You saw it here first: Evil buses take away valuable lanes from cars. 


In an odd (though sadly typical) take on Metro's voter-approved expansion of RapidRide bus-rapid transit service into West Seattle (voters approved it in 2006), KING 5 gave the mic yesterday to West Seattle residents convinced that improved bus service will mean less parking, worse traffic, and diminished public safety.

We'll have to wait until tomorrow to hear why buses are bad for public safety; today's segment focused on the fact that people are using West Seattle side streets to park their cars and take the bus---a practice known as "hide and ride."

But first, KING offers viewers a lesson in transportation taxonomy. Specifically: Cars are "traffic"; transit is not.

"Here on Alaska, two traffic lanes have been taken away and turned into bus-only lanes," reporter Natasha Ryan intones, gesturing---with no apparent irony---at the completely empty street behind her. (Screen shot above). "Residents say there already aren't enough parking spots. ... Now residents fear that once the RapidRide stops that are already in place here on Alaska actually start service it's going to mean even less parking."

Got that? Bus-only lanes "take away" lanes from the streets' rightful users---single-occupant cars.

The other problem with the neighbors' anti-bus argument is that the RapidRide stops are actually designed to direct bus riders off those narrow side streets and onto major arterials. If anything, the wider stop spacing (with stops only at major intersections, as opposed to every couple of blocks on the Route 54, which RapidRide will replace) should make people less likely to park on residential neighborhood streets.

If the West Seattle residents ought to be complaining to anyone, it's the Seattle Department of Transportation, whose parking policy prohibits residents on the streets near Alaska from asking for residential parking restrictions. But that would be a very different (and more nuanced, and arguably more boring) story than the "cars vs. transit" narrative that fits so well into a one-minute TV news story.