The proposed changes to Clallam Transit System's Route 40 Sequim Shuttle would be inconvenient and hazardous for its riders, according to the riders and the route's driver.
The shuttle makes a 30-minute loop from the
Sequim Transit Center, 190 W. Cedar St., to Prairie Street and Sunnyside Avenue, past Bell Creek Plaza and the Sequim Library. It continues to Fifth and Hendrickson and Seventh and Washington streets before returning to the transit center.
It passes grocery and retail stores, the library, a laundromat, the Olympic Medical Center campus and other medical offices.
Proposed changes include running along Washington Street without stopping in the QFC parking lot, continuing east to the Elk Creek Apartments and west to Walmart.
The changes would eliminate the loop past the Seventh Avenue Plaza, Safeway, JC Penney and a laundromat.
A petition opposing the route changes was signed by 70 people.
Isabeau LeChevalier, 62, said it's hard to figure out why the proposed changes were proposed.
"If it ain't broke, don't fix it," she said.
LeChevalier rides the Route 30 Commuter to the Port Angeles Walmart in-stead of the one in Sequim because that doesn't require
But the proposed route change for the shuttle would require her to walk with her groceries across the QFC parking lot to Washington Street on the return trip.
"I don't want to walk across the QFC parking lot," she said.
LeChevalier also is concerned about elderly people using the shuttle for medical appointments.
"If the route runs every hour as proposed instead of every half hour, are elderly people leaving their medical appointments supposed to wait up to 55 minutes for the next bus? They aren't realizing the impact this will have," she said.
Shirley Zaretsky, 65, objects to the proposed route change for the same reasons. She uses the route for errands including her guitar lessons.
"It would force elderly people to walk farther. I'm here almost every day. Now that I'm used to it, I don't know what I'm going to do without it.
"I don't know why the change started. I'm happy with it the way it is," she said.
Kari Ault, 30, rides the bus several times a day, including taking her 4-year-old daughter to and from Head Start-Sequim Child Care, 220 W. Alder St.
"I ride it all the time. It takes me everywhere I need to go. It would be a real inconvenience if they changed it," she said.
Without it, her daughter would have to walk a mile to school since there's no school bus service to Head Start, Ault said. She is one of the 70 people who signed the petition opposing the changes.
Bruce Monro, the route's driver for the past seven years, also objects to the proposed changes.
The route is not designed for people who work regular daytime hours since it runs from 8:10 a.m.-4:45 p.m., he said.
"It's more designed for errands," Monro said.
Stopping along Washington Street would require QFC customers to walk across the parking lot, which has no sidewalk, in all kinds of weather and with groceries, he said.
The parking lot is congested, but Clallam Transit drivers are professionals who know how to keep passengers safe, he said.
"Who's to say where the bus stop would be along Washington Street?" Monro said.
The proposed changes also would eliminate a loop he takes behind the QFC, where his riders include a 90-year-old woman who just discovered the bus route, and children who would have to walk to Carrie Blake Park, he said.
Monro said the system is looking for increased ridership by going east along Washington Street and to the Elk Creek Apartments, 90 S. Rhodefer Road, but only a couple of residents there take the bus.
The proposed changes would eliminate a lower-income area on South Fifth Avenue that includes a man who would drive without the shuttle but really shouldn't, he said.
Washington Street from Fifth Avenue to Walmart also would be served by two routes, the shuttle and the Route 30 Commuter, Monro said.
Reach Brian Gawley at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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