Seattle’s public transportation debate: Is a light rail the best option?

Seattle’s public transportation debate: Is a light rail the best option?

I consider myself an urbanite.

I live across the street from my office. My daily commute is a five-minute walk. My boyfriend and I share one car, and use it about twice a week for errands. I choose walking or public transit over driving when I can, …

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I consider myself an urbanite.

I live across the street from my office. My daily commute is a five-minute walk. My boyfriend and I share one car, and use it about twice a week for errands. I choose walking or public transit over driving when I can, and I’m a happy participant of Downtown Bellevue In Motion.

That’s why I was initially so excited to see Proposition 1 on this November’s ballot.

The so-called Roads and Transit package aims to “reduce transportation congestion, increase road and transit capacity, promote safety, facilitate mobility, provide for an integrated regional transportation system, and improve the health, welfare, and safety of the citizens of Washington”.

Googling (such an unfortunate phrase) the terms “Seattle Roads and Transit“ brings up pages and pages of editorials and blogs arguing for or against a package that promises big changes to our transit system. I won’t recap them all here.

But I’m left with a dilemma. Those opposing this package have legitimate arguments, and I’m worried if this package will actually help our serious traffic congestion.

Having used public transit systems in many other cities, I’ve always thought Seattle’s is a bit lacking. Except for the Sounder trains and the ill-fated monorail, everything is bus-focused.

Roads and Transit finally gives the Puget Sound region a viable light rail system.

I’ll be honest. I don’t think this plan is the solution to all of our transit problems. It is a step in the right direction. Traffic here is some of the worst in the country, and we can’t afford to wait for the perfect plan to come along.

The only long-term solution to traffic congestion is to provide alternate means of transport. If driving a car is the fastest way from point A to B, most people will choose that option. Once light rail or buses become a faster, cheaper or less stressful option, more people will use public transit.

Change is always hard, especially when it costs money. Even with my doubts, I still support Roads and Transit. It’s the best option we have right now.

—Michele M. Fierro

Tags: public transportationseattlelight rail

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