RECEIVED DISTRICT ,ONE
515 Third Avenue Seattle, Washington 98104 206.464.1570
April 20, 2012 King County Executive Dow Constantine Members of King County Council Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn Members of Seattle City Council
COUNCILMEMBER BOB FERGUSON
Dear Elected Leaders, I am writing to express concerns, and provide recommendations, regarding the elimination of the Metro Ride Free Area in downtown Seattle. DESC (the Downtown Emergency Service Center) serves 2,000 homeless and formerly homeless people each day, most of whom are living with serious and persistent mental illnesses. The vast majority of these individuals are served by DESC within the downtown core. Over 200 of DESCâ€™s 400+ employees work within the Ride Free Area during its designated hours. Our organizational service model has come to depend on this free resource to transport both clients and staff between service sites.
Supportive 1811 Eastlake Canaday House Evans Ho Kerner-Scott :: 9 The Morrison Rainier House Union Hotel Scattered Site Mental Health
HOST-Outreach & Engagement PACT-Intensive Team SAGE-Case Management
I want to echo the comments from other human services advocates that our public transit system can and must be accessible to and inclusive of people who are homeless, low income, disabled, elderly. The whole community benefits when the system works for all people. DESC appreciates the King County Council and Executive and the Seattle City Council and Mayor working together to preserve the most valuable elements of this vital public good, and improve on the public transit access for vulnerable community members. DESC is opposed to the elimination of the Ride Free Area because of the detrimental impact it will have on our organization and the people we serve. However, I understand this change is likely to occur, and therefore ask that you take the following recommendations into consideration to mitigate the impact on vulnerable members of the community, and the organizations who seek to meet their needs:
Employment Support Chemical Dependency Services Emergency Shelter Connections
DESC endorses the idea of a free, public loop service that operates daily and is available to everyone and can accommodate the passengers who need it (aka "the circulator bus"). We strongly favor this over distributing more bus tickets to people in need. Bus ticket distribution is administratively burdensome, and access can be confusing to clients.
Crisis Solutions Center Something Old, Something New Thrift Store Board of Directors Clark Kimerer, Chair Ron Wright, Vice Chair Laura Inveen, Secretary Merlyn Bell, Treasurer Bryan Friend Jeffrey Grant Veronica Kavanagh Mark Sidran Larry Smith Chris Spitters Richard Stevenson Sheryl V. Whitney Executive Director William G. Hobson
It should be a full-sized bus, and not a shuttle bus. A full-sized bus will increase the likelihood of the full range of bus riders using this bus, and decrease the likelihood of creating a de-facto "homeless" bus that will only further stigmatize marginalized community members. If a full size bus is not available, we strongly encourage a van of greater than 25 seats. It should have enough stops to address the needs of homeless and vulnerable people, and be useful to those with mobility impairments. The route should include a long stretch of Third Avenue, as many core services are located on this street. We support a route that includes Harborview Medical Center. over
King County Metro Transit Implementation plan for Ride Free Area elimination and transition to pay-on-entry