Silver lining for the impending King County Metro service cuts

 RapidRide and Standard Metro buses, photo from  westseattleblog.com .

RapidRide and Standard Metro buses, photo from westseattleblog.com.

Thanks to Washington State Senate Republicans unwillingness to allow King county to tax itself and only itself in order to maintain our current level of transit service, we're facing a 17% service reduction in the fall of 2014. Seventeen percent is worse than it sounds (and it sounds bad), as it means about a third of our bus routes will be going away entirely, and another 40 percent will have to be run less frequently. Terrible news.

But hey, if this is what it takes to convince the city and county to turn over a few miles of lanes to bus-only use, in a city with over 1,500 arterial lane-miles, maybe it wouldn't be so bad*. Service cuts are going to hurt, and if we want our transit system to run even more efficiently we're going to have to stop letting our buses sit for hours every day in car traffic doing absolutely nothing productive (I'm looking at you, D-Line). By converting a very small total number of lanes to bus-only on high-frequency transit routes we can at least partially compensate for the service-hour reductions that non-Seattle politicians are forcing upon us.

*This whole post is basically facetious, though it is clearly wasteful to allow many of the hundreds of thousands of King County transit users to spend so much time in traffic that they barely contribute to. The fact that this is a good idea, or that service cuts might make it more politically palatable (which I sincerely doubt), doesn't excuse the fact that this is an embarrassing and offensive power grab by city-hating state Republicans who only care about "local control" when they control the locals. There's no actual upside here.