Now that the city owns Pronto (or will very soon, anyway), the people of Seattle need to understand why they bought it.
Well, Saturday, big crowds are expected to turn out at Capitol Hill and UW Stations for the long-awaited opening of the U-Link light rail extension. You could hardly find a better time to demonstrate bike share’s potential than this party.
It will be extremely disappointing if no bike share station is present (or at least within view) at each station on Saturday. Even if the station location is only temporary, Pronto needs to be there to greet the crowds. This is what bike share was made for.
As we discussed on Twitter yesterday, one short-term option for Capitol Hill Station would be to temporarily move the 12th and Denny station two blocks west into the new Denny Way light rail plaza (as shown in the map above). There’s a ton of open space for a station, and it’s directly in front of a light rail exit and adjacent to the Broadway Bikeway.
People have questioned both these investments, so let’s show them how, finally, they all work together.
UW Station already has an imperfect-but-workable station a two-minute walk away on Pacific near a major bus stop. The biggest drawbacks are that it is not easily visible from the light rail station and, due to trail construction, does not have a direct and easy link to the Burke-Gilman Trail.
Pronto can’t do anything about the trail construction other than wait it out like the rest of us (scheduled to open this summer), but having a station in the light rail plaza (or, my personal favorite, up on the walk/bike bridge) would provide an easier point of access that is hard to miss.
Because UW Station is so far from the heart of campus and U District businesses, Pronto will likely be the easiest and fastest way to access light rail in this very dense neighborhood. So cutting out a two-minute walk to the nearest station will only make it that much more convenient.
I can’t wait for Saturday when these light rail stations dramatically improve transportation not just in these neighborhoods, but in any part of the city with access to light rail or one of the newly-frequent bus lines. And bike share can and should play a big role in this change.