Letters for the week of Feb. 29
Plastic and weeds
All this hype about plastic shopping bags [“City’s plastic bag ban is silly,” The Beacon, Letters, page 4, Feb. 22]. It’s not just bags that are plastic. Should we ban everything that is made of plastic? That would be impossible.
Weeds are like plastic. They keep popping up everywhere. That’s why we have a compost bin and why we should have the same for plastic instead of improper disposal like in the ocean.
Anders F. Jacobsen,
Four ferry options offer incomplete solutions
The following are the comments I submitted after attending the public hearing in Mukilteo Feb. 22:
There are two significant issues not being addressed in the four proposed options [“An overview: The four ferry options,” The Beacon, front page, Feb. 22]. $60 million to $165 million is too much money to spend on incomplete solutions to the issues with SR-525 traffic and the Mukilteo waterfront.
1) The two-lane portion of SR-525 is completely inadequate for current traffic of 2 million annual vehicles (WSF 2011 statistic), let alone proposed increases.
It passes through an area with two schools, a post office and hundreds of houses, some of which require left turns across ferry traffic to access.
Backup of peak ferry traffic on the road isn't the issue, the volume of traffic in a residential/school area is.
2) Both Elliot Point options turn prime Northwest waterfront into a parking lot, not even for people enjoying the area, but SR-525 through transit. Beachfront access is minimal and this resource is essentially wasted in favor of a parking lot with a view.
"No Build" and "Existing Site Improvements" are needed to stop cars from falling into the Sound from old docks, but are expensive band-aids.
There has been a great deal of good work done framing the opportunities and options, but before we spend any money, let's get the complete solutions defined.
Remodel today’s ferry system
After attending the WSDOT ferry relocation program last night, it occurred to me that those we have charged with the responsibility of “fixing” our ailing transportation system are simply following our directions.
Unfortunately, I think the box we have given them to work within has steered them in the wrong direction. The time has come to look at our system and find a way to make it work for today’s model.
The present day mindset is to take the same broken model, tweak it by adding an expensive new infrastructure, and plod forward in to the future. We need a change, but we are unwilling to give up anything to get it.
Mayor Joe Marine has made great strides to bring this cash cow home for us. It’s what we have asked from all of our elected officials. Bring home the bacon. $160 million is too much for him to say no to.
My solution is not new. We have proven several times over the past 50 years that running expensive ferries are not the only answer. When the docks are closed, either by strikes or for repairs, an amazing thing happens. We adapt. We make changes.
The analogy could be made with the U.S. space program. For years, we spent billions to explore the unknown. We went to the moon, we built a space station and an expensive shuttle program.
Times changed, and we can no longer afford the shuttles to get us to our new home in space. We now rely on the Russians to fly us to the station. But we still go, because it adds value to our lives.
If the ferry system (we taxpayers) cannot even cover the cost of a new shuttle (sorry, ferry), shouldn’t we consider an alternative?
Try this. Run ferries by reservation in the morning, giving lifeline trucks first priority there and back. Raise the price for cars. Run passenger only boats to shuttle commuters for the rest of the day. And, better yet, privatize those boats. Free market ferry rides, freeing up millions to our empty coffers and creating new jobs in the process.
Put a toll on Deception Pass Bridge to prepare for it’s eventual replacement. Put a park-and-ride on Bernie Webber Drive and shuttle riders like they do everywhere else.
We are the hub for transportation in our area. The wheel of this wagon does not necessarily include moving cars back and forth all day and night. Move passengers more efficiently. Boats, trains, bikes and buses. Make it so, Joes.
Take the unbelievable beachfront and make it a place for all to enjoy. We know there is a market for it. Charge for it if you must. But please don’t cover it in asphalt and squander the chance of a lifetime.
We can adapt and make good things happen. It’s a win-win we should at least consider.
Your friend in the Muk,
Commuters unhappy with bus changes
I'm one of the bus commuters of the bus 417 every day to downtown Seattle where I work. The bus 417 which I used to take at 7 a.m. was always full and it took between 35-40 minutes on I-5.
Since Feb. 20, the new schedule went into force. Mainly 417 goes to Highway 99 and the Lynwood Transit Center so the whole ride is now between 1-1.5 hours.
The 113 bus is no longer to Lynnwood Transit Center but to Ash Way Park & Ride so no one from Mukilteo can go directly to Alderwood Mall unless they transfer to another bus to Ash Way.
We probably can skip shoppin at Alderwood Mall but commuting every day for 3 HOURS has become a nightmare – not just for me but for lots of Mukilteo commuters.
We leave our homes at 6:40 a.m. and get home at the same time p.m. What's left for a dinner and what about a walk? Can we take it after 8 p.m.???
I noticed this morning that just a few (3-4) regular commuters are using the 417. Beside our stop, the bus stops at all small bus stops on Highway 99.
The people from Mukilteo are really unhappy with this new route. How could we have attended the public debates when we were at work? Try sending out a survey!
We used to exchange opinions about our future rides. Options: "I'll have my wife come and me up from Lynwood P&R.” “I'll ask my manager to change my schedule and I have to wake up at 5:30 a.m.” “I'm trying to get the van.”
Why do we have to think about these options? What's the purpose of using the PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION and all the nice stories about environment or "walk and keep yourself healthy"??
I sent an email to community transit and the city electeds. Not everybody has and drives a car and not everybody works in Mukilteo.
We commuters do understand that this change aimed to cut the staff budget but – believe me – fewer riders will use the bus from Mukilteo to Seattle.
Another option would be the train, however, I tried to take it on Thursday and surprise! No train today to the northbound!
I think none of the planners/decision makers commute daily with 417!
Setting the record straight
To set the record straight: As a sitting city councilmember and an advocate of the preservation of open space for almost three decades (Park Board chair for 18 years), I do not now, nor have I ever, and never will support a road through Japanese Gulch [“Road through gulch is city policy,” Letters, page 4, Feb. 22].
For more years than I can remember, I have asked the question: We already have one ugly road through our city, why, then would we advocate adding another ugly road?
Am I in favor of eliminating ferry traffic on the Mukilteo Speedway that affects not just the citizens of Old Town” but the 15,000 + citizens that have to navigate the Speedway every day? The answer is yes, if such a plan would come to fruition, I would support it.
To set the record straight: According the Municipal Research & Services Center, “The mayor-council form (of government) consists of an elected mayor (elected at-large), who serves as the city’s chief administrative officer, and a council (elected either at-large or from districts), which serve as the municipality’s legislative body.
“The council has the authority to formulate and adopt city policies and the mayor is responsible for carrying them out. The mayor attends and presides over council meetings but does not vote, except in the case of a tie.
Many mayor-council cities have hired professional city administrators to serve under the mayor and assist with administrative and policy-related duties. By doing so, these cities hope to gain the benefits of professional management, allowing the mayor to focus greater attention on policy development and political leadership roles.”
Mukilteo City Council,