More scooters on the way to White Center and vicinity

September 4th, 2020 Tracy Posted in King County, Transportation, White Center news Comments Off on More scooters on the way to White Center and vicinity

(WCN photo, last month)

Three weeks into the North Highline e-scooter pilot, an expansion has just been announced by King County:

Momentum to bring shared electric scooters across King County is building, as a second major company has announced their e-scooters will be hitting the streets of North Highline, including White Center, on Labor Day.

Spin, a San Francisco-based industry leader, says they will roll out some of their fleet to the North Highline area just south of Seattle this Monday. Spin will join Lime as the two companies participating in a one-year pilot program created through legislation led by King County Councilmember Joe McDermott.

“This program is part of an effort to give residents a micro-mobility option that’s safe and socially distant, as well as a first-mile/last-mile option to connect with transit,” said McDermott. “Spin joining this effort will play a major role in further connecting the White Center community.”

Spin will deploy up to 50 scooters to popular transit stops across White Center on Monday (click here for a map of the service area), with pricing set at $1 to unlock and $0.25 a minute to ride. Users with limited incomes may be able to access scooters at discounted rates by applying for the Spin Access program. The program also grants access to those without smartphones, mobile location services, or credit cards.

The scooters are available from 8 am to 8 pm daily and riders can find the nearest available scooter on the Spin app and then activate it with the QR code on the scooter’s handlebar with the app. Riders are required to wear a helmet and should wear a mask anytime they might come within six feet of others. The scooters will be sanitized and maintained by Spin employees.

“We’re thrilled to partner with King County as a scooter provider for the next year. Spin is committed to working with county staff and local community stakeholders to ensure that Spin scooters increase transportation options, while reducing congestion and pollution,” said Kyle Rowe, Global Head of Government Partnerships at Spin.

The company says factors including the closure of the West Seattle Bridge have impacted the commutes of many White Center residents, making public transit an important option for some. As an incentive to commuters, Spin is offering users who park near specific bus stops when they end their ride $1 off their next ride – check Spin’s app for these select locations.

The White Center scooter pilot program runs through August 2021 and could be extended or made permanent at that time. Visit kingcounty.gov/scooters for more information about the program.

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FOLLOWUP: White Center’s first scooters have arrived

August 17th, 2020 Tracy Posted in King County, Transportation, White Center news Comments Off on FOLLOWUP: White Center’s first scooters have arrived

That’s Marcos from Lime, delivering White Center’s first scooters about an hour ago in the heart of the White Center business district. As we first reported Friday night, this marks the start of the long-in-the-works “pilot program” for North Highline.

Lime tells WCN they’re delivering “up to 50” of these dockless e-scooters today. Cost: $1 to unlock and $0.36 a minute, and there’s a lower price available for people already enrolled in low-income programs. For more info about how the scooter-share pilot program works, go here.

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FOLLOWUP: Scooter pilot program finally launches Monday in White Center and vicinity

August 14th, 2020 Tracy Posted in King County, Transportation, White Center news 4 Comments »

(Photo courtesy Lime)

This has long been in the works – and late today, County Councilmember Joe McDermott‘s office announced it’s about to start:

King County residents and visitors just south of Seattle will on Monday have a new local travel option.

Lime is launching a fleet of electric scooters to the North Highline area, which includes White Center, providing a new affordable, safe and sustainable transportation option.

The one-year pilot program, created through legislation led by King County Councilmember Joe McDermott, will give residents a micromobility option that’s safe and socially distant, as well as a first-mile/last-mile option to connect with transit.

“From the Greenbridge YWCA over to Moonshot Café and up to Salvadorean Bakery, there are a lot of essential trips throughout White Center and North Highline,” McDermott said. “I’m excited that electric scooters can be a part of connecting our community – from businesses, community centers, parks and transit. This pilot project will allow King County to learn how best to facilitate safe, reliable, affordable and accessible mobility options for everyone, and I look forward to throwing on my mask and a helmet and participating in the coming year.”

Lime will launch dozens of scooters in the area Monday (click here for a map of the service area), with pricing at $1 to unlock and $0.36 a minute to ride. Anyone already enrolled in a city, state or federal low-income program can access the scooters for $0.50 unlock and $0.07 a minute once they successfully apply for the Lime Access program. Low-income users who prefer to pay with cash can add balances to their accounts at select local 7/11 or CVS locations via PayNearMe.

