Metro buses are on the horizon

For all the gains Metro Transit has made in ridership and expanded service over the years, there’s been a bit of a disconnect in some comparatively underserved areas.

  • Monday, June 2, 2008 12:30pm
  • Opinion

For all the gains Metro Transit has made in ridership and expanded service over the years, there’s been a bit of a disconnect in some comparatively underserved areas.

Take, for example, Maple Valley, Covington and Black Diamond. We’re growing as fast as virtually any other area in King County, and yet there isn’t as much Metro presence as it would seem we’d have.

People in these parts hopefully would ride Metro buses more if the rigs would roll a little closer to their front doors, so to speak. So it was good news when the County Council recently passed its annual transit service change ordinance, making some pretty important additions and changes to the Metro system.

The annual revamp, which will take effect in September (by which time gas prices might be somewhere in the ozone), includes improvements of routes 143, 161, 915 and create a new route 157. Those runs serve Covington, Maple Valley, Black Diamond, Kent, Renton, Enumclaw and nearby unincorporated areas of the county.

It didn’t hurt, no doubt, that Councilman Reagan Dunn is chairman of the council’s Regional Transit Committee. He also is the council member from the district that includes all those communities. All are in southeast King County, “the fastest-growing area in our region,” he said. “We are desperate for more transit service, and it’s finally coming.”

People around here “want to take the bus, but they just don’t have any options. Now they’ll have a few more,” he added.

Among the options will be a new route 157. It will operate between the Lake Meridian park-and-ride lot and downtown Seattle via the Glencarin neighborhood in Kent’s East Hill area during peak commuting hours.

Voters countywide approved Transit Now, the November 2006 ballot measure. Its backers, including County Executive Ron Sims, vowed there would be more bus service, and that it would happen quickly. It’s taken almost two years out here, but some gains are coming.

“I am watching very closely to make sure that Metro delivers on the promises made to voters,” Dunn said.

More bus service will, in theory, reduce traffic and help the environment. That’s the part the public will decide.

Editor Pat Jenkins can be reached at (425) 432-1209 and pjenkins@reporternewspapers.com


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