Community Post

Truly Metro is Listening.!3{2}Our work for the #2 is not done.

The communities that have been working to save the #2 have a sense that Metro is listening  and  hope that this will lead to no proposed changes to the route.  Each connection is discretely related to another.  As a group we fully support the goals of our amazing group to keep the pressure on Metro to get the QA connections right.
As it is, the #2 is a productive route.  It would be great if at the Seattle City Council on Tuesday, Feb 21 Metro can tell all concerned that the Route #2 (and #13) changes are off the table.  Metro should  look into efficiency improvements for the existing Route #2.  It truly is a great route and an important crosstown bus.
Reasons to look at how to improve and not cut the #2 bus route: 
1. Recent Seattle DOT traffic counts on Madison vs. Seneca show that Madison has three times  the number of vehicles every day, as compared to Seneca — and these numbers are before the addition of more buses to Madison as proposed.

2. Madison is a designated already corridor for all emergency vehicle access, and many patient are dropped-off at clinics along the street, making it diffcult for a bus only lane.

3. Metro has heard from many bus #2 riders about how moving the route off Seneca, stopping at 1st Avenue, and cutting Route #2  through downtown bus service to Seattle Center and Queen Anne — without transfers — will disrupt and negatively impact their lives. What will it take for Metro to take changes to the #2 (& #13 which it connects with to reach the Queen Anne Community Center and Seattle Pacific University) off the table?
4. If it’s not broken, why ‘fix’ it?

10 thoughts on “Truly Metro is Listening.!3{2}Our work for the #2 is not done.

  1. Wake up Metro! A train is coming and you are going to be smashed physically down to the size of your pea brains. I will be supporting withdrawl of funding from every posible source.

  2. Joanna,

    I asked this in another thread and I don’t know if I ever saw a reply – how does Metro measure “productivity” in this context?

    Regarding your other points:
    #1 – The # of vehicles isn’t the right metric to be looking at. Madison is 4 lanes and has dedicated left turn lanes at some key intersections. Seneca is only 2 lanes through much of its slog through 1st Hill. Comparing # of vehicles on an arterial vs. non-arterial street is apples to oranges. What you really want is some measure of throughput (# of vehicles per unit time) or the avg time it takes a vehicle to travel a given distance.

    Two other aspects of Seneca that I haven’t seen discussed in this months long debate are a) the incredibly long waits at 6th going westbound. That is a messy intersection with traffic coming off I-5 and fairly high northbound volumes on 6th. If you’re unlucky, you can be waiting at that light for what feels like 5 minutes (although it’s probably less). b) frequent stops at crosswalks between some of the buildings on 1st Hill. This may seem fairly minor, but these unexpected stops add up, especially if they cause you to miss lights because they throw off the timing. I think Madison is better in both these regards.

    That said, I definitely think Madison could be improved to make it an even better route for buses. They should permanently remove all on street parking (at least west of Broadway) and clean up some of the eastbound left turns east of Broadway (the one onto 12th Ave northbound can be particularly annoying). The right turns when heading east bound in that same gneral location onto either 12th Ave southbound or E. Union eastbound can also be impacted by pedestrians, but I don’t know if there’s a lot you can do about that (or if the issue is big enough to warrant doing anything about it).

    #2. Who is arguing for a bus only lane along that stretch of Madison? I haven’t seen anything from Metro arguing that their proposed changes are dependent on a bus only lane. Claiming that something that isn’t needed is infeasible isn’t really compelling. Besides, don’t all the clinics along there have their own entrances? It’s not like tons of clinic patients are being dropped off on the street.

