Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights CC: ‘Wall of buses’ progress; SPD briefing; more

April 2, 2014 at 8:38 pm | In Arbor Heights, West Seattle news, Westwood | 28 Comments

Busy agenda at last night’s Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council (WWRHAH) meeting – police, transit, and more.

TRANSIT HUB UPDATE/WESTWOOD SAFETY: More progress in a longrunning major issue for WWRHAH – chair Amanda Kay Helmick says Metro is going to make small adjustments to the “wall of buses” stop along the south side of Barton (WSB photo, above, from coverage of December WWRHAH walking tour). First, the 21: Instead of being outbound from 26th/Barton, they’re going to move up to layover and leave from 35th/Roxbury. Helmick said 3-6 pm was the prime time for the “wall.” Helmick said she toured Westwood Village with an SDOT rep who said the 30th/Barton crosswalks would be reinstalled/repainted, as will those at 35th/Henderson, by the library, and 25th/Henderson on the east side of Westwood Village. They also plan crosswalk studies at 25th/Trenton and 29th/Barton. The 26th/Barton RapidRide stop will not get a 3-way stop, she added, but some sort of visibility signage is being evaluated. The bus zone was pushed back as promised, Helmick said, but she thinks it would benefit from a little more distance. Meantime, what if a transit hub were created IN Westwood Village – on the northwest side by the post office? WWRHAH wondered. One attendee brought up the problematic area near McDonald’s on the south side; Helmick said she’s heard that the McDonald’s is going to be remodeled and that will address some of the challenges. She said later that WWRHAH is also wondering if maybe Westwood Village should be included in the pedestrian-retail zone review that is under way at the city level right now.

SOUTHWEST PRECINCT CAPTAIN STEVE WILSKE: As he’s done at other community meetings, he began with details on his 27-year background with Seattle Police. He’s “been in this job for about six weeks now,” but just started a full-time focus on it after an “extended transition” from his previous roles. He said he now has two weeks to come up with his “summer plan,” and he hopes to incorporate the Mounted Patrol – with which he used to work – because its officers and horses can “go places nobody else can.” Another initiative: He says everyone he’s met has expressed an interest in getting more crime information, so the Southwest Precinct will likely have a pilot program to allow you access to crime info beyond what’s available now.

Helmick brought up the concerns about Roxhill Park. “We’ve been working really closely with SPD; a lot of the stuff we’re seeing is petty – smoking marijuana, drinking, graffiti – but we’ve also seen beatings, stabbings, rapes, so we’re very concerned about that.” Historically, they haven’t seen much foot patrolling in the area, Helmick said, but a walking path could take officers through the park and Westwood Village and all the way to schools – in either direction – especially 2 to 4 pm.

Wilske said he would like to reinvigorate bike patrols. But that would be an occasional visit. Right now, he said, they’re using the Anti-Crime Team “to try to get out ahead” of property crime. He also will be putting in a request for special emphasis officers on Alki. Carol Baker from Seattle Parks asked about the Community Police Team; Capt. Wilske said he’d like to add one more person to the team, since they can focus on issues such as “there’s a problem house out there somewhere.”

Asked if they are short officers, Wilske said as far as he knows the department is not too far behind its authorized total of sworn officers.

Helmick asked what kind of partnership SPD and KCSO could have because of the shared issues, considering that “criminals don’t care what side of the line they’re on – or maybe they do” if there’s an enforcement difference. (She also pointed two members of the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council board who were on hand, president Barbara Dobkin and board member Liz Giba.)

Capt. Wilske says the crime analysts do talk, and they look for similar cases – they determined the recent 26th/Roxbury rape/attack was not related to a 2013 case here on the city side of the line.

An attendee said he doesn’t see police cars around much, but if he had a “ticket book, I could write tickets all day long.”

ROXHILL BOG: Following up on WWRHAH’s recent discussion kickoff, Helmick said they’re interested in looking at how Thornton Creek up north was daylighted, linking the Longfellow Creek situation to rehydrating the bog. Next month’s WWRHAH meeting will take a closer look. (See the bog page on the WWRHAH website.)

SEATTLE PARKS UPDATE: Robert Stowers, who noted he grew up in West Seattle and attended Chief Sealth, is accountable for the South Region outdoor parks – “from Montlake Cut (southward) to the city limits.” He was here to pitch the Parks Legacy Plan, which might lead to a vote this summer (possibly on creating a Metropolitan Park District). A public hearing is coming up, 6 pm April 7th. Read more about the plan here; about the hearing, here. A new taxing district isn’t the only option for Parks funding; several others were presented to the City Council in a Monday afternoon meeting – read about them here.

