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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

February 20, 2009 at 3:42 PM

Density near transit stations

Nonsensical for non-cities

While I agree increased density near transit stations is good public policy, I’m afraid House Bill 1490 is another example of “one-size-fits-all” legislation [“Distress over forced density,” Local News, Feb. 17].

The required density of 50 units per acre may fit metropolitan downtowns such as Seattle or Bellevue, but would be outrageous and nonsensical outside of designated urban centers.

Should we really require high-rise buildings across the street from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport? Has anyone considered the effects of topography on the required half-mile radius?

In Tukwila, a person living half a mile “as the crow flies” could easily have a one-mile walk to the nearest station — unless they chose to jaywalk across Highway 518.

I believe most cities want to encourage new transit-oriented development in their station areas, but they want to do it in a way that makes sense for their communities and their unique situations.

This legislative proposal clearly needs a large dose of common sense.

— Pam Carter, Tukwila

Limited capacity limits cash

Metro wants to tax vehicle owners to subsidize transit riders [“Metro Transit fears major funding gap,” Local News, Feb. 18]? What is going on in this state? Where is the sanity?

If Metro is not a cost-effective transportation option, it should be reduced or eliminated. Like airlines, if buses and trains are not full, you have sunk costs with no return on investment.

At any given time, you will see bus after bus more than a third or half empty. Few routes are full all the time. Fact is, if a route is not running at 90 percent capacity or above, it should be either curtailed or absorbed into more needy, cost-effective routes.

As caustic as it may sound, we cannot continue to placate limited-capacity routes.

Bottom line, stop punishing those of us with no interest in a failed system that in mismanaged, poorly designed and under utilized.

— Art Francis, Issaquah

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