by Anna A, Geyciel Ceja, Sarah Perez, Olivia Hicks, Evalynn Romano, Katherine Hoerster
There’s a charge in the air these days as people return to old rituals and routines. For us, we’re celebrating something simple but essential as Seattle reopens: free ORCA cards. They are our bridge to school, work, health, and freedom. But Seattle’s public transit isn’t accessible for everyone. And it should be.
We’re youth and adult members of the Participatory Active Transportation for Health in South Seattle (PATHSS) study. Centering often marginalized voices, dozens of youth and adult Beacon Hill community members told us what they need to get around Beacon Hill and beyond. Community wisdom yielded solutions ranging from calming traffic to increasing affordable housing. But one message came through loud and clear: Seattle needs fair, just transit access now. And that means making it free.
Continue reading OPINION: Make Public Transit Accessible for All!
by Elizabeth Turnbull
Beginning Aug. 10, more residents in South King County will be able to get rides to transportation hubs for buses, trains, and other locations after King County Metro expanded a pilot service program to provide for Rainier Beach, Skyway, Renton Highlands, and Tukwila.
Similar to the way Uber and Lyft operate, residents living in Othello, Rainier Beach, Skyway, Renton Highlands, and Tukwila will now be able to request a ride from a vehicle in King County’s pilot program, called Via to Transit, in order to commute to the light rail, bus networks, and other locations that are designated by the program.
“The expansion of this service is the result of outreach by Metro to understand what we could do to meet the mobility needs of the people in these communities,” said Christina O’Claire, Metro’s mobility division director in a statement. “Our focus is to ensure that our riders are able to access work, school, the services they depend on, and the activities they enjoy.”
Continue reading Program Expands in South King County to Offer Rides to Transit Centers and More
by Lizz Giordano
While other Sound Transit projects face delays, all three future light rail infill stations — stations to be inserted along existing rail lines — including one planned for South Graham Street, remain on time or early, the agency decided Thursday, Aug. 6, as it confronts a $6.5 billion budget deficit.
At the beginning of 2021, Sound Transit declared much of Sound Transit 3 (ST3) “unaffordable” as the agency faced a shortfall. The agency blames rising land costs, declining sales tax revenue due to COVID-19 shutdowns, and pricey project add-ons for the budget gap, which has since narrowed in part due to increased tax revenue projections.
The board approved a plan Thursday that placed projects into four tiers, prioritizing those in the top two tiers, which are mainly light rail and bus rapid transit extensions. Most of these are facing a two- to five-year postponement. Sound Transit estimates items in tiers three and four, mostly parking and Sounder train projects, could be delayed up to 10 years. On top of a financial setback, some ST3 projects face a one- to two-year planning lag which the agency attributes mostly to the pandemic.
Continue reading Graham Street Light Rail Station Dodges Delay
By Erica C. Barnett
(This article was originally published by PubliCola and has been reprinted under an agreement)
As the leading mayoral candidates establish (and sometimes alter) their positions on major campaign questions, including homelessness, growth, and transportation, a surprising consensus has emerged around an issue that wasn’t even on the table four years ago: free public transit.
Continue reading Many Top Mayoral Candidates Support Free Transit. Here’s What Corporations Would Save.