Metro cuts jeapordize student commute

MetroThumbMultiple entities have advocated for the preservation of King County Metro’s services, particularly to the heavily trafficked routes. Metro has proposed a 17% cut to their services. Redirecting the 271 and 245 only accounts for 49 of 600,000 service hours King County Metro is looking to cut and would adversely affect students.

On May 23, 2005 a Bellevue College student was killed in the wooded area near BC and Eastgate Park and Ride in case number 05-5790. This is one of the two nearest locations students would be pushed out were the 271 and 245 to not offer direct service to campus. There is speculation of a second murder occurring near BC, but no evidence was found to support it at the time of print. Tommy Vu, director of public safety, said that escort services provided by public safety would extend as far as the campus boundaries.

In addition to the safety risk, this change would void the campus push for alternative transportation options. The heated bush shelter, lighting and bus display screens could no longer serve the majority of transit riding students.  Public safety has recently made many updates to pedestrian infrastructure such as repaving roads and sidewalks, lighting and repainting.

Bellevue City Council is advocating against cuts to the 271, 245 and 235 following a series of letters and testimony. “Bellevue College’s staff have been participating in the transit master plan process workshops and contributing feedback to the development of this plan,” said Ray White, vice president of administrative services, in a letter to the Bellevue City Council. White extends support for the  master plan “including its proposal for dealing with the potential cuts we face […]” BC’s Associated Student government also sent a letter in opposition to the cuts to the 271 and 245.

Bellevue’s transit master plan focuses on “abundant access” across the region. Seattle Children’s Hospital sent a letter to the council members citing the plan in their opposition to service reduction of the 235. The Hospital and Hopelink both claimed high ridership, revenue and as having met service guidelines meeting the requirement of being a heavily trafficked route.

A King County ballot measure is under consideration that would cover the revenue gaps that Metro is facing. The method of taxation for temporary congestion relief fund currently set to expire is unlikely to be rekindled. Of the currently proposed methods are a county excise tax and one-tenth sales tax increase.

In an attempt to sway the city council and Metro Alex Clark, ASG environmental and social responsibility, and Melody Salcedo, ASG campus life and events representative, facilitated over 400 signatures from Bellevue College to the Bellevue City Council. According to Clark, the city council cited the testimony as one of the major reasons why they are asking Metro to not cut the 271 and 245. Salcedo was not available for comment.

Deric Gruen, director of sustainability and Clark will be meeting with Jane Hauge, a County Council Member, on Feb. 4 to further discuss the service cuts.