City Connelly’s Latest Blather
posted by March 16 at 11:13 AMon
With his favorite target—proposals to build anything other than a massive new elevated freeway on Seattle’s waterfront—gaining traction (voters rejected the rebuild 44 to 56 percent), he’s turned his sights on another one of those wacky effete Seattle ideas: Mass transit. In today’s column, Connelly comes out in favor of legislation that would consolidate all the regional transportation agencies into a single uber-agency, on the grounds that it would allow someone other than us effete Seattle liberals to make “politically incorrect” decisions—like building roads instead of light rail. Or—even better—taking money away from light rail and putting it into buses.*
Above all, proposed transit systems would have to be justified as the best way for getting people from place to place.
Backers of light rail would have to give proof of benefits to match its sky-high cost. They’d have to show suitability to the Eastside. A Ron Sims vision speech won’t cut it.
The commission could consider fast, predictable bus service as an alternative. It could ask salient, politically incorrect questions: What about diverting transit dollars to the vitally necessary upgrade of state Route 520?
Predictable bus service? I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that Joel Connelly hasn’t been near a bus since Emmett Watson was a lad. Bus service isn’t predictable—it’s slow and unreliable and has to share roads with all the other traffic, which is why people don’t like using it. Predictability is precisely light rail’s advantage. And handing over authority over Seattle’s transit system to road-crazy Eastside Republicans may be Connelly’s wet dream, but it would be a disaster for Seattle. If this week’s election told us anything, it was that voters are sick of doing things the same old way. Building more roads, which get congested—then putting buses on those congested roads—doesn’t work. Perhaps if Connelly took the time to ride Seattle’s transit system, the way the “ordinary folks” he claims to speak for do, he would have come to a different conclusion.
*On the other hand, at least he’s not insulting the intelligence of Seattle voters and calling for an elevated viaduct rebuild.