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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

January 26, 2009 at 4:00 PM

Tunneling through the viaduct

Misleading questions mean misleading answers

Andrew Garber’s Sunday story [“Deep-bore tunnel: dissecting the decision-making process,” local news, Jan. 25] perpetuates the fallacy that Seattle voters rejected a tunnel in March 2007. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The fact is, the 2007 election was deeply flawed, structured in such a way that its results were meaningless. If you supported an elevated replacement to the viaduct, you likely voted “no” on the tunnel proposal. If you supported the tunnel option, you likely voted “no” on the elevated viaduct option. And, of course, some voted “no” on both.

The ballot was set up as two separate questions with yes or no answers, rather than asking one question with the option of favoring a tunnel, an elevated roadway or neither. As a result, there were overwhelmingly more “no” votes than anything else.

I have not supported the tunnel option, but I know there are many who do. The truth is we don’t know what the people of Seattle really want; the election in March 2007 was a bogus attempt at determining public opinion.

— Vince Stricherz, Seattle

Spending more tax dollars is not the answer

In 1989, when the Loma Prieta earthquake hit San Francisco, the Embarcadero came tumbling down. It was not replaced with a tunnel or another raised road. Rather, the area is a beautiful waterfront area that supports many businesses with a breathtaking view of the bay. Amazingly enough, commuters still manage to get to their jobs without spending billions of dollars for a new raised road or tunnel.

At a time when the citizens who pay for such construction projects are struggling to make ends meet, the government of Washington state — a state that has higher taxes than most other states — wants to add more taxes.

How much has the state already spent on studies and elections where the voters have made their wants known? Apparently not enough because now they want to spend even more.

The state needs to take the money they are wasting and eliminate the deficit we have. If Gov. Christine Gregoire, Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels and a certain select group of people must have a tunnel, let them pay for it with a toll. If people really want to eliminate the gridlock in Seattle then we need a well-designed mass-transit system, not just a bunch of busses that can’t seem to service major areas.

If we must waste more taxpayer money, at the very least, let’s study cities that have more successful systems such as Portland and San Francisco.

— Penny Fry, Renton

Too much emphasis on POVs,

not enough on mass transit

Using the Los Angeles basin as an example, no matter how many freeways you build, there are never enough to support community growth.

In metropolitan areas, we need to plan so people depend on mass transit and not privately owned vehicles. We need to send all traffic on an improved I-5, remove the viaduct in its entirety, develop the area with open space to the waterfront for electric trolley and service access only, and construct well-planned parking areas.

Lastly, we must pay for the project with [federal stimulus] funds, producing something residents will enjoy for years to come.

— Paul Christen, Winthrop

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