Buses sit idly by while neighbors fume

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by ERIC WILKINSON / KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on August 20, 2013 at 5:52 PM

Updated Tuesday, Aug 20 at 5:53 PM

Mark Spromberg can set his watch by the King County Metro buses that run through his neighborhood.

“There’s the 11:39... it’s right on time,” he said.  

Spromberg knows the route schedule so well because all of the buses park directly in front of his house.

“The buses come from 5:30 in the morning until 12:30 in the evening,” he said, standing on his front porch Tuesday.

Bus drivers spend lunch breaks and layovers on the side of the street right outside Spromberg’s Richmond Beach home for a total of 19 hours a day, 7 days  a week.

It has repeated like clockwork, since Spromberg moved into the house 13 years ago. At times two buses have sat idling at once. When a bus breaks down, it ends up outside the house, waiting for the belch of a diesel tow truck.

Oil spots stain the street where leaks run down the hill into Puget Sound, and the road is crumbling, ostensibly from the weight of so much heavy traffic.

“I understand the drivers needs breaks, but this is not the place for it,” Stromberg said.

Adding insult to injury, the buses block Spromberg’s peek-a-boo view of the Sound from his front room. He has become so frustrated with the scene that he actually frosted over two windows.

“I'd rather look at nothing that look at the Metro buses parked out there,” he said.

Spromberg has complained repeatedly to King County Metro, but the buses keep coming. In fact, he showed KING 5 News documents from the agency proving neighbor complaints going back to 1986.

“A lot of them have just given up,” he said. “We had one neighbor move because he was afraid nothing is ever going to change.”

A spokesperson for the transit agency said, “Metro understands and sympathizes that not everyone is satisfied with the location of bus stops and transit facilities in their neighborhoods.”

She indicated the agency eliminated one route at the stop, advised its drivers to turn buses off when parked, and ordered supervisors to routinely patrol the route.

In a statement to KING 5 News, the spokesperson said Metro has studied the issue at length but decided that “after extensive evaluation, no other potential locations were found to be viable options for relocating the layover because of the significant costs involved (in a time of very limited transit funding) and because the alternatives would likely significantly reduce the efficiency and availability of transit service in Richmond Beach and other affected areas.” 

Mark Spromberg, however, refuses to sit idly by. He continues complaining.
“This is my home,” he said. “Eventually, we hope we'll find the right person, with the right authority who will do the right thing.”

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