Inside Opinion

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Tag: Sound Transit


Sound Transit, rescue mission must both prevail

This editorial will appear in Monday’s print edition.

Tacoma needs two outcomes from the dispute between Sound Transit and Tacoma Rescue Mission.

One: Sound Transit must get on with building its 8.2-mile Tacoma Dome-to-Lakewood commuter rail extension.

Two: The rescue mission must ensure that 140 homeless men can continue to sleep at the South Tacoma Way shelter that sits 55 feet from Sound Transit’s tracks.

Both can happen – and should – if Sound Transit is to fulfill its obligations to this community.

The three-county transit authority took the rescue mission to court this month to force the condemnation of land it needs to get Sounder trains to Lakewood.

The agency is rightly anxious to secure the land it needs to get Sounder trains to Lakewood. The agency initially promised to extend Sounder service to that city by 2001; Lakewood residents have been paying taxes for nearly 14 years on the promise of commuter rail service.

But the Tacoma Rescue Mission’s plight is similarly sympathetic.

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‘Vision Line’: Cheaper, faster, fewer riders

Sound Transit is out with its analysis of the “Vision Line” that we wrote about a week ago. As predicted, the route preferred by a majority of the Bellevue City Council is cheap and quick, coming in at $145 million below Sound Transit’s budget and shaving three minutes off light rail travel time.

But it pays for those cost and time savings with lower ridership. The Vision Line is projected to have fewer boardings than all but one of the 10 downtown Bellevue alignments Sound Transit has studied. One reason is the Vision Line puts the downtown station

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Light-rail growing pains

No matter where Sound Transit points its trains, controversy seems to follow. I come to those discussions with the perspective of someone who was raised in Portland, where bellyaching about the mess caused by the latest MAX light rail project is a favorite pastime.

I grew up three blocks from the new North Portland line on Interstate Boulevard, which had become a sad strip of seedy motels and boarded-up stores by the time I moved away in the early 1990s. My mom still lives there and complained bitterly when she found out light rail was coming. But I think

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Bellevue’s ‘vision’ puts transit out of focus

This editorial will appear in Monday’s print edition.

A fight’s brewing in Bellevue that could have unfortunate consequences for light-rail users in the South Sound and across the Puget Sound region.

The value of the Sound Transit light-rail system depends on its proximity to people and the places they want to go. Opposition to the regional transit agency’s preferred light-rail route in Bellevue risks thwarting the system’s ability to deliver.

Eastside leaders have long been opposed to Sound Transit’s plans to run light rail on surface streets through downtown Bellevue. They say that construction would disrupt businesses and that trains would clog traffic.

The opposition is led by powerful interests that don’t like any light rail. Anti-transit developer Kemper Freeman Jr. owns a good chunk of downtown Bellevue and has led past fights against Sound Transit ballot measures. He’s also given heavily to local politicians. In November, he bought himself a majority on the Bellevue City Council.

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Coming this weekend: Fighting child porn, making light rail work

Here’s what we’re working on for Sunday and Monday:

It’s not easy to prosecute those who view child pornography, but it could be a little less difficult if the lawmakers passed legislation requested by state Attorney General Rob McKenna. That legislation would give law enforcement an upgraded set of tools to fight despicable crimes whose evidence is shared across secretive computer networks.

A fight’s brewing in Bellevue that will affect how useful Sound Transit’s light rail is to South Sound users. The Bellevue City Council, backed by powerful downtown and anti-light rail interests, wants the line to either skirt downtown

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The Battle of the Berm

In battle, the fate of empires can turn on a small piece of higher ground. Think Little Roundtop. Think Bunker Hill.

Think the Dome District berm.

OK, that’s hyping things a bit, but the berm – which Sound Transit wants to build to bring its Sounder trains from Freighthouse Square to Pacific Avenue – is turning improbably into the central issue in Tacoma’s mayoral race.

Jim Merritt (I give some credit to campaign manager Ronnie Bush) has been playing the issue brilliantly. A much-respected architect, he’s pushing a “post-and-beam” alternative of concrete piers, and he’s has positioned himself as the champion of underdog Tacoma against the overbearing Sound Transit.

His opponent, Marilyn Strickland, has had a hard time responding. She voted with her fellow city council members to work with Sound Transit, which Merritt’s camp casts as a bully bent on ruining the future of the Dome District.

In the middle of all this is City Manager Eric Anderson. Visiting us yesterday, he offered a far less apocalyptic view of the beam-vs.-berm choice.
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