04/05/2007: "Negative Impacts Of 35 Mph Limit"
350 Court Street # 1
Friday Harbor, WA 98250
Dear County Council,
In regards to changing the speed limit from 45 to 35 mph, this change would have a dramatic effect on San Juan Transit and the routes we currently drive.
Residents and visitors have already questioned why the Transit doesn’t operate more frequently. The reality is that for a bus to leave hourly for destinations on the West Side and on Roche Harbor Road requires three buses. Driving one circuit around San Juan Island would take thirteen minutes longer going 35 mph than what it takes now at 45 mph. This doesn’t seem like much, but using our current schedule, driving at the lower speed will necessitate driving an additional 2.75 hours/day. Driving the lower speed limit would mean longer waiting periods for passengers, decreased fuel efficiency, wear and tear on the vehicles and harm the environment with more vehicle emissions.
Because San Juan Transit is one of two State Regulated Transit operations – Orcas Shuttle is the other one – that operate without any form of subsidy other than the fare box (last year we raised fares for the first time in 13 years). The impending slower speed will create a serious hardship with the probable increase of fuel usage and likely loss of ridership due to the longer wait times.
The reality is that lowering the speed limit will be enough of a change that San Juan Transit will operate fewer times each day, as well as eliminating the American Camp Route, as the expense of adding another vehicle just cannot be justified. Fewer departure times put us in jeopardy of not being able to serve our passengers needs, survive financially and creates the risk of not having any transportation on the island, when it is most needed.
San Juan Transit