What would get you to ride transit?

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    I might ride the bus, if there was a dedicated bus lane from W.S. to downtown. HAving a bus stuck in traffic with cars makes zero sense. I could be warm, comfy, listen to my own music, not someone else’s, and still get to work at the same time.



    maplesyrup: it kind of depends on where you live, yeah?

    here in the ‘mount neighborhoods south of the triangle, my wife can take a metro from a block from our front door to her office in the financial district and have a 10- or 15-minute bus ride. no parking costs or hassles involved, and her employer subsidizes the metro (but not parking.)

    all that changes when the viaduct comes down, though.

    nonetheless, buses serve WS-to-downtown commuters pretty well. even without the viaduct.

    it’s the WS-to-WS or WS-to-points-beyond-downtown commute that metro sucks at.[sic] as another poster said, all buses lead downtown.

    except for the ST 560, which should be improved, not marginalized by budget constraints.



    I have 2 words to add to this conversation: MUH-NEY. There isn’t enough of it. How much do you want to pay in taxes to have a one seat ride from your door to anywhere in King County? That would require a lot more buses, which are expensive. A lot more buses would require a lot more drivers and mechanics and bus stops and space for the buses to be garaged overnight (unless you want them to run 24 hours a day with mechanics under them on dollies doing maintenance.)

    The current ‘hub and spoke’ system is the most cost-effective way to move large numbers of people to a central point where transfers can be made if anyone wants to go somewhere other than W Seattle or downtown. It’s the way pretty much every large transit system in the world works. That is not to say that Metro’s system can’t be improved; that is why there are three service changes a year and why there is an on-going citizen involvement process. 110,000,000 trips a year ain’t chicken feed.

    Also, this is a CITY DOT survey; Metro is a COUNTY agency. Sound Transit is an independent agency, altho city and county elected officials are on its board. This survey is so general it will not provide any useful information to SDOT, esp. about the issues that you are mentioning.

    Yes, Metro still runs DART service but only in suburban communities. Access Transportation is an origin-to-destination service for persons whose disability prevents use of regular bus service; it runs throughout the county.

    As far as the alleged service issues, I guess its a matter of perspective as well as a matter of where you are trying to go and when you are trying to get there.



    thanks for the response, mg. but if metro expanded the 51 and made it more useful to the entire peninsula, wouldn’t it garner more fares? as it is, witnesses say the buses lazily orbiting the charlestown cafe – but only monday through friday during business hours – are usually empty. is this someone’s pet project?

    i don’t think anyone who uses metro expects a one-seat ride. but some route additions are painfully obvious, like the WS-to-ballard idea. for example, one can get from rainier valley to wedgwood or maple leaf without going downtown. or from ballard to university village. usually in one seat. but not from WS to beacon hill, even?

    110 million rides, eh? well, let’s go for 150 million.



    In Metro KC’s current economic situation, they are most likely to eliminate the route 51 entirely, not expand it. What benefit is there to expanding the route to be “more useful to the entire peninsula”? There are already several other routes that serve, and are heavily used by, riders on our peninsula.

    The 51 probably is useful to some riders, but yes, it’s probably underused. The fact remains that it connects to a couple West Seattle “hubs,” including the Alaska Junction. That’s all that is necessary, honestly. I agree with MetroGnome; the hub-and-spoke system is most efficient and practical. I have been careful when choosing rentals in West Seattle to remain within easy distance of bus stops, and when I buy a house I’ll stick to the same rule. It’s simply not fair to expect Metro to provide no-transfer route options for everywhere one might want to go. The fact is, most of us in West Seattle *are* commuting downtown, not to Beacon Hill.

    FWIW, I’ve bused from my home (on Avalon) to Montlake for a hair appointment. The route required one downtown transfer, and took 50 minutes total. Not bad.

    Metro’s far from perfect; I am continually irritated by the drivers who think it’s perfectly OK to start their routes early (my homebound stop is the first along the 21X route, and one of the buses I like to catch almost always leaves three or more minutes early), and their tracking system is useless in reroute situations. Overall, though, they provide lots of options to us, and they have improved service over the last few years.




    “The current ‘hub and spoke’ system is the most cost-effective way to move large numbers of people to a central point where transfers can be made if anyone wants to go somewhere other than W Seattle or downtown. It’s the way pretty much every large transit system in the world works.”

    the major metropolitan areas i have visited with efficient transit systems didn’t rely on a single hub and spoke system…

    they had hub and spoke feeders to transit centers that hub and spoked to a central area… and lateral lines connecting outlying areas…

    they had transit centers in the downtown core where buses could move through town freely without being impeded by car traffic…

    A north south line along California would greatly increase bus traffic in West Seattle… including feeding into that hub and spoke arrangement.



    SarahScoot — thank you for being a logical, reasonable, rational person (i.e. you agree with me.) FYI, buses only meet exact times at designated time points; all other times are estimates and the bus can arrive (and leave) several minutes earlier. You should always be at the bus stop 5 minutes before. And, the current bus locator system, which only estimates where a bus is along a known route, is being replaced as I type with a GPS-based system that will provide locations even when the bus is off-route.