Riders can access a Lime scooter by activating the QR code on the scooter’s handlebar with the Lime app. Riders can check their Lime app to see where the nearest scooter is. Riders are required to wear a helmet and should wear a mask anytime they might come in contact with others.

“White Center is one of the smallest markets Lime has ever launched, but it is also one of our most culturally rich,” said Jonathan Hopkins, Lime’s Director of Strategic Development for the Pacific Northwest and Canada. “There’s no more convenient way than riding a Lime to discover some of our region’s greatest diversity in food, shops, and even roller skating. Whether grabbing a taco or Korean fried chicken, or just trying to catch the bus, we hope to play our part in building a more connected community.”

Scooter riding also helps to support local businesses now in need as we reemerge from COVID. Lime rider surveys consistently find that more than 42% of scooter riders start or end their trips at local businesses. In some cities, as high as 77% of riders said they’ve visited local businesses and attractions more frequently due to Lime and an overwhelming 97% of riders have used scooters to visit a local business. Non-drivers are also found to spend more money at local businesses, according to a study from Portland, OR. Lime riders are also sustainable commuters; 48% of Lime riders globally use scooters regularly to connect to transit. Lime is excited about the potential to help restart local economies impacted by COVID by improving residents’ mobility and easing access.

The pilot program runs through August 2021 and could be extended or made permanent at that time. Visit kingcounty.gov/scooters for more information about the program.

The original plan was for the program to launch around the first of the year – but even pre-pandemic, as we reported in January, there were some delays.

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ROAD-WORK ALERT: Roundabout painting next week

June 26th, 2020 Tracy Posted in King County, Traffic, Transportation, White Center news Comments Off on ROAD-WORK ALERT: Roundabout painting next week

Announced today by the county:

Beginning 7 a.m. Tuesday, June 30 through 11:59 p.m. Thursday, July 2, parking will be temporarily removed to make room for Metro bus re-rerouting during roundabout painting work on SW 100th and SW 106th streets between 8th Avenue SW and 4th Avenue SW.

Parking will be temporarily removed in the following locations:

• North side of SW 100th Street between 4th Avenue SW and 8th Avenue SW

• Both sides (north and south) of SW 106th Street, 100-feet east of 4th Avenue SW and 100-feet west of 8th Avenue SW in White Center

This will allow King County Metro enough room to reroute buses while road maintenance crews paint the roundabout at the intersection of 8th Avenue SW and SW 102nd Street. Buses will remain rerouted for the full three days to allow time for the paint to cure. This work is weather dependent.

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VIDEO: Special delivery for National Guard helpers at White Center Food Bank

May 20th, 2020 Tracy Posted in Health, Transportation, White Center Food Bank, White Center news 1 Comment »

(WCN photos/video)

The White Center Food Bank is among the food banks that have been getting help from the Washington National Guard. And today, the helpers got some help themselves – eight bicycles!

That’s Stephen Rowley from Cascade Bicycle Club. He delivered loaner bikes to the WCFB today for the National Guard members to use. Their leader, Sgt. Aaron Smith, explained:

Rowley explained that these bicycles are usually used in activities at schools, but since those aren’t happening right now, they were available.

The borrowers are expected to keep them for several weeks.

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BUSES: Third round of cuts in Metro service

April 19th, 2020 Tracy Posted in Metro, Transportation, White Center news Comments Off on BUSES: Third round of cuts in Metro service

A third round of cuts for Metro started taking effect this weekend and continues today. Here’s the full news release:

As the region continues to respond to COVID-19, King County Metro will reduce weekend bus service beginning Saturday April 18, and further reduce weekday bus service starting Monday, April 20. Water Taxi and First Hill Streetcar will continue to operate on previously reduced schedules.

This revised Reduced Schedule provides a core network of public transportation services to maintain access to critical supplies, services, and worksites across the region. Details about weekend changes will be posted online Thursday; canceled trip details weekday service will be revised and updated online Saturday.

Overall, Metro will operate with approximately 42% fewer buses, 36% fewer transit operators, and 27% fewer service trips than typical weekday service. Weekend trips will be reduced by 15% on Saturdays and 4% on Sundays.

