Police dont go in there and when they do the scum can hear them coming from 2 blocks away. Lets not try and sugar coat what really happens in there. It needs to be taken down and converted into more playing fields for kids or something for the community. If the bum camp goes petty crime goes with it. Simple. And please, bleeding hearts that dont live in our neighborhood and dont have to deal with these problems. Save it. OUR communities children and OUR families are more importnat then any tree, bush, man-made bog or bum. I apologize for the rant but this is a problem that continues to be pushed around between PARKS,CITY, METRO without anyone wanting to make any real changes.

    Comment by Kevin — 10:48 am December 6, 2013 #

  19. I agree Kevin. Crime from A-Z in this and many other Seattle parks.

    Comment by enough — 3:41 pm December 6, 2013 #

  20. we use Roxhill park nearly every day Kevin and would miss all those plants that you claim are nothing more than a homeless encampment..

    there are already playing fields there.

    but.. i would dearly love to see the path at the eastern edge of the park.. along the bog.. lit.

    and i would like to see bicycle or horse patrols within the park..

    oh.. and a little more enforcement of the leash law so that people who walk their dogs on leashes could safely walk there more often

    Comment by JoB — 6:45 pm December 6, 2013 #

  21. Regarding the wall of busses… just west of Westwood Village, 29th Ave SW is an extremely WIDE road with nothing but a fence bordering 29th and Westwood (runs along the side of Target). This would be an ideal place to re-route the bus parking. Does anyone else agree?

    Comment by Josh — 9:57 am December 7, 2013 #

  22. I’ve noticed the wall ofbuses, but I am also concerned about the buses along 25th. I come into and go out of Westwood Center on that side and those buses are parked very close to the driveways into the parking lot. Watching for cars coming down 25th from Trenton is often difficult, and I have both almost been hit and almost hit another car, either on entering the parking lot or leaving. I’ve also seen many near misses. Line of sight is pretty much blocked.

    Comment by AmyB — 2:11 pm December 7, 2013 #

  23. I agree, AmyB. The buses that sit along the West side of 25th are creating a very dangerous situation. It is impossible to see both northbound and southbound traffic when exiting Westwood onto 25th. All in all, I feel like Metro has really messed things up for us.

    Comment by Boomerzoomer — 8:28 am December 8, 2013 #

  24. the wall of buses really need to go

    Comment by sam-c — 8:56 am December 17, 2013 #

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