This morning the King County Council’s Transportation, Economy, and Environment (TrEE) Committee unanimously passed an amended SE Seattle restructure for the September 10 service change. The restructure will now head before the full council later this month, where all signs point to its easy passage.
As we’ve reported previously, if passed by the full committee the restructure will:
- Consolidate Routes 106 and 38 and extend them to the International District along the Route 7 pathway.
- Extend Route 107 from Rainier Beach to Beacon Hill, with a short Georgetown loop added via 13th/Bailey
- Reduce Route 9X to peak-only
- Boost Route 124 to every 15 minutes (with an assist from SDOT)
Councilmembers were largely supportive of the changes in their comments, with Councilmembers McDermott and Gosseett noting the multiple years of outreach and the number of social service providers the restructure is intended to serve. The primary objections came from Councilmember Dembowski, who despite supporting the overall restructure questioned Metro’s prioritization of duplicative services in SE Seattle just a month after an extensive and politically painful transfer-based restructure in his NE Seattle district.
Metro Deputy GM Victor Obeso said Metro can afford the roughly $4m outlay due to Seattle’s temporary 2-year contribution (intended to be capped at roughly $1m), the improved economy, and lower fuel prices. With a frustrated smile on his face, Dembowski then asked Obeso to remember Metro’s new affluence when his district comes asking for a similar amount of service hours.
My views on this remain largely the same, namely that this restructure has wrung net positive change from a duplicative and wasteful extension to the International District, and that the overall proposal deserves our support. My fondest hope would be that Metro would live-loop the new 106 at Mt Baker instead, investing every ounce of possible frequency in the Renton-Mt Baker corridor to provide the frequent evening and weekend service that the IDS extension renders unaffordable. Such a live-loop would provide a level, ADA-compliant transfer to/from Link in both directions from the current Route 7 stop on southbound Rainier, answering the transfer-related concerns from the admittedly awful built environment around Mt Baker Station. But the IDS extension is the only piece of the proposal to endure throughout every iteration of the process, and is unlikely to be removed.