“To reserve transit for those who need it most, we’re calling on riders to travel only if absolutely necessary and to wear a face covering to help limit the spread of COVID-19,” said King County Metro General Manager Rob Gannon. “Adjusting our weekend and weekday service allows us to continue to operate a reliable network of service for essential travel needs – for food, medicine, and work – while responding to decreased ridership demands and to the overall availability of Metro’s workforce. Our goal is to continue to serve the community, and we’re grateful for and commend our frontline staff.”

Read the rest of this entry »

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METRO CHANGES: More bus-service reductions start today

April 6th, 2020 Tracy Posted in Metro, Transportation, White Center news Comments Off on METRO CHANGES: More bus-service reductions start today

Metro is cutting service again with ridership continuing at way-below-normal levels during the coronavirus crisis. Moe cuts take effect today. The full announcement is here; the 60, 128, and 131 are largely untouched, while the 120 will see some cuts.

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MONDAY: First commute with new downtown Seattle pathway for buses from White Center, Burien, West Seattle

February 23rd, 2020 Tracy Posted in Metro, Transportation, White Center news 1 Comment »

Buses from White Center, Burien, and West Seattle are now on the new downtown Seattle pathway – Monday’s the first weekday since the switch. Here’s the map and route list:

Columbia Street, once best known for an onramp to the southbound Alaskan Way Viaduct, is now carrying buses to and from surface Alaskan Way, connecting to Third Avenue. This Seattle Department of Transportation post shows its configuration.

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FOLLOWUP: What ever happened to White Center scooter-sharing?

January 23rd, 2020 Tracy Posted in King County, Transportation, White Center news Comments Off on FOLLOWUP: What ever happened to White Center scooter-sharing?

(Mysterious scooter sighting in West Seattle last October)

Last fall, there was plenty of buzz when the King County Council passed a plan for a scooter-sharing pilot in White Center – just a quick ride over the line from Seattle, which, unlike many big cities, hasn’t launched a scooter program yet. The plan at the time was to get it going around the first of the year. But here we are three weeks into 2020, and nothing yet. So we asked County Councilmember Joe McDermott, the scooter plan’s sponsor, what’s up, when we saw him tonight at a meeting we were covering for partner site West Seattle Blog. Answer: It’s still in the works – the county is getting ready to seek proposals from potential providers, and is now hoping to launch the program in a month or so. Whenever the scooters hit the street, McDermott vows he’ll be one of the first to ride!

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FOLLOWUP: White Center scooter-sharing plan gets County Council committee OK

September 18th, 2019 Tracy Posted in King County, Transportation, White Center news Comments Off on FOLLOWUP: White Center scooter-sharing plan gets County Council committee OK

The e-scooter-sharing pilot project proposed for White Center, noted here last week, went before the King County Council’s Mobility and Environment Committee today. The minutes show it won unanimous approval from the six councilmembers present. Read the full proposal here. Next step: Full council vote.

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Will scooter-sharing launch in White Center?

September 13th, 2019 Tracy Posted in King County, Transportation, White Center news Comments Off on Will scooter-sharing launch in White Center?

It’s one of the things mentioned by County Councilmember Joe McDermott at last night’s Town Hall (full report to come) – his proposal for a pilot scooter-sharing program in White Center (and the rest of unincorporated North Highline). The council’s Mobility and Environment Committee may vot on the proposal next Tuesday; it meets downtown at 1:30 pm September 17th. You can read the proposed ordinance by going here. If approved, it would clear the way for up to two companies to provide e-scooter sharing in the area for a year-long pilot program starting this fall.

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ROAD-WORK REMINDER: 8th/102nd roundabout

September 6th, 2019 Tracy Posted in Traffic, Transportation, White Center news 1 Comment »

Though the county had announced that work on the 8th/102nd was starting next month, apparently it didn’t, because we received word from Local Services today “that roundabout construction work on 8th Avenue SW and SW 102nd Street in White Center will begin next Monday, Sept. 9 (see alert). The work will last through early November and will require flaggers, who will guide both vehicle and pedestrian access.”

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ROAD-WORK ALERT: 8th/102nd roundabout work starts soon

August 19th, 2019 Tracy Posted in Traffic, Transportation, White Center news 4 Comments »

King County will start work next week on the next planned roundabout, 8th/102nd, and issued an alert today:

Construction of a roundabout requiring weekday lane restrictions. Work will take place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. beginning Tuesday, August 27 through Monday, October 21. Work outside the traveled way may occur 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Flaggers will guide traffic through the work zone with priority given to buses. Pedestrian access will be maintained and facilitated by flaggers. Expect delays.

