Midnight March for Metro: Saturday, April 6

by KATIE WILSON for SEATTLE TRANSIT RIDERS UNION

Route 24 at 3rd & Cedar

Late Saturday evening, transit riders and supporters, joined by King County Councilmember Larry Phillips and other representatives from local and state government, will march up the Magnolia bridge to highlight the impact of cuts to transit service and to show state legislators that King County needs sustainable funding for Metro.

The idea for the Midnight March originated when transit riders in Magnolia, organizing to restore their late evening service, challenged their Council Representative Phillips to walk the route that they now must walk when they miss the last bus to their neighborhood at 10:20 pm.

It turns out that not all Magnolia residents are rich and own cars. Jim McIntosh, founder of the Magnolia Transit Riders group, explains: “It is the elderly, the low-income, the blind and visually impaired, people with other handicapping conditions, people who do not drive and the young who suffer the most when there is no public transportation.” He hopes the march will help elected officials to recognize the devastating impact of transit service cutbacks on communities and neighborhoods.

But of course this is not just a Magnolia issue. Metro is facing possible 17% cuts next year, and restoring service in Magnolia could mean cutting needed service elsewhere. So the Magnolia riders are working with the Transit Riders Union to turn this event into a broader statement about the need for sustainable and progressive funding for public transit. All county and city elected officials and 36 th District state legislators have been invited to participate.

Please join us! We are working on arranging carpools and other transportation for non-Magnolia residents after the march. On that same day the Transit Riders Union is also having a potluck from 12-3pm at the Downtown YMCA, 909 4th Avenue, at which we will be launching their new Transit Reader newsletter and making phone calls to key state legislators. All are welcome.

  • Place: 1541 15th Avenue W, in front of Staples at the foot of the Magnolia Bridge.
  • Meeting Time: 11:00 pm for speeches and rally
  • March Time: 11:30 pm; we expect the walk to take about 45 minutes
  • End Point: Magnolia Village Pub, 3221 W. McGraw St.

For more information:

 




Comments

  1. Will Douglas says:

    This is a great idea for a great cause. Every neighborhood deserves better bus service, including Magnolia. Thanks to you guys at the TRU for organizing this and I hope to be there to join you.

  2. goodluck says:

    i hate to be a cynic, but how will this magically put money back in metro’s account to keep current levels of service?

    • redmondrider says:

      Magically? It won’t. Theoretically? It shows that voters care about an issue enough that they’re willing to get out of the house and actually demonstrate that support. I’ve already written my three representatives at least twice. Two of the three (sadly, the third of mine is everybody’s favorite Senator) personally replied in a favorable way but I still want to go to this rally. Having moved from where public/mass transit was an afterthought for anyone not in the core city or a regular 9a-5p M-F commuter to here, transit is like a breath of fresh air. No cuts; this needs to be expanded. I love not having to drive everywhere.

  3. According to the TRU website, the event is this Saturday. The article starts off saying that the event is next Saturday.

  4. David L says:

    I hope the TRU focuses on those in its own area who are holding up progress, as well as Metro.

    The proposed September restructure would have been a very good thing for Magnolia riders at all times of day, and would have preserved their night service. Instead we got demagoguery from a few West Viewmont riders and illusory capacity worries from some people in East Magnolia, which made service worse for everyone.

    • +1

      Recall how the Magnolia Community Club tried to get rid of the bus lanes on 15th Ave W. They got Councilmember Phillips to send a letter to Mayor McGinn requesting the elimination of the bus lanes. Then, thankfully, Phillips got an earful from his own constituents.

      Of course, the lanes are peak-only, in the peak direction. What are they converted to the rest of the time? Parking! …for a very small number of cars. The small number of people parking in the bus lane seem to not grasp the huge sums of money they are costing the taxpayers. I can’t imagine a more idotic use of a bus lane.

      I hope that, among their requests, the Magnolia riders will include asking that the bus lanes for the D Line (and for their buses sharing such space) become full time, both directions. Then, some of the travel time saved on the D Line and all the other Ballard and Magnolia buses would free up service hours to better serve Magnolia. Heck, with faster travel time, more people would probably ride, increasing the ranks of the Magnolia riders.

      It would sure be nice to have Magnolia service finally reorganized to better and more directly serve where the ridership is. The 19 is a legacy route that bypasses any significant segment of ridership. Magnolia doesn’t need more money invested in its routes. It needs better routing and full-time bus lanes on the way there.

      • Parking’s not why the bus lanes annoy Magnolians. It’s that the bus lanes are the lanes Magnolians need to be in to get in and out of Magnolia. My impression is that people didn’t want to be liable for fines if it took them more than a block or two to find a spot to merge into general traffic on 15th and wanted to be able to get into their turn lane as convenient in the other direction. It’s particularly an issue for the Magnolia Bridge, I think, because it’s a right exit on one side and and coming off on the other side cars also start in the bus lanes.

