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Straight talk express

Post by Patrick O'Callahan on July 27, 2009 at 5:37 pm with 5 Comments »
July 27, 2009 5:37 pm

Bluntness is one of Tacoma City Councilwoman Julie Anderson’s virtues (or vices, perhaps, if you’re on the receiving end).

This morning, Sound Transit officials led a small crowd on a walking tour of the route on which it will build Sounder tracks from Freighthouse Square to Pacific Avenue in Tacoma.

It was one of those “public process” events. Most of the people there were Dome district advocates who oppose the agency’s plan to put the tracks atop a berm instead of the post-and-beam design they favor.

The engineering on the berm is mostly done. The agency has already decided that the post-and-beam structure wouldn’t work as well (at least for its own purposes) and would be more expensive.

Still, the people associated with that decision – Sound Transit CEO Joni Earl and Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy, among others – were conciliatory as could be. They left the distinct impression that they were going to hear everyone out and take everything into consideration. Which is not the same thing as saying anything’s going to change.

But Anderson – a member of the Sound Transit board and now a candidate for county auditor – told me the issue is ancient history. “It’s unfortunate that people think we’re at a decision point, because a decision was made quite some time ago.”

There’s something to be said for not getting people’s hopes up.

Taking notice
Leave a comment Comments → 5
  1. julieanderson says:

    “…a decision was made quite some time ago.”

    That is,….After 30+ outreach meetings, a two-year delay in service to consider changes, significant revisions in design to improve the project (at a cost increase of $75 million and counting, with NOTHING being contributed by the City), and after a unanimous endorsement of the plan by the City Manager and the Tacoma City Council.

    While details may change, the basic design and alignment of the crossing is at 75% final engineering. This is significant.

    It would not be honest or scrupulous to tell citizens that the Sound Transit Board is considering ANOTHER major change in alignment or construction.

    I represent the interests of a MUCH larger group of citizens and tax payers than the vocal minority on this project.

    And I have listened – carefully – to the concerns of citizens who have been paying attention to the issue. Proof point #1: We stopped the project several years ago and redesigned the project in response to concerns about the at-grade crossing. Proof point #2: We commissioned a citizen panel to provide additional guideance on the final design and we adopted three of the four key recommendations of that panel.

    It should be noted that the citizen panel WAS DIVIDED (not unanimous) on the question of berm v. post and beam.

    I love the City of Tacoma and would never settle for an inferior solution or service for our City. The design and construction of the Sounder crossing is the very best practical solution.

    Completion of this project will bring prosperity and new investments to the City of Tacoma.

  2. sloremodeler says:

    I appreciate Julie Anderson’s direct talk. The Sounder train to Lakewood was supposed to open originally in 2003. We are now 6 years late and have not even broke ground. I am very disappointed in the way Jim Merritt has approached this issue. He has let Pearson Clair from Brown & Helpme sucker him into this issue. While Marilyn hasn’t done much, I am considering switching my vote to her camp because of this issue. Sound Transit – please build the extension and let’s get rail service to South Tacoma and Lakewood!

  3. Another puff piece on Julie Anderson. The McClatchys would never dare ask their friend any tuff questions.

    Let’s face it: Princess Julie doesn’t represent us, never has, never will. She makes no effort to bring our views to the Transit Board, nor to its administration. Rather, she sees her job to advocate their decisions to us. The other Transit Board members do represent their communities: look at the Lakewood and (huge) Seattle stations and all Tacoma gets are a few shelters. Seattle’s light rail cost several billions over budget, there was plenty of money to cover the overspending. Belleuve wants a tunnel and they will get what they want. Tacoma asks for little in comparision, but the Princess is against it.

  4. If Julie represents a MUCH larger group of citizens and tax payers, why not resign from the city council now and focus on her larger audience. ? Public transportation needs to be built with the future of the community in mind, no the future of a politician. Would it not be prudent to consider AMTRAK as well? Because Sound Transit is 75% done planning a mistake they are willing to bring it to fruition?
    Let’s stop and think and do it right for once! Have a look around other places. A neighborhood with all major public transportation hubs is the most viable area for a future when gas prices are prohibitive for individuals to drive cars. We can deny the fact as much as we want, but the world will look different in forty, sixty or a hundred years. To run a berm through that very neighborhood just because RIGHT NOW only a handful of voting residents live there is short sighted. Instead, let’s make an effort to move people into the Dome District, instead of developing more Ortings. Seattle gets 1.6 billions to underground the Viaduct and Tacoma gets a berm? We deserve better planning, we deserve better leadership. We deserve it because we have gotten plenty of crap in the past!

  5. transitory says:

    @JulieAnderson: please stop the misinformation now. The engineering is at 30%, not at 75%. At the open house they told us that it won’t be at 75% until October… and engineering firms don’t just speed up by 3 months.

    Also, you say you agreed to 3 of 4 issues from the citizen advisory group — but those 3 are tiny issues, compared to the “4th”… i.e. the whole project!

    And you seem to think Tacoma is divided about this. It’s not — pretty much every single neighborhood council has gotten behind the citizens group on this. Tacoma doesn’t want a berm. A berm is a good solution in the countryside — not in the middle of a city.

    Sound transit wants it because it’s cheaper, and since you’ve already gone this route (after spending 3 years making errors in your project) you need to rush and get it done fast. But Tacoma deserves better! Please listen to the people of Tacoma.

    100 community members came on Monday — how can you ignore them all?

    And… Tacoma News Tribune — shame on you for taking her lines, hook line and sinker. The community is talking straight here. Julie Anderson is trying to hoodwink us all.

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