Q: It must have been windy and wet the day Pat Clifford decided to e-mail a note to Bumper. That might explain his reaction to the lone green metal bench installed a few weeks...

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It must have been windy and wet the day Pat Clifford decided to e-mail a note to Bumper. That might explain his reaction to the lone green metal bench installed a few weeks ago at the bus stop near his Magnolia home.

He couldn’t fathom why a bench was placed at 28th Avenue West and West Bertona Street sans a bus shelter to shield waiting riders from the elements.

“To me it seems obvious those involved in the brilliant idea of installing this bench do not commute by bus on a regular basis,” he said. Who wants to sit on a wet bench?

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He initially called the bench a “complete waste of money,” but added in a later e-mail: “When I wrote the note, I was venting my frustration. I’m still frustrated but am able to laugh with my fellow bus riders about this bench.”

Metro does not accept blame — or credit — for the bench, a project that was spearheaded by Magnolia resident Jennifer Carlson and the Green Bus Stop Project of Magnolia, a citizens group she pulled together two years ago.

Carlson, a landscape designer, said she came up with the idea to install the bench after noticing an elderly woman sitting on a large rock waiting for the No. 24.

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Carlson’s group received a Neighborhood Matching Fund grant to pay for the bench and surrounding landscaping and to install three other benches at stops in the neighborhood. The benches cost nearly $1,000 each.

Carlson says her volunteer band, which includes another landscape designer and three Master Gardeners, selected the sites for the benches, which are identical to nearly two dozen others the Magnolia Chamber of Commerce had installed a while back along West McGraw Street in Magnolia’s shopping district.

“I decided to take what was happening in the shopping district and bring it out into the neighborhood,” Carlson said. “We really spent a lot of time working on this.”

Volunteers helped install the benches and landscaping with the blessing of Metro and Seattle’s Department of Transportation.

But there are no plans for a shelter at Clifford’s stop, which Metro says doesn’t get enough use to qualify for one.

Still, Peter McGraw, Department of Neighborhoods spokesman, says the project creates a welcoming and comfortable place for bus riders, and an attractive streetscape for the community.

Karen Lehman, of Seattle, wonders if anything can be done about a “huge bump” in the southbound lanes of Interstate 5 approaching the Airport Way South exit.

“It is so jarring, I am sure it could damage a person’s vehicle,” she said.


State Department of Transportation spokesman Stan Suchan says that stretch of freeway has been patched to smooth the ride, but the patch didn’t last long. Concrete panels that make up the surface of the freeway tend to move as they are pounded by heavy traffic, and they expand and contract with shifts in the weather, he said. Movement breaks up the asphalt patches.

To properly fix the problem, those concrete panels need to be replaced instead of patched. Suchan said new concrete panels are to be installed in the spring at several locations of the freeway near downtown Seattle. “Until then, we will attempt to reapply asphalt patches when weather permits,” he said.