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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

October 7, 2008 at 4:44 PM

520 bridge

Do it right

Regarding Monday’s editorial on the case for an eight-lane Highway 520 bridge [“The new 520 bridge: a case for 8 lanes,” editorial, Oct. 6], I question the source of your expert opinion.

Engineers say that an eight-lane alternative will not improve congestion because traffic will clog up once Highway 520 reaches Interstate 5. You offer Eastside road planner James MacIsaac’s “solution”: two lanes of traffic could be peeled off at Montlake. But anyone who has tried to exit westbound Highway 520 at Montlake during afternoon rush hour knows that the line can snake back to the middle of the bridge because of slow traffic on Montlake.

In the same section of your paper is a story about inflated cost estimates put forward by foes of the light-rail ballot initiative. It turns out that the person providing these exaggerated numbers is none other than the same James MacIsaac. It seems that MacIsaac is not a reliable source of objective information.

Perhaps your editorial would have been more credible had you consulted an actual transportation engineer, or at least someone who does not appear to have a strongly pro-roads, anti-transit agenda.

Certainly, strategic highway improvements, such as lengthening merges by adding collector-distributor lanes, can really improve congestion by making it easier and safer for traffic to maintain constant speeds as vehicles enter and exit the freeway. But just throwing extra lanes on Highway 520 doesn’t seem right.

— Jamie Strausz-Clark, Seattle

Comments | More in Eastside, Energy, Environment, Politics, Seattle, Transportation

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