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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

September 26, 2008 at 10:38 AM

Initiative 985

Eyman thinking for all of us

I think initiative guru Tim Eyman is on the right track as far as opening up more lanes to relieve congestion [“Eyman warns DOT: ‘You better prepare,’ ” Times, page one, Sept. 24]. Who among us who drive aren’t for less congestion and keeping traffic flowing?

I think Initiative 985 needs to be tweaked, though. Keep it simple. Forget the cameras at the lights. Instead, open up all lanes and charge a small, affordable fee to everyone. Earmark the fee to go only to relieving traffic congestion.

My wife and I moved from Seattle to Portland, Ore., in 1986 and then back to Seattle in 2001. The time we were in Portland, we watched the city not only build an extensive light-rail system, but also widen major highways.

When we moved back to Seattle, we were amazed at how much the road system had not changed. Highway 167 looked the same, the 520 bridge still had four lanes, Interstate 5 still narrowed down to two lanes under the Washington State Convention & Trade Center, the Alaskan Way Viaduct looked the same — I could go on. What has Seattle been doing the past two decades?

It is obvious heads have been in the sand. No looking to the future here. Did the city think that no one would be moving to Seattle?

Now there is a transportation crisis, and there isn’t a tourniquet big enough to stop the bleeding. There is no fast solution. Just small ideas like Eyman’s. At least you have to give him credit for coming up with solutions. Who else is? It sounds like the Department of Transportation likes to hide behind laws and point blame instead of — heaven forbid — coming up with viable solutions to real, everyday transportation problems.

— Jim Null, Kent

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