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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

December 10, 2008 at 2:45 PM

Transportation woes

Doesn’t add up

Metro insults all of its passengers with filthy, overloaded No. 194 buses crammed with commuters to Renton, daily Sea-Tac Airport employees and air travelers with giant bags. The baggage litters the aisles and as the bus stops, the drivers cajoles people to move back to allow other misfortunates to load their bags and themselves.

There are no overhead racks. Pity the poor daily commuter who has to deal with this every day through the tunnel stops, down to Alaskan Way and along Interstate 5 in a noisy, smelly, overcrowded, foot-jamming mess.

Contrast this with the Community Transit bus to Marysville: a comfortable, clean and roomy freeway liner, with overhead compartments, all for University of Washington commuters.

What’s happening, Metro? Waiting for 2009 and the light rail?

If you can afford to travel, then take a $30 taxi to the airport, rather than our $2.25 bus. Who would notice anyway? The cheap European or Japanese? The airport worker? The Renton commuter?

Try using this bus to transport UW employees to Snohomish and see if anyone complains.

— Brian Boyle, Seattle

Time to get moving

I am certain that, more likely than not, you’ll hear Seattleites ruminate over the death of transportation infrastructure in the Seattle area — feelings that are usually aroused by a bout with the area’s traffic problems.

With the national agenda shifting rapidly toward infrastructure investment as a great way to stimulate the nation’s economy, there should be a loud, steady drumbeat resonating from the governor’s mansion, the county executive’s office, the mayor’s office and perhaps most of all the Sound Transit board’s figureheads.

It behooves all of Seattle’s residents to push, and push hard for those long-awaited transportation investment dollars. They should be banging on John Podesta’s door saying, “We’re ready to go.”

Podesta, of course, is leading President-elect Barack Obama’s transition team but perhaps more importantly, he runs the Center for American Progress, from which many of the progressive policy agenda items will originate over the next eight years.

With a significant amount of thought having already gone into ideas like the Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement and the Highway 520 bridge replacement, I just can’t understand why we aren’t hearing more about funneling infrastructure stimulus dollars our way.

The point is highly relevant given that there is widespread skepticism and concern that a serious lack of “shovel-ready projects” are out there.

I, for one, believe Seattleites have heard far too much talk about improving the area infrastructure, and have seen far too little action.

Just as the stock market today presents a once-in-a-lifetime buying opportunity for many investors, the massive economic-stimulus-package funding presents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Seattle to ensure a prosperous and productive future by building out a world-class infrastructure system including light-rail expansion, road and bridge replacement and even urban core rail buildouts that the Seattle monorail once attempted to achieve.

The thinking has been done.

Suddenly, the dollars are here. Now let’s get moving.

— Daniel Fletcher, New York, N.Y.

Get your mind

out of the tracks

Can someone please explain to me the advantages of a streetcar system over buses?

They both travel on the surface. They both take up a lane of traffic. They both are subject to traffic jams caused by other vehicles.

The difference is that one can be rerouted in the event of trouble. One travels on existing infrastructure. And one is much less expensive and more flexible over time.

Perhaps we need to rethink our apparent fixation with tracks.

— Tim Rice, Seattle

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