Phinney Ridge and Greenwood

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Seattle Bus Service Cuts: An Open Letter to the Council

July 28th, 2012 · 4 Comments · Development Projects, Greenwood, Seattle Neighborhoods

With all the changes METRO has made and the increasing traffic, at this point it’s faster to take the bus from the north end of town to downtown than to take the bus from the Zoo to downtown and METRO considered making the 5 even slower.

Seattle’s bus 358 has a troubled history, check out blogs on the epic 358 bus here and here.

An Open Letter:

Dear Kevin Desmond, General ManagerKing County Metro Transit

I am writing in opposing to your plans to decrease bus service to the Phinney Ridge community.

Now, Route 358 makes three stops on Linden Ave. North between Winona Ave. (75th St.) and Woodland Pl. N. (64th St.).   It stops at 72nd-73rd Street, 68th Street, and 64th Street (Woodland Pl. N.).  These stops are used by people living on the eastern slope of Phinney Ridge for commuting and also for going downtown and up north at night and on weekends.

The current plan eliminates these stops.  Instead, the southbound 358 will make its current stop at Aurora Ave. and 75th St. and make no other stop until 65th and Aurora (unless the City doesn’t allow that stop, in which case it will be at 66th and Linden).  The northbound 358 will make a stop at 66th and Linden and not stop again until 75th and Aurora.

This eliminates easy access for those of us who live west of Linden and north of 68th, which includes several condominium and apartment buildings.

We used to have a bus – the #6 – that gave us access to Stone Way and Seattle Center; it was eliminated several years ago.  Now we’re losing our local bus route in favor of slightly faster commutes for those who live outside Seattle.  If Metro wants to encourage us to take the bus, it should make it convenient for us to do so, rather than making it more difficult and less likely that we’ll use the bus.  Interestingly, for most of its way north of 75th and Aurora, the bus will be stopping every five blocks.

We urge you to maintain the current stops on the 358 when you institute Rapid Ride Route E.

Sincerely,

Marilyn S. Smith

Cc:    Councilman Larry Phillips

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4 Comments so far ↓

  • Maureen

    Thank you for sharing your letter, Marilyn.
    I, too, live west of Linden & north of 68th, and take the 358 to work almost daily.

    I’ll be joining you in writing to Councilman Phillips.

  • Larry Phillips, King County Councilmember

    The RapidRide E Line is on track to arrive in Phinney Ridge beginning next year, and that momentum continued today with a vote by the King County Council approving the alignment and station locations. The E Line will bring faster, safer, and more reliable service to the corridor today served by Route 358, one of Metro’s most popular routes.

    The overall travel time savings for riders on the RapidRide E Line will be approximately 7 to 10 minutes. The improved travel time is a result of:
    • Faster boarding, especially at stations, where ORCA card users and other pass holders can enter through any of the three doors;
    • Signal priory for transit at intersections and in-lane stops, which keep the buses moving;
    • Business Access Transit (“BAT”) lanes, which keep buses from getting stuck in traffic; and
    • Consolidated stops.

    At the highest ridership stops, pedestrian improvements will be made and RapidRide stations will be installed, which feature a shelter, benches, bicycle racks, electronic signs indicating how soon the next bus will arrive, and an ORCA card reader so riders can “tap on” before the bus arrives.

    RapidRide’s distinctive red-and-yellow buses are energy efficient, low-emission hybrid vehicles with low floors and three doors for easier, faster boarding.

    In many ways, RapidRide will be an improvement over the transit service that exists in the Aurora corridor today. However, measures to improve the speed and reliability of RapidRide must be balanced with maintaining convenient bus stop access for riders.

    A Phinney Ridge resident, Mairlyn S. Smith, brought to my attention concerns about Metro’s proposed E Line stop spacing along Linden Avenue (see Seattle Bus Service Cuts: An Open Letter to the Council). I appreciate Ms. Smith bringing these concerns to my attention, and asked my staff to tour the proposed alignment with Metro staff. That tour confirmed Ms. Smith’s concerns. The bus stop at N. 72nd Street and Linden Avenue serves approximately 150 riders a day and is located near multi-family housing. Elimination of the stop would have resulted in people in the area having to travel an extra five to eight blocks to access the E Line.

    In response, I worked with Metro on a solution that retains the northbound stop at N 72nd Street and Linden. A stop in the southbound direction is not feasible because the bus will travel on Aurora. The northbound stop saves riders from that area from having to cross Aurora and walk uphill to get home. This compromise improves access to the E Line without sacrificing the speed and reliability improvements Metro is seeking to achieve with RapidRide.

  • admin

    Larry – Can you please share an update for the Phinney – Greenwood community on this important issue?

  • LMG

    The change in bus service to the Phinney Ridge area also eliminates our bus access to North Seattle Community College. This is not an improvement.

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