Now that Seattle is in the business of purchasing bus hours thanks to Prop 1, one of the many benefits is that Seattle’s dollars now ensure full service on minor holidays . In the post Prop-1 world, Metro’s “Reduced Weekday” schedules are a thing of the past for Seattle, only applying to suburban routes numbered 100 or higher. (The “No UW” reduced schedule remains, however.)
Yet transit on minor holidays still remains second-class in one important but overlooked respect: street parking remains free and unrestricted on holidays such as MLK Day, Presidents Day, and Veterans Day. Most peak-only bus lanes are not in force and are often open to parked cars. Major Center City arterials such as 2nd and 4th Avenues, Olive, Stewart, Howell, etc all lose their transit priority on these holidays, yet with many routes still asked to provide full weekday peak frequencies. Overall volumes are reduced, of course, with the cancellation of suburban routes such as 114, 304, 308, 316, etc, but Sound Transit operates a full weekday schedule alongside all of Metro’s Seattle routes.
I would love to see our City Council’s new Sustainability & Transportation Committee take this on as a simple administrative fix that catches our parking policy up with newly-enacted transit policy. Transportation Committee Vice-Chair and new Sound Transit Boardmember Rob Johnson would have a double mandate, helping maximize the City’s investment in Metro while improving Sound Transit’s operational bottom line.
But the desired policy seems clear: if we have are to have free parking and no peak-only bus lanes on Sundays and select holidays, we should only do so on days in which transit is likewise on a Sunday schedule.