My parents recently moved to a condo on Harbor Ave., the main drag between the West Seattle Bridge and Alki beach. Despite the fact that two buses–the 37 and the 53–stop mere steps from their door, it is nearly impossible for me to visit them.
Of the two routes, only the 37 goes downtown. Unfortunately, it runs to downtown only in the morning, from downtown only in the evening, and only eight times a day each way (twice a day each way on Saturday). The 53 goes to the Alaska Junction, which is a transfer point to buses that go downtown, but it does not run at all on the weekend and runs once an hour–between 8 AM and 4 PM–on weekdays.
Every time I have bused to my parents’ new place, I have been forced to take the 55 to the Admiral District at the north end of West Seattle. This gets me close enough to walk or meet them somewhere. Yesterday, when the 55 I was riding was stopped at the intersection of California and Admiral, a city worker on a Segway scooted past my window on his way to check the gas meter.
While I am sure that (expensive) personal transportation devices help city employees work more efficiently, I find it impossible to believe that more efficient gas-meter-checking can rival the impact of, say, improved bus service in commonly visited areas of town (it’s the beach, for heaven’s sake). Perhaps we can start directing some of those “discretionary” tax dollars toward Metro.