Participants discuss proposed service reductions in downtown Seattle

Concerns expressed about routes 2, 27, and more

Union Station Meeting

On December 10, about 65 people joined us at Union Station in downtown Seattle to learn more about the proposed bus cuts and share how the changes would affect them.

Several people came prepared to share their concerns about changes to particular routes. Changes to Route 2 and the deletion of Route 27 were hot topics, particularly because of their likely effects on seniors.

One participant said the loss of Route 27 for residents of the Washington Terrace senior housing apartments would be “a major problem due to hills and high crime in the area, dimly lit area and the inability to get to the alternative.” Others said the loss of Route 2 would pose similar difficulties, with one commenter predicting a “huge impact (on) Horizon House and other mobility-challenged residents.”

Regarding the proposed cuts in general, one person exclaimed, “seventeen percent cuts to system—does this mean a loss of 17 percent of riders?”

We sincerely hope not, but the truth is that the majority of our riders would be affected in one way or another by these service cuts. Some would see their routes changed or deleted, while those on unchanged routes would most likely see more-crowded buses.

Many participants told us they didn’t understand why the Seattle streetcar is expanding while bus service is facing steep cuts. “That really baffles me,” said one. “They’re extending the streetcar but they’re going to cut bus routes.” In fact, the Seattle Streetcar is a city service that is operated by Metro on a contract basis. It’s funded by the city, Metro’s funding gap and service cuts will not affect it.

Question of the day

Q: This feedback that we give—is any of it going to change anything, or are the changes a “done deal?”

A: The proposed service cuts are based on Metro’s service guidelines, and we don’t anticipate many changes to the proposal. However, we will consider making minor tweaks based on community feedback. Most importantly, we want to understand how these cuts will affect you. We will present a public engagement report to the King County Council in February 2014, including your comments about the proposed service reductions. The Council will then consider whether to adopt the proposal, so now is a good time to let your voice be heard.

We want to keep hearing your comments, concerns, and questions about the proposed service reductions. For information on upcoming public meetings, visit the calendar on our website. If you can’t attend a public meeting, give us your feedback via our online survey.

12 thoughts on “Participants discuss proposed service reductions in downtown Seattle

  1. If disabled seniors are worried about mobility and safety why aren’t you encouraging them to sign up for Access which will solve some of their concerns?

  2. That’s a fair question, Shawn. At each of the public workshops, we have an area set up at which people can discuss alternatives to using the bus to get where they need to go. Access is one of the options being discussed. Of those that qualify for Access services, some have found this to be a viable alternative.

  3. I’ve posted this message in a few places. Hoping that one of them will yield a direct response. 🙂

    In a previous iteration, Metro proposed to route the 5 through Fremont/Dexter. This time, Metro proposes to keep the 5 as it is, and to route the 16 through Fremont/Dexter instead. Can you elaborate on the reasoning behind that change? I think that rerouting the 5 would make a lot more sense for a lot of reasons, but I’m curious if Metro has thought of something that I’ve missed.

  4. That’s a great question, @Aleks Bromfield. Metro’s service reduction proposal suggests making the minimal amount of changes needed to address the budget shortfall, while trying to mitigate impacts to riders. By keeping Route 5 on its current path and revising Route 16, we are able to maintain more overall network connectivity. A revised Route 16 would help maintain connectivity between bordering neighborhoods and Fremont/South Lake Union and would also cover some of the service loss due to the proposed consolidation of Routes 26/26EX and deletion of Route 31.

  5. Thanks for the response. I definitely appreciate the desire to promote network connectivity. And for what it’s worth, I like the change to the 16; I just think that the 5 should be changed, too.

    Let me try to make my case for why I think that sending the 5 through Fremont would promote network connectivity:

    – You’ve pointed out that Wallingford will be losing some of its current connections to Fremont (the 26/31). However, Greenwood/Phinney will be losing their connections, too. Phinney Ridge and Fremont are definitely bordering neighborhoods in my book. 🙂 The 28 will be rerouted away from Fremont. The 40 is only useful for folks who live very far north. The 358 doesn’t stop anywhere near Fremont. In fact, I think you could argue that the current proposal does more to harm the Greenwood-Fremont link than the Wallingford-Fremont link; at least the latter trip is still possible with the 32. Given that Fremont is a major employment center, and that Fremont is “on the way” between Greenwood and downtown, a direct connection between these neighborhoods would be really helpful.

    – There is currently no transit service at 36th/Fremont. The closest stops are a hilly walk away, at 34th and 39th. A stop here would add a lot of value.

    – The current proposal will provide 20-minute all-day service along Dexter, which is a poor level of service for such a dense and growing transit corridor. If the 5 were routed along Dexter, then combined with the 16, there would be a bus every 10 minutes. In contrast, the local stops on Aurora between Denny and N 46th are effectively unused, and they will already be more than adequately served by RapidRide E; the loss of the 5 along that corridor would go unnoticed.

    – As Metro knows very well, simpler routes are better routes. They are faster, and they are easier for people to understand, both of which lead to higher ridership. One of the biggest successes of RapidRide is how it’s been able to simplify Metro’s network. Right now, there is not a single route that goes straight up and down Fremont Avenue. The 5 could be that route.

    It’s true that sending the 5 to Fremont will make the route a bit slower, and therefore will inconvenience riders heading downtown. But the new 355 will provide an speedy alternative during peak hours. During the rest of the day, the slowdown will not be as noticeable, and the direct service to Fremont (with stops at 34th and 36th) would be highly appreciated — and, I predict, highly popular. 🙂

  6. Oh, and one other thing. I’m taking it for granted that we agree that the existing stops at 38th/Aurora and 39th/Fremont do not adequately serve the Fremont business district. After all, if this wasn’t true, you wouldn’t be proposing to reroute the 16! 🙂

  7. OK Metro, let’s say the Executive’s proposed ballot measure for funding to make up the budget shortfall passes in the next election. And let’s say the measure is able to restore “full funding” to Metro. Will all of the recently proposed service changes and reductions be withdrawn?

  8. We will soon be living on a fixed income but rarely, and will rarely, drive or bus. Yet your vehicle tax and sales tax will double what we already pay for having a vehicle (we have only one and it’s use eases our health issues). Having very detailed knowledge of the special deal that Seattle businesses receive to provide very inexpensive transport for their employees, I’m quite unconvinced that Metro’s budget is hitting in such a regressive way. (I’m sorry but the downtown legal and accounting firms don’t need these deep discounts.) Metro needs to increase what businesses pay and the fares should go up fifty cents not just twenty-five cents.

  9. Thanks @Aleks Bromfield for sharing your input on Route 5. Unfortunately with Metro’s funding gap we have to make difficult decisions on service revisions and reductions. Routes 26 and 28 are proposed to be reduced significantly. If both are consolidated into a single pattern it will save resources. Route 16 would be revised to partially mitigate those changes. Fremont and South Lake Union are important and growing transit markets. A revised Route 28 on North 39th Street would allow riders some access to Fremont as well as continue to have fast trips to and from downtown Seattle. It would have common stop transfers with Route 40 that would continue to serve Fremont and South Lake Union. Revising Route 5 to serve Fremont and South Lake Union was considered but had higher operating cost due to its longer running time and would be several minutes slower for all its current riders.

  10. I want to comment about 249,they cut the most popular route, at 5:00 A.M.,we got. Petition to keep the times and still got cut David McBroom

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