Northwest NEWS

April 10, 2000


King County is kidding itself

   Writing from the informed basis of a news reporter, Marshall Haley's April 3rd [commentary] on useless traffic projects was especially interesting--especially his pointing out that too many expensive, endless-traffic-backup-during-construction projects result in such miniscule traffic-movement improvement.

   His comment that light-rail won't be the answer to our prayers is right on, judging from what I saw in a recent round-the-world trip. In downtown Osaka, I stood on a pedestrian overpass and counted 11 lanes of auto traffic below, that were in addition to a special bus area and both elevated and underground rail systems. And there are huge, double-decked freeways leading in all directions.

   Japan is a case study of growth management, with the population housed in city high-rises and with extensive rural open space. Car ownership is strictly controlled, and yet there is still need for numerous and wide freeways.

   King County is kidding itself that it won't need new roads just because light-rail will be the solution.

Maxine Keesling, Woodinville