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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

October 31, 2008 at 4:52 PM

Proposition 1: light-rail expansion

Ellen Banner / The Seattle Times

Sound Transit link light-rail trains sit on the tracks that run down Martin Luther King Jr. Way South between South Henderson Street and the South Boeing Access Road, as a Metro bus drives northbound on MLK.

Look to Brazil

Editor, The Times:

Pitting light rail against buses, as in Mike Lindblom’s story, is a false choice [“Bus vs. Light Rail, Which One is Your Ticket to Ride?,” Times, page one, Oct. 29].

I know. I’ve taken a ride on the world’s most renowned bus-rapid-transit system, in Curitiba, Brazil.

What makes the Curitiba BRT system so effective? It is designed, built and operated almost like light rail. And if we were to do the same thing here, it would cost in the same ballpark to build.

The Curitiba BRT operates mostly on dedicated bus lanes, well separated from other traffic, with fancy “tube” stations. To do this cheaply here, you’d have to take all the bus lanes away from existing vehicles and go head-to-head with Tim Eyman and legions of irate drivers caught in massive traffic jams.

So we’re better off with light rail where ridership is high, or where it will be high when a corridor is fully developed. We need to finance more buses where they are most effective: on secondary corridors as pseudo-BRT (mostly without dedicated lanes), as feeders to light-rail stations or for other local or suburban service.

— Dick Burkhart, Seattle

Good for the economy

My name is Nathan Olson and I am a 19-year-old Everett Community College student who strongly supports Proposition 1 [light-rail expansion] [“Bus vs. Light Rail, Which One is Your Ticket to Ride?,” page one, Oct. 29]. I believe this measure is critical to our way of life in the Puget Sound region and it will create much-needed jobs, promote choices of commuting and, most important, help our environment.

— Nathan Olson, Everett

The right direction

What’s rectangular, stretches 55 miles, can carry 1 million riders a day, and is white and blue? The upcoming light rail.

It is the alternative to rising gas prices and greenhouse-gas emissions, which pollute our world now.

The light rail can decrease traffic, provide a smoother ride than buses, can carry more people than buses and provide fewer delays.

The bus system is slower, not as comfortable and gets caught in traffic delays. Its diesel fuel pollutes and the cost of fuel is volatile.

The light rail will reach Lynnwood, north Federal Way and the Overlake Transit Center.

The light rail will cost more than $300 million a mile but it will be worth it. I think it is good to try something new; in the end it might be a very good investment.

All the major cities in Europe have light rail or subway systems and have proven very effective at moving people and reducing traffic congestion. We need to take care of the Earth; it is our responsibility. The light rail is moving in the right direction.

–Nicole Espe, Edmonds

Let’s get it started

I sincerely hope we can continue to build and expand the light-rail system. For more than 30 years light rail has been held up by entrenched ignorance, inertia and obstructionism. Meanwhile traffic is getting worse.

We have just returned from Europe where we traveled extensively on the Berlin U-Bahn and S-Bahn. This system covers both inside and outside the city. The trains are quick, frequent and convenient.

We used the Vienna, Budapest and Prague systems as well. In previous years we have ridden on the excellent Barcelona system and the London tube and Paris Metro.

In March I was in New Delhi, where I saw the large construction project for their system, too.

So, wake up Seattle, King County and adjoining areas and lets get our system going as well.

We need it.

— Michael Clarke, Redmond

We’ll die in our diesel

Living in a region that has generally clean hydro-produced energy, it seems most logical to make any transportation system that does not use imported fossil fuels a priority.

I vote for trains, streetcars and expanding the electric-trolley system. If not, our economy could die in its diesel.

— David Clifton, Seattle

Some of us still drive

The story by Mike Lindblom, “Bus vs Light Rail,” left out the one thing all the planners seem to never want to consider: Where do we park our cars?

This should really be a consideration on the Eastside. I have very good service getting downtown on the bus from Redmond, but with light rail? In metropolitan Seattle? Are we serious?

— Reed Hunt, Woodinville

Comments | More in Local ballot measures, Transportation

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