On Monday night, I and several other STB writers and readers attended the Capitol Hill installment of Metro’s “Link Connections” workshops. Both the format and the relatively sparse attendance afforded a surprising intimacy to the conversation, and they also provided an exceptional depth of engagement with planning staff. Eschewing the traditional open houses where staff stand around easeled posters looking mildly uncomfortable, these “Community Conversations” consist of an hourlong sit-down conversation with a Metro planner in small groups of 5-10, facilitated by a moderator with a list of questions for each group. If you care about optimizing the bus network to take advantage of ULink, and if you adhere to STB’s core principles of frequency, reliability, and network coherence, then please attend. These sessions are worth your time.
To be clear, there are no specific proposals yet on the table, and I heard dozens of restructure ideas in the hour allotted. An astute listener could probably pick up on ways in which the planners were tipping their hands toward their current thinking, but that’s all speculative until the next round of engagement when lines actually start going on the map. But the ideas presented, and the constructive pushback that planning staff made on each, makes it clear that they want ULink to do a lot but not too much, not increase anyone’s total trip time, and to also get the little things right. Little things could be moving bus stops from one side of a block to another, taking some parking where needed, thinking creatively about layover space, or creating/breaking through-routes for reliability and network coherence.
So if you have the time and inclination, please attend one of the remaining three meetings, take Metro’s Link Connections survey , or apply for the Community Sounding Board by November 30th. This is our chance to get this right.
- Wednesday, November 19, 10am-1pm, UW Medical Center (informal, at the adjacent bus stop)
- Thursday, November 20, 12-1pm, UW HUB, Room 250 (full format)
- Tuesday, November 25, 6:30-8:30pm, Lake City Court, 12536 33rd Avenue NE (full format, non-English speaking emphasis)