News Blog for Seattle's Maple Leaf Neighborhood

 

It’s here! New bus routes start now

March 25th, 2016 by Mike

Update: Here’s another shot at this from The Seattle Times.

“The time has come,” the Walrus said, “To talk of many things.”

Actually, no.

The time has come to note that bus service changes as the week ends.

Trying to talk about those changes is a thankless task.

Exhibit A: Comments on our last bus post. (See: “No clue.” Also, there’s a lot of good information in those comments.)

Exhibit B: This befuddling series of videos from Metro about the changes.

Fact is, there are enough changes that folks need to scowl at their own routes. Here is Metro’s site for changes beginning March 26nd.

Bottom line: Some bus routes that until now went downtown will instead go to Sound Transit’s newly opened University of Washington light rail station.

Is that good? Here, in the above comments, is Lisa’s report from Tuesday:

I tried a “dry run” today to see what it will entail to get from downtown to the corner of 85th and 15th NE by using the link light rail to transfer to the 73. Looks as if ST has worked its usual magic of making a 25 minute or so trip now take 45-50 minutes with a 1/3 mile walk included (this would be for riders taking the 73 from downtown)….

I’ve contacted Metro and Debora Juarez’s office’s office about this – neither have responded to email. This change is definitely for the worse …. I don’t know if we can get anywhere, but this is a real nightmare scenario with four buses (66, 68, 72, and 73) in our area being eliminated entirely and others reconfigured to connect at the UW station.

More positively, the Seattle Transit Blog has a piece here: ULink Bus Restructure Begins Saturday: More Service, More Transfers, Faster Trips.

Let’s not lose the sheer magnitude of Metro’s bus restructure, the largest in decades and one that will change tens of thousands of daily trips, mostly for the better.

The basic theme of the restructure, especially in NE Seattle, is higher frequency service paid for with a reliance on ULink and increased transfers. The ease and reliability of these transfers is an open question, and their success or failure will largely determine the public’s view of this restructure over time.

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Changes come to Maple Leaf bus routes

June 4th, 2015 by Mike

Beginning Saturday, a number of changes take effect on local bus routes – funded in part by passage of Seattle’s Proposition 1 last November, which adds 110,000 hours to dozens of routes in the city.

The easiest way to determine if this affects you is to use this online tool provided by King County Metro.

For example, for Maple Leaf’s popular Route 41, the tool advises:

On weekday evenings, seven southbound trips to downtown Seattle and seven northbound trips to Lake City will be added.

On Saturday, five southbound and eight northbound trips will be added.

On Sunday, two morning and two evening southbound and northbound trips will be added.

These changes will improve service frequency to about every 15 minutes on weekdays and Saturday. Early morning and evening service frequency will improve to about every 30 minutes.

If you’re a regular bus rider and want to flag Maple Leaf changes, please do so in comments.

For more information visit Metro Online.

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"Plan B" vote to hike transit taxes arrives next month

March 14th, 2014 by Mike

The state Legislature gave up and went home Thursday night, having punted on most issues facing it.

Including transportation.

From our news partner The Seattle Times:

Last May’s Interstate 5 bridge collapse over the Skagit River was not enough to persuade the parties to come together to pass a long-negotiated, multibillion dollar transportation package.

Crosscut.com has a piece on the transportation flame-out here.

What’s this mean for us?

Next month we’ll be asked to substantially raise our local transit taxes. Or suffer serious cuts to Metro transit service next year, including the elimination of several routes that serve Maple Leaf.

Affected would be routes 41, 77, 73, 68, 306 … it goes on. The full list is here. Our report from December is here.

On the day all nine members of the King County Council voted to put the taxes on the April 22nd ballot, the Times reported:

King County voters will decide in April on a $60 car-tab fee and a tenth-of-a-cent sales-tax increase for roads and buses.

On Monday, the Metropolitan King County Council also passed a 25-cent fare increase for bus riders starting in 2015. Peak one-zone fares are $2.50 now, and peak-two-zone fares are $3.

The increases all make up a funding package the county pulled together to save King County Metro Transit from threatened service cuts of as much as 17 percent. The county had hoped the Legislature would act to save the bus system, but it didn’t.

That last-ditch plan was called “Plan B” from its onset. Plan A was the hope the Legislature, as it dealt with transportation, would give the county authority to use other varieties of taxes that aren’t as regressive as Plan B. One proposal involved a county-only, car-tab tax based on a vehicle’s value.

At the end of February, Melanie, a neighbor and Maple Leaf bus commuter, wrote us to encourage support for the April measure, pointing out cuts would affect many University of Washington employees and students, “many of whom live in Maple Leaf.

“I think not many folks are aware this is coming up so soon” as the April 22 ballot, she wrote.

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“Plan B” vote to hike transit taxes arrives next month

March 14th, 2014 by Mike

The state Legislature gave up and went home Thursday night, having punted on most issues facing it.

Including transportation.

