Heads up if you rely on Metro for commuting or are planning on downtown trips for some last minute holiday shopping – King County Metro Transit will be operating on holiday and reduced weekday schedules all next week and the beginning of the following week (New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day).
According to Metro:
“Using a limited schedule over holiday periods from November through January is estimated to save Metro about $1 million each year. These are planned reductions for holiday periods when Metro has historically seen a reduction in the number of weekday riders – estimated to be 15 percent or more systemwide.”
Sunday schedules will be in effect on the following holidays:
Tuesday, Dec. 25 – Christmas
Tuesday, Jan. 1 – New Year’s Day
The reduced weekday schedule will be in effect on:
Monday, Dec. 24 – Christmas Eve
Wednesday-Friday, Dec. 26-28 – winter holiday period
Monday, Dec. 31 – New Year’s Eve
Monday, Jan. 21 – Martin Luther King Jr. Day
Queen Anne routes with reduced weekday schedules include: 2, 3, 4, 13. A list of additional route service impacts are online.
Changes are coming to the West side of Queen Anne, starting September 29th. Route 2E, which heads South to Downtown in the Morning and North in the evening, is turning in to Route 29. This will extend service all the way from 32nd & Market in Ballard to the Jackson Street island in the International District.
Revised Route 2 Express will be renumbered Route 29. Route 29 will operate the same routing as former Route 2E but will be extended to NW Market St & 28th Ave NW in Ballard via 3rd Ave W, W Nickerson St, Leary Ave NW and NW Market St. Also, southbound trips to downtown Seattle will operate on 2nd Ave instead of 3rd Ave.
This revised routing, combined with the opening of Rapid Ride D, which we wrote about last week, is setting up some big changes in how our neighborhood is going to be commuting via transit this fall. Metro is encouraging anyone who travels via bus to recheck their schedules (paper ones will be available this week, September 24th) online to make sure that your usual doesn’t have a time change.
Additional reading links regarding these schedule changes can be found below.
Thanks to tipster Ted, we’ve been alerted to roadwork at the bottom of Counterbalance that’s been going on for a few weeks now.
Seattle Metro has been working on installing Rapid Ride D Line’s stops/stations on Queen Anne Ave. at Mercer. Below you can see all the stops planned for this new route.
In terms of making traffic flow a little easier going South, the Rapid Ride line is opening September 29th, so those cones and backups should resolve themselves (hopefully) before then.
State lawmakers gave county officials the authority this year to charge an extra $20 for car tabs — which would provide $50 million over two years — to help Metro. When combined with reserve funds, it’s enough to largely maintain existing service, Metro says.
The next step for King County’s nine-member council is to either put it to a vote in the next election or a “supermajority” of six members could enact the new fee without going to the voters.
Unfortunately, only four County Council members attended the transportation committee hearing (Bob Ferguson, Larry Gossett, Joe McDermott and Larry Phillips) while five did not. The four who did attend, however, have already come out in favor of the fee.
There will be one more public hearing on July 21 in Burien at the City Council Chambers, followed by a vote from the King County Councilmembers, scheduled for July 25.
The Uptown Alliance’s monthly meeting is happening this Thursday, June 9 from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Lower Queen Anne Metropolitan Market restaurant space. This month the agenda is brimming with transportation issues – from Metro’s D-Line RapidRide stop placement, to its new trolley buses – as well as other hot topics, including the Department of Neighborhoods Alcohol Impact Program and a potential site for low-income housing in Uptown. Check out the full agenda:
More information has been uncovered on the Metro service hour reduction scenario reported on two weeks ago. Under the scenario (.pdf), Route 2N would be eliminated, while the 2 Express would be kept and extended down to Seattle Pacific University and then Nickerson Street. Some of the hours cut from Route 2N would be put on Route 13. In addition, Route 4N would be eliminated, and those hours would be put on Route 3N, which would also extend down to Nickerson. Route 45, which connects Seattle Center with the University District through Queen Anne, would also be eliminated.
The “600,000 Service Hour Reduction Scenario,” as reported two weeks ago, is Metro’s initial look at what a reduction in service hours would look like if cuts had to be made.
“The whole idea of restructure is in this case to reduce the size of the system, be more efficient and not spend as many hours, but still try to provide service that meets the needs of the community,” said King County Metro’s Service Planning Supervisor David Hull. “This is not something that I as a transit planner am looking forward to. We like to see the system grow; we look to put more service on the street to provide quality service to more people … This is a process that is being forced because of our financial situation.”
If the King County Council decides that cuts should be made, there will be a process allowing the public to give feedback on actual service hour reduction proposals, said Hull.
