FOLLOWUP: Metro going ahead with plan to remove two bus shelters in Junction

Metro has just announced its final decision on two bus shelters in The Junction: They’re going, not staying.
busshelters
(WSB photo from October; shelters set for removal are the two on the right)

The original announcement of a removal plan for the two shelters on the west end of the south side of SW Alaska between California and 44th was made via signage that appeared on those shelters – and two NOT proposed for removal – on October 22nd; then concerns arose that the announcement, part of a Junction problem-solving plan, had been made without a chance for comment. So a comment period was opened up, until November 18th, and Metro told us at the time its decision would be made within “weeks.” Now, it’s here:

As part of an effort to address customer comfort and access to Metro bus service as well as to address non-transit use including illegal and uncivil behavior at the Alaska Junction, Metro is moving forward with the retention of two of the four oversized “double” shelters at one of the six transit bays in the area of California Avenue Southwest and Southwest Alaska Street as soon as December 20.

The decision to remove two of the shelters was finalized after several weeks of public feedback and further analysis of rider usage. With this change, the remaining two double shelters at Bay 2 will continue to provide a weather-protected area sufficient for the riders who use these facilities. Metro also provides two RapidRide shelters at Bay 1 for transit riders. The removed shelters will be reused at other bus stops that are in need of shelters, and the artwork will be relocated to bus shelters within the Junction.

Bay 2 is served by routes 50 (Alki to Othello Station) and 128 (Admiral to White Center and Southcenter). Route 50 generally operates every 20-30 minutes and Route 128 every 30 minutes. Metro staff were sent to the location to observe how riders were using the stops at different times and days. Staff observed between zero and five customers waiting for buses at any one time under normal conditions, based on recent observations during peak and off-peak hours.

Metro solicited comments between October 28 and November (18th) and received feedback from both riders and non-riders, some opposed and some supporting the change. The majority of comments opposed to the removal were based on the misconception that Metro intended to remove all shelters at this location.

The change is expected to reduce non-transportation use of Metro facilities, and to better match transit facility supply and demand.

50 Replies to "FOLLOWUP: Metro going ahead with plan to remove two bus shelters in Junction"

  • Alki Resident December 13, 2016 (5:04 pm)

    Unbelievable 

  • Lez December 13, 2016 (5:06 pm)

    Couldn’t Police handle the drug traffic and other “sins”. Maybe with the Corner Pocket shut down it won’t be such an issue. I use these shelters frequently but will now be crammed into the remaining shelters with the residual druggies and other commuters. Another example of or tax dollars at work

  • Marcus m December 13, 2016 (5:22 pm)

    I live nearby and commute daily by bus.  These were hangout spots for the homeless.   Nothing wrong with that but they shouldnt be that close to so much foot traffic.

  • Just Wondering December 13, 2016 (5:22 pm)

    And the sanican  that is used as a place to sleep in the day time?

    Anything happening with that?

  • flimflam December 13, 2016 (5:45 pm)

    hey look on the bright side, the decision was made in just under two months! gotta love those city jobs…

    • WSB December 13, 2016 (5:53 pm)

      Metro is a county agency, not city.

      • flimflam December 13, 2016 (5:55 pm)

        sigh. ok. “gotta love those gov’t jobs”. better?

        • Jon December 14, 2016 (10:49 am)

          Hahaha, yeah, that’ll learn ya!

        • Katie December 14, 2016 (10:16 pm)

          Do you really want the government to tear down public conveniences at the drop of a hat?  I prefer they spend some time thinking it over myself. 

  • martin December 13, 2016 (6:12 pm)

    and everything will be better! wooo hooo!!

  • WestCake December 13, 2016 (7:01 pm)

    They should move the bus shelters down to the Myers Way Encampment. 

  • WSNative December 13, 2016 (7:37 pm)

    Not surprised at Metro’s decision. Instead of enforcing vagrancy and loitering laws they opt to take away the shelters. The working people  taking a backseat to the drug users/bums. Just one more example of the continuing trend of unfair decisions and policies put forth by the socialists who run the city and county.