SOLARIZE WASHINGTON: Mia came to speak about Solarize Seattle, whose next campaign will happen in West Seattle, she said. They’ve had five “campaigns” to try to organize a community campaign to buy solar power systems. “The prices are definitely coming down, and we’re getting better at doing outreach,” she said. It’s a project of Northwest SEED, and you can read more about it here. Mia was asked how much a system might cost – $20,000-$40,000 for a home, but then you get a big tax credit. And there are low-interest “zero money down” loans available, she said.

NPSF GRANT APPLICATIONS MOVING AHEAD: Here’s first word on what’s advanced from the Delridge Neighborhoods District Council review of community-proposed projects seeking Neighborhood Park and Street Fund money:

*Roxhill Park improvements
*More features for the crosswalk coming to Delridge outside Boren
*Highland Park pedestrian beacons, 11th/Holden

The proposal docs are linked in our coverage of last month’s DNDC meeting. More reviews are ahead before a decision is in on whether any or all will get city money.

Announcements:

WEST SEATTLE TRANSPORTATION COALITION: Joe Szilagyi said guests for the WSTC meeting next Tuesday are close to “half the engineering staff of SDOT.” More details at westseattletc.org.

DELRIDGE GROCERY: Helmick reminded folks about the co-op that’s working toward opening a small grocery at Cottage Grove Commons this summer. More info at delridgegrocery.coop.

NEIGHBORHOOD SUMMIT: As noted on WSB earlier in the day, the agenda is out for the summit at Seattle Center this Saturday, April 5th, 9 am-2 pm.

30TH/ROXBURY SIDEWALK FINISHED: An attendee pointed out that this work has just been completed, and everyone should go take a look.

WWRHAH meets on first Tuesdays, 6:15 pm, Southwest Branch Library (35th/Henderson).

28 Comments

  1. You know, I frequently see numerous cop cars in the parking lot in the evenings as the cops sit in Starbucks. Besides leaving the vehicles running expelling exhaust fumes for 30+ minutes, this seems like a good time for some walkabouts and drive-bys in the area….

    Comment by Ray — 8:55 pm April 2, 2014 #

  2. oh great just what we need buses stacked at 35th and Roxbury close to the weedshop and booze store. Only a matter of time before someone gets killed/robbed.

    The buses need to not park anywhere near residential housing and Roxhill school !

    Comment by nope — 10:32 pm April 2, 2014 #

  3. thanks, Amanda, for tackling all this. I don’t live in the area, so it doesn’t affect me (I’m in Admiral), but I know it’s such a problem, and kudos to you for making them pay attention.

    Comment by JanS — 12:20 am April 3, 2014 #

  4. @nope — the #21 is the smaller volume of buses rather than a Rapid Ride, and this is short term until a better solution can be found if one exists. Every single place has residential that could host them — every single one. Metro chose this because if was already an unused layover spot and they could plug it into the existing route design.
    .
    Where should they go?

    Comment by Joe Szilagyi — 5:34 am April 3, 2014 #

  5. 29th on the east side of westwood has two blocks of empty curb.

    Comment by G — 6:58 am April 3, 2014 #

  6. Moving the Bus stops to the other side (by the Post Office) isn’t a great idea either! When there are baseball, soccer, track, football games at the field across the street, there already isn’t enough parking! I can hear people screaming now!

    Comment by Just Me — 7:08 am April 3, 2014 #

  7. @Nope. Yes, where do you propose put they put the layover buses? They must go somewhere.

    Comment by DH — 7:52 am April 3, 2014 #

  8. Also, 35th & Roxbury was previously a decades long layover spot for the 21.

    .

    Mike

    Comment by miws — 7:56 am April 3, 2014 #

  9. How about the obvious:
    Why are all those buses sitting around anyway???
    With all the admin and schedule planners sitting around in a building figuring out how touch devices…why don’t they figure way to keep the busses moving and increase the service?
    Expensive buses sitting around is a waste of tax dollars anyway…

    Comment by Red — 8:38 am April 3, 2014 #

  10. How about: (echoing G)
    1 behind Staples (N),
    1 on the side of Staples (E),
    2 across from the DMV (E).

    Comment by buses buses buses — 8:40 am April 3, 2014 #

  11. buses… The 125 and the 60 along with the 560 occupy those spots. Thanks for all the support everyone, this is an uphill battle for sure.

    Comment by AmandaKH — 9:06 am April 3, 2014 #

  12. buses buses buses, “2 across from DMV” had been the case the better part of a year, with both Routes 60 & 125 laying over there in the years existing bus zone. There was often at least three buses there at a time, with the 60′s leaving 20 minutes apart on weekdays, resulting in an overlap of them being on layover. The same thing would also often happen with the 30 minute apart 125′s, meaning there would actually be four buses there.

    .

