Light Rail in Seattle
The Need for Candor
In a September 16, 1999 letter to the
Seattle Post Intelligencer, Seattle Mayor Schell and the county executives of King, Pierce and
Snohomish Counties called for the Central Link light rail debate to be kept "at a high and constructive level."
A good starting point would be to get the facts straight. Contrary to the letter, light
rail will not carry the equivalent number of trips as a new freeway and will not provide faster travel time.
Indeed, no new US light rail system carries a volume remotely equaling the volume of a single freeway lane.
And the light rail's snail's pace average 17 miles per hour lengthens travel times,
which is one of the reasons that it attracts so few auto drivers. Things will be no different in Seattle.
After the area has spent billions on light rail, the fundamental issue will remain --- how to accommodate
the traffic congestion that will be virtually the same as if light rail had not been built.
(c) 2000 www.publicpurpose.com --- Wendell Cox Consultancy --- Permission granted to use with attribution.
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