City delegation tours future West Seattle RapidRide route


Near the expected southern end of the future West Seattle RapidRide bus route, we caught up this morning with a city delegation including Councilmembers Tom Rasmussen and Jan Drago (at right, with various SDOT and council administration staff, two of whom live in West Seattle, as does Rasmussen). Our last major update on RapidRide came from a briefing presented to the city council last month (WSB coverage here); as a bus service to be provided by Metro, RapidRide is a county operation, but city leaders are trying to keep close watch on the plans. As Drago — who chairs the council’s Transportation Committee — put it, “This is the first of three (RapidRide routes) in the city and we want to make sure it’s done right – it’ll set a precedent for a long time to come” During that briefing in June, she had expressed a lot of concern that RR wouldn’t really live up to the “rapid” in “bus rapid transit” because it will still have a fair number of stops; this morning, Drago told WSB her concern about that has lessened a bit, because there are far fewer stops between Morgan Junction and downtown, than along the southern stretch between MJ and WV. She also said the bus-route tour was eye-opening in one respect: “There’s a lot more development going on over here than I realized.” As we discussed that development — particularly in the booming Triangle area — for a few minutes, Rasmussen noted that he wants to be sure developers are involved in the discussion before the RR design and other aspects are finalized, since so much will be changing in the area in the next few years before RR is scheduled to be ready to go in 2011. Drago said the city is sending Metro a letter with many followup questions regarding this RapidRide route (you can see a map here – the late-spring version that the city delegation was reviewing this morning matched that one except for a few additional stops between the ferry dock and Westwood Village). She also revealed there’s some talk of leasing parking lots – where and whose, we don’t know – to alleviate the parking crunch that’s already been caused by “park-n-hiders” who drive to The Junction and leave their cars in neighborhoods, to catch buses downtown. As for what’s next from the city standpoint, Drago expects her committee to revisit RapidRide late this year or early next. And with that, the delegation re-boarded its van, and headed back to City Hall.


8 Replies to "City delegation tours future West Seattle RapidRide route"

  • Danno July 24, 2008 (5:32 pm)

    Surprise, Drago had no idea what is happening in WS! Maybe she should get around more of the entire city she is charged with representing, or maybe we need new representation downtown. Tired of being treated as the ‘red-headed stepchild of the city!
    Rapid Ride Bus is an oxymoron! Just a bandaid for us to shut up and let them build the light rail everywhere else in Seattle. Oh, I forgot, we have the Monorail?

  • andrew July 24, 2008 (6:59 pm)

    Why can’t one of these Rapid Rides come along 35th? Lame-dash-O!

  • Ken July 25, 2008 (7:24 am)

    Well now the ferry rider express might lessen the morning motorcycle gang from Vashon.

    Otherwise those of us on the poor side of town (35th) get squat and I suspect no coordination with the 21. And useless on the weekends.

    Perhaps we can get it named after GW Bush?

  • Al July 25, 2008 (9:52 am)

    I will continue to be against this ridiculous idea for the following reasons:

    1. This route does exactly what we didn’t want it to do, from the RapidRide website…”It will REPLACE Metro’s Route 54 along Fauntleroy Way SW and California Avenue SW between Fauntleroy and downtown Seattle via the Alaska Junction.” And don’t forget, lest you assume that there will be the same stops as the current 54 route, no…”the ’stations’ that will be about a half-mile apart.” Think about it. They are going ahead with the plan in spite of public input that clearly told them to leave the main route 54 intact and replace the 54x. This means ONE stop between the Alaska and Morgan Junctions. I was told in one of the RR sessions that I could take the 128 instead, with that metro rep not understanding that the 128 has 30 min headways! We may gain convenient access to Westwood, which is good, but we will loose a heavily used, USEFUL local route.
    2. I went to the Rapid Ride open house. Here’s what they are saying, at least what the gentleman I spoke with said: 1) The proposed RR route will replace the regular 54 route and follow the route as it exists now – using Avalon heading both east and west (no more bridge ride up the hill) 2) There is only ONE stop proposed between Alaska & Morgan Jct at Findlay 3) Apparently, the 54x will remain as is 4) They were ’surprised’ to hear everyone complaining about the 21 route – rout 21 will not even be reviewed by Metro until at least 2010 or 2011 – a travesty in my opinion 5) the curb bulbs will not jut into the street, but take as much space as a parked car so should not interfere with traffic or bicycles 6) bus only lanes are being studied for both directions of Alaska between Fauntleroy and Alaska Jct (update: but this is not likely to happen). 7) the removal of the Viaduct and Spokane St construction will not even be discussed, this is like spraying insecticide into a jar of bugs – he ran away when it was mentioned These people do not understand how bad traffic gets or how mass transit is used/needed by West Seattlites. 9) Connection to the 21 may be LOST if the 35th/Avalon stop is not utilized 10) The route could go all the way to Westwood Village – as planned now, it starts at the ferry dock. Get out there and give them feedback now! Metro seems set on this route and from what I understand, it’s not rapid, it reduces service, could make you use more transfers, may not connect with the 21 route, and the funds to be expended on this RR could be better used to expand existing service and routes.

  • DLC July 25, 2008 (12:36 pm)

    In response to Al’s #10 comment above: the new map dated June 24, 2008(follow link in blog post above) shows the route extending to Westwood Village. They did hear one of our suggestions from the open house. Since the open house, they have also spaced the stops out on Fauntleroy a little better thus helping the “rapidness of the ride.” So people, let them know what you think. They are listening…to some of the comments.

  • JH July 25, 2008 (12:39 pm)

    For a second as I was scrolling through the picture, I thought the Tin Man was there.

  • Al July 25, 2008 (1:07 pm)

    “…have also spaced the stops out on Fauntleroy a little better…” you mean the stops west of California, correct? You are lucky – not so lucky those that live along California and need the 54 as well. The 22 and the 128 do not follow the same route as the 54…and will require a transfer unless you want to walk a long way (some people can’t and could end up waiting as much as 30 minutes for the next bus transfer).

  • JW July 25, 2008 (3:57 pm)

    I’m not crazy about local routes being removed, but one stop between Morgan and Alaska means a quicker trip downtown and back.

    What I’m concerned about is what route it takes downtown. Where does it originate? How does it not get stuck in Safeco/Qwest Field traffic? How does it allow me to make a quick and painless transfer to the new light rail line?

    Before the blog police accuse me of lazily avoiding public events and spewing complaints from my couch, lemme say that I have attended the open house, expressed my opinion, filled out the official surveys, been a good little citizen, etc. And the people I talked to there didn’t have an answer. The “continuing situation with the Viaduct replacement” was the excuse.

    A few decisions have been made on the Spokane St. Viaduct have been made, and the timetable on the south end of the Viaduct has been set. So…any movement here?

    Why not send it down the busway so we can get on the thing that’s much closer to truly grade-separated, that is, the train?

Sorry, comment time is over.