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The Rapid Ride Rant

Seattleites don’t take too kindly to change and for fair reason. Most of the time the change inflicted upon us is either insufferably annoying re-branding at best or counter-intuitive stupidity. For every idea that we can all get behind like wouldn’t it be lovely if there were a ferris wheel on the waterfront there’s at least two innocuous annoyances like “it’s not ‘Lower Queen Anne’ any more it’s ‘Uptown.’” Screw you, I don’t care if Lower Queen Anne has too many syllables, that’s what it’s called; this is Seattle, not New York. Then for every one of those annoying changes there are at least ten or fifteen horrible changes that make absolutely no sense like removing a lane of traffic or a bus lane to put an island in the street , taking out parking and extending parking meter times by two hours, or building another  half mile street car to connect two underground light rail stations because god forbid we create a public transit stysem that gets people off of the streets….

This brings me to Metro’s new Rapid Ride changes. At first, in the summer, as the changed loomed far off in the distance and bus stations were closed and rebuilt to bare the service’s new name; I thought this was a change of the first order—an innocuous re-branding campaign. A terribly expensive re-branding campaign from the looks of it, which made it all the more annoying. As someone who rode the 15 or 18 interchangeably, the route looked exactly the same and I got the impression that this expensive “Rapid Ride” business was just some new busses with a fancy new name. Rumors of there no longer being a set schedule was an annoyance but it was nothing compared to what Metro really had in store for us.

I’m going to sound like a conspiracy theorist but I suppose when don’t I? The build up and hype for the 15 to turn into the D line was a deliberate distraction from all the other changes they were making they didn’t want us knowing about. I think this goes two ways, on the one hand they wanted more people to use the Rapid Ride busses to ensure it wasn’t a failure, so they had to tweak or discontinue any bus that could be used as an alternative. This is what I found anyway when the bus I could use to get home in lieu of the 15 or 18 was the 17, discontinued. For the stretch of Nickerson where I live and I imagine SPU had a fair demand as well for a bus that goes from Nickerson and ends up downtown, they had to make a compromise after discontinuing the 17. For this they gave us the 29, which goes the route from Ballard that the 17 did but then turns on 3rd Ave W and goes the same route the express 2 did (and similar to the 13). The thing is from downtown to Ballard, all the people who took the 2 Express have now lost their quick ride to the top of Queen Anne and are pissed. Then those of us who continue on for the 17 part of the route, the on-line time tables are purposefully unclear of where the bus stops and at what time. The map literally says that from Galer street on that the route makes limited to no stops all the way to Ballard. On the way into downtown is even more confusing.  The timetable at my old 17 stop, says that the 29 into the city is an afternoon bus only, which makes no fucking sense. However, after I walked across 15thto wait for the damned Rapid Ride, I saw an empty 29 go over Emerson and stop and wait at my old 17 bus stop.  Then of course the Rapid Ride was uncomfortably standing room only. I feel manipulated, lied to and, while being squished into the armpit of a stranger, hearded like cattle.   

Now I can’t speak for the experience of every metro rider from other neighborhoods. Perhaps in some areas it’s better or maybe even cross-town commutes will improve, which is greatly needed. All I can speak of is my experience and as someone in an area where they tried to fix something that wasn’t broken and they in turn made a lot of people unnecessarily angry.

And, from what I have seen they know it and expected it. On the Monday of the first commuting day that there were changes, there was a helpful man at my bus stop of 3rd and Virginia answering questions to anyone unsure of how the hell they were expected to get home. On Tuesday that one man was replaced with five, FIVE bicycle cops. When asked what they were there for they replied “to keep folks civil during the change.”

Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
waldorkio
Oct. 3rd, 2012 05:22 pm (UTC)
Nice rant sweetie! Sorry you have to deal with all of this crap.
pandapropaganda
Oct. 3rd, 2012 11:24 pm (UTC)
Thank you love. <3
(Anonymous)
Oct. 3rd, 2012 10:02 pm (UTC)
Rapid ride
I guess your supposed to ride a bike!
pandapropaganda
Oct. 3rd, 2012 11:24 pm (UTC)
Re: Rapid ride
Not going to happen.
dan10things
Oct. 3rd, 2012 10:56 pm (UTC)
My friend Keith is one of the people behind the Seattle Subway initiative, as he says, "It may come more often, but it's not rapid transit, in many cases the routes are now slower." Yeah, we need real and extensive rapid transit, the light rail expansion is so slow.
pandapropaganda
Oct. 3rd, 2012 11:21 pm (UTC)
Yeah I met your friend at one of your last parties. We still have the subway flier. :) I'm all for it. Partially becasue I'm soooo done with street level transit (and the monorail was a stupid idea in my opinion) and also becasue I freaking loved the London Underground. It was one of my top five favortie things about London. Subways in NY, SF & Sydney I liked too. I wish Seattle had something like that.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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