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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

October 28, 2008 at 2:42 PM

Transportation proposals

Eyman’s initiative

is worth a shot

The state and federal government had 50 years to solve the Puget Sound area’s serious traffic problems [“Federal transportation officials say Eyman’s initiative could be costly to state,” News, Oct. 25]. They saw the congestion, lost work hours, frustration and host of other problems coming and to this day still struggle for workable solutions.

What makes them think we should even listen to the same government that allowed the current financial meltdown and economic calamity?

The government lacks the leadership and vision to solve the traffic crisis.

I say we take matters in our owns hands and pass Initiative 985. We have to try something.

— Bob Hoyden, Renton

You’re not the boss of me

The idea of two federal officials (Daniel Mathis and Richard Krochalis) threatening to withhold moneys for opening up the HOV [High Occupancy Vehicle] lanes during nonpeak hours should irritate enough people to gain passage of Initiative 985.

Mind you, I don’t think it should pass.

I certainly won’t vote for it. It creates more danger for our drivers. Go to California, and drive the HOV lanes during nonpeak hours. Then tell me that California’s elected officials allowed that threat to work.

There are other states that have done the same thing. We paid for the lanes, and the federal government has no business trying to tell us how to run them. Tell Paula Hammond to research things like this with other entities that have them. Do not go to the federal government and ask if it’s OK for us to govern ourselves.

— Ron Highfill, Lacey

Opening up carpool lanes

is a bad idea

The $224 million that I-985 would spend is to open up existing carpool lanes to single drivers during “nonpeak” hours. The initiative defines nonpeak hours as all times except for the fixed hours of 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays only.

Opening up these lanes to single drivers is a bad idea at any time. During congested hours, carpool lanes reduce traveler delay by allowing vehicles with more people in them to move faster. During noncongested hours, traffic is moving freely in all lanes and there is no impact on congestion because there is no congestion.

Congested hours are different from route to route, vary from week to week, and occur outside the fixed hours in the initiative. Opening up these lanes would result in losing carpool lanes on some routes during congested hours, increasing total traveler delay.

I-985 allocates $224 million to implement the change, which would not only be wasted, but would in fact increase traveler delay. Washington voters should reject this bad idea.

— Peter Smith, Normandy Park

Saudi Arabia

is rich enough

Tim Eyman’s citizen petition to open HOV lanes to single-occupancy vehicles will be struck down by the federal government.

These are high-occupancy-vehicle lanes for buses, carpools and van pools. These were built to increase the capacity of freeways and to haul more people per hour.

Opening the lanes to SOVs [Single Occupancy Vehicles] would defeat these purposes, and only create more traffic accidents, air pollution and waste fuel.

The initiative also bundles traffic-light timing and roadside assistance, which is already being done.

Tim Eyman doesn’t want to understand, there is a war over oil in the Middle East, and his persistent attempts to sabotage transit is only keeping the U.S. and Puget Sound more dependent on foreign oil.

Energy conservation and development of alternative-fuel buses is one of the major reasons for

development of a bus-express system. Like it or not, bus riders pay taxes also. His initiative will get the buses off schedule.

Gasoline cars are more expensive to drive and own than riding the bus. Eyman is doing a lot of damage to the local economy, and this will only help make the King of Saudia Arabia richer and us poorer.

— Martin Nix, Seattle

Proposition 1 / light-rail expansion: Just do it

I am rather disappointed The Seattle Times does not have enough wisdom to see the need for expanding the Sound Transit light-rail system [“Reject Proposition 1’s tax for light-rail expansion,” editorial, Sept. 28].

We desperately need it and the arguments against it are weak:

“It won’t relieve congestion.” That is true, but Los Angeles built highways all over the place and they have some of the worst congestion in the country. Building more highways just makes more traffic. Nothing is going to make the congestion go away.

“It costs too much.” Compared to what? What is the cost of building several more traffic lanes through Seattle? All of the options are going to be very, very expensive.

“It will take too long to build the new system.” Again, does anyone really think that we could build more highways any faster?

So let’s get realistic about rail transit. It is one component in a transportation system that we need. Rail is immune to traffic jams and will function even when the buses are stuck in the snow. Nearly every major city in the world relies on rail to provide the basis for their transportation system. So let’s stop debating the need for rail and get serious about building it.

Once we get the system up and running we will wonder how we managed to get along for so long without it.

–Gary Maxwell, Lynnwood

Comments | More in Election, Tim Eyman, Transportation

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