By Tracy Record and Patrick Sand
White Center Now co-publishers
With no money solution in sight yet, the first round of Metro service cuts is rolling forward, and it was the centerpiece topic at Thursday night’s meeting of the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council.
These are the changes that would take effect in June, when the county runs out of money from the state meant to mitigate effects of Highway 99 construction – even though that construction is far from over, and county leaders suggest that transportation in this area will be affected through at least 2019, between the tunnel, the Viaduct demolition, surface Alaskan Way construction, seawall work, and more.
The King County Council’s Transportation Committee will look at the proposed cuts Thursday afternoon at 1:30 pm, and will also be briefed on proposed creation of a “transportation benefit district” to raise money locally to make up for some of what is expiring.
The June service-change proposal (eliminated and reduced routes) for this area, still pending council approval, includes total elimination of Route 113, whose service area includes White Center:
As noted by Metro’s Doug Johnson and DeAnna Martin at the meeting, other effects in this area would include service reductions for routes 60, 120, 121, 122, 123, 131, and 132.
Also at the meeting, County Councilmember Joe McDermott, who said the “transportation benefit district” – authorizing a car-tab fee and sales-tax increase – could go to voters as soon as April, and isn’t just for Metro money, but would also raise $50 million for roads. There’s been no good news from Olympia regarding a transportation deal, and that’s why this all is moving forward.
In addition to the County Council committee meeting this week, there’s also a big event with the West Seattle Transportation Coalition which, as WSTC board member Amanda Kay Helmick told NHUAC on Thursday night, considers North Highline to be an integral part of the area too. At 6:30 pm Tuesday at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center (4408 Delridge Way SW), representatives from city, county, and state government will comprise a panel with Q/A about local transportation issues, and as WSTC has been noting, a big turnout will underscore local concerns.
Also during Thursday’s NHUAC meeting, the monthly crime/safety briefing with King County Sheriff’s Office Deputy BJ Myers. He mentioned an uptick in car thefts/prowls and auto-parts thefts around the Top Hat area in the past month, and said KCSO is targeting that with a special emphasis. But the heart of White Center itself does not have anything out of the ordinary going on, and December 2013 stats, Deputy Myers said, look a lot like December 2012. Several attendees asked him to check on graffiti-vandalism concerns.
For more information about NHUAC, check out its website at northhighlineuac.org.