West Seattle RapidRide: Luna Park businesses get bus-lane decision

As the RapidRide “C” Line bus service gets closer to its West Seattle debut, currently set for September of next year, Metro is locking in the details for stops, stations, bus lanes, and the rest of the accompanying “facilities,” working in tandem with SDOT, since the facilities are on city streets and sidewalks. We have been reporting here on the concerns that two business districts along the route have had regarding street parking that will be removed for bus lanes. While Triangle business owners along SW Alaska had most of their concerns quelled (as reported here), Luna Park business owners (whose concerns we first detailed last December) have just received final word of the plan for their area. It’s largely unchanged from the proposal that was discussed again at their most recent merchants’ meeting.

The plan is outlined in a letter sent to Luna Park businesses this week (read the 2-page PDF here), signed by Metro director Kevin Desmond and SDOT director Peter Hahn. It finalizes the plan for a bus lane that will mean no on-street parking along the east side of Avalon 6-10 am weekdays between the bridge and SW Bradford. That had drawn strongest objections from Luna Park Café owner John Bennett and Java Bean Coffee owner Tony Hoyt, both of whom do much of their business in the mornings. The letter notes that the restrictions “will affect 355 linear feet of curb space …” The county and city reps who had attended Luna Park merchants’ meetings had previously described the affected area as 15 parking spaces; by the city’s 15-to-19-feet-per-space measure, that’s between 19 and 23 spaces.

There is one potential change: Desmond and Hahn write that “… with this letter, we commit to reassessing whether an additional RapidRide stop at the existing northbound (bus) stop at SW Charlestown Street [map] would be warranted to meet the needs of more riders.” Luna Park business owners had taken the previous proposal as adding insult to injury, as there was no RapidRide stop planned in the business district, or anywhere north of SW Yancy, a few blocks uphill.

We’re checking on how soon the decision on that potential stop will be made; work along Avalon Way might start as soon as “late spring,” according to the letter (again, you can read it in its entirety here).

19 Replies to "West Seattle RapidRide: Luna Park businesses get bus-lane decision"

  • foyboy February 27, 2011 (12:47 pm)

    Gee, can you people see now why west seattle needs a park and ride. With a park and ride thier would not be all theese meeting about where people would park to catch this new bus system. And with the money to improve avolon could be used to put together a park and ride on one of the empty lots in town. I guess when something sounds so simple it becomes harder to understand.

  • publicadministrator February 27, 2011 (3:03 pm)

    There already is a park n ride nearby, on Spokane Street under the western approach to the West Seattle bridge.

  • Paul February 27, 2011 (3:29 pm)

    way to go SDOT ! you are my heros

  • SaraJ February 27, 2011 (3:45 pm)

    I love Luna Park, but who goes there between 6 – 10am on a weekday?? It will be fine.

  • SarahScoot February 27, 2011 (4:05 pm)

    We have a m-f-ing Park & Ride, people. So tired of seeing that same complaint trotted out on every story on this Rapid Ride plan. Besides, Park & Rides are meant for suburban areas; there are only two in Seattle city limits. We have one of them, so please stop whining.

  • Sue February 27, 2011 (4:43 pm)

    I hope they do decide to reconsider and put another stop closer to Luna Park, if for no other reason that people could then use the park & ride under the bridge. People usually use park & rides for convenience, not so they can be 5 blocks from the nearest stop. (Yes, I know there are buses under the bridge – I’m referring to the Rapid Ride bus.)

  • coffee February 27, 2011 (9:09 pm)

    Its so nice that the Rapid Ride people had all the meetings, appeared to listen to the concerns and then went ahead with their plan anyways. I have 1 descriptive word for every one of the people that gave false hopes for the businesses. ANOTHER bad decision I think.

  • Denny February 27, 2011 (11:40 pm)

    Tut Tut SarahScoot

    The parking spaces under the Spokane Viaduct that are poorly served by transit, are poorly lit, unmaintained and sometimes a place where people camp is not really a park and ride.
    It is a poor excuse to appease 20% of the city’s population who happen to live on a penninsula with three corridors off. Spokane corridor, 1st Avenue South Bridge, out through White Center.
    Despite being within the city limits, West Seattle is not urban in its density or makeup, with the majority of our 100,000 people living in Single Family House zones. We are by most defintions a bedroom community with some business and much retail & service industry. And yet we’d be one of the 10 largest towns in the state.
    In a comparable situation, Sound Transit built a beautiful, well maintained and well serviced Park and Ride with 447 parking stalls and covered bike parking for Mercer Island (an island with two corridors – 1 east, 1 west) and only 25,000 people. Despite some construction issues, the garage is now well used and getting people out of cars before they cross a bridge.
    There are many sides to this ongoing discussion, but the notion that we have either no need for or have adequate commuter services for this penninsula is false.

  • Alki Area February 28, 2011 (7:44 am)

    1. The Spokane Viaduct park and ride is a park and ride. If you think it’s scary that’s another issue. But it’s location is perfect, and it’s covered. It has many good bus stops.