    • A D December 14, 2016 (5:26 pm)

      Agreed

  • Kadoo December 13, 2016 (7:47 pm)

    Thank goodness. I hope the ne’er do wells quit camping out there. I’ve had it. Thank you, Metro. 

  • Jort Sandwich December 13, 2016 (8:54 pm)

    I am shocked — shocked, I tell you — that Metro chose to ignore the tedious micro-managing of a trivial issue by the Concerned Citizens Brigade. 

    Not every government decision needs a referendum. 

  • Evil Twin December 13, 2016 (10:09 pm)

    I know two people that got speeding tickets. They should remove the roads. Wait…..that doesn’t make sense. Ok, people speed on 35th, we should drastically change 35th…..wait. Hey people loiter and pollute in the bus stops…..we should remove the bus stops. What in the world is going on!?!?!?!?!? There are already laws on the books for all of this stuff. Why do we not enforce them? Why do we not help those that want help? If someone has fallen on hard times and is homeless that’s terrible! However, if they are homeless and leaving trash and needles, etc all over the place that’s not ok. If I was homeless I wouldnt deficate or leave needles in a bus stop but I see it downtown on a daily basis.(yes really: I work for a utility and my biggest fear is a needle prick, a personal best in one vault is 17 needles, one of many in one day. There were needles in others too). As much as any of us want to be positive the sky is still blue, gravity still works, blah blah blah. Why are the law abiding citizens punished because of the few people abusing this stuff? I bet a 2 week steady presence by transit police would be a good stop gap before anything drastic. This is soooooo silly. If the shelters are removed what happens? They camp in the tunnel by Puerto Vallarta? Let’s close the tunnel ASAP! Point being the shelters are not the problem. Shelter is the problem. Also accountability, that’s a problem. There’s a big difference between “experiencing homelessness” and littering and deficating all over the place. There are soooo many places to find help! Removing the shelters just relocates the problem and does nothing to solve it. We need solutions and repercussions. Sorry, I don’t want to sound like I don’t care about people but arent these the basic things we teach our elementary school children?

    • Jort December 13, 2016 (11:53 pm)

      If you believe the issue with speeding is that speeding laws aren’t enforced, then I’m sure you would have no problem with speed cameras every few blocks on 35th that write tickets automatically, right? It would definitely enforce the law. 

      • Evil Twin December 14, 2016 (6:47 am)

        Every couple of weeks there’s a cop just north of the Aurora bridge during my morning commute writing speeding tickets. Seems to work pretty good. With cameras plates can be obscured by weather and other vehicles, etc. I just think it’s lame to always move the problem. I’ve seen lots of comments on here from people on 34th and 36th complaining of increased traffic after the road diet. I’m just saying do all of these “solutions” really solve issues or just move them somewhere else? I think that’s worth consideration when making a decision.

        • Roxy December 14, 2016 (7:29 am)

          Perfectly said, Not-soEvilTwin!

    • Andy December 15, 2016 (4:36 am)

      Evil Twin, I once worked in a small Seattle Public Schools program in which the kids would write graffiti on the boy’s room walls. What did the brilliant Principal of the school do? He would chain the doors so that nobody could use the boy’s restroom. There is a certain breed of person, many of whom seem to have a gene that makes them stupid, who are proliferating in positions of authority within our city.

  • Trickycoolj December 13, 2016 (11:09 pm)

    It’s ok the openly drinking drug users all pass out on the benches in the flower bed in the junction parking lot one row away. Thought we found a parking spot last weekend but it had 6 junkies crowded in half the parking spot drinking a gallon of booze, smoking god knows what, and one of them had to keep putting his head on the pavement while sitting on the curb because he couldn’t hold it up anymore. My SO proceeded to park there anyway letting the car hang out of the spot (I’m not that brave) and they didn’t bother to move the entire time we were at the junction. I never see people loitering in those bus shelters and this is the third time we’ve had to side step the users at the end of that row and hope they don’t mess with the car while parked there. Oddly enough every time this happens it’s about an hour after the farmers market has closed and California is still being packed up, I suppose they must be shooing them over to the corner to make sure the Farmers Market goes undisturbed right?  Either way, I don’t have to share my parking spot with junkies at Westwood Village (surprising I know) or at Southcenter. 

