It was a ribbon-cutting without a ribbon. It did, however, have ribbons of red paint – newly marked bus lanes. The about-to-open Columbia Street 2-Way Transit Pathway were commemorated this afternoon with a round of celebratory speeches from elected and appointed officials who arrived via a RapidRide bus marked “SPECIAL.”
Mayor Jenny Durkan, County Executive Dow Constantine, County Councilmember Joe McDermott, Metro General Manager Rob Gannon, and Washington State Ferries boss Amy Scarton all took a spin at the microphone to hail the planned opening this Saturday (February 22) of the new corridor for buses to and from West Seattle and beyond.
No new information, but plenty of reminders that this will connect transportation modes more closely than before, with buses stopping conveniently close to the downtown dock where car and passenger ferries bring thousands each day. Here’s the map:
While this is the “permanent” route for the routes listed, there will be another big change when Alaskan Way is fully widened. That’s part of the city’s waterfront program, which the mayor hailed in her remarks, along with noting that there will be “many ribboncuttings we’re going to do down here” – which is when we realized, the event was more a ribbonless dedication than anything else. Here’s our video of everyone who took a turn at the microphone:
Since the mayor mentioned the extra bus hours paid for by the Transportation Benefit District taxes that are expiring this year, we asked about reports that a county version will be proposed. Constantine replied that discussions are under way with the county and its three-dozen-plus cities, and that we can expect a decision within a few weeks. But first – a new pathway for the buses that are funded now. Metro GM Gannon observed, “This doesn’t look like a transit hub, but it’s going to be.”