Courtesy Oran Viriyincy, Flickr cc

When the King County Council adopted the service change ordinance for June 2012, they amended it so that it would address concerns voiced by some in the southeast Seattle community. These concerns focused on the elimination of Route 42–which connects the Martin Luther King Way corridor to downtown Seattle–as well as overall transit investments in communities with many low-income, senior, and disabled residents.

In response to this feedback, council members postponed the elimination of Route 42 until the winter of 2013. They directed Metro to engage the southeast Seattle community in a comprehensive outreach effort to gain a better understanding of how people are using the service that is available and what gets in the way of them doing so. The Council also adopted the following action items to discuss with the community:

  • Improve passenger facilities and transfer connections between Metro transit routes as well as between Metro services and Sound Transit Link light rail routes
  • Provide opportunities for increased access to ORCA fare media
  • Ensure maximum awareness and use of alternative transit services for people with disabilities, seniors and other southeast Seattle residents who depend on transit to get to jobs, education, health care, nutrition and other human services.

Working in partnership with Sound Transit and the City of Seattle, Metro launched a three-phase outreach effort earlier this spring. The first phase is focused on listening to the community and learning how residents use our system, identifying barriers and opportunities for improvement. We’re gathering ideas in community conversations held throughout the area and asking others to contribute to the conversation via an online survey.

Our second phase of outreach will start this summer and involves reporting back to the community what we heard and what we’ll be doing with the information we collected. We’ll also be working with our partners and stakeholders to develop a list of action items. The action items are things that can be done right away; things that will take some coordination and can be done in the short-term; and things that are unlikely to be implemented, but that all the agencies involved should keep on our “to do” lists for the long-term. The final phase of outreach, which starts in late summer, will be focused on working with the community to implement action items identified. 

As we move forward with our outreach we’ll be posting updates to this blog and our Facebook page. Please join the conversation by sharing your own thoughts and ideas in the comment sections.