  • Beckyjo December 14, 2016 (3:44 am)

    Why don’t they just remove the benches? At lest then if it rains the people who are actually waiting for a bus will have shelter to stand under. That sidewalk is going to be a cluster**ck of people standing around waiting for their bus.

    • West Seattle since 1979 December 14, 2016 (6:39 am)

      Because some people need to sit while waiting.

      • Jon December 14, 2016 (10:56 am)

        And thus, it is better to throw the theoretical baby out with the similarly theoretical bathwater.

  • anonyme December 14, 2016 (5:41 am)

    What will the response be when this group just moves to the remaining shelter?   What’s the plan for that?  Move the bus stop?  Eliminate bus service to the Junction?    This is so typical of Seattle thinking; do anything, absolutely anything, but do NOT enforce the law.

  • Michael Taylor-Judd December 14, 2016 (6:00 am)

    This is why nothing gets accomplished around here. All people want to do is pick a little, talk a little, pick a little, talk a little…. Metro has said the shelters have very low utilization — and that the few who do use them can be accommodated in the remaining shelters. I have yet to hear anyone claim otherwise; but I’ve read plenty of complaints about scary junkies and icky homeless people. So what exactly is the problem with this decision, that could have been made by the county back in October?

  • anonyme December 14, 2016 (8:10 am)

    Jort, I absolutely support the idea of installing speed cameras on 35th.  Police have better things to do.  Don’t like it?  Don’t speed.  Too many people these days think they have a “right” to break the law.

    Wrong.

    • Jort Sandwich December 14, 2016 (10:58 am)

      Indeed, most people think speeding is only bad if you get “caught.” 

      Automating the “catching,” so that any violation results in instantaneous (and, hopefully, increasing with frequency) penalties, might help remind people that the numbers on the black and white sign actually  mean what they say, and not, “Well, it’s late out, so I’ll take my chances that a cop isn’t going to see me.”

    • candrewb December 14, 2016 (8:45 pm)

      Why follow the law? The Mayor and the Council don’t.

  • Sue December 14, 2016 (9:07 am)

    There seems to be a lot of confusion about this bus stop and the removal of shelters. Look at the photo above. That is the stop for the 128 and the 50 and it has 4 visible shelter structures – 2 to the east of the garbage can in the center, and 2 to the west. They’re taking away the 2 western shelters. There will still be 2 of them (with benches) for the 128 and 50. They are not taking away a bus stop, nor taking away the entire bus shelter and forcing everyone to stand in the elements. There are never that many people waiting for those buses that they need all 4 shelters. 

    • KM December 14, 2016 (11:48 am)

      Good note, Sue.

      When I thought about this issue, it was never the the removal of those two western shelters that bothered me, it was the approach taken to the problem, which appears to be loitering, drug transactions, harassment of riders, etc. Instead of coming up with a way to address these issues at the Junction head-on, removing bus shelters was the passive-aggressive approach to “solve” the existing and ongoing problems, a decision which apparently took a couple months nonetheless. While it’s not KCMetro’s responsibility to solve crime, the lack of responsibility, initiative and solutions from other governing agencies is (one again) an embarrassment to our region.

    • West Seattle since 1979 December 16, 2016 (6:04 am)

      Granted, there are still enough bus stops with this removal.  The thing is, what will they do if the problems persist? Remove the next two benches/shelters? And if the problems still persist, will they get rid of the shelter & seat for the Rapid Ride C? There’s already precedence for this at 3rd and Pike downtown.

      They need to start dealing with the problems instead of removing amenities that people use legitimately.

  • WestCake December 14, 2016 (9:41 am)

    Removing shelter is a great way to deal with the homeless, it will get them to move. I see a number of tents, i.e. shelter that need to go. Who can I call? 

