The official letter to Madrona businesses from Metro on the decision not to move the bus layover went out this morning. As we reported yesterday, the proposed move of the No. 3 bus layover station from in front of St. Clouds to further down the street was deemed too costly.
Today’s letter from Victor Obeso, manager of Metro’s Service Development Section, has more details on the estimated cost of over $486,000 to develop new overhead wire design and construction.
Route 3 is an electric trolley operating on power drawn from overhead wire with limited operational flexibility. The bus stop on 34th Avenue also functions as a terminal or layover. Any new layover site would require overhead wire construction in order to maintain current service levels and operations. Metro Transit estimates the cost of new overhead wire design and construction to be over $486,000. Based on the projected costs involved, relocating the layover is not possible at this time. We had hoped to be able to accommodate the neighborhood business’s request but given the County’s budget crisis, we do not have funds for this project.
In addition to the Madrona Playground, Metro assessed the area for other alternative layover sites but were not successful because of the overhead wire limitations, narrow roadways and driveways in the vicinity of the Route 3 terminal.
The letter also notes that while access to comfort stations (restrooms) for drivers was a consideration, that would not have been a deciding factor were the relocation costs feasible.
Moving forward, the letter includes plans for Metro transit planner Mary Bemowski – the main contact for Madrona businesses throughout the process – to “work with Metro staff regarding the possibility of scheduling only one coach to the terminal at a time in order to reduce the overall bus impact on the adjoining businesses.”
UPDATE: John Platt, one of the owners of St. Clouds and a main proponent of the bus move, said via email, ” I’m angry, feel helpless, feel like it was a charade…Ultimately, what a ridiculous idea to have two busses parked in front of businesses, in the middle of a business district. Ridiculous….I’m torn between wanting to pursue this more and wanting to walk away in disgust.”
What do you think of the reasoning here, and do you think scheduling only one bus at the layover at a time will help?
I think there was also skepticism about this being a major problem and a little frustration with time and effort taken on this issue when there are several other more major issues that could affect many more people. While I do not frequent St.Cloud’s often, I did at one time frequent the previous business Cool Hand Lukes and was not bothered by the buses. I guess the Ale House is newer than 30 years. Nonetheless, both businesses located and flourished there well after the bus stops and layovers were designated. At least thebuses aren’t spewing diesel fumes and are reasonably quiet.
Since there are some major transportation issues here including retaining the trolley buses, I’m trying to understand why this has become such an issue and what has changed in the past 30 years to make this such an issue.
the breakdown in costs. just find it hard to believe one layover station being moved a block away (“new wire design”?) would cost half a million dollars.
we have much bigger fish to fry transit-wise…the layover spot is actually sited very well and appears to impact the businesses there very little–to spend the money to move this stop out of the so-called business district would be wasteful..these businesses are open only a portion of the day while the layover stop is used almost 20 hours a day. there is plenty of parking across the st. for $1.
I frequent St. Cloud’s every weekend and many of the other businesses in the Madrona Outpost (aka “streetcar suburb”. The trolleybuses are of great benefit to this small business district, start mucking around with them and complaining and you may regret it. Let’s get all the sidewalks fixed in a two block radius, additional parking enforcement, and some more ped-friendly car-traffic calming measures installed before we start messing with our invaluable transit system up here. If you make it more pleasant more people will come.
I don’t think that price is unreasonable. After all, you need electrical engineers to design the actual work, journey level electrictal engineers to install it, and probably a certain amount of civil work to be performed. In addition, the wires and switches needed to accomplish this don’t come cheap. That’s mighty thick wire that those trolleys run on, and the switches are probably custom made. It’s not just a matter of some guys coming out and throwing up some more wire that they have laying around in some warehouse.
St. Clouds was one of the major advocates of the proposal to move it, because they feel it adversely effects their diners experience. Another proponent was the owner of the building and retail space where Monad had been formerly. They were finding prospective tenants were bothered by the buses in front of a new store.
Although they aren’t spewing diesel fumes, sometimes they do sit there and idle which makes the outside patio dining experience at St Clouds pretty unpleasant. Now, it’s been months since I’ve been there and maybe they don’t do that anymore, but after a couple of times eating on the patio we didn’t go back.
Trolley wire isn’t cheap, electricians aren’t cheap, new poles definitely aren’t cheap. Cutting up streets/sidewalks/planting strips is also not cheap. You have to provide crossover so the bus can pull off the main wire – go look at the existing layout and perhaps it will make more sense.
See, now *that* would have been useful feedback for Metro. Unlike the diesels, my understanding is that it’s not as big a deal to turn off the trolleys. Seems like idling would be less necessary.
Although, one has to remember the drivers often have a very limited time available to them at the end of the run before starting the next one. Particularly at rush hour when they are probably running late anyway, and under pressure to start the next trip.