      • If it’s simply that, you can still allow moving cars to use the lane off-peak, just not allow parking. At night, traffic is light enough that the time impact of sharing the lane with moving cars should be negligible.

      • For what the bus lanes look like to Magnolians at peak, see the photo at http://www.magnoliavoice.com/2010/06/25/are-the-bat-lanes-working/.

        The lump of cars coming off the bridge is dumped into the bus lane, then has to merge immediately into peak traffic.

        That’s what pisses Magnolia off about them. Nothing whatsoever to do with parked cars.

      • I’m not saying the parked cars annoy Magnolia car drivers. I’m saying they annoy Magnolia bus riders. Can anyone explain why parking remains at all in these lanes?

    • Will Douglas says:

      The TRU is actually standing up for progress. Progress in improving bus service involves preserving all existing bus service while adding more – more routes and more frequency on key corridors. The September restructure would have taken bus service away from a lot of people, and the TRU rightly opposes taking away bus service – after all, that’s the whole point of this midnight march.

      • Nope. Preserving all existing bus service is not “progress”, by definition. If we had preserved all existing service in my neighborhood, we’d have the 131 still doing its painfully long path through Georgetown with few riders who could tolerate the route. We’d have the 132 still only coming every hour, and the 60 would not have reached Westwood. We gave up the nearly-useless old version of the 131 in order to get improvements on the 132 and 60, and so riders on the south portion of the 131 would have much faster travel time downtown without having to do the Figure Eight through South Park.

        My neighborhood worked with Metro to achieve progress. Magnolia took an inertial stance, and lost the opportunity for much better service. If Magnolia gets its additional late run, that will be an injustice to every other neighborhood’s riders who worked in good faith with Metro to achieve progress and put the buses where most of the ridership is.

        Not one more cent should be diverted to Magnolia service hours. Take it out of the low-ridership 19, improve the bus lanes, or something else. But don’t steal hours from the rest of the ridership by being the most obstinate neighborhood.

      • Progress does not involve retaining bus service that doesn’t work at the cost of bus service that does work.

        The current 24 works well for no one except those along 28th Ave W.

        The restructure would have made the 24 finally work well for those along 34th Ave W and in Magnolia Village, and would have connected Magnolia and Ballard, while maintaining nearly the same usefulness of service along 28th Ave W.

        Instead we got no improvements to the network and nasty service cuts at night.

      • So basically, the TRU stands for giving Metro more money so they can continue to waste it on useless routes solely for the sake of parts of Magnolia that are all “rich and drive cars”? Yeah, that’s exactly the wrong sort of message to send Olympia, and I’m not going to even support this rally until the TRU is advocating for a stronger bus system for everyone and helping its members understand the trade-offs that involves instead of insisting on running empty buses everywhere. Someone buy Jarrett Walker’s book for them.

      • Will Douglas says:

        The thing you all need to realize is that there is no public support for the kinds of ideological transit planning you are pushing. It just doesn’t exist. People are willing to go along with a restructure as long as it doesn’t cost them existing service. Yet Metro doesn’t have the financial resources it needs so it’s stuck playing a zero-sum game, which is a losing game as I’ve explained before.

        The TRU is a response to the false notion that better bus service has to come at someone else’s expense.

        As to Olympia, they don’t care about efficiency. They really don’t. Olympia has anti-tax people and pro-transit people and a few folks in the middle who can be swayed by whomever is best organized. If they can see a political win in adding funding for Metro bus service, they will go for it, but you only get that win by coming in with overwhelming numbers.

        Since there is no overwhelming public support for Jarrett Walker style transit, you go with what the public does support, and that’s preserving what we’ve got while adding to that network with new routes and more service on existing routes.

        Anything else is a political loser.

      • David L says:

        Will, two points:

        1) At least some of the opposition to the restructure was based not on actual losing of service, but unjustified fears about the new service pattern.

        2) What’s your genius plan to improve service without taking away any existing service for anyone? Until you set it forth, statements like “the false notion that better bus service has to come at someone else’s expense” just don’t have any credibility.

        Drop the Jarrett Walker/social engineering straw man and just look at the actual proposal on the table. People gave up the prospect of night service, a working bus route to Magnolia Village, and a connection between Magnolia Village, north Magnolia, and Ballard. What did they gain in return? Some off-peak service on West Viewmont that no one rides, a connection between 28th W and Magnolia Village that saves all of 4 blocks’ walk, and a marginally shorter inbound trip from 28th Ave W. I think it’s crazy to think that tradeoff was worth it.

      • There’s not going to be support for “Jarrett Walker style transit” if the only people defending it, even as Metro proposes it, are a bunch of faceless wonks on a blog that doesn’t have the best of reputations outside its own circle. And if Metro isn’t going to explain the issues at hand clearly and lay out the alternatives starkly, the TRU is the next best thing. The last thing we need is for them to legitimize minority rule and short-sighted whining that makes transit worse for everyone else.

