The Big Loser
Poor Mayor Nickles. He championed the monorail debacle and lost. Now, his own bright idea – the Tunnel of Love – has about as much support as a sunbathing party on rainy February day. Just as we predicted.
In today’s vote-for-the-sake-of-a-vote, the Nickel’s tunnel lost pitifully. Finally, people in Seattle are waking up to the fiscally irresponsible notions of most of our city’s government. Not even the tunnel “lite” option, which reduced the tunnel to a width insufficient to allow the Mayor’s ever increasing girth to pass without a ramming rod pushing him through, is unacceptable.
The elevated highway has received less than 50% of the vote as well. But, at 40% plus, if the ballot had been designed as it should have been, with a choice of either a tunnel OR an elevated highway, the elevated viaduct would have won easily. Instead, the cynical designers of the ballot left the option open for the perpetually disaffected and loopy voters of Seattle to defiantly vote no to everything.
Of course, now idiots like Danny Westneat are saying that we need to go with all surface option. That’s a pretty stupid idea and will leave downtown Seattle in a permanent state of decline – condo construction boom or not. A downtown area that cannot be accessed will die. It already struggles under extremely poor road engineering that makes entering and leaving the city a nightmare.
Meanwhile, the idea that people will hop on buses in large numbers is pure fantasy. And, why should they? Hybrid cars are all the rage and they solve much of the problem of CO2 emissions in the city (where slow traffic keeps them in electric mode at most times). Why loose time taking buses and light rail when you can buy yourself a hybrid, feel green (and look it, which is of primary importance in PC-whipped Seattle), and get around without being herded into cattle cars?
A truly enlightened city and state would count on higher oil prices, and our technological response to them, to reduce CO2 emissions and other auto pollution. Hybrid gas electric. Pure electric. And eventually hydrogen fuel cell power plants. Planners would be building roads to make the flow of traffic smoother and faster and designing roads that are optimized for these new vehicles. Instead, their only plan is for congestion and the hope that traffic-jams-by-design will force people to hop on buses. Buses and other mass transit run by city, regional, and state governmental bureaucracies, after all, give the NW breed of politician what they most want – control over as much of your life as possible.
In the meantime, we are in the no-man’s land of a silly vote that was designed to fail. That was designed to illicit “no.” But, with any luck, the elevated highway will now go ahead as planned and we will inadvertently take an optimistic path that prepares for a future with internal combustion engines playing an ever declining role in our “autonomous” (oh, I know how Nickels and his pals hate the idea of people being autonomous) automobiles.
Or, we could just forget about Seattle and put the viaduct money where it will be appreciated – into the 520 bridge or other projects on the Eastside that will keep those electric motors humming along, sensible people moving around, and enterprise flourishing.
In the meantime, sorry Mr. Mayor, but your vision has lost big time. Perhaps it’s time you got back to Seattle, stopped wasting our tax dollars on your Kyoto nonsense, and got down to solving some problems. Or get out of the way and let someone take over that will.
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