From our news partner The Seattle Times:

Last May’s Interstate 5 bridge collapse over the Skagit River was not enough to persuade the parties to come together to pass a long-negotiated, multibillion dollar transportation package.

Crosscut.com has a piece on the transportation flame-out here.

What’s this mean for us?

Next month we’ll be asked to substantially raise our local transit taxes. Or suffer serious cuts to Metro transit service next year, including the elimination of several routes that serve Maple Leaf.

Affected would be routes 41, 77, 73, 68, 306 … it goes on. The full list is here. Our report from December is here.

On the day all nine members of the King County Council voted to put the taxes on the April 22nd ballot, the Times reported:

King County voters will decide in April on a $60 car-tab fee and a tenth-of-a-cent sales-tax increase for roads and buses.

On Monday, the Metropolitan King County Council also passed a 25-cent fare increase for bus riders starting in 2015. Peak one-zone fares are $2.50 now, and peak-two-zone fares are $3.

The increases all make up a funding package the county pulled together to save King County Metro Transit from threatened service cuts of as much as 17 percent. The county had hoped the Legislature would act to save the bus system, but it didn’t.

That last-ditch plan was called “Plan B” from its onset. Plan A was the hope the Legislature, as it dealt with transportation, would give the county authority to use other varieties of taxes that aren’t as regressive as Plan B. One proposal involved a county-only, car-tab tax based on a vehicle’s value.

At the end of February, Melanie, a neighbor and Maple Leaf bus commuter, wrote us to encourage support for the April measure, pointing out cuts would affect many University of Washington employees and students, “many of whom live in Maple Leaf.

“I think not many folks are aware this is coming up so soon” as the April 22 ballot, she wrote.

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Updated: Without funding, Maple Leaf bus routes may be reduced or eliminated

December 2nd, 2013 by Mike

Update Dec. 3: Metro is holding a public hearing on bus service on Thursday, Dec. 5, at North Seattle Community College:

You can learn more about why service must be cut and how you may be affected at a public meeting at North Seattle Community College this week. We’re also inviting you to help us understand the affects these cuts will have on you.

Public meeting in North Seattle

Thursday, Dec. 5, 6-8 p.m.

North Seattle Community College

9600 College Way N., Seattle – C1161 and North Star rooms

Update: The Seattle Times today posted a poll on how to fund transit. Click here.

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As 2013 enters its final month, there is still no agreement on how to avoid serious cuts to Metro transit service next year, including the elimination of several routes that serve Maple Leaf.

As our news partner The Seattle Times explains: “In all, 74 of the 214 routes would be deleted, while other buses become more crowded or run less often.” Click here for the  full list of proposed changes.

Lawmakers in Olympia, who left town after a special session earlier this month without acting on a transportation package,  are still discussing a hike in the state gas tax – and part of that deal could give Metro, a part of King County government, additional taxing authority.

Meanwhile, King County is considering asking voters to approve  higher sales taxes and car-tab fees if the Legislature doesn’t act.

And if legislators AND voters say “no?” Here’s our analysis:

Route 41: Quick bus downtown from the Northgate Transit Center. No change in frequency but service would stop an hour earlier (Now 1 a.m. Proposed midnight.)

Route 77: Commute hour bus downtown that runs along 15th Avenue Northeast. No changes.

Route 66 Express: From Northgate Transit Center along 5th Avenue Northeast, Roosevelt Way Northeast and downtown via Eastlake. Deleted entirely. Recommendation – take the 70 or 73

Route 67: From Northgate Transit Center along 5th Ave N.E. Deleted entirely. Recommendation – take the 73

Route 68: From Northgate Transit Center, along Roosevelt, along 25th Avenue Northeast to University Village, to UW. Deleted entirely. Recommendations – in Maple Leaf and Roosevelt, take the 73. In Ravenna along 25th Avenue Northeast, use 372 express.

Route 73: Along 15th Ave. N.E. From North Seattle through Maple Leaf, along the Ave into the University District and downtown either on the freeway or via Eastlake (depending on time of day). Revised. New route essentially replaces 66X, 67, 68, 71 and 72) and goes from Northgate Transit Center through Maple Leaf on ROOSEVELT (not 15th). Recommendations to get to North Seattle, north of Northgate Transit Center: Take the 77 during commute hours, or the 347 and 348.

We’re not transit experts, so if you have recommendations or remarks, please use the comment section to let us know.

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Metro cuts again threaten routes 41, 67, 73, 77EX

April 1st, 2013 by Mike

Riders of Maple Leaf’s popular bus routes need to heed today’s announcement that a potential $75 million shortfall could doom the 77EX express route to downtown, and cut back on at least six other routes – the 41, 67, 66EX, 68, 73 and 373EX.

The cuts would take effect for 2014. A full list of the routes affected, and other background information on why, can be found here.

This last came up two years ago, in almost identical fashion. The shortfall then was plugged by a special vehicle licensing fee that expires after two years. Renewing it will require action by the state Legislature.

