Five years ago, when community members lobbied Metro to make sure RapidRide went all the way to Westwood instead of turning around at Fauntleroy, they didn’t envision what’s become a “wall of buses” alongside Roxhill Park. A new community council has since emerged, and park-safety concerns are high on its list. So today, Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council leaders took a group of visiting officials on what you might call a wall-to-wall tour.
It started and ended on the east side of Barton, alongside the park. This tour didn’t go into the park – though some of its challenges were well within view:
Liquor stolen from nearby stores – four places stock it in Westwood alone, plus Safeway on the other side of the park – is often consumed nearby, and the bus wall hides it from scrutiny. So WWRHAH suggests other places buses could lay over:
The tour around the outer perimeter of Westwood Village was led by WWRHAH chair Amanda Kay Helmick, above in purple, and secretary Joe Szilagyi, above in gray. Those who came along to see and hear about the situation included not only reps from Metro, but also from King County Councilmember Dow Constantine‘s staff, City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen‘s staff, the County Sheriff’s Office – which is responsible for Metro Transit Police – and Seattle Police, Seattle Parks, even state legislator Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon (below at left), a frequent transit rider who told his stories of getting around Westwood:
One frequently noted problem, not enough light for people to get around safely at night, including at 25th and Trenton, near the bus holding/bus stop area on the east side of Westwood:
Pedestrian and driver safety is at stake too, with cars exiting onto 25th jutting out to see around the buses and other vehicles there:
At each stop, the WWRHAH leaders offered suggestions, as tour participants took notes. And each area offered its own challenge:
While that stretch along Barton has an official RapidRide area, it was noted that bus passengers also exit much further west along the block, in the layover zone, which is unlit. WWRHAH stressed that they’re not requesting lights for the entire park – but that stretch needs something; our photo below, taken December 4th, shows how dark it can get:
This tour was part of the followup to other exchanges WWRHAH has had with Metro and other agencies that have jurisdiction in the Westwood/Roxhill area; here’s a previous story with a detailed reply to WWRHAH from Metro’s GM Kevin Desmond. The council’s November meeting was centered on park concerns and potential solutions. No specific next steps were announced as this afternoon’s tour ended, but WWRHAH plans to continue pressing for action.