July 3, 2000
I speak of the so-called Light Rail Transit mode of transit. No, we have voted for a 21st century means of travel. And the "powers that be" seem to ignore the people's choice sorta like a pesky fly.
Light rail. How many street crossings, say, between Northgate and Southgate? Every one of these potential unsightly street hazards will require unsightly street crossing warning signs, flashing lights, maybe some barricades which the younger drivers may like to ignore.
So we have a cumbersome ugly-looking mess adding nothing to the aesthetics of this touted great city which is already overburdened with overhead power lines and washboard chuckholed streets throughout our neighborhoods. Why trash us some more?
And of course tunneling under the U of Dub won't be cheap. Is there no pride in our local government ... or who is paying off whom?
On May 30, the City Council voted against putting the monorail question before the people again. What's their fear? Light rail factions are paying off whom. Why not extend the mono to Sea-Tac, eventually to Vancouver, and to Portland? More remote extensions can be added later. Certainly we could/should be more sensibly progressive in today's planning for our future needs.
The rails were first developed back in Civil War days. They were used extensively in the 20th century. Time marches forward. Why can't our City Council? We're now in the 21st century, I think.
We read of other countries having hi-speed monorails doing well over 100 miles per hour. I would like to envision a huge centralized airport, say in a non-urban flatland area like Moses Lake. High-speed monos spoking out from there to Spokane, the Tri-Cities, Yakima, Seattle, etc. With today's technology, why not?
Talk about the quality of our city planning departments. Consider that today, we have miles of freshly paved streets now being dug up right down the middle. To install what? Then, of course, comes the patch work. All of our streets need patch work. (Isn't it the "in" thing here?) Why can't whatever it is, be laid somewhere else? If it's that important to dig up, then patch up (paid for with tax money) newly paved streets (paid for with tax money, of course), why wasn't it thought of before the streets were newly paved?
I feel it's a blatant example of our tax supported planning groups. Can they really see beyond the outlines of their desks?
I feel that the voters need an honest explanation as to why light rail should be shoved down our throats. Why is the peoples' vote being ignored? Is it because the people are considered not to be very smart and don't know any better? Now, our trusted Ron Sims prefers a sneak job to bury it under a single tax proposal ... along with: New bus ways, Park & Ride spots, traffic light synchronization, etc.
Then credit the people with changing their minds for his light rail plan ... counting, of course, on a sufficent number of unwary voters to pass it. I feel this tactic goes beyond "pork barreling" and should be illegal.
I would like to see our media expose this ploy for what it is. For my part, I don't feel that putting good tax money into a new set of outmoded rail makes much sense ... or any sense.
D. Smith, Seattle, WA