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Ride the bus home from downtown Seattle? Another reroute test planned Thursday

August 12th, 2019 Tracy Posted in Metro, Transportation, White Center news 4 Comments »

On partner site West Seattle Blog, we’ve been covering the homeward-bound bus crunch for weeks. But it affects people traveling south of WS, too, so heads up – another reroute test is planned for southbound routes this Thursday (August 15th). Details here.

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ROAD-WORK ALERT: Rescheduled 4th Avenue SW closure starts Monday

April 25th, 2019 Tracy Posted in Greenbridge, Traffic, Transportation, White Center news Comments Off on ROAD-WORK ALERT: Rescheduled 4th Avenue SW closure starts Monday

The postponed 4th Avenue SW closure south of Roxbury, for work related to the King County Housing Authority, now has a new start date. From KCHA:

We have resolved the complex utility conflicts that delayed our road closure and are ready to proceed with the full road closure. We have received final road closure permission from King County Road Services Division, King County Department of Local Services. 4th Avenue SW will be totally closed from SW 100th Street to SW Roxbury Street starting Monday, April 29th. This closure will continue from April 29th to Monday June 3rd with the following work hours:

• Monday – Friday 7 AM to 5 PM

• Saturday – 9AM to 5PM

There will be additional brief road/lane closures following the initial closure to complete additional work.

We have coordinated with local residents, emergency services, schools, and area service providers.

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FOLLOWUP: 4th SW closure delayed

April 1st, 2019 Tracy Posted in Traffic, Transportation, White Center news Comments Off on FOLLOWUP: 4th SW closure delayed

Just last week, we brought you word of the plan to close 4th SW south of Roxbury for a month of work, starting today. But now …it’s been delayed:

We’re following up for details of the “utility conflict.”

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ROAD WORK: 4th SW closure starting next week

March 27th, 2019 Tracy Posted in Greenbridge, Traffic, Transportation, White Center news 3 Comments »

(Also posted on partner site West Seattle Blog)

Thanks to the texter who alerted us to signage along 4th SW south of Roxbury [map] about an impending road closure. There we found the signs you see above and below.

The county has confirmed the closure of a quarter-mile of 4th SW south of Roxbury is scheduled to start next Monday (April 1st) and provided this flyer (PDF) with details:

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NEW YEAR’S EVE: Ride Metro for free again this year

December 21st, 2018 Tracy Posted in Holidays, Metro, Transportation, White Center news Comments Off on NEW YEAR’S EVE: Ride Metro for free again this year

Just announced by the county:

For the second year, King County Metro will offer free rides on New Year’s Eve. Rides will be free from 7 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 31, to 4 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 1, including DART and Access service. In addition, Metro will add buses to its night routes. The Seattle Streetcar also will be free on New Year’s Eve, and Sound Transit will extend the operating hours of Link light rail service between Angle Lake and the University of Washington.

“As we ring in another new year together, we are glad to again offer free rides on Metro to help keep the celebration safe for everyone,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine. “We appreciate all our customers, and hope folks who give transit a try during the holiday season will join the half-million daily Metro riders who depend on our safe, friendly, and reliable service all year ’round.”

“Access to safe and reliable transportation is a cornerstone of Metro’s mission and New Years Eve is no exception. We hope existing and future riders will utilize Metro to help them celebrate the New Year this year,” said King County Councilmember Dave Upthegrove, who proposed the idea in 2017.

King County Metro will operate reduced weekday schedules on New Year’s Eve on some routes, with extra buses on several routes serving destinations such as Seattle Center, Capitol Hill and downtown. New Year’s revelers can take advantage of Metro’s recently expanded Night Owl network, with added service on major routes between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m.

Sound Transit will operate extended Link light rail service with trains running until 2 a.m. pm New Year’s Eve. The last trains to leave Westlake Station depart at 2 a.m.

The Seattle Streetcar will operate until 1 a.m.

Metro routes with added trips as needed will include 1, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 14, 24, 32, 36, 40, 41, 62, 65, 70, 101, 106, 120, 124, 150, 255, RapidRide A, B, C, D and E lines, and ST 550 and ST 554. The fareboxes and ORCA card readers on Metro buses will be covered to remind customers not to pay. A regular valid fare will be required on Sound Transit Express buses.

