June 14, 2007
According to some sources there are now more than 60 million blogs worldwide, and the number is continuing to increase rapidly. Do we really need still more? Apparently we do, at least a few more, anyway.
This blog deals with a topic which consistently ranks among those of greatest interest to the citizens of the greater Seattle metropolitan area -- transportation. While our region is well known for its exceptionally high quality of life, including a diversified and vigorous economy, great natural beauty, low crime rate, outstanding cultural facilities, etc., something is missing. It is a quality transportation system. Not only are there many serious problems with regard to transportation in this region, but, in fact, it is sometimes said that we suffer from among the worst transportation planning of any major metropolitan area in the U.S. The region has a history of serious blunders with regard to transportation, and there is much concern that more are about to be made.
There is little doubt that this is a crucial (perhaps crisis would be a better word) time for transportation in the Puget Sound region. For example:
Two major traffic arteries, the Seattle Viaduct and the SR520 bridge, are rapidly deteriorating and are subject to collapse in a big earthquake.
Traffic congestion is at a record level and is expected to continue to worsen.
Air quality continues to deteriorate, and more and more studies are confirming that it can cause serious diseases and increase mortality.
No serious plan has been made for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
An incredibly massive and seriously flawed transportation measure is scheduled for the November election.
Some government officials persist with their bizarre effort to replace a still operating railroad that parallels the most congested freeway in the entire Northwest with a bicycle trail.
This is just a partial list. If this is not a crisis, what is?
Of course, not everything is bad about transportation in the Puget Sound region. Far from it. There are some excellent aspects to our transportation infrastructure and manye dedicated public officials who are trying as hard as they can to improve the situation. And we even have a few things that we can boast about, including the nation's largest passenger ferry system, our (still floating) floating bridges and Seattle's efficient trolley bus system. But pieces such as these are not enough.
Failure to address these issues could severely affect our local economy, public health, our environment and just about everything else about our region. In fact, it already has. One commonly cited example is the departure of Boeing's headquarters several years ago. A major factor that Boeing (which manufactures transportation equipment) mentioned was the poor transportation in the region. They went to Chicago, which, despite its problems, has a really impressive transportation system, including a rapid transit system and an extensive commuter rail system, both of which have been in place for more than a century. A hundred years later and the Seattle region still does not have rapid transit and has only a very minimal commuter rail service!
This blog provides a centralized location for current information about and discussion of one of the key components in improving transportation in the greater Seattle metropolitan area. It is the Eastside railroad, officially referred to as the Woodinville subdivision. This still operating, but threatened, railroad runs for more than 40 miles through the heart of the Eastside and parallel to the most congested freeway in the entire Northwest. It has the potential to serve as the core of a low cost, environmentally- friendly regional rail transit system which could use existing tracks to extend all the way from Tacoma in the south to Everett in the north.
Among the topics to be discussed in future postings on this blog are why some local government officials are so opposed to this common sense solution for improving transportation on the Eastside and how outraged citizens are fighting back.
This is your site. Feel free to send in your comments, suggestions, corrections, articles, etc. to info at eastsiderailnow.org. We look forward to hearing from you.
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