Route 46 is among the bus routes that have been cut starting Saturday, Sept. 29. And some residents may be left hanging.
Without 46 Route, residents look to alternatives
Among the cuts that happened to transit on Saturday, Sept. 29, people who work and residents that live along Seaview Ave, between the Ballard Locks and Golden Gardens, may be left hanging.
That’s because the only bus line that serviced the strip, Route 46, was cut due to low ridership.
But according to Gail Luhn, president of the Shilshole Liveaboard Association, people relied on the service. She recently met with King County Councilmember Larry Phillips to express her concerns and to explore the possibility of other options that can serve the residents of Shilshole Bay Marina, retirement condos and others. She said that many in the Marina were low-income and had no other means of traveling, and that she had mobility concerns for those who were elderly who lived in retirement communities such as Sunset West. In addition, she said there was a small contingent of middle and high schoolers who will now have to hoof it to the nearest stop to get to school.
Without the 46 service, these residents will need to travel approximately a mile, down by Ballard Locks, for the nearest transit access. For some, this is not an option.
In an email sent by Phillips to King County Metro General Manager Kevin Desmond, Phillips recommended that Metro review alternative options proposed by Luhn. Desmond then sent an email to Luhn outlining several possible options for residents unserviced by buses. Luhn said she may be organizing a meeting but had no response at the moment. Ballard News-Tribune will update with any new developments.
View the alternatives below:
Access Transportation: Eligible customers may use Metro’s Access, which provides door-to-door service throughout King County for people with mobility problems. (http://metro.kingcounty.gov/tops/accessible/accessvan.html)
Taxi Scrip: For low-income King County residents aged 18-64 who have a disability or residents aged 65 and over. Once registered in the program, participants may buy up to seven books of taxi scrip each month from Metro at a 50 percent discount. (http://metro.kingcounty.gov/tops/accessible/taxi_scrip.html)
Shuttles: Several nonprofits offer shuttle services. Hopelink (http://www.hope-link.org/get_help/transportation/) coordinates transportation to and from medical appointments for low-income residents on Medicaid assistance. Senior Services (http://www.seniorservices.org/transportation/Home.aspx) provides volunteer transportation services for seniors to hot meal programs, medical appointments, senior centers, grocery stores and other local destinations. The Hyde Shuttle (http://www.seniorservices.org/transportation/HydeShuttles.aspx), operated by Senior Services, is a donation-based shuttle for seniors (55 and older) and people with disabilities. The shuttle will transport customers to and from any location in the area between the Ship Canal and North/Northwest 145th St and between I-5 and Puget Sound.
Ridesharing: Metro Rideshare Operations (http://metro.kingcounty.gov/tops/van-car/van-car.html) helps customers form vanpools and carpools. RideshareOnline.com (http://www.rideshareonline.com/) can be used by any individuals looking to share a ride.
Car-sharing: Residents who can drive can join Zipcar (http://www.zipcar.com/), a car-sharing program. Desmond notes that there does not appear to be a Zipcar station along Seaview Ave NW, but residents could petition for and attain one if there is enough interest.
Biking: Shilshole is located along a bike pathway. The Seattle Department of Transportation maintains a bike map and shows all bike-related facilities, including bike racks, maintained by the City of Seattle. Residents could bicycle to the closest bus stops and lock up their bikes and bus from there.
Park-and-Ride Facilities: Under Luhn’s suggestion, Desmond said that Metro is exploring the option of a leased park-and-ride facility near the stops for Route 44 on 32nd Ave NW between NW 54th and NW Market streets. They have contacted three property owns at nearby locations, one of which said no and two of which have not yet responded. Street parking in the area is free, Desmond said, though City of Seattle policies discourage use of on-street parking for park-and-ride purposes.
VanPool van: Following up on Luhn’s idea of a VanPool van to be stored at the Shilshole Bay Marina, Desmond said it may not be very effective in this situation unless a number of residents are trying to make the same trip at the same time each day. Desmond did say that Metro could sell the Seaview Liveaboard Association a retired vanpool van that would have to maintained, insured, scheduled and fueled by the association. For example, Chevy Astro vans with an average age of 11 years and 90,000 miles would cost about $5,800, Desmond wrote.