The part of the scenario regarding Queen Anne routes, excluding the change to Route 45, is called “Priority 2,” which is aimed at restructuring service to improve efficiency. This is opposed to the first priority of reducing low productivity services (Route 45), and the lesser priorities of reducing higher‐productivity services and reducing low‐productivity services in all areas identified as underserved. The total cuts from Priority 2 amounts to a 255,000 reduction in hours, of which approximately 6,000 hours will be cut from routes particular to Queen Anne.
“We’re not trying to eliminate access to service [in the Priority 2 cuts], but perhaps requiring folks to change how they use the system… people might need to transfer or might need to walk a bit farther,” said Hull. “The concept is fewer routes going downtown, but they’re at a higher service level, and one thing the national studies show is that people are willing to walk farther to have more frequent service.”
Some Metro riders welcome these changes, like Bruce Nourish, a software engineer who lives downtown and works in Queen Anne.
“This proposal provides much better mobility from Lower Queen Anne, Taylor St, and Downtown to SPU and the north side of Queen Anne,” said Nourish in a comment to the previous story, adding, “Such systems, in general, provide similar mobility at far less cost, or much greater mobility at the same cost. I personally think this change is long overdue.”
Others, like Queen Anne resident and Metro rider Nell Beedle, believe some could have serious trouble with these changes.
“There are, in fact, very steep slopes and in some cases stairways that create physical barriers to access for less able-bodied riders,” said Beedle. “It’s not just about trip times for some folks; it’s also about physically being able to access the route.”
This is something Metro planners and administrators take into consideration, said Hull.
“We’re trying to limit the impacts, but we surely understand that we can’t cut 600,000 hours, almost 20 percent of our system, and not have impacts to current riders,” said Hull. “We understand that not everyone is capable of making a farther walk, that there may be individuals because of a disability or age that can’t make that walk.”
Federal laws require the King County Department of Transportation to factor in disadvantaged populations in their planning, and in the event that a disabled person is unable access public transportation, Metro provides assistance through their MetroAccess Paratransit program, said Hull.
One major factor that can keep these changes from becoming a reality is Senate Bill 5457, or the temporary $20 congestion reduction charge to help fund public transit. The bill was signed by Governor Gregoire on May 16, but it still needs to be passed by the King County Council, who will decide the matter later this summer. According to Queen Anne Community Council member Kirk Robbins at last Wednesday’s transportation committee meeting, two King County Council members have said it’s going to be a unanimous vote to put the $20 dollar charge for bus operations on the ballot in November, passing the matter to King County voters.
“[The bill] is a stopgap measure that would allow King County Metro to avoid reducing 17.5 percent of the system,” said Hull. “Even after taking numerous actions to reduce cost… we’re kind of at a point now that without additional revenue to sustain the system we got to make cuts.”
The measure would collect for about two years before expiring, during which time the state legislature would look for a bigger, more permanent fix to the transit funding problem.
“Without the fee, then these cuts need to happen sooner than later,” said Hull.
It’s Memorial Day weekend, which for many Seattleites is synonymous with the city’s annual Northwest Folklife Festival, now in full swing at Seattle Center.
The festival, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, chose to have a Bulgarian theme for the 2011 festival, but that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to find all of your favorite cultural, ethnic, musical and artistic events, alongside a few new ones. One of the elements new to the festival this year is the “Indie Roots” stage, which according to The Seattle Times, intends to highlight “kinship between traditional folk music and Seattle’s burgeoning “neo-folk” indie movement”.
Also new to the festival this year: a Living Green Courtyard, located in the Alki Court on the northeast corner of Seattle Center. For more information watch the following news clip about the garden:
The festival runs from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday through Sunday, and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Monday. Check out The Seattle Times lineup preview here. The full festival schedule can be found at the Folklife festival website here.
Parking is always packed around the festival, so it’s recommended to carpool or take public transportation when possible. Metro will be offering cash-only shuttle service to and from the festival on Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Other routes will operate on holiday schedules on Sunday and Monday. More information on the Folklife shuttle here.
The Queen Anne Community Council Transportation Committee is having a meeting on neighborhood transportation issues and concerns at 7:30 p.m. this Wednesday, May 25 at Queen Anne Manor, located at 100 Crockett Street.
The meeting will be held in the Queen Anne Manor dining room. Attendees should enter on the Crockett side of the building, sign in at the reception desk, and proceed to the right down the hall and left at the main dining room. The private dining room is located in the back. Parking is available in a free parking lot or on the street. Attendees are reminded not to linger in the halls after the meeting concludes so as not to disturb manor residents.