Over Metro’s entire system, 65 routes – including the 77EX – would be eliminated if the funding can’t be restored.King County/Metro and numerous cities have asked the Legislature for local transportation funding tools.

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Tonight's annual January community meeting just winding down

January 25th, 2012 by Mike

Maple Leaf’s own speed sign and radar gun were on display Wednesday night.

Crime took a holiday during the snow last week, and also at Wednesday night’s annual January community meeting.

In place of a discussion of crime and public safety, which drew police officials, City Council members and scores of neighborhood residents to the meeting in 2010 and 2011, the agenda started with a discussion of emergency preparedness.

That was followed by an overview and partial update on the Maple Leaf Reservoir Park, which opens next year, with many more details promised at a meeting in April. (Spoiler: the proposed 90-foot zip line appears to have been replaced by a “hill slide.”) Update Jan. 26: We get to KEEP the zip line! See comment below from Donna Hartmann-Miller, chair of the parks committee and Wednesday night’s presenter on this issue. We apologize for misunderstanding.

Development in the Northgate area was also discussed at the meeting, which is the January general meeting of the Maple Leaf Community Council. The council has a special page on its website dealing with the development issue.

Of particular interest are changes in bus service when LINK light rail opens in 2021. The direct bus service from Maple Leaf to downtown will be largely replaced by light rail from Northgate.

We’ll be circling back on some of these issues in coming weeks.

Tonight’s meeting is almost over (we posted briefly, below, when it started) but the community council is also looking for direction from residents on the development and light rail issues, and on what other issues the council should emphasize. You can join their community email lists here.

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Tonight’s annual January community meeting just winding down

January 25th, 2012 by Mike

Maple Leaf’s own speed sign and radar gun were on display Wednesday night.

Crime took a holiday during the snow last week, and also at Wednesday night’s annual January community meeting.

In place of a discussion of crime and public safety, which drew police officials, City Council members and scores of neighborhood residents to the meeting in 2010 and 2011, the agenda started with a discussion of emergency preparedness.

That was followed by an overview and partial update on the Maple Leaf Reservoir Park, which opens next year, with many more details promised at a meeting in April. (Spoiler: the proposed 90-foot zip line appears to have been replaced by a “hill slide.”) Update Jan. 26: We get to KEEP the zip line! See comment below from Donna Hartmann-Miller, chair of the parks committee and Wednesday night’s presenter on this issue. We apologize for misunderstanding.

Development in the Northgate area was also discussed at the meeting, which is the January general meeting of the Maple Leaf Community Council. The council has a special page on its website dealing with the development issue.

Of particular interest are changes in bus service when LINK light rail opens in 2021. The direct bus service from Maple Leaf to downtown will be largely replaced by light rail from Northgate.

We’ll be circling back on some of these issues in coming weeks.

Tonight’s meeting is almost over (we posted briefly, below, when it started) but the community council is also looking for direction from residents on the development and light rail issues, and on what other issues the council should emphasize. You can join their community email lists here.

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$80 – more or less – added to your car tab fee to back transit, street repairs, bikes and pedestrians?

August 11th, 2011 by Mike

Update: David Miller of the Maple Leaf Community Council is on the video (at the bottom of the post) at 48 minutes 48 seconds. Donna Hartmann-Miller, also on the council executive committee, follows him.

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We’ve had a couple of readers this week wonder about the additional car license fees that voters may face this fall.

1) Andrea wrote on Wednesday: “I saw a flier posted at the 72/73 bus stop on 15th Avenue Northeast at Northeast 75th Street today advocating for the $20 Congestion Relief Charge that needs to be adopted by King County Council in order to not lose our 72 and 73 buses.

“According to the flier, the final decision is to be made on Monday, and this website was named: www.stopbuscuts.com.”

The King County Council is now supposed to vote on that $20-per-car tax hike for buses on Aug. 15, according to our new partners The Seattle Times. That’s the day before the deadline to put the issue on the November ballot.  We last reported on the issue, which could also affect routes 67 and 41, in July.

2) Today Louise took note of a story The Times published last night on a Seattle City Council board hearing on a different tax voters might be considering this fall.

That one relates to a fee of up to $80 per car that the City Council might put on the fall ballot, as Mayor Mike McGinn strongly urges.

Louise, a Lake City resident, quotes the Times story on last night’s public hearing: “The Cascade Bicycle Club also urged support of an $80 license fee and collected more than 800 signatures online.

“Some Maple Leaf residents urged the council to spend more on sidewalks so people could get safely to transit and to their local schools and shops.”

She says:

I’d like to get in touch with the Maple Leaf residents mentioned above who favor spending more on sidewalks. If the Cascade Bicycle Club can gather 800 signatures online to promote more bike lanes, those of us who favor sidewalks for pedestrians should be able to collect at least that many.

Want to watch the full (two-hour) hearing from Wednesday night’s meeting of the council’s Seattle Transportation Benefit District Board Public Hearing? Here’s a link. The video is below.

Seattle Channel Video can be played in Flash Player 9 and up

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