    Sometime last year, they moved the layover zone for the 125 to next to Staples on 25th, and then more recently, moved the 60′s there as well, as there had been issues with very poor visibility for vehicle drivers exiting the WWV driveway than aligns with Henderson St.

    .

    Also makes it nice for us bus riders, as the 125 is now able to pull up properly in the zone, fully parallel to the curb, and also alleviates the worry that a bus driver may be new to that route, and not aware of looking for passengers that might be blocked from view by the laying over 60(s). Also much safer for vehicle traffic travelling 25th.

    .

    Mike

    Comment by miws — 9:16 am April 3, 2014 #

  13. @Red, it’s not a waste of money. The drivers contractually and legally (State and Federal law) are required to take breaks at the ends of their runs. The #21 and Rapid Ride C end at Westwood today and soon partly at 35th & Roxbury. The only way to NOT have the idle buses here would be to take away the breaks, which would be a huge safety issue. I can probably be safe in saying nearly everyone in the County would be against anything like that. It’s not even a better-or-worse thing; they need breaks. Commercial driving is hard.

    Comment by Joe Szilagyi — 9:52 am April 3, 2014 #

  14. 29th Ave SW, huge long fence line bordering Westwood with no houses on that side. Perfect place to park!

    Comment by Josh — 10:43 am April 3, 2014 #

  15. Why are all those buses sitting around anyway???
    .
    Maybe because they’re driven by people? Or would you prefer that the drivers simply turn around and start driving the route again without a break? It’s not like the buses just drive themselves.
    .
    And what if the bus is running late? A layover allows the bus to start its next route on time by building some extra padding into the schedule.
    .
    What if a bus breaks down along the route and another one has to be put in service? Where do those come from, the Magic Bus Depot?
    .
    It’s possible, JUST possible, that the layovers exist for a reason and that that reason is a good one. Crazy I know.

    Comment by datamuse — 10:44 am April 3, 2014 #

  16. @datamuse – Oooh, the Magic Bus Depot! I would like such a thing to exist and send me a 21 (not express)back on it’s original route through Arbor Heights. A gal can dream, right?

    Comment by JEM — 10:56 am April 3, 2014 #

  17. Re: the 29th ave SW layover idea. From what we’ve been told SDOT is hesitant about this, but it’s also maybe not a great idea. Here is a Google Map of Westwood Village. The end of line for each bus is:
    .
    Rapid Ride – at the Westwood Stop
    .
    #21 – at 35th & Roxbury (this was a major push to change from Westwood for Arbor Heights, south Westwood, and county-side commuters previously). The #21 then loops today back to Westwood to layover. “Tomorrow” this layover will change to 35th and Roxbury eliminating the extra loop.
    .
    If we got this changed to all layover on 29th, it puts all the burden for ALL this traffic on the people on 29th rather than spreading it around, and 29th is 100% residential, and much quieter. Barton and 35th are arterials. Also, unless you wanted to take away the street parking on the west side of 29th, you would need to have the buses park and layover opposite side on the east side of 29th, against the fence and sidewalk, with drivers exiting into the street. Safety hazards for drivers or we camp the buses in front of everyone’s houses AND take away parking.
    .
    That latter problem is unavoidable unless we 100% realign all the routes into entirely new configurations. The splitting of the Rapid Ride and 21 into separate layovers is the easiest solution. There are not dissimilar challenges to putting the buses behind Westwood Village on the street on Trenton. We’ve walked the grounds here with Metro and SDOT and beaten this to death with them. Neither side has any more great immediate ideas because of the routing and geographical challenges.
    .
    The best (maybe) solution would be to integrate the bus routes INTO the Westwood Village complex somehow, maybe, with the layovers moving to the Post Office area inside of the Village. That’s going to be limited by 1) Westwood Village liking the notion and benefiting from it, obviously; 2) buses being able to handle and maneuver inside safely; 3) being workable for routing etc inside the Village; and 4) Metro $$$.
    .
    The splitting of the routes into two layovers between the Westwood/Roxhill Park stop and the 35th & Roxbury stop is overall the least painful solution for everyone currently, until we can think of something better (i.e., $$$).

    Comment by Joe Szilagyi — 11:02 am April 3, 2014 #

  18. How frequently during the day and for how long will each bus will the 21 be parked at 35th and Roxbury?
    .
    For example: Will only one bus park there once an hour for 15 minutes? -or- Will three busses be laying over at the same time? -or-Will buses be there continuously from 6am until midnight? Knowing what type of impact there will be at that intersection may help alleviate concerns people may have with the marijuana shop and liquor/smoke shop right next door drawing some of the troublemakers away from Westwood and transplanting them to that intersection instead.
    .
    There is no easy solution, but I’d like to see a little more specific information on amount and frequency on bus layover timing at that intersection before getting all worked up over it.
    .
    And, as a note, I have not noticed much trouble/ loitering issue/ street crime at 35th and Roxbury up to this point with the marijuana shop and liquor/smoke shop being located there (besides the smoke shop being robbed awhile ago). I think people in that area would like that intersection to stay relatively trouble free.

