TRAFFIC/TRANSIT TODAY: Wednesday updates; more schools open; benchless bus shelter

(Four WS-relevant views; more cams on the WSB Traffic page)
7:34 AM: Good morning. More rain due later today.

BACK TO SCHOOL: As of today, all the local parochial schools are back in session – today is the first day for Hope Lutheran and Holy Family (whose area of Roxbury has school-zone cameras – see the enforcement schedule here).

METRO CANCELLATIONS: In our followup published last night, a King County Department of Transportation spokesperson explained that cancellations aren’t new but their efforts to notify riders via texts/tweets are, while also responding to our questions about hiring efforts, since personnel shortages are behind the cancellations. So far this morning, one announced cancellation in West Seattle, the Route 37 run at 6:46 am.

ADDED 7:55 AM – SPEAKING OF TRANSIT: Just tweeted by Amanda Kay Helmick (who co-chairs the WS Transportation Coalition and Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council):

10:12 AM: We’re following up on that bus bench, by the way. Meantime, in addition to the 49th/Graham crash we’re covering, there’s a stalled vehicle reported to be partly blocking the Admiral offramp on the westbound West Seattle Bridge – tow truck has been requested.

ADDED 2:17 PM: In subsequent tweets, Helmick had said she was told the bench was removed because homeless people were sleeping on it. Metro spokesperson Jeff Switzer cites loitering and drug dealing:

The bench in this shelter was removed April 20 at the request of Metro Transit Police due to chronic loitering and drug dealing* in the bus shelter. Removing the bench can often discourage this type of activity in a bus shelter. We don’t like to remove any benches needed by our customers, but it is an option we use when needed to try to reduce security issues in a bus shelter that otherwise drive customers away.

We’re monitoring and are open to further discussions with the community about solutions that work for this location. We’ve had two walking tours in this area with community leaders, Seattle Police and Metro Transit Police. We are always open to working with social service groups and law enforcement to address homeless and security issues beyond Metro’s control.

Metro staff were notified and plan to remove the giant rocks found in the shelter so riders don’t accidentally trip and become injured.

We covered both of those walking tours – most recently, at the end of March, about 3 weeks before the bench-removal date mentioned by Switzer; the previous one was 15 months earlier, at the end of 2013. Our coverage noted that liquor was mentioned as a problem at that bus stop – with four places to get it nearby.

2:32 PM: *Referring to the asterisk and struck-out text above – at the exact moment we were publishing that update, Switzer sent a note saying that Metro Transit Police corrected themselves in a followup note to him, saying it was alcohol, not drug dealing, that was the problem at this stop.

3:02 PM: Back to bus cancellations – just tweeted:

4:58 PM: Avoid Barton between Roxhill Park and the east end of Westwood Village – a potential-hazmat response has blocked off the street. Also, while this is bound to be causing some bus problems, there were more *unrelated-to-this* cancellations noted by Metro – we’re posting them here for the record:

14 Replies to "TRAFFIC/TRANSIT TODAY: Wednesday updates; more schools open; benchless bus shelter"

  • hj September 2, 2015 (8:32 am)

    Woo hoo! Bus lane enforcement @ 8:30; you can see it in the cam.

  • David September 2, 2015 (8:33 am)

    Hurray for the officer writing tickets for the self-important individuals who can’t resist using the bus lane as their own personal express lane.

  • slb September 2, 2015 (8:46 am)

    As a note, the flashing lights going eastbound at Holy Family were not working at 8am. Though it does look like they were westbound.

    • WSB September 2, 2015 (8:54 am)

      Thanks, SLB – we’ll take a look during the afternoon time period if we can.

  • Joe Szilagyi September 2, 2015 (8:52 am)

    Why on Earth would they remove the bench……?

  • wellmaybe September 2, 2015 (9:14 am)

    Bench removed, officially? Maybe to avoid junkies and prostitutes from hanging out and doing their business there.

    Or, maybe it broked.

    • WSB September 2, 2015 (9:20 am)

      We have the question out to Metro’s spokesperson – not just why it’s gone but whether it will be replaced.

  • rcres September 2, 2015 (9:41 am)

    The garbage can at the shelter was removed a few months before because of someone continually filling it with household garbage.

  • ChefJoe September 2, 2015 (10:00 am)

    Wouldn’t be surprised if AKH’s twitter response is correct and the removal was response to a homeless person taking residence. Happened a few years back to a bus stop I used for 5 years and only noticed a homeless person hanging in for maybe a week. Next thing you know, the station was converted to standing only.

  • Mr Elliott September 2, 2015 (1:05 pm)

    Speaking of the police officer ticketing drivers using the bus lane, did anyone else see the green Honda refuse to pull over for the officer and speed away? I saw the car on the 1st Ave S exit but couldn’t get a good look at the license plate. I’ve never seen a driver refuse a police officer’s orders. Not a smart driver, and I hope he didn’t put anyone at risk with his driving.

    • WSB September 2, 2015 (1:34 pm)

      Heard about that on the scanner. They put out a sort of FYI bulletin.

  • busrider September 2, 2015 (5:21 pm)

    I bet Admiral District busriders are glad they voted for Metro’s sale tax hike. NOT.

  • Citizen Sane September 2, 2015 (7:20 pm)

    re the removed bench: this is another one for the ‘this-is-why-we-can’t-have-nice-things’ dept. Rather than allow the police to ‘roust’ druggies, vagrants, hookers, and misc ne’er-do-wells, we punish the law-abiding because God forbid we should hurt the feelings of the local street crud.

  • WsBridgeUser September 2, 2015 (8:52 pm)

    Hurrah for the polic officer? It’s the same office there at the same times of the month. Clearly a less than concerted effort by SPD. If anything he only slows down traffic because everyone as always in Seattle has to stop/slow to a crawl to rubberneck whenever they see police on the road. Yes I dislike those that use this lane but the intermittent enforcement actually slows everyone else down.

Sorry, comment time is over.