By Lukas Velush, Herald Writer
Readers of The Herald have lots of opinions about why the overly ambitious roads and transit tax package flamed out at the ballot earlier this month.
Suggestions ranged far and wide, including living closer to work, tolls that target when traffic is at its worst and not fixing roads and transit so that new people stay away.
None of those who wrote me about the failure of Prop. 1 defended it, which I found surprising.
It would seem someone would rise up to support a package that would have done so much to fix Snohomish County’s transportation problems.
The worst I-5 interchanges would have been rebuilt. Highway 9 would be widened all the way to Lake Stevens. U.S. 2 trestle congestion would be eased by building new ramps on both ends. Light rail would be extended all the way to Lynnwood.
Instead, voters decided that nothing should be done.
OK, they also decided that asking for billions of dollars to pay for it and waiting as long as 20 years to see the results was too much.
None of those who responded to my query about what’s next now that Prop. 1 failed called for a new tax package. They had other ideas.
Mike Gorman of Camano Island would like to see the electronic cameras that nail for people running red lights used for a better purpose.
“If an automated system of cameras (with computerized billing to the license plate) was put in place when and where the worst congestion areas are, and the money used only to fund the collection system and buy and build bypass highways like the one around Vancouver and Portland, the public would accept it as needed,” Gorman said. “This would be sort of a pay as you go system.”
He also suggests extending the carpool lane from Everett to Marysville, keeping big trucks in the far right two lanes and using onramp meters in a way that actually keeps traffic moving.
Joellyn Clark of Marysville rejected claims by politicians that there is no “Plan B,” arguing that the failed roads and transit tax package was not the only option.
“There is a Plan B,” Clark said. “It’s called moving closer to work or finding work closer to home. It’s what thousands of people go out of their way to do.”
Along similar lines, Stan Knoblich of Everett believes better roads and transit opportunities will bring more people to the area.
“You know the imaginary million people that are suppose to come here in the next 20 years or so — all the natives are wishing that they all go away,” Knoblich said. “My mantra is, ‘don’t build it and they won’t come.’ The only ones that want to see (all the growth) are the politicians and developers so they can fill their coffers and support their houses on their 20 acre lots in their gated communities.”
Howard Lucus of Arlington said Prop. 1 was too confusing and too big for voters to get behind. He wasn’t convinced that new riders would flock to a light-rail train that will follow the same route buses now take.
“For public transportation to have any effect on congestion, people are going to have to get out of their cars and use it,” Lucus added. “Who are these people? To convince me, the proponents need to identify the customers they are going to serve and I haven’t seen that information anywhere.”
Oh yeah, before I forget
I’ve started a Street Smarts blog on our Web site, where I aim to pollute your mind with more noise about commuting on our region’s clogged roads. My goal is to expand on what I do in this column. Find the blog at www.heraldnet.com/streetsmarts.
Reporter Lukas Velush: 425-339-3449 or email@example.com.