    #3. Metro’s priority can not and should not be preserving people’s one seat rides. It is counter to how you build a good transit network. We have been over this point ad nauseum in the various discussions on these changes and I know you feel that people who support this view are just transit wonks who don’t care about how things work in the real world, but that’s not a fair assessment. Having a fast, reliable network where people can easily get from point A to point B (for a very larger number of A’s and B’s) has the potential to be transformative for the region. Beyond that, how disrupted and inconvenienced will people be if Metro has to make more drastic cuts down the road because it can’t get additional funding? Remember, Metro is on life support now and they only got a short reprieve. They need to show the state they are serious about making changes to improve the overall network or things will get much worse in a few years. If Metro pulls back from the changes it feels it needs to make now in order to preserve a longer term funding stream down the road, it may be forced to make such drastic changes that people will fondly look back at this current set of proposals and wish they had supported Metro rather than fight them tooth and nail.

    #4. I don’t even know if I should bother to respond to this one since people are either on one side or another on whether the #2 is broken and no amount of argument from either side is likely to sway anyone’s opinion. But, at a minimum, I will say that Metro must have thought is was broken (or at least could be improved) or they wouldn’t have proposed the changes to begin with. There seems to be this perspective from some of the “no change” folks that Metro planners live in ivory towers and have their heads up their asses and only propose changes to irritate people or shortchange the CD or … I don’t know any planners so I suppose that perspective could be true, but I’d like to give them the benefit of the doubt and assume they’re like the rest of us – they’ve been given a job to do and limited resources and they’re doing the best they can. So, in that context, ask yourself why Metro would have proposed these changes to begin with and whether “if it ain’t broke” is really a valid position…

  3. Thanks, Keith, for your very thoughtful and sober response to Metro’s proposed changes. I’m not a frequent rider of the #2, so I don’t know all the particulars. But I do know from reading this blog that a lot of the comments Joanna and others in the “save the 2” camp have made sound NIMBY-ish. I agree with Keith that Metro seems to be doing the best it can to improve the overall network. Which means that some people will make transfers who do not transfer now. But I’m at least willing to listen to Metro’s claims that the transfer wait times will be much shorter. Trying to tweak the route may have consequences you don’t see (like moving from Madison to Seneca, you encounter many more mid-block pedestrians). Let’s give our input but then not waste the limited resources available by fighting them tooth and nail to preserve your personal route.

  4. The next time anyone complains about how long it takes to get around this city, I hope they remember who’s to blame.

  5. This is more a response to Zebragirl. Though I don’t know the true answer to how quickly entering and exiting the buses will be, remember that when the downtown free zone ends, all riders will have to enter from the front of the bus, which of course is going to be somewhat slower than it currently is. Then if all of the new (manadatory?) transfers are added—those of us trying to get north— the buses on third will certainly take more time than they currently do at every stop.

  6. We already know who is to blame. 100 years ago the street cars to Madrona ran at 4 minute intervals. Now we claim to have great bus service at 15 minute intervals.

  7. We must eliminate metro within the City Limits. It is a county program. Those giant busses should work on the long hauls like Sound Transit. In fact – Metro should just be eliiminated and funds be given to Sound to build some decent regional rail.

    Urban folks should be riding on private shuttle type busses. $1 cash per ride on a fleet of independent mosquito busses. Metro is killing the city and peoples right to prosper.

  8. Hermann, it’s all about the math.

    If it takes 30 seconds longer to board, but you wait 10 minutes less for it, and it climbs the hill 15 minutes faster, that is a HUGE net time advantage.

    Transfers work when transfers are designed to work. But if you keep chipping away at their effectiveness, one vestigial route deviation at a time, then the whole house of cards comes falling down.

  9. Hermann is actually correct.

    When streetcars were the only transport mode around, they ran every 4 minutes, even on all of the routes that were 2 blocks from the other routes.

    But now, when 15 minutes is considered “frequent” and 30 minutes is considered “adequate” — HA! on both counts — it doesn’t make sense to scatter your routes around, leading to extra-slow service and delays.

    The scuttled proposal would have returned to some of the olden-time efficiency by making sure that the combined route on Madison had buses coming ever 7 minutes — no bunching, no slowing down.

    Meanwhile, service on 3rd Avenue would have been every minute or less, without being blocked by competing, turning vehicles.

    For the first time in nearly a century, service would have been TRULY frequent, and transfers would have been fast and easy! That is what we have now lost!