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Thursday, October 16, 2008


posted by on October 16 at 10:36 AM

I’m heading down to the Washington Athletic Club to see Tim Eyman debate Ron Sims on Eyman’s latest, the traffic-congestion-worsening I-985, but I just looked in my inbox and saw I needn’t bother: In an email, Eyman has already declared victory. His reasoning? “Putting a spotlight” on 985 “can only help the ‘Yes 985’ campaign. And getting the media to report on this critical issue during a crowded presidential/ gubernatorial election year is a real coup.”

That’s a pretty bold assertion, considering that the media coverage of I-985 has been overwhelmingly negative—and considering that just one newspaper, the Olympian, has endorsed Eyman’s latest proposal. (I know that, in part, because Eyman cites the endorsement endlessly—in emails, in press releases, and during our endorsement interview with him last week). Far from “reducing traffic congestion,” I-985 would make congestion worse—by opening HOV lanes to everyone 18 hours a day, eliminating a major funding source for rebuilding the 520 bridge, barring the use of local transportation dollars for local transportation solutions, and effectively eliminating red-light cameras that prevent accidents.

Should be a fun debate.

RSS icon Comments


I know that as a journalist, you're supposed to be objective and unbiased and all that, but could you do me a huge favor and give him a swift kick in the nuts when you see him? I'd do it myself, but I'm not a WAC member and I'm kind of busy here at the office this morning.

Posted by Hernandez | October 16, 2008 10:43 AM

Make it two kicks--I have a lunch date I can't cancel.

Posted by J.R. | October 16, 2008 10:47 AM

damn, JR - you were supposed to sit at my table!

Posted by ECB | October 16, 2008 11:05 AM

On red light cameras: Do we have numbers on how effective they are at preventing accidents? The data I've seen has tended to indicate that they end up being used as a revenue source.

Particularly, one of the most effective ways to reduce accidents is to increase yellow-light times, while cities with red light cameras typically will decrease yellow light times because it leads to more violations.

I'm not being facetious here, I'm genuinely curious if there's data I haven't seen.

Posted by Ben | October 16, 2008 11:16 AM

Remind Tim from me that I'm still mad at him for using my old post office to get free service that my Seattle taxes paid for.

I want a refund from him.

Posted by Will in Seattle | October 16, 2008 11:23 AM

@1 - I'll second that motion!

Posted by Sad Comment | October 16, 2008 11:33 AM

Hubris is summer in the 2008 with the dewey decimal system and the numbers 362.294 smith 1994 to page 498 bellerophon class 1906

Posted by danielbennettkieneker | October 16, 2008 11:42 AM
Posted by O | October 16, 2008 12:21 PM

#8 - That paper was an interesting read but sadly devolved into 7th grade level paranoia.

An excerpt:
"Why Might Insurers Support Cameras If They
Increase Crashes and Costs?
More crashes lead to higher insurance premiums, leading to higher profits, which in turn lead to increases in insurance stock prices."

Was the study funded by the NMA?

Posted by Dougsf | October 16, 2008 12:56 PM

I don't get ECB's red-light-camera claim. My understanding is that Tim's intiative requires the revenues from red-light-camera tickets to be spent on road improvements. Is that wrong? Assuming that's not wrong:

1. Revenues are fungible, so as long as cities were planning to spend at least that much money on road improvements, they have the same financial incentive to install red-light-cameras.

2. Even if they didn't have a financial incentive, if the cameras do reduce accidents isn't that incentive enough? Are cities run for profit now? If so, can we please get rid of all social services?

Posted by David Wright | October 16, 2008 1:58 PM


Cities should be run according to the will of their currently elected representatives. Getting a lot of angry rural idiots to shove some fiscal restriction down Seattle's throat is pure mischief. If we elect a city council that wants to run at a profit, or install one million red light cameras just to watch the pretty lights, what's it to you? At least we can hold somebody accountable for the results.

Really, if everyone out in the exurbs hates civilization that much, move to rural Idaho and do whatever you want.

Posted by elenchos | October 16, 2008 2:46 PM

@10: Simple math, David. Eyman's initiative doesn't allow cities to use red light camera ticket revenues to pay for the camera or its operation--every penny collected goes to the state. So, it's likely that few cities will continue to install or operate red light cameras when they no longer pay for themselves.

Posted by J.R. | October 16, 2008 3:11 PM

If anyone wants something to dispute Eyman's contentions that we need more roads to relieve congestion, here's an article from Wired that found that closing roads relieves congestion.

Posted by Silverstar98121 | October 16, 2008 7:34 PM

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