I understand photos will show up in the Flickr pool shortly, but the meet-up last night exceeded our expectations.

Sound Transit CEO Joni Earl, along with media relations specialist Geoff Patrick, showed up early on.  Ms. Earl gave a short talk and then answered some questions from the crowd before she caught her Sounder train home.

After the group dined on a surprisingly delicious dinner from our host, the Ocean City restaurant, King County Councilmember Larry Phillips, who’s also a member of the Sound Transit board and a candidate for King County Executive, also shared his thoughts and then answered questions for 45 minutes (!).

I’d like to thank the restaurant, our extremely gracious speakers, and our guests, who kept their questions intelligent and civil.  It wouldn’t have been nearly as great of a night had about 25 of our readers not trudged to the International District on a Wednesday night.

Some of the things we learned are going to dribble out over the next week or so as posts, but I think we’ve energized Larry Phillips to look into the asymmetry between Metro’s policies for cutting and adding bus service.  If nothing else, I think that makes the evening a success.

14 Replies to “Meet-up Report”

  1. I wish I could have made it, but we had church.

    On a side note, Tuesday night my wife and I (and kids) attended a meeting at Kent City Hall about a new shuttle (route 913) through our neighborhood (The Lakes), up to S 212th, and back to Kent Station. The contract is signed and it’s supposed to be active in September. It’s supposed to run every half-hour from 6am to 7pm.

    It was interesting listening to the Metro Service Planner David Hull trying to remember what buses serve the Kent Valley. I found myself jumping in a few times trying to clarify things.


    1. David is the section chief, and was promoted several years ago from being an eastside planner, so it’s understandable he doesn’t know all the routes at that level of detail. Doug Johnson is the usual planner for Kent == nice guy too!

  2. I would have went, but I was with most of Sound Transit’s PR team at the University Link open house. Not a whole lot of new information, but cool sketches of the station, and samples of the artwork, and a short bit from the artist. Almost half of the questions were about construction vehicles, and the PR folks did a good job at repeating the same information over and over. No food though, but they did have the usual paper goodies (spec sheets) but no cut out LRV’s. I’ll have to make it to the next STB meetup, hopefully it won’t conflict with another Link event.

    1. Me too – I asked to sign up to his campaign through his charming assistant, Leah!

      I thought he was great and had his heart at the right end of the policies – given our current run of luck at the federal level, let’s hope he’s paid all of his taxes!


  3. “…the group dined on a surprisingly delicious dinner from our host…”

    Hey, don’t be put off by the décor; Ocean City is actually a pretty good restaurant considering the small amount of press it gets. Their Sunday dim sum is a bargain – not the largest selection in the world, but certainly worth a visit.

    And I’m glad to hear everyone made the point about the asymmetric service additions/cuts. That policy has to change – it is unfathomable that Metro would be facing a financial crisis of the magnitude that they are but still be allocating service on politics and not on cost efficiency.

  4. A little alarm bell went off in my head as I read this. I really hope that Larry Phillips didn’t need to be “energized” about the impact of Metro’s subarea allocation policy (65% of service hour cuts in Seattle, but only 20% of adds). He is my representative on the Regional Transit Committee. Remember that the King County Council’s primary job is to be the local government for unincorporated areas – something that Larry Phillips may have little interest in representing Seattle neighborhoods. But he should be hyper-aware of the impact of subarea allocation policies. If he wasn’t already following that issue and aware of its potential impact, what the heck has he been doing???

    1. Nobody’s paid attention to this before, because we haven’t had a drop in service since before 40/40/20. Don’t knock the guy for not knowing, he was open to fixing it. :)

    2. I’m with Ben.

      This rule is pretty obscure, because there haven’t been serious cuts for such a long time.

      I mean, we’re all big transit geeks, and none of us had any idea this was the case until a source deep within Metro tipped me off a couple of weeks ago.

      1. Larry Phillips was around when this rule was made, and he sat on the committee that made it. It’s obscure for many, but if it’s obscure to him he has been asleep.

      2. Indeed–Larry should have known. The council has been grappling with potential cuts ever since Eyman passed 695. They have managed to avoid them up to now, but it has been a subject of debate.

      3. You remember every decision that was made at your work for the last fifteen years? I certainly don’t.

  5. Love the dim-sum at OC but am sticking with House of Hong since it expanded.

    I hafta make the next one of these; if I had paid close enough attention to know that LP would be there to answer questions, I would have signed up immediately. I feel like I represent a massively under-represented regional transit minority that needs it’s voice heard more and more: Seattle area to Lacey/Oly commuters stuck on van-pools with no other alternative to driving. My expectations are low, but this event seems like a nice chance to put that seed out there about lassoing Thurston County into the Regional Transit program. All while getting to finally meet you guys.

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