    • WSB December 14, 2016 (9:48 am)

      The people loitering in the shelter were not necessarily homeless, it was pointed out repeatedly during the original “walking tour” that preceded this. And if anyone sincerely doesn’t understand (whether you agree with it or not) what led up to this, please read our previous coverage. http://westseattleblog.com/?s=metro+junction+shelters should bring up most of the stories. – TR

      • Jon December 14, 2016 (11:49 am)

        The people that my family and I have always seen loitering (and defecating, amongst other unpleasant things) are definitely in that category and are regular “transients” in the general area. They can be found drinking at the pocket park, camping in doorways to nearby businesses, et cetera.

        To your own point: your own articles cite officials as describing the reason for removal as: “transient behavior”.

        The dictionary defines “transient” as:


        noun
        1. 1.
          a person who is staying or working in a place for only a short time.
          synonyms: hobovagrantvagabond, street person, homeless person, down-and-out

        In this, our current Politically Correct Nightmare, your use of “transient”  is Nicespeak for “bums” or “drifters”. At best, you’re describing a “Bum with a Bus Card”. At worst, you’re just redefining a term for the sake of language policing and sanitation.

        At some point, it became crass and uncivil to use those words; thus, some have chosen to use the loaded phrase “person experiencing homelessness” (it’s a free country — go for it); unless, of course, said behavior could potentially stigmatize the people we used to define as “down-on-their-luck / down-and-out” (I haven’t quite gotten the memo as to what we’re supposed to say instead of this term — apologies), otherwise known as “The Good Ones”.


        Look, people are smart enough to understand the difference between someone who’s having a more than a hard time and needs help versus someone who refuses aid and chooses to be a problem for society as part of their “lifestyle”.

        We have many “regulars” in the neighborhood who stay out of the way for the most part and simply ask for change or appreciate it when someone offers them lunch. Then we have the people who pull down their pants at the Rapidride stop and use the ground as a toilet in front of dozens of commuters.

        I can only assume I’m not the only person who can make the distinction between the two types of people, despite both being homeless; but this bizarre sanitation of language is helping no one.


        The crazy homeless cat lady at the bus stop who keeps and advertises a blog about how The Evil Filipinas Are Out To Get Me, which she updates at the library, is no longer just that — she’s a “Person in Crisis Experiencing Homelessness”.

        George Carlin would have a lot of great stand-up specials, were he still with us. That much is certain.

        • flimflam December 14, 2016 (4:41 pm)

          lol – sad but true.

  • dsa December 14, 2016 (11:39 am)

    I don’t understand.  Won’t the homeless just use the remaining shelter leaving nothing for riders?

  • anonyme December 14, 2016 (1:10 pm)

    Exactly what KM & DSA said.   It’s not about the number of shelters, but the official avoidance of any meaningful or reasonable approach to dealing with the actual problem.  Does anyone really think this group won’t just move a few feet over and take over the remaining shelter?   It’s time some citizens took matters into their own  hands.

  • Ta December 14, 2016 (2:00 pm)

    I provide my own shelter. I have a hood, an umbrella, a lovely cover that I stylishly cast over my packages in my bag. No one is entitled to anything. No one owes anyone a shelter. I raised two children on public transportation. I provided them with warm mittens and cheery songs to pass the time while waiting. And I never once thought to complain about what I wasn’t getting. I rarely read the West Seattle Blog because it doesn’t ban the complainers. Write a persuasive essay and have it published. Intelligent argumentation is enjoyable. Maybe think about your supporting sources while you’re out shopping for a snazzy rain jacket. 

    • WSB December 14, 2016 (2:10 pm)

      If you rarely read WSB, then you’re missing the only comprehensive source of news in this area, and we cover a lot of it. You CAN read without the comments, as we seldom jump stories -just read the home page. Yeah, some are complaints, as is yours, ultimately. Many are helpful and informative, from people offering information in times of trouble – traffic, power outage, etc. – to the comments that got a stolen bicycle recovered recently. – TR

    • Katie December 14, 2016 (10:24 pm)

      Your comment makes no sense. “Public” transportation is called such because it is paid for by the public’s tax dollars. As were the shelters. This the public has the right to discuss how it’s money is being spent.  

    • West Seattle since 1979 December 16, 2016 (6:09 am)

      Some people need to sit while waiting for their bus. I’m one of those people. I have rain gear and could sit outside, but I do need to sit. I’m sure there are others in this situation. Are you suggesting we carry chairs on the bus with us?

