With reporting from SCC Insight
Along with Mayor Jenny Durkan’s push to put ORCA cards in the pockets of more Seattle students, legislation to change Seattle’s flush with cash Transportation Benefits District in front of the City Council Monday afternoon will also set the city up for a counter-punchline to those “Uber just invented the bus” jokes — privately operated bus routes in the city. UPDATE: Delayed! Committee chair Mike O’Brien has pushed a vote on the legislation back two weeks to pound out issues around the private operator plan.
CB 119256 will set up funding to power the Mayor’s ORCA Opportunity program to provide the passes to Seattle Public School students at no charge at a cost of about $4 million per year. But, if approved Monday afternoon, another part of the $11.5 million annual boost in transportation spending from new sales tax and vehicle license fees implemented in 2014 would go to a limited private bus system.
UPDATE 6/25/2018: As the Council prepares to approved the rest of the bill, the plan for the private bus system funding is being cut:
The start of a pleasant Saturday hike
Every hour or so Saturday and Sunday morning starting this weekend, hikers could set out from Broadway on their start of a climb up the most popular trail in the region.
The Trailhead Direct service Saturday celebrated its expansion to Capitol Hill Station with a bus breaking through a ceremonial banner and a collection of urban hikers ready for a day on the mountain. You can now take the bus from Capitol Hill to Mt. Si and Mt. Teneriffe on weekends through October, weather permitting. Continue reading
From Sound Transit’s “Background Information for Section 4.10, Geology and Soils” appendix before First Hill Station was cut from U-Link planning
Any hope of a First Hill light rail station being part of Sound Transit 3 appears to have been left in the dust after deliberation by the transportation agency’s Elected Leadership Group Thursday afternoon.
CHS reported here on hopes from the First Hill Improvement Association and neighborhood and transit advocates that the rapidly growing, incredibly dense neighborhood would be included in planning for the coming third wave of Seattle-are light rail that will span a total of 11.8 miles and add 10 new and four expanded stations. West Seattle Alaska-Junction and Ballard routes will converge downtown by 2035.
But Thursday’s discussion of the planned Midtown Station seemed to lock in the idea that the facility should reside in the shadow of the Seattle Central Library on 5th Ave and basically takes further talk of a potentially expensive, probably engineering-challenged First Hill location off the planning board completely. Continue reading
- From Sound Transit’s “Background Information for Section 4.10, Geology and Soils” appendix before First Hill Station was cut from U-Link planning
Capitol Hill Station celebrates its two-year anniversary this week. First Hill is still waiting.
The First Hill Improvement Association remains determined to get a light rail station built in the heart of its neighborhood — though Sound Transit cancelled a site there in 2005 citing geological instability.
“There’s a difference between hard and impossible,” FHIA director Alex Hudson said. Continue reading
Even with growing evidence that driving for companies like Uber and Lyft can be a real grind, the greatest bulk of entrepreneurial energy around Capitol Hill and the Central District continues to be professional drivers.
According to tax information from the City of Seattle, the “transit and ground transportation” category was, again, the single largest category of new businesses started in District 3 ZIP codes last year, topping its nearest rival with nearly six times more companies started in the area in 2017. Continue reading
After a busy few years of upgrades, optimizations, cuts, and eliminations, the next wave of Metro bus route changes scheduled to roll out starting Saturday mostly leave Capitol Hill’s routes out of the equation.
“Riders will receive more King County Metro bus service starting March 10 on dozens of routes, including more frequent daytime service, more commute trips to ease crowding, and expanded evening and weekend service,” Metro crows in its announcement of the new changes.
Routes like the 8, 11, 12 are lined up to receive “additional resources to improve the reliability of service” but most of the big changes are off Hill and, in some cases, out of the city. Continue reading
A Microsoft bus (Image: CHS)
If you can’t beat them, join them. King County Metro is looking to form a consortium of “two to five employers” to form a “shared employer shuttle” pilot.
“Metro is exploring these partnerships to find new ways to connect people to transit service and provide customers with mobility options,” Metro GM Rob Gannon said.
The one-year pilot seeks to band together a group of employers somewhere in the county for a Metro shuttle program to transport employees to their jobs and homes. “Only workers at those companies would be eligible to ride shared shuttles,” the Metro notice on the call for proposals reads. Continue reading
(Image: Friends of the Benson Trolleys)
With less than a week to go, backers of a community effort to raise funds to plan restoring Seattle’s historic Benson Trolleys for use on the city’s modern streetcar system are about halfway to their $28,000 goal. Though you’re unlikely to see Seattle’s two remaining 100-year-old trolleys on Capitol Hill’s tracks, the project has its roots in the neighborhood’s history.
“George and Evelyn Benson owned and operated Capitol Hill’s Mission Pharmacy at 19th and Aloha for 40 years,” Don Blakeney of Friends of the Benson Trolleys tells CHS. “Also, apparently they used to drive around the Hill delivering prescriptions to families in a van painted to look like a transit bus.” Continue reading
The Seattle Department of Transportation has a plan to optimize signals, eliminate turns, and add a “Business Access and Transit” lane to Broadway between Pine and Madison in an effort to make traffic flow more smoothly and to help speed the First Hill Streetcar through the area.
Here’s SDOT on the proposed “spot improvement” project being lined up for summer of 2018: Continue reading
It’s a bit of a chaotic test. They get dropped almost everywhere — some literally dropped, for real — and by the end of January, the first electric-assist versions will be on the streets of Seattle. With the city allowing the multi-colored “floating” companies to operate during a Wild West trial period, It’s not a question of whether Seattle will continue to have a bike share program, it’s just a question of what the final rules will be.
“I cannot see a world where Seattle does not have a bike share system,” said Mafara Hobson of the Seattle Department of Transportation.
Jasmine Marwaha from City Council member Mike O’Brien’s office agreed. O’Brien chairs the council’s transportation committee, and be turning the cranks on what the final program looks like. Marwaha said that while there have been some concerns about parking the bikes, there has not been anything severe enough to merit ending the program.
Seattle had first tried owning its own bike share system using docking stations similar to those found in some other cities. But the system ended up failing to attract enough riders to make it viable. In July, the city embarked on a new system of dockless bikes. Three different companies — LimeBike, Spin, and Ofo — began scattering brightly colored bikes around town to be rented by the minute. Continue reading