    Redblack — fares pay only 25% of operating costs and none of the capital costs. Expanding a circulator with poor ridership, like the 51, means you will have a longer, more expensive route with poor ridership. Circulator routes are almost never cost efficient as there is simply not enough demand. Cost-effective routes require high ridership; high ridership requires routes that connect ‘trip generators’, i.e. destinations that a lot of people want to go to.

    JoB — please, never ever agree with anything I say as I will drop dead of a heart attack if you do; if you do ever plan on agreeing with me, please give me a week’s notice so I can update my will. The system you described as existing in other cities is exactly what exists here; there are numerous hubs throughout Metro’s service area. Every transit center is a hub that collects feeder routes from neighborhoods and allows transfers to trunk routes to other hubs; there are also minor hubs such as White Center transfer point and Alaska Junction; even 35th/Avalon. (as always, this is an oversimplification of a complicated system, so no doubt you will take issue with a specific example of a route that does not fit this pattern.)

    I would point out that downtown Seattle has two transit centers: the tunnel and Third Avenue, which is restricted to buses only during peak hours.

    “A north south line along California would greatly increase bus traffic in West Seattle… including feeding into that hub and spoke arrangement.” What do you call Rt 128, which runs along California from Morgan Junction to Admiral Junction, including a stop at the Alaska Junction transit hub? It doesn’t increase bus traffic as most people ride the 22 or 54 from the south half of California; they only take the 128 if they have missed the other routes.

    Now, I’m going to do something fun, like bang my head against a brick wall.



    how about the ability to park on beacon hill so that the light rail is usable



    Please note that expressing opinions in this forum, while useful for getting other forum readers to think about the problems and possibilities, does not ensure they will be part of the input to the Transit Master Plan. If you think your opinions might be useful to the planning process, share them with SDOT.



    I did take the survey, Julie; thanks for the link! I hope others have responded as well.



    the survey only takes a bit of time


    Genesee Hill


    Yes, I take part in these surveys as well.

    I agree with you that West Seattle should have direct transportation to Link light rail. Especially since this is now possible with the “Costco Cut-off” on fourth avenue that avoids crossing BNSF.

    West Seattle should have DIRECT access to Link light rail.

    As I have said before, I also agree with your “pet project” of raising the speed limit on Admiral Way south of the Viewpoint, back to 35mph, or even 40 MPH.



    I’ll ride Metro more often when they get the gangster thugs off a fair share of the downtown routes (esp. the route 7).

    Or when the drivers ask people to pay their fare instead of being intimidated into letting them ride for free.

    I’d also like to see the ride free zone abolished, it’s not supported financially by the downtown business association which was the original deal.

    Don’t allow access to the tunnel without payment, this would cut down on the urination issues in the elevator of every station. Practically every subway, tunnel, metro system in the rest of the world requires a ticket for entry.

    Run Metro more like a business.

    And I took the survey, although I’m not sure why, as SDOT isn’t Metro.



    Thread jack warning: without referring to or singling out any specific poster, is everyone aware that calling a complete stranger a thug is not politically correct and will result in a severe scolding. Unless you have personally asked to see and verify their membership in said thug organization, they are simply people who dress and act differently than you. I thank you in advance for wording your opinion differently as to not offend my delicate sensitivities.




    LOL… but what if they really are thugs?



    I took the survey. I will take Metro when the bus comes every 10 minutes (or more often than that). When the transportation infrastructure in this city comes up to a reasonable standard. WE are light years behind.



    You all should also know, if it hasn’t come up already (I may have missed it), that Metro says it will convene West Seattle discussions starting this fall about other possible changes once RapidRide starts in 2012. Please watch for word of these meetings – you know we will be all over it here – and come to them. Some (in other discussion venues) have complained they didn’t know about RapidRide and its routing before, but the Metro reps made lots of community group appearances in 2008, we previewed and covered most if not all of them, and then the County Council voted on the route. The process wasn’t perfectly executed, but it WAS a process… in fact, community input helped ensure that the route ended at Westwood Village, instead of someplace further west. And right now, community groups are working with Metro and SDOT regarding exactly how Rapid Ride will get from The Bridge into The Junction, and how traffic flows will change for everyone else as a result.

    As for the original question here – I’ll take transit when it’s light rail from West Seattle to points eastward. I have yearned for that so much, it is a vacation highlight if we go someplace like Vancouver or San Francisco (or when I spoke at conferences last year in Chicago and DC) and are able to go everywhere via truly rapid above- or below-grade transit.



    julie: yep. took the survey. now i can b.s. with my neighbors here.

    jimmy: i always take the escalator or the stairs. can’t pee there. well, i guess you can…

    but yeah, turnstiles into the transit tunnel would be nice. here’s an idea: you can use your orca/metro pass to open the turnstile, or you can buy a ticket from a kiosk that’s your turnstile pass and your fare. (some cities have redundant entry and fare systems that confuse newbies.)

    bluebird: your delicate sensitivities? anyway, not really a thread-jack, so no problem. more like a net nanny.

