Maintenance and security improved at Aurora Transit Center

Thursday, August 3, 2023

Mike is emptying trash, but he also does an incredible job
of cleaning the bus bays daily. He is amazing! Photo by Patrick Deagen

Story and photos by Patrick Deagen

“Excuse me, Do you know where there is a restroom?” A woman asked me at Aurora Village Transit Center. 

I wore a reflective safety vest, so she assumed I was knowledgeable about such things. 

“The closest one is in the Home Depot across the parking lot in the rear of the store.” 

This bus was headed to Northgate

Metro had advised me several times that their customers could use Home Depot’s restrooms. The woman lived in Lynnwood and was transferring buses on her way to work in North Seattle to work as a home health aide. She had a 20 minute layover. 

She carried a heavy bag and I offered, “I’ll walk with you.”

Restrooms are simply an issue of public health and human dignity. I have always appreciated the availability of toilets at work, school, restaurants and on recreational trips. Regular maintenance is needed. And sometimes an attendant is needed to be present to keep them safe and clean.

400 buses depart from Aurora Village Transit Center daily

Most days about 400 buses are scheduled to leave Aurora Village Transit Center taking passengers in many directions between two counties. The number of arrivals is about the same. For many travelers AVTC is the gateway to Shoreline. It is not unusual to see 20 to 40 travelers in the transit center.

“Are you telling me there is no latrine at the transit center?” The Veterans Administration counselor asked me in disbelief. “With that many people, they are a necessity.”

The anger that I felt in smelling urine, and in seeing feces at the Transit Center, at the park, and at nearby residences fueled my passion for a “safer, healthier Metro.” I think everyone can relate to that feeling of disgust.

But will toilets work at AVTC? Most think not. Many say “It is something we need but cannot achieve.” 

Cindy cleaned the bus shelter

I’ve never bought that. With consistent and regular maintenance the loos in Rainier Beach Playfield have been operational for nine years. Echo Lake Park has had a successful Loo for three and a half years.

Cindy repainting at AV Transit Center

The restrooms in nearby Costco and Home Depot are clean and pleasant. Sometimes I compare the restrooms of the new Kraken practice facility at Northgate to the failed restrooms at the Northgate Link Station. The difference is stark. It shows what planning can do.

The Echo Lake Neighborhood Association invited Chris Arkills of Metro and King County Councilmember Rod Dembowski to a meeting to discuss issues at the transit center. 

The pavement was pressure washed

Councilmember Dembowski said he would work to budget money for this effort. 

He did. 

The Shoreline City Council is pleased with Metro’s promised efforts due to the problematic impacts on our city.

Security has been increased

In the last month, security has been increased at Aurora Village Transit Center and routine cleaning has dramatically improved. 

And King County Metro is working on installing restrooms. Will they be safe, clean and available? Metro has good intentions, and with planning and follow through we hope the restrooms at Aurora Village Transit Center will be a success. Please stay tuned.

Patrick Deagen can be contacted at


Anonymous,  August 3, 2023 at 5:30 PM  

Maybe they can put the ones in that have doors that only cover the middle section so a person can see feet underneath and know it's a person using the facility for its intended purpose? I couldn't figure out why Seattle spent too $ money on fancy stations that turned into pisspot drug dens. and then had to offload them for a fraction of what they paid. In the meantime thank you businesses in the area for providing sweet relief when needed! and thank you author for taking up this mission! We appreciate your hard work!

Anonymous,  August 4, 2023 at 9:14 AM  

The latrine at the Echo Lake Park isn’t far. It would be good to add a couple of those closer the transit center, especially good if transit could keep them stocked.

Anonymous,  August 4, 2023 at 6:35 PM  

Thank you, Pat Deagan for your article and for helping remind us that toilets are a basic human need when transferring buses. I agree that the swinging door design could be a great option for inexpensive and safe public toilet design here. I saw them in Europe: the men's were at ground level, and the women's were a couple of steps up so they could have privacy when sitting.

Anonymous,  August 6, 2023 at 8:50 PM  

Buen trabajo, don Patricio.

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