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Opinion Northwest

Join the informed writers of The Times' editorial board in lively discussions at our blog, Opinion Northwest.

Topic: traffic

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September 26, 2014 at 11:48 AM

Do city growth strategies subtly discourage car ownership?


Drivers and traffic enforcement officials struggled to deal with vehicular congestion on Mercer Street in this August 2012 photo. (Jordan Stead / The Seattle Times)

After a long evening of revelry while attending a soccer tournament in Portugal a few years ago, I was more than ready to grab a taxi home.
But that very American inclination to pay someone to do for me what I could do for myself was quickly rubbished by my new friend-in-football Jürgen Meier from Munich.

“No Robert,” I remember Jürgen protesting in a slightly lubricated Bavarian accent. “We can walk it!”

Not wanting to appear narrow-minded, I relented and I unhappily scaled a few miles of Lisbon’s undulating topography.

Sure, Jürgen insisted we walk home because it saved money, but his core motivation — like most Europeans — was that he came from a walking culture.

Americans, conversely, have an emphatic driving culture. We’ll drive three blocks to a convenience store. I know this because I’ve done it … many times.

And we’ve always liked our cars proportionate to our hedonistic appetites. American motorists proudly sported battleship steel monstrosities in the 1970s, and bogarted cramped roads with Hummers 20 years later. But in rapidly growing cities, the cult of the car is


Comments | Topics: congestion, Seattle, traffic

July 22, 2013 at 6:15 AM

Poll: Should school-zone camera ticket money be earmarked and kept separate from general funds?

Mayor Mike McGinn and the Seattle City Council agree that all money raised from the $189 school-zone traffic cameras should be used for  road and pedestrian-safety projects near schools. But according to a Times story on Sunday, the question dividing the council and mayor is how to ensure the money is only used for school-related…


Comments | Topics: children, Education, public safety

February 19, 2013 at 7:23 AM

Word cloud: What’s your idea to fix Seattle traffic: gondola, zip line, jet pack?

Today’s crazy idea to fix Seattle traffic: a gondola connecting Capitol Hill to the sculpture park on the waterfront. The idea was mentioned in a news story by Mike Lindblom Tuesday. This is a town that loves looney traffic ideas. Seattle loves to get excited about futuristic transit possibilities. This is not a city that actually…


Comments | Topics: traffic, transportation