    WSB: amen to that.



    Sadly redblack they pee on the escalators in the tunnel too, but it doesn’t leave a puddle so not as bad.

    Me? I use the stairs. It’s my cheap form of exercise.

    As to my usage of the word thug, I know a gangster thug when I see one. Kind of like the definition of pornography.



    Thanks to those who’ve taken the survey! I, too, long for real, off-grade transit from West Seattle, and transit within West Seattle frequent enough that I don’t need a schedule to plan transfers. I have little hope that either of these will happen very soon, but I still want my input in the plan!

    I recently spent time in the Bay Area, and was reminded once again of how far behind Seattle has fallen. I never needed a schedule (except to know the first and last run)–all I needed to know was what mode, and what station or stop. With my transit card (like ORCA), it was truly liberating. And while it would have been more pleasant had the buses, trains, and streetcars been cleaner, they served their function.



    TR — say it isn’t so … you’ve been absorbed by the light rail collective. I don’t hesitate to predict that light rail will not serve WS in your or your child’s lifetime (unless a rail car with helicopter blades and hydrofoil legs is invented.) There is simply not enough demand combined with WS being an extremely difficult geologic environment coupled with there being no easy way in or out for a rail system. RapidRide is the best WS is going to get as far as high capacity, frequent (10 min. headway) service.

    I would second your comments about the RapidRide service change planning process being a time for people to suggest improvements to WS service, which will likely be completely restructured. The C Line, designed to mimic the defunct Monorail alignment (which was going to terminate at Calif & Morgan), was originally going as far as the ferry terminal; as you pointed out, citizen comments got it extended to Westwood.

    “In 2011, 12-18 months before RapidRide service is scheduled to begin on this corridor, Metro will begin a planning and public outreach process to consider possible changes to bus routes serving Alki, the Admiral District, Alaska Junction, Morgan Junction, and Fauntleroy”



    Julie — we are enormously behind other cities because in 1968 and 1970 citizens voted down the regional rail component of the Forward Thrust bond measure; Atlanta’s MARTA system got the federal money that would have built our system. My understanding is that the only organized opposition to the Forward Thrust measures was against rail and it was led by ‘business interests.’ Something that is not the government’s fault, this time … imagine the conversation we’d be having now if the proposal had been approved.





    re:redblack I have no sensitivities, delicate or otherwise. Was highlighting the absurdity in persons getting all upset about the term 2 days ago.

    As to bus rides: love the 560 to the airport from WS. Save about $20 each way over a taxi.



    There are already two free Metro lines with circular routes in West Seattle, the 773 and the 775. Both operate primarily during commuting hours, the 775 goes from the Water Taxi dock around Alki and back up through Admiral and and 773 leaves the dock and goes up Avalon to the Junction. The 773 runs South along Fauntleroy and back up California to the Junction during a portion of the afternoon.

    In regards to the issue of a hub and spoke system, even in square-shaped San Francisco a majority of bus lines pass through downtown where you need to connect to get to other parts of the city. With Seattle’s hour-glass shape, it makes perfect sense to have spokes leading to the central hub downtown.

    After living in San Francisco without a car for four years before moving back to Seattle, I would love to see how people here would react to just a normal day on MUNI. The seats are hard plastic with holes in the middle so puddles of “suspicious” liquid won’t form, buses and light rail cars are almost all covered in graffiti, passengers think nothing of people getting drunk, smoking weed, and listening to loud music, and the “thugs” everyone is so fond of here would become model transit patrons.

    I don’t mean to come off as rude, but most of the problems people are having here with the bus is that they chose to live in an area which doesn’t provide the level of convenient public transportation they desire. As other people have mentioned, getting from the the Junction area to downtown is extremely easy, and there are many areas of the city as well as West Seattle itself that are conducive to taking the bus. FYI, I lived in Arbor Heights growing up and was subjected to many arduous trips on the 21.



    i once rode a muni from golden gate park to market street. the only thing missing were live chickens and goats.




    If you live in any part of West Seattle other than the admiral district or the junction and work anywhere other than in the core area of downtown.. using metro to get from your home to work is not an efficient form of transit.

    we chose where we lived based on transit options

    …there are several different bus lines within a 4 block walk from our home..

    while hubby was still working in the stadium area

    he commuted to work via public transit for nearly 3 years …

    He now works in fremont.

    If we want to maintain he same commitment to public transportation and live where he can once again use public transit to commute to his job..

    we will have to move

    because funneling all the public transit through that hourglass without dedicated access is not efficient.

    I agree that San Francisco’s public transit system is not aesthetically pleasing…

    but it is entirely possible to transit from one area of it’s hourglass through to another without encountering the traffic gridlock that defines our transit system.

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