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2014-12-10 Community Transit Meeting @ Everett Station

Slideshow of my photos taken

On 10 December 2014, Community Transit kindly made available fare managers, transit planners and spokespeople to address community concerns regarding their 2015 service & fare increase proposals.  I arrived habitually early so as you’ll see in the pictures there wasn’t much of a crowd.

All of the Community Transit staff were kind and helpful in answering questions and taking input.  The meeting was staffed by communications staff & transit planners, and attended in the first hour mostly by disabled persons & disability advocates.

I took our questions to the staff and asked questions like:

  • Why is Community Transit so resistant (not just to me but others…) to providing the Future of Flight & Boeing Tour Center – Snohomish County’s #1 tourist facility with 270,000 annual visitors – with a bus stop?
  • What can be done about Flying Heritage Collection/FHC – a major tourist attraction at Paine Field – being in something approximating a transit desert?
  • What will Community Transit do to improve service around Paine Field beyond this service package?

All of these Paine Field transit issues are going to require sidewalks and a “bus pad” to get Community Transit to provide service.  This will require Paine Field management – remember, Paine Field is under Snohomish County Government management – to pay for, get permits and build.  I did make direct contact with the new Paine Field Airport Director and Paine Field tenant leaders at the Paine Field Open House that evening.

However the Community Transit planner for the region Eric has taken the hike to Future of Flight as I put on YouTube and wants to provide the service.  The problem is getting the bus stops built and Community Transit doesn’t normally build bus stops.

Ultimately, if the infrastructure is built, Paine Field between 2016 and 2019 can see some serious growth & restructure in Community Transit service hours.  Some of this is because of the Mukilteo Multimodal Terminal currently coming out of the permitting process.

We’ll see what can happen… don’t expect smooth sailing and Blue Angels dancing overheadDon’t.

  • How do Swift supporters help Swift II come about?

Community Transit has a state legislative request for a local tax authority raise via state legislative authority and an affirmative public vote to get Swift II going by 2018.   It’s important to ask your legislator to authorize the public vote – and regardless of your feelings about voting on taxes (I hear you) it’s the only way to get more transit hours except with relatively small growth spurts for 4-5 years.

  • Are there plans for a Swift III?

Sorry, I forgot to ask that one.

  • Any update on a permanent Bernie Webber Park & Ride next to Historic Flight Foundation & the Paine Field Windsock?

Studies to finish up planning and get a lease from Paine Field management are underway for a 2015 target completion date.  This Park & Ride will fascinate changes in how Community Transit serves Mukilteo – possibly route restructures.

This will have to wait until the Community Transit Board approves the service changes, then and only after the Board makes any tweaks can sample schedules come out.

  • Given the severe crisis of Island Transit with no end in sight and genuine concern for Camano Island, any future plans to create an Express Route from Everett Station to/from Stanwood and possibly Camano Island itself?

Requests have been placed for such a service, but Community Transit is in such a deep hole that its unable to provide an express service.  Use the 240 then the 201 or 202 for now… especially since 76 percent of Community Transit is paid for by Snohomish County tax revenue.

  • Given the significant number of Microsoft contractors/vendors who can’t ride the Microsoft Connector, are there any plans to reintroduce commuter service to Microsoft?

No as there really aren’t much requests for a return of Community Transit service to the Microsoft campus.

  • Since the 201/202’s section between Everett Station and Lynnwood TC is largely duplicating the 512 off-peak would it be possible to trim that back and send the service hours to underserved areas (e.g. Paine Field, Stanwood/Camano)?

This is a potential reform in future Community Transit service changes such as September 2015, to spread the transit net.  Especially once Sound Transit Central Link makes it to Lynnwood, which is already approved – but according to Sound Transit’s project website “relies on competing for and receiving significant federal funding”.  Community Transit can then repurpose commuter routes’ service hours back into Snohomish County by simply depositing commuters at the Lynnwood Transit Center.

Further review of the Sound Transit Lynnwood Link Project Website notes that 43 minutes is the current time from Lynnwood Transit Center to Downtown Seattle.  With the Link extension… 27-29 minutes.  Oh and without any congestion in the way of a Double Tall.

  • Can we keep the good Community Transit connections with the ferries out of Mukilteo?  Excited for the new terminal!

Yes.

  • Okay, serious question: From the word GO until a new Double-Tall is on the road – how long does that take? [In other words, buses or more road lanes for congestion relief?]

At several points we discussed the need for congestion relief.  One Community Transit planner said the new lane(s) only last for 5-10 years, and agreed with me that would come after years of environmental impact study and subsequent mitigation.  New Double Talls only take 10 months to 2 years to get on the road and can pack almost 80 passengers as per a recent Community Transit press release.

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