Afternoon Jolt

Not a winner or loser, just a Jolt: From state Sen. Steve Hobbs (D-44, Lake Stevens), whose Reproductive Parity Act (the bill that would require private insurers that pay for maternity care to also cover abortions) is stalled in anti-choice state Sen. Randi Becker's (R-2, Eatonville) health care committee.

Today, Hobbs and his Republican RPA co-sponsor, Steve Litzow (R-41, Mercer Island) re-introduced the RPA, with 21 co-sponsors and with the intention of sending the bill to Sen. Mike Padden's (R-4, Spokane Valley) Committee on Law and Justice.

Image via UW Digital Collection.

That committee is hearing a bill (co-sponsored by Padden) that would require girls under 18 to notify their parents before having an abortion. Hobbs argues that if the so-called "Majority Coalition Caucus," the group of two Democrats and 23 Republicans that now runs the senate, is so committed to bipartisanship, they ought to hear not just Padden's anti-choice parental notification bill but his pro-choice RPA.

"If they're going to hear the parental notification bill, then they should hear the Reproductive Parity Act," Hobbs says. "If they claim to be all about bipartisanship, then they should be hearing both. I say: Bring both bills to the floor and let's see what happens." "If they're going to hear the parental notification bill, then they should hear the Reproductive Parity Act."–State Sen. Steve Hobbs

Today's loser: RapidRide whiners. 

OK, we get it: RapidRide, Metro's new "bus rapid transit" has failed abysmally at living up to its name. It may be frequent, but—thanks largely to service downgrades Metro made in response to complaints from both drivers and riders—it isn't rapid.

One of the more frequent complaints about RapidRide Route D to Ballard, in particular, is that it follows the same circuitous route as the old Routes 15 and 18 down a windy, narrow stretch of First Ave. on the lower side of Queen Anne Hill, stopping every couple of blocks and adding several minutes to travel times. Recently, there has been talk of changing the route to eliminate Queen Anne (which is already served by several other routes), sending buses instead around the base of the hill by way of Denny Ave.)

Well, sorry, Ballard commuters: Your wish is not Metro's command. According to Metro operations manager Victor Obeso, the short answer to the question of whether Metro plans to reroute RapidRide around Queen Anne is: "No." 

The long answer, Obeso says, is that RapidRide is "still a work in progress." But, he says, the Uptown/Lower Queen Anne stops currently make up about a third of trips on RapidRide, so the route isn't just for Ballard residents. 

"I’m a 30-year rider of the Metro system, since before I worked for Metro, and if you’re riding the bus every day these are definite upgrades to our historic bus service in the corridor," Obeso says. "The most important factor for any rider is reliability"—knowing that a bus is going to show up soon, even if it takes you a while to get where you're going—"but 'ReliabilityRide' is not necessarily a catchy name."