    Comment by ACG — 11:38 am April 3, 2014 #

  19. Joe, I don’t think Red meant that drivers should have no breaks – just the busses (two different things) should not. Red, it may be more cost effective than to have a relief driver take over a route until the next bus comes by and the process is repeated. It is certainly less complicated logistically.

    Comment by WestofJunction — 12:26 pm April 3, 2014 #

  20. @WestofJunction, in theory, but with how they’re already stretched on budget, probably not feasible. At some of the layover stops, it’s… nothing. There’s one I can think of up in Ballard/Blue Ridge (?) that’s maybe 5-6 blocks NW of the Ballard Petco, up by Dick’s there. There’s nothing around, at all. I think a few were like that. You could in theory plant someone at Westwood, and it’s a good idea, but I’m not sure if they’re setup for training and such for people to hop buses and routes like that. The minute we had a single driver sitting idle, paid and waiting for a bus, I can imagine the complaints would start coming in on that…

    Comment by Joe Szilagyi — 1:17 pm April 3, 2014 #

  21. Joe, I agree. My meaning wasn’t clear – I meant the current system is less complicated logistically.

    Comment by WestofJunction — 1:33 pm April 3, 2014 #

  22. Is anyone addressing the problem where stopped Metro and Rapidride buses and the new concrete median south of Westwood Village on Roxbury make it IMPOSSIBLE for cars to pass until the buses move again? Cars back up west past 30th SW on many occassions and countless drivers end up bypassing through quiet residential streets to avoid the back-up, making for a dangerous situation.

    Comment by Brad — 1:50 pm April 3, 2014 #

  23. Where at 35th & Roxbury?

    If it’s in front of the church, then won’t the buses be using Arbor Heights just to turn the buses around? Why not just restore the damn 21 service to Arbor Heights? It seems Metro will do ANYTHING to avoid providing service.

    Comment by anonyme — 2:18 pm April 3, 2014 #

  24. anonyyme, I think they mean the east side of 35th, just north of the existing stop. The curb there is designated bus zone in front of the nail shop. Although I would love if they restored Arbor Heights service!

    Comment by JEM — 3:31 pm April 3, 2014 #

  25. @Brad you’re talking about the bus bulbs. Federal law & requirements for the grants to get Rapid Ride as far as we are aware. They’re not going anywhere unfortunately and were intended for safety reasons.

    Comment by Joe Szilagyi — 3:57 pm April 3, 2014 #

  26. @anonyme, @Jem, 21/21x was reduced because it was one of the lower ridership routes. I hate it, but it was, and that was my own main route too from 35th. Metro isn’t trying to avoid providing service — their financials are messed up because of our messed up and limited taxing schemes in Washington, the Eyman cuts to car tabs, and the reliance on sales taxes that butchered Metro’s cash flow during the recession.
    .
    Eventually getting things fixed there is what we’re working on from the West Seattle Transportation Coalition. Our next meeting is this Tuesday night, 630pm High Point Neigbhorhood House, 6400 Sylvan Way SW. This week is SDOT engineering as guests.
    .
    One of the long term goals is so that from anywhere in West Seattle to downtown never takes more than 30 minutes, which is reasonable. The furthest out location in all of West Seattle from downtown, by road, is the far NW corner of the bottom of the Arroyos. That’s 9.75 miles to downtown. If THEY can get downtown in 30 minutes by car, less than ten miles away in their ultra isolated and cut off neighborhood, then anyone else should be able to make it no problem in less than 30 minutes.
    .
    It will just take capital investments and a lot of pushing and elbow grease. Come by, we need a lot more volunteers.

    Comment by Joe Szilagyi — 4:03 pm April 3, 2014 #

  27. to make everybody happy all theses busses should be suspended in air.Don’t put them here don’tput them there. Where should they go? It is like a shell game. We want better bus survice but we want them at me an only me at my conviance only

    Comment by boy — 4:42 pm April 3, 2014 #

  28. The east side of 35th is the bus stop. I’m not aware of a lot of extra space there for buses to layover.

    Joe, I am not talking about cuts, or ridership – an entirely different discussion. I am pointing out the fact that Metro would rather see buses sitting idle (when drivers are not on break), or making stupid extra runs around the block just to waste time. That time could be used more efficiently to provide partial daytime service to AH, at the very least.

    Comment by anonyme — 5:43 pm April 3, 2014 #

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