North End Service under New Funding
I have shown the proposed maps to many people I know who ride transit in the North End and this is a sample of what they've told me:
- "Route 11 doesn't go to Point Defiance? Why not? It's the second most-visited "'
- "What happened to service to Proctor? - it's a mixed use center."
- "Why is it so hard to get to 6th Avenue?"
- "I use the 51 to get to work; why are they cutting that off at Allenmore?"
- "Route 11 needs more service during the night that matches with the 594."
- "I would rather wait at Proctor than at TCC [to make my connections]."
- "This isn't very innovative. Why not encourage people to bike to Proctor and take a bus from there?"
Why this matters
Whatcom County Transit (WTA) went out for a 0.2% sales tax measure just last week and it failed (Moving Ahead: Bellingham Said Yes, Whatcom County Said No). It passed in Bellingham, but failed everywhere else in the county. Any sales tax measure would likely be passed on the backs of Tacoma's generally transit and tax-supportive voters. If something similar happens here, and Tacoma's voters does not vote to pass a 0.3% sales tax measure, then what does that do to Pierce Transit's chances?
Recent Transit / Voting History
The MetroParks levy in Tacoma passed last week with 68% to 31%, a healthy margin of +10,000 votes [Source: Pierce County Auditor]. In 2008 Sound Transit went out for a sales tax measure across the county and it failed 124,856 (yes) to 129,536 (no), a negative margin of 5,000 votes against during a presidential election [Pierce County Auditor]. Back in 2002, the last time Pierce Transit went out for a ballot measure the vote was 65,783 (yes) to 55,799 (no), a margin of +10,000 votes [Pierce County Auditor]. If Tacoma's voters either stay home or around 5,000 voters vote no instead of yes as a result of the poor redesign, then Pierce Transit might be looking at defeat in November.
A viable alternative to implementing this redesign would be to keep the existing system only within Tacoma until there's time to redesign it properly with the planners at the City of Tacoma - that way voters in Tacoma can be really familiar with what they're voting to support.