    2. The ideal solution would have been a monorail if the financing had worked out. Or a standard train. Something above/outside of the traffic flow. But that’s not going to happen anytime soon.

    3. West Seattle is as dense as most of the city. We have the same population density as Magnolia, Madison Park, Lake City to East U District. Sure not as dense as the downtown business district or Capital Hill, but the same as the rest. There aren’t a lot of .5 acre sprawling McMansions in West Seattle like in the actual suburbs. There’s a population density map from the city of Seattle you can check out.

    4. Mercer Island has more money/influence that we do. It’s a whole separate individual city, not just a neighborhood in a city. There actually dozens of roads leading out of West Seattle (south and east), granted only a few MAJOR freeway size boulevards. Mercer Island is an ACTUAL island for real. It has ONLY 2, total 2, roads going in or out…no side roads, no small 2 lanes, no out of the way roads you can take if you must, just 2, I-90 east and I-90 west.

  • JW February 28, 2011 (7:53 am)

    I’m happy with Metro’s decision.

  • jedifarfy February 28, 2011 (10:17 am)

    That’s a shame. They acted like they were listening to the small businesses and really it seems they had no intention of changing.

  • Kendall February 28, 2011 (11:59 am)

    @Denny & @Alki Area: Folks, just as an FYI, Mercer Island is currently in the midst of lining up another parking garage, funded primarily by Sound Transit, in the “Town Center” business area of the Island. The rationale behind it is the added density in that area from all the redevelopment there in the last 5 years and the impact from the EastLink rail line. They want to ink the agreement before summer for this so I’d expect you’ll be hearing more about this soon.

  • Moose2 February 28, 2011 (9:02 pm)

    It is impossible to satisfy everyone all the time. They have to balance the needs of a few businesses against the larger number of people who commute (by bus) from Alaska Jct and further south. Overall these seems like a good decision.

  • JB March 1, 2011 (11:31 am)

    Why do you need a park and ride? The buses currently run throughout West Seattle. Leave your car in the garage and walk a few blocks to a bus stop. Better for your health and the environment.

  • john bennett March 3, 2011 (2:54 pm)

    The Rapid Ride transit lane will remove 30 customer parking spaces in the Luna Park business district. Despite METRO’s “studies” ( originally calculated at 5 , now 9 spaces), this will eliminate 80% of Luna Park Cafe’s existing customer parking.It is a total of 520 feet @ 17 ft per spot (SDOT). To think this will not affect the businesses is insane. Luna Park is a breakfast restaurant and eliminating most of our parking from 6am to 10 am will be devastating.( not to mention Java Bean who depends on morning coffee sales). We will be lucky to survive. Its a shame that unique historic neighborhoods are sacrificed in the name of progress.
    The irony is that Rapid Ride bypasses the park and ride and the Luna Park business district completely. This transit lane also does not give the bus clear sailing all the way to the West Seattle bridge. It will still bog down to a single lane bottleneck at Spokane street where all the traffic coming down Admiral Way. Avalon Way and Harbor Ave have to merge into one lane …bus included. But, it will fly down the 520 feet in front of Luna Park unobstructed. Is it worth the price for 520 feet? I wonder if this new bus system will be obsolete before it is even built.
    P.S. If anyone knows the old owners of Pat and Rons Tavern, have them contact me to move back in.
    John Bennett
    Luna Park Cafe

  • richard March 3, 2011 (6:01 pm)

    i am happy with this decision. 80% of some breakfast cafe’s customers can use the drive-thru starbucks.

  • Blue Collar Enviro March 3, 2011 (6:54 pm)

    Thank you to SDOT and Metro, who listened to all the bus riders who wrote in and begged you to get rid of the parking in the transit lane. Whether Mr. Bennett realizes it or not, our time is valuable, too.

    I do hope Metro installs an additional bus stop as far north as possible on Avalon, for those who use the Park & Ride (which should be spruced up), for those transfering to and from other bus routes to the north end of West Seattle, and, yes, even for those who dine at the Luna Park Cafe.

    Thank you for thinking of the good of the many, not just the irrational requests of a couple business owners. And though I’m getting really annoyed at these business owners — who speak only for themselves — I do hope they thrive without the on-street parking.

  • Lack Thereof March 3, 2011 (10:49 pm)

    Providing rent-free parking to businesses is not the job of SDOT or Metro. I’m glad they didn’t cave on this one.

    If business owners want parking, they can pay for the land for it themselves, maybe get together to share a private lot and validate like U-District businesses do.

    Parking is a private sector problem, and the city shouldn’t be subsidizing it for a handful of businesses while the rest of us pay for our spaces.

  • Bruce March 4, 2011 (11:10 am)

    I agree with the last two commenters. I’m pro-business, but part of that is rolling with the punches. If you set up a business next to a military base and then it closes, that’s a bad break but it’s not the government’s problem. If you start a business almost entirely dependent on street parking, that’s your choice, but you must have known (or should have known) that it exists at the whim of the city.

    I look forward to patronizing more businesses in West Seattle once RapidRide opens.

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