What Paris had 150 years ago, Seattle and Redmond still lack.
Our Third Avenue bus tunnel has problems, too. But a recent weekend visit to Metro's Redmond Transit Center was fairly depressing. The location, next to a skateboard park, isn't great. It should be closer to the Redmond Town Center mall--or just the center of Redmond, period. But the city is actually reaching out to the transit hub; new apartment and condos are rising around it. As our Jesse Froehling recently wrote, density will increasingly center on transit lines--especially with rising gas prices and (for Eastsiders) the uncertainty about a 520 bridge replacement.
But here's a complaint that applies equally to Metro's hubs in Seattle and in Redmond: Where can you take a piss? How can you reasonably expect to entice drivers out of single-occupancy vehicles, at Park & Ride lots or elsewhere, without providing basic amenities? There is, to my knowledge, not a single public restroom anywhere in the downtown bus tunnel. (Try looking even for a trash bin.) At the same time, as we've previously written here, here, here, and here, the City of Seattle is abandoning its ridiculously bungled efforts to provide public restrooms.
Can there really be so many drug dealers and prostitutes in downtown Redmond that toilets would become a locus of crime? I have my doubts. (Hackers, yes. Pushers, no.) But by treating its riders so poorly--throw your litter in the streets! Pee in the bushes!--Metro communicates the same basic message that works against its core mission to reduce congestion: Riding the bus is for poor people who will be treated like second-class citizens. To avoid that status, single-car drivers will cling to the luxury of their vehicles so long as they, never mind the environment, can bear the cost.
And though I've never ridden in one of Microsoft's swanky cross-lake shuttle buses, I'll just hazard this guess: They probably have a restroom in back. Anyone care to confirm...?