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ROAD WORK ALERT: ‘Mini-roundabout’ construction to start at 8th/108th

October 16th, 2018 Tracy Posted in Traffic, Transportation, White Center news 3 Comments »

An alert from King County Roads – work starts next Monday (October 22nd) on the “mini-roundabout” planned for 8th SW/SW 108th. They expect to be done by Friday, November 16th. From the project webpage:

Project description
Design and construct a mini-roundabout at 8th Avenue SW and SW 108th Street, including a rectangular rapid flashing beacon at the west crosswalk, improvements to the sidewalks, ramps to be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, and other safety improvements.

Why is King County doing this project?
This project will improve the safety of pedestrians and other users in the White Center community. The intersection was identified as a High Collision Location in King County’s report in 2016. The project aligns with the County Executive’s priorities of Equity and Social Justice, and Regional Mobility. The intersection is part of a designated “safe route to school” for four Highline schools, and connects to proposed project 1129600 RSD Highline School District Improvements. On-site observations by Road Services Division staff indicate that some drivers fail to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians — many of which are students. In addition, pedestrian ramps on all quadrants of the intersection are not compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

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Open house in White Center next week for RapidRide H Line

October 3rd, 2018 Tracy Posted in Transportation, White Center news 1 Comment »

Metro Route 120 isn’t converting to the RapidRide H Line until 2021, but planning continues, and the next stop for your feedback is one week from today:

Metro and Seattle will share updates on the project, including the future route proposal and station locations, and seek feedback on RapidRide station amenities and improvements that make it easier for people to reach transit.

The City of Seattle will also share its early design for a reimagined Delridge Way Southwest with bus lanes, landscaped medians, crosswalk improvements, protected bike lanes and neighborhood greenway connections, signal upgrades, paving, water and sewer pipe upgrades, spot parking and bike lane removal, and public art.

In recent months, King County Metro partnered with the City of Burien to determine routing through their community, and also finalized the preferred route, planned stop locations, and pedestrian, lighting and RapidRide station improvements.

This open house is a chance to learn about routing adjustments, the locations of consolidated and added stops, and safety and roadway improvements to be included in the project. The public also can help prioritize which RapidRide station amenities they would most like to see at each station.

Meetings: In person and online

· Wednesday, Oct. 10, at Mount View Elementary in White Center (10811 12th Ave. SW, Seattle, WA 98146) from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. Note: Child care is provided on site, and interpreter services in Spanish, Vietnamese, Khmer, Somali.

· Online open house: Starting Oct. 10, to be available at Metro’s RapidRide H Line page. This website will be equipped with translations by selecting a language from a drop-down box in the top left corner.

BACKGROUND

Upgrading route 120 achieves goals of the Metro Connects long-range plan and voter-approved Levy to Move Seattle. RapidRide H Line service is scheduled to launch service in fall 2021.

Today, Metro Route 120 is tied for ninth-busiest bus route in King County and carries approximately 8,700 customers each weekday along the 13-mile corridor between Burien, White Center, Westwood Village, Delridge, and Downtown Seattle. The City of Seattle funds additional bus service on the route 120 thanks to the voter-approved Seattle Transportation Benefit District.

To upgrade the route to RapidRide levels of speed, frequency and reliability, improvements are planned along the corridor that include transit priority treatments – such as bus lanes and more green lights for buses – and RapidRide amenities including unique stations, off-board ORCA fare payment kiosks, and real-time bus arrival information signs. Metro currently operates six RapidRide lines across King County with these amenities.

This project is funded by King County Metro, the voter-approved Levy to Move Seattle and additional grant funding, which has in part been secured and is also being sought by both Seattle and King County.

SDOT and the City of Seattle play a key role in supporting this effort by funding major upgrades to Delridge Way Southwest within the city limits. SDOT is designing new bus lanes to make Metro’s RapidRide transit investment more reliable, and adding bike lanes and neighborhood greenway connections, arterial crosswalks and signals, and walkways to get people between their homes, workplaces and RapidRide.

In addition to proposing a new lane layout for public consideration, the City of Seattle’s investments plan includes basic infrastructure such as paving the northern part of the street, upgrading sections of old water and sewer pipes, and improving street lighting. The project will also invest in the Delridge neighborhood’s future and beautify the street by funding new public art and adding new landscaped median islands.

West Seattle residents and business owners will see these investments in their neighborhood thanks to Seattle voters, who partially funded this project with the nine-year Levy to Move Seattle.

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