      • Will,

        There is public support for sensible routing improvements if people simply talk to each other face to face. I know that from experience.

        We *succeeded* in big ways in South Park. It had nothing to do with ideology. It had everything to do with being reasonable and working with, not against, Metro’s service planners. I hope and pray others follow South Park’s successful model instead of Magnolia’s ideological, and heretofore unsuccessful, model.

      • Jarrett Walker style transit

        As Walker himself goes out of his way to repeat, there is no “Jarrett Walker style transit”. There is merely fundamental geometry and human behavior. And the need to understand the trade-offs that you inherently force when you obsess about front-door service and one-seat rides to everywhere, and when you value familiarity over all else.

        Service that sucks and is loathsome to use is the long-term political loser, in that it will always be a fringe mode of conveyance subject to the whims of elected officials who see it as a social service for “others”. Service that sucks will face this same budgetary crises every two years for all eternity. You can’t move from “fringe mode” to indispensable priority unless you build a transit network that does not suck.

    • It was unfortunate that the 24 restructure didn’t happen. It would have kept night service to Magnolia, connected Magnolia to Ballard, and prevented the empty Route 61. I hope the TRU and others who are involved in supporting Metro aren’t just supporting the status quo (i.e., pre-September 2012) but a better Metro.

      • I’m glad TRU engaged with the Magnolia riders positively. They may be able to get them to see the light where this blog (me included) has probably turned some of them off to listening.

  5. I won’t be able to be there, but thanks to TRU for their amazing organizing work, first doing the legwork to get people to the hearings on the CRC, then convincing the county council to unanimously create the Low Income Fare Options Advisory Committee, then to provide most of the relevant research to said committee, then to organize a neighborhood’s ridership to protect their own interests!

    What will TRU do for an encore?

  6. Bellinghammer says:

    I really appreciate the sentiment — too many of us advocates aren’t willing to organize and march for the cause — but why won’t TRU instead lobby Metro to straighten the damn 24 so that service hours could be kept in a revenue-neutral or revenue-positive way? Just saying “preserve all bus service!” is lazy and doesn’t take seriously either Metro’s revenue needs or its council-mandated productivity guidelines.

  7. John Bailo says:

    Instead of marching, you would be better advised to rectify your limits on property tax and make adjustments on long term capital spending versus funding current operation. The problems are within.

  8. Andrew M says:

    Any suggestions for transport to and from the walk?

    • One option is to drive to the endpoint around 10pm and take the last bus (route 24 at 10:10p) back to the march’s beginning.

  9. Alkibkr says:

    Could we get a fleet of Car2Go cars to get people from Magnolia Pub back to the start point? I’ll ask Katie Wilson.

  10. Mike Orr says:

    I’m wondering if the skeptics are looking at this the wrong way. The article seems to say the goal is to show support for keeping Metro’s funding alive, not just to restore evening Magnolia service and prevent any changes to the 24. Those were the issues that raised Magnolians’ awareness on the need to be activists, but I’m not sure all of them are as parochial and status-quo as the skeptics are presuming them to be. I attended an early TRU meeting, and while they may not be as strongly reform-minded as myself or others, they aren’t just lying down in front of bulldozers either and saying “Absolutely no changes!”

    So I’m leaning toward attending this walk to show general support for Metro, and if I get the chance to talk with TRU/Magnolians about how much reorganization they could support, so much the better.

    I’m also wondering if Magonlians’ have changed at all in the year since the Maglonia/Ballard restructure was withdrawn (around April) and late-evening service vanished (October). Because if Metro has to slash service hours, it might resurrect the Magnolia/Ballard route rather than just truncating. And even if it doesn’t have to slash, the route might eventually happen anyway. Does that fill Magnolians with horror? Or is anybody (besides DJR) more accepting of it (or another reorganization) now than they were a year ago?

  11. It’s different ‘factions’ involved. The people who opposed the first restructure were commuters and day riders in the areas that would be cut off. The night riders are the people who were already living car-free in Magnolia and pro anything that gets them night service.

  12. Mike Orr says:

    Does the walk route involve steep hills?

  13. The route will be up W Garfield (the Magnolia bridge), then W Galer, then around and up to W McGraw St. So yes, there are some moderate to steep hills in there.

    The main point of this march is to draw attention to the overall need for transit funding by demonstrating/experiencing an example of the hardships caused by service cuts.

    The Magnolia riders who have been organizing to restore their late evening service and who initiated this march are not the same people who opposed the Magnolia/Ballard restructure plans. Actually many of them would love to be able to get to Ballard on one bus.

Sign in or create an account to save your credentials and make commenting faster.



You may want to read our comment policy.