Green advocates for 271

DSC_0978On May 27, students and faculty returned to Bellevue City Hall to show their support for keeping Metro route 271 going through BC campus. Led by Patrick Green, program manager for the office of sustainability, the group met at the bus stop at the parking shelter and took the 271 to city hall. In contrast to last week’s rally, this time only one member of the group was allowed to speak.
Green represented the BC contingent, but before he spoke, another member of the Bellevue community, Michelle Appell, read from a prepared statement in which she described how Metro and the 271 allow her to maintain her lifestyle, as someone who cannot drive. After time was given to discuss unrelated matters, Green gave his statement. “[…] I’m representing our 3,000 students, 1,600 high school students, 1,200 faculty and staff, in particular I’m speaking on behalf of those members who couldn’t be here tonight, as well as those members who are physically disabled.”
“Metro’s proposed rerouting the 271 route around Bellevue college, placing the 271 on 148th,” continued Green. “Metro’s planners suggest that this cut would save service hours, however, there are no genuine savings in distance, nor is there a savings in time. This supposed savings would come at a very high cost.”
Green then raised issues regarding safety and transportation in the area, expressing concern for disabled individuals. While a third of a mile walk is not much for some students, to those with special needs the distance can be insurmountable. In addition to the danger to those vulnerable, there would also be a traffic impact on 148th Ave, a major road adjacent to BC campus. One solution to preventing the 271 from leaving would be help from the city of Bellevue.
“We ask that the city consider its resources in preventing the cut. In particular, if Metro were to move forward with this particular cut on the 271 stop at Bellevue College, the city considers supporting this route, ensuring that safe transportation are priority for this most vulnerable population,” said Green.
“If we wanted this bus to stay on campus [there would be a budget gap], so we’re asking City of Bellevue to help out with that bill. Where that money comes from: there are a number of options. We’re asking that the city help out because this is a city stop. Whether that money comes from Bellevue College – it’s a funding gap of $500,000, somewhere around there […] funding should not be the main concern here.”
“The path from where that stop now is on the street into the heart of campus is not just a distance, it’s not a very well paved distance, there’s not a really clear sidewalk,” said Mayor Claudia Balducci in response to Green’s testimony, highlighting another problem with the proposed cut.
Program Coordinator for Center for High School Programs (Running Start) Tamara Mardukhayeva also attended the rally to speak for the running start students, stating that “We have 1,600 students in the program, maybe 50 percent of them riding the bus, so I’m here to actually voice that for them, and we were lucky, having four running start students – we have about 300 students who are coming from low-income […] so that’s why for me it was very important to be here for that.”