Roger Valdez of Beacon Hill writes in Sightline Daily about the long path to geting light rail in Seattle, and suggests steps the city will need to take to make it work in the long run, including smart land use policies that enhance and create transit demand by creating denser communities, and establishment of policies that will encourage and support transit ridership.
City Councilman Bruce Harrell reports his involvement in securing federal funds for lighting, pedestrian, and transit improvements at the Mount Baker light rail station and the Rainier Avenue South and South Jackson Street areas. The Rainier project will provide buses with “queue jumps” and traffic signal priority, as well as adding 15 bus bulbs. These changes will allow buses to save time by bypassing traffic and avoiding merges into heavy traffic. The Mount Baker project will involve lighting which will link the station with Franklin High School, and provide safer crossing for pedestrians on Rainier Avenue and MLK.
Nina Shapiro in the Seattle Weekly discusses issues of cultural disparity on Link light rail: is the train just “stuff white people like?” However, her article currently contains one big error — she suggests that riders of bus routes such as the #42 avoid Link because transfers from Link to the bus are not free. This is not true. Link tickets allow you to transfer to a bus for free. If #42 riders are avoiding Link for that reason, it is because of a misunderstanding of the fare system, and perhaps because Sound Transit/Metro haven’t yet done the best possible job of communicating how it works.
4 thoughts on “Beacon Bits, Getting Around edition: shuttling to Seafair, making light rail work, and who is riding Link?”
Argh! Thanks for the misinformation, Ms. Shapiro! Transfers between train and bus are free–the issue is how to prove one is transferring. You must have an Orca card. Transfers from bus to train are also free–your paper transfer works.
Yes, it’s totally confusing. So is every other major municipal project anywhere.
Both of us have been taking the train to work for 2 blessed, air conditioned, fast weeks. No #36. I normally drive, because I have free parking. I’m paying to take the train because it’s faster and I can enjoy Happy Hour worry-free!
I think that if you also have a paper Link ticket that that should be acceptable on a bus as a transfer. ORCA, however, works beautifully. Paper transfers from bus-train are going away in a few months, and then ORCA will be required. But transferring will still be free as long as you use ORCA.
I am loving the Light Rail! I live on North Beacon, and taking the #36 is impossible in the mornings (every bus overcrowded by the time it gets to me), but backtracking slightly by bus to the Beacon Hill Station and riding the Link into downtown takes as much time as my walk down the hill to my office in the King County Court House. Coming back to the Hill from downtown, we can stop at the Red Apple for dinner provisions before a short bus ride to our apartment house. Loving it! I agree that the information about fares has been poorly disseminated; however, I quickly found that my work-issued Metro-Sound Transit pass is accepted as fare (I believe we are transitioning to the ORCA pass), and I am pleased to commute to & from work on the Link Light Rail. FINALLY!!!
ps. yes, I am white / of European heritage. However, I have been a long-time user & staunch advocate of public transit for 20 years, having lived most of the 90s in Portland OR (a town which is light-years ahead of Seattle in terms of public transit). I rode the bus whilst living in South Park & Mid Beacon Hill. I rode the Link to Tukwila on the Sunday of the Link’s inaugural weekend, and observed a diverse crowd riding along with me. I haven’t done a detailed study on my commute, but the ridership reflects the multi-cultural nature of my neighborhood & certainly isn’t “all-white” as the Seattle Weekly article implies.
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