In advance of Earth Day 2016, the Capitol Hill EcoDistrict — a neighborhood sustainability and community development project led by Capitol Hill Housing — has released its EcoDistrict Index update of neighborhood sustainability based on data from the previous year. Overall, the update bears mostly good news for the area around Capitol Hill with a smidgen of bad.
One of the more surprising measurements? When it comes to usage of Metro buses, the update showed a negative trend, with a small decrease of use as measured by the index in 2015 compared to 2014, judging from Metro’s route and stop specific ridership data.
“Originally, when we were looking at those numbers, it was puzzling,” said EcoDistrict senior planner at Capitol Hill Housing, Alex Brennan. “More people are walking and biking … but then we looked at the actual use data for Metro — that’s going down a bit.”
But the Capitol Hill EcoDistrict team are attributing this to the cuts. updates, and optimizations to Metro service (like the 47), that kicked into gear in 2014. Brennan said that they looked at Metro ridership data from February through May of 2015, a timeframe that fell just short of when cut routes were restored in the summer and fall of the same year.
“If we had gone another month or two we’d probably seen different kinds of numbers,” said Brennan, adding that with the cut Metro routes restored and the opening and heavy usage of the Capitol Hill light rail station, next year’s Index update will be both more representative of transit usage and promise.
(Image: Capitol Hill EcoDistrict)
The Index, which uses a set of metrics and data from various sources to judge the neighborhood’s progress in achieving sustainability targets (like achieving zero annual traffic collision related fatalities and reducing the rate of car commuting), showed positive trends in both neighborhood transportation modal choices, street safety, and usage of the local farmers market held outside Seattle Central College on Broadway.
The green Hill loves the local farmers market, which, according to annual individual transaction totals, showed a 23% increase in shoppers in 2015 from 2014. And a quarter of these shoppers used EBT and WIC food assistance money to purchase goods via the market’s Fresh Bucks Program. Continue reading