Ride Free Area Advocacy Update
by Elaine Simons
As most readers know, King County Metro will eliminate the Ride Free Area (RFA) in the heart of downtown Seattle as of September, 2012. This will make life even more difficult for everyone who relies on this transit option, whether they live in downtown or come here from around thee city and the county to access services.
We need you to COMMENT on this change before the Friday, April 13 deadline. Below are key talking points to help you make a strong case to King County and Seattle City Council members, and to both executives, that we need a mitigation plan that will really work for everyone who relies on this service.
We also need you to ATTEND and SPEAK UP at two upcoming King County Council meeting:
Monday, April 16 @ 6.00 p.m.
Friday, April 25 @ 9.00 a.m.
The King County Council will vote on this plan in May. The Time to Advocate is NOW.
SKCCH’s Single Adults Advocacy Committee is RFA Advocacy Central! Next SAAC meeting is on Thursday, April 12, from noon – 1.30 p.m. at Plymouth’s Simons Senior Apartments, 2119 Third Ave. in Seattle.
BACKGROUND and KEY TALKING POINTS:
SKCCH has been working with other stakeholders to develop a ROBUST and JUST mitigation plan in response to the loss of the RFA that will offset the negative effects of losing this community resource on people who live, work, visit, shop, and access services in downtown Seattle. A successful solution will be comprehensive, and will include a free, public option for navigating downtown. Secondary elements should include making it easier for people who are elderly or have disabilities to obtain reduced fare permits, and securing more bus tickets for human service providers.
Our public transit system can and must be accessible to and inclusive of people who are homeless, low income, disabled, elderly, and that the whole community benefits when the system works for all people. We believe that the King County Council and Executive and the Seattle Ciy Council and Mayor working together can preserve the most valuable elements of this vital public good, and improve on the public transit access for vulnerable community members.
We are advocating strongly for the following elements:
A free, public loop service that operates daily and is available to everyone and can accommodate the passengers who need it
A predictable schedule with service frequency at least every 20 minutes
Hours should ensure that people who rely on overnight-only shelters can get to and from those locations without excessive waits or walks very late at night or very early in the morning.
A route or routes that maintain access within the broad downtown area, and helps people get to key locations (including Harborview Medical Center and other hospitals, the International District, and key resources not currently in the RFA).
SPEAK YOUR PIECE! Please submit comments during this extended comment period, and invite others to do the same.
* How does the Ride Free Area currently help you or the people you work with?
* What will the loss of this service mean?
* How do people from OUTSIDE of the downtown area and from AROUND King County use the RFA to help them access needed services and programs?
* What mitigation services will help people continue to be able to get around?
The comment period has been EXTENDED to this Friday, April 13.
MARK YOUR CALENDARS! Monday, April 16 at 7.00 p.m. the King County Council’s Transportation, Economy and Environment Committee will hold a special meeting to receive public input on the proposed service changes. There is an opportunity to offer Public Testimony about the proposed system-wide changes to Metro Service, including the loss of the Ride Free Area. JOIN us and help build the case for a strong response that will benefit the general public.
Monday, April 16
Sound Transit’s Board Room at Union Station
401 South Jackson Street, Seattle
6:00 p.m. open house
6:30 p.m. presentation
7:00 p.m. public testimony
The Transportation, Economy and Environment Committee will also hear public comments at its regular meeting:
WHEN: Friday, April 25 at 9:30 a.m.
Where: Council Chambers on the 10th floor of the King County Courthouse, 516 Third Avenue, Seattle.