Bus Stop has a new driver. Welcome Ryan to the CHS family of contributors. This is his first Bus Stop post.
Often bus riders take for granted that the bus will be there for them when they need it.
The 47 is Seattle’s shortest trolley bus line, connecting downtown with one of the densest census tracts on the west coast of the US. For 105 years, a bus or streetcar has come up the Hill from downtown, dropped passengers off on Summit Avenue as it headed north, turned around once it hits Lakeview Boulevard, and then headed back down Bellevue Avenue. Its frequency may have gone up or down as the years elapsed, and the 13 streetcar turned into the 14 bus to Mount Baker, which was eventually decoupled to form the downtown-only 47. But this bus has always been here. That looks about to change.
I decided to take a walk along the footsteps of this often overlooked bus.
As I walked the bus route, I ran into Joseph Lambert outside his Bellevue Avenue E apartment having an evening cigarette, just across the street from a soon-to-be mothballed 47 stop, just as the street lamps were beginning to click on. Joe works at Analog Coffee, just around the corner, and while he doesn’t commute to work, he told me that he does take the 47 regularly and was not happy about having to find alternatives.
I asked for his thoughts on the failed ballot measure. He echoed the frustration that I have heard from folks around town at voters from far-flung reaches of the county getting to have a say in how much bus service Seattle has. “If you choose to live in a city, you should have to pay more to have a car. Good transportation is a part of the city,” he said.
The elimination of all service on route 47 is scheduled to take effect with the first round of service cuts, in September of this year. Plans to buy back service in Seattle through a local ballot measure, even if successful, would not take effect until 2015 so it’s clear that riders of this legacy route will have to find a new way to get around Summit Slope real soon.
Previously on Bus Stop