For most passersby, the Metro bus shelter at 8th Street Northeast that opened last Friday in front of the 7-Eleven convenience store is just another part of the urban landscape, one that likely merits a moment’s attention.
But to people who catch the bus that moseys up to Lea Hill and Green River College, the state-of-the-art shelter means a lot: it means no longer having to stand out in the open, exposed to the wind, rain, snow or hail, waiting for the bus.
What’s more, juiced with the solar power it harvests during the day, the bus shelter is lighted.
But maybe it’s a good thing now and then to stop and ask ourselves, “Hey, how did that thing get there?”
Well, this one is the brainchild of Deputy Mayor Bill Peloza, leveraged by King County Councilman Pete von Reichbauer and King County Metro.
The history of this shelter begins with a tree, which had buckled the sidewalk, presenting a hazard.
When the city guys came out about a year ago to cut down that grand old tree and repair the sidewalk, Peloza got an idea.
“I said, ‘Hey, we have a real need with the college,’”Peloza recalled thinking.
So Peloza began to nudge von Reichbauer and through him, Metro, to do something.
“I try to be responsive to all constituents, but as a vet, I was sensitive to the call from my fellow veteran, Bill Peloza, about the need for a bus shelter for students and the general public alike,” von Reichbauer said. “It has been said that the squeaky wheel gets the grease, and that is what Bill is all about. Whenever I saw Bill he asked about the shelter, knowing that I would call the agency to check on its status.
“While others have grand ideas about new initiatives,” von Reichbauer continued, “Bill understands, as I do, that people want their potholes fixed, protection from the elements and for the buses to run on time. And if not, we need to be an advocate for those who cannot afford a lobbyist,”
Peloza is pleased with what this episode of squeaky-wheeling-it made happen.
“It’s surrounded by apartments, and college students and residents can go up to the college from that area, and they are really sheltered, no longer out in the open with the tree removed. It’s a perfect transportation improvement for people going east up to Lea Hill and beyond. It’s an official Metro bus stop, and even has a Metro garage can they can empty,” Peloza said.
Peloza said the only drawback is that it has attracted homeless folk.