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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

March 13, 2009 at 6:00 PM

Around the Emerald City

Rethink the Mercer Mess

I was overjoyed to hear that West Marine is suing the city over their plans to “fix” the Mercer mess. This is the first good news I’ve heard in months and I hope that other business in the area join them.

Don’t get me wrong. The Mercer Street interchange with Interstate 5 desperately needs fixing but the mayor’s and City Council’s plans are not it. The city claims that only about 39,000 cars use Mercer Street daily. I think they are only counting the morning commute out of town because that number seems very low.

Even if they are correct and they succeed in their plan, the capacity of eastbound Mercer will be cut in half. Where will those 20,000 cars per day go? To other onramps that are already backed up as bad or worse than on Mercer?

What Mercer street needs is, first, active traffic control for all the lights from Dexter to the east, and from Denny to Westlake, possibly live police officers. Second, reroute the on/offramps to and from Mercer on I-5 to the right-hand lane. Third, repave the road with freeway-thickness concrete, not asphalt. Forth, put some trees along sides of the road for people to look at — not in the center.

I know the city wants to make Mercer pretty, but the cost is much too high. If they succeed, it will choke downtown in its own traffic. People are already avoiding the city center because they waste too much time getting there and back. This will make it many times worse.

Please urge our City Council to step back and rethink its half-baked plan and adopt a realistic one.

— Tom Kesterson, Seattle

Bus message inappropriate

As a recent visitor to your city for a series of business meetings, I absolutely loved the culture, cuisine and beauty Seattle has to offer.

What a dynamic, energizing place!

One sizable disappointment, though, was the blatant political message I saw on the side of a city bus while I sipped coffee at a local cafe.

The message was “End the Siege of Gaza” and it was blazoned on the bus full of morning commuters.

For what I’m guessing is a quasi-public entity to allow one of its vehicles to be used as a “vehicle” for such volatile and subjective rhetoric is in very poor taste.

Next time, they should stick to cellphone and restaurant ads.

— Patrick O’Connor, Indianapolis, Ind.

Stop the bike assaults

The article “Attacks on bicycle commuters spur rider-awareness campaign” [Local News, March 11] worries me. The real campaign should be to stop the assaults, rather than to spur our awareness.

If people are wearing hockey masks and determined to assault people as they come out of the tunnel, it doesn’t really matter how aware we are; eventually, more people will get robbed or hurt. After all, there aren’t too many places to exit the tunnel other than at the ends of it.

— Paul Backstrom, Kirkland

Comments | More in bicycling, Public safety, Transportation


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