      And as Katie pointed out below, we taxpayers are paying taxes for these kind of amenities.

  • Chas Redmond December 14, 2016 (8:04 pm)

    Sounds like TA could stand on the corner of nowhere and nowhere and be content and happy. Good for TA. The rest of us require a degree of civility and accountability from our paid-for government. Metro, SPD, and the Junction Association assumed a role for the greater community which uses ALL the covered areas in the Alaska Junction Station – and in doing so exhibited an unusual degree of selfishness and hubris -as if the rest of us did not matter. Yes, SPD admits not bothering to police the area – excuse $$$ or priorities or whatever. WSJA wants their merchants happy so transit users, who are obiously not using Junction business services, can easily and handily fend for themselves. And, Metro, well with every move Metro shows it actually cares very little about their riders – from no shelters to wrap-covered bus windows to abandonning routes whenever-wherever the exigencies of the moment move them. So, yeah, great job SPD, great job WSJA, and great job Metro – you’ve managed to accomplish nothing and left the problem largely unsolved.

  • Ed Slope December 15, 2016 (8:51 am)

    At the risk of forking this conversation unnecessarily I want to try and tie in a couple of related topics to city leadership and this particular bus stop.  

    In the current HALA proposal for Alaska Junction the city has designated Fauntleroy/Alaska as the village transit hub – not California/Alaska. The city planning department says they collected community (read: chamber?) three years ago about this choice and even with ST3 passing has stated it’s unlikely to revisit the zoning plan in the current context of funded rail.( $54B is more than a minor detail when it comes to how Seattle residents live, work, and move about. A Fauntleroy hub is too far from California density and businesses.) 

    Is the shelter removal another decision where the Chamber, Junction Association and other parking lot oriented interests are chipping away at having a transit hub in the actual Junction? 

    • WSB December 15, 2016 (10:44 am)

      In short, no. The suggestion originated here:

      http://westseattleblog.com/2016/10/problem-solving-project-ahead-for-west-seattle-junction-transit-hub-area/

      If you can provide a little info about where you are seeing what you are citing (document? page? site?) we can likely clarify, having covered every planning/feedback/etc. process in the area for the past nine years … TR

      • Ed Slope December 15, 2016 (11:26 am)

        A response from a Senior Planner to my question about designated transit hubs present and future…


        Why is the proposal designating the Fauntleroy/Alaska bus stop as the center of the 10 min walkshed when the current and primary n/s/e/w transit hub is located at Alaska and California?

        “The idea of expanding certain urban villages with good transit service originated during several years of outreach about theSeattle 2035 update to our Comprehensive Plan. In each urban village where we presented a potential boundary change, the 10-minute walkshed originated from where two or more frequent bus routes intersect. In West Seattle Junction, that was the intersection of Fauntleroy and Alaska. We heard good support for that approach. Lately, we’ve heard some suggestions to consider expanding to the west based on the California and Alaska intersection. At this point, because we spent several years presenting and getting public feedback on a walkshed originating at Fauntleroy and Alaska, we’ve sought to continue that approach. I’m hearing from you that we should take an alternative approach. I don’t want to mislead you about whether we will revisit the Seattle 2035 approach and methodology, but I want to acknowledge that we know some people suggest adjusting it to the west. “

        • Ed Slope December 15, 2016 (11:37 am)

          Admittedly I might be ‘seeing’ things between the lines when it comes to interest in moving the transit hub out of the junction…

          Removing shelters and shifting hub location in planning seems like a related agenda.

        • Ed Slope December 15, 2016 (11:44 am)

          City planner response continued…

          As you probably know, Sound Transit hasn’t identified specific station locations yet for the projects funded in ST3. I touched on this above, but because 3-4 years ago ST3 funding was not certain, the expansion area reflected Rapid Ride transit at the time. There are several station areas funded through ST3 where I imagine we might do planning in the future as station locations are solidified. Again, I’m trying only to share our rationale, not to argue with any of the suggestions you might have.’

          • Ed Slope December 15, 2016 (11:51 am)

            @WSB and an overdue big thanks for all the reporting 👍

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