This month’s Uptown Alliance meeting is happening this Thursday, May 12 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Lower Queen Anne Metropolitan Market restaurant space on the far west side of the store.
Among the hot topics this month is the issue of Metro’s RapidRide D line, which aims to connect neighborhoods in heavily used traffic corridors with frequent and fast connections. The RapidRide D line is scheduled to come to Interbay and Lower Queen Anne in 2012.
Take a look at what’s on the agenda this month:
Greetings and introductions – Approve minutes
Honoring Uptown Alliance Founder, Janis Ford
RapidRide D-Line stops
West Mercer Street stop consolidation
Pedestrian crossings at West Mercer stop
Parking loss on West Mercer St.
Report on pending Small & Simple Grant Application supporting the outreach phase of planning for the Uptown Triangle, bounded by Denny, Broad, and Aurora.
Events: A drop-in public meeting space store front for Uptown
Planning & Transportation: Meeting with Exec. Dir. Kate Joncas of Seattle Downtown Assn. re/urban decay issues.
New Business: bring your own topics and comments.
The next Uptown Alliance meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on Thursday, June 9, also at the Lower Queen Anne Metropolitan Market. For more information, contact Rick Hooper at Nsilberg@silberg.net, or John Coney at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The overnight snowfall may not have been the 2-6 inches forecasters warned us about, but there is a very light dusting of snow on the ground in Queen Anne this morning. The forecast calls for anywhere from a trace to 2 inches more later today.
With the temperature currently at 26 degrees, commuters are advised to keep an eye out for ice. Metro buses are on snow routes this morning, and Microsoft has canceled all its Connector routes. Here’s SDOT’s first report this AM:
Most city streets are bare and wet this morning. Crews from the Seattle Department of Transportation are treating major arterial streets to guard against the formation of ice in advance of the morning commute period. Snowfall last night was highly variable around the city. Beacon Hill, southern Rainier Valley, and higher parts of West Seattle appear to have had the most snow.
WSDOT crews have been busy treating the freeways. For the most part, traffic is moving smoothly. You can check the latest WSDOT traffic updates, the flow map and the full set of WSDOT cameras.
Metro Transit is gearing up for possible snow this afternoon by chaining up buses and planning to move from regular routes to snow routes.
Metro buses will move to snow routing as travel conditions change. When buses move to snow routes, it will be announced through Transit Alerts and on the Metro Online website. Check the status for your route before you travel.
Metro is using an online color-coded map to keep riders informed of the status of its bus service. All bus routes are assigned into one or more of seven geographic areas within King County. When there is snow or ice on the roads, the service status of each area will be color coded and displayed on the online map. Green indicates buses are operating on normal routes; yellow that some – but not all – routes in the area are on snow routes (primarily in higher elevation areas); and red tells you that all bus routes in the entire geographic area are on snow routing.
People without online access can call the Customer Information Office at (206) 553-3000. General information about service will also be sent out via the kcmetrobus Twitter account.
Expect buses to be crowded and significantly delayed when on snow routes and travel is difficult. Also, many people may leave work early today, so take that into consideration in deciding when to travel. Metro encourages people to limit travel if possible if roads become snowy and icy.
In preparation for a big snowfall today, the City of Seattle has also activated its snow plan. Early in the morning, ten snow plows hit the north end of the city. At 9 a.m., the Seattle Department of Transportation went into “full 24-hour response plan to keep roads open, buses moving and critical emergency services accessible,” Rick Sheridan of SDOT writes. More from the release:
The response plan calls for deploying 30 trucks with plows, which will be prepositioned throughout the city in key locations such as elevated structures and certain trouble spots on major arterials. The department starting pre-treating major roadways with salt brine this afternoon in preparation for the storm. Additional details concerning SDOT’s response will be forthcoming as more information about the impending storm becomes available.
SDOT also reminds property owners that they are responsible for the sidewalks in front of their properties.
Mayor Mike McGinn says this storm could be like that of November 22, 2010. “Because Wednesday afternoon’s commute is expected to be difficult,” McGinn writes in a statement, “It may be a good day to work an alternate shift, telecommute or make other travel arrangements if possible.”
Metro Transit is also urging passengers to be prepared for the snow.
Wednesday’s snowfall may start out light in some areas, but transit users should plan ahead for bus trips that could be disrupted, delayed, and on snow routing. Even though weather in the morning may not be bad in your area, you should leave from a bus stop or park-and-ride that also has service when buses are on snow routes in case travel conditions deteriorate by the afternoon commute.