Proposed cuts possibly coming to Metro Route 4, accepting public comments by June 24th

Route 4Thanks to readers, we were alerted to signage on the Metro Route 4 bus stops located on East Queen Anne. If you’re a frequent rider of Route 4 outbound to downtown, and catch the bus east of Queen Anne Ave N, there are proposed changes that will impact your future travel plans.

I contacted King County Metro, and there was a slight disconnect in their messaging. The signs went up at the stops before any information was provided to the public. However, they have remedied the situation and published a blog post that outlines the proposed new routes and the rationale behind the changes.

You can read the full blog post here, and these are the critical need-to-know items:

Metro is proposing that routes 3 and 4 combine on the same pathway between Queen Anne Avenue North at Boston Street and SPU via 3rd Ave West.

Per Metro, this change:

  • Increases service between Seattle Pacific University and downtown Seattle from two trips to six trips per hour. Riders would have the choice of routes 3, 4 or 13 – whichever comes first – to make connections.
  • Better connects Queen Anne to the University District. Riders would have less wait time between buses when connecting between the 3, 4 or 13 and routes 31 and 32 that provide service to the U District, UW, U Village, and Seattle Children’s.
  • Responds to concerns from residents along the neighborhood “loops” of the route 3 and 4 who have expressed concern about idling diesel buses at times, particularly on weekends, when Metro uses diesel buses in place of trolley buses to operate the service.

With the change, Routes 3 and 4 will only operate along arterials. Metro estimates that the portion of the routes that will be removed will affect 120-135 people.

If King County Council approves the change, it would be implemented in March of 2017.

Metro is accepting comments until June 24, 2016. Contact Metro’s Supervisor of Service Planning Katie Chalmers at katie.chalmers@kingcounty.gov or (206) 477-5869.

You can also attend the following meetings where King County Metro representatives will be on hand. NOTE: the QACC meeting falls after the comment period.

Below is the map of the proposed route changes:

Metro 3 and 4 map

Joint Queen Anne and Magnolia meeting to discuss proposed Metro bus service cuts

Metro CutsIf you are concerned or impacted by the proposed changes and cuts to Metro bus service, you can attend a joint meeting hosted by the Queen Anne Community Council and Magnolia Community Club this Thursday at 7pm.

At the meeting, the two neighborhood groups will be facilitating a discussion on a plan to maintain bus service to Queen Anne and Magnolia. For Queen Anne, route 4 is on the chopping block and route 2 and route 13 will be combined into one route.

Key discussion questions include:

  • Will the east side of Queen Anne lose its bus route altogether? (Route 4)
  • Will Magnolia residents lose all bus service to UW?
  • Will route changes and reduced hours for Magnolia and Queen Anne force residents into their cars?
  • Is there anything we can do to save the bus service we presently count on?

At the meeting, details on the April 22 ballot measure to maintain Metro bus service. King County Council Chair, Larry Phillips, and Metro Transit Service Planning Supervisor Martin Minkoff will present details about the funding package from 7pm to 9pm at The Catharine Blaine School Cafeteria at 2550 34th Avenue West.

The King County Council voted unanimously to seek voter approval of the April 22 ballot measure, which includes a $60 annual vehicle fee, a sales tax increase 1/10 a cent, and a 25 cent fare increase starting in 2015.

The meeting is open to all Queen Anne and Magnolia residents. Proposed changes to Metro bus service are posted online.

Metro Reduced Holiday Service Begins Monday

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.

Metro Route 2E now Route 29 with Revised Routing

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.

Seattle Times article about Rapid Ride and the ins and outs of traveling via it

Seattle Transit Blog’s look at the bus situation on Queen Anne

Installation of Rapid Ride D Line

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.

Hundreds voice concerns about Metro bus cuts

Depending on who you ask, 400-700 people showed up for last night’s Metropolitan King County Council committee meeting to discuss the proposed cuts in King County Metro bus service.

The main issue of the discussion was the $20 car-tab fee for each of the next two years that is being considered. Without it, Metro says it would need to cut service 17 percent by eliminating some routes and reducing trips.

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.

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