Inside Opinion

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Tag: traffic

June
11th

New grads: Please just stay alive on the roads this summer

This editorial will appear in Tuesday’s print edition.

To the South Sound Class of 2012:

Your commencement speakers are offering you sage and farsighted advice about your potential, about the adversities and triumphs of a life well lived. Our message is strictly shortsighted: Please, stay alive and uninjured for the next few weeks.

The month of June frequently brings a familiar and tragic genre of headline. Such as:

Teen dies in crash night of graduation

Student fatally injured on highway after party

New grad killed in midnight rollover

Here’s the worst such headline so far this month: Death toll rises to 4 in Ohio pre-graduation crash Read more »

Oct.
26th

Mass transit to Olympia: Let’s start planning

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

Joint Base Lewis-McChord has traffic. Sound Transit has trains. Can we talk?

It’s time Sound Transit and the Thurston County Commission started thinking about bringing regional bus and train service to Olympia.

Anyone who travels between Olympia and communities to the north knows that traffic between Lakewood and the state capital has become routinely hellish. It can take an hour to an hour and a half to make what used to be a fast drive. The congestion has been aggravated by population growth, much of it at Lewis-McChord, where the troops seem to get reinforced every time the Pentagon closes bases elsewhere.

JBLM is now poised to get bigger still, with an influx of about 14,000 additional soldiers and dependents.

As it happens, Interstate 5 shrinks from eight lanes to six not far from where Lewis-McChord begins to disgorge its traffic. That bottleneck will get a lot tighter when the base swells to 36,000 people. Add that to the existing traffic nightmare, and it’s clear the state must create new HOV lanes to connect the planned high-occupancy lanes in Tacoma to points south.

But mass transit is also a logical part of the solution. Those HOV lanes would do the most good if they were efficiently carrying Sound Transit’s express buses through the congestion.

Read more »

April
1st

Put the collar on Nalley Valley line-jumpers


Huge traffic backups are occurring on I-5 as drivers merge into one lane to exit onto state Route 16. Staff photo

This editorial will appear in Friday’s print edition.

When the second Narrows Bridge opened in 2007, Tacoma-area commuters celebrated: Virtually overnight the regular rush-hour backup on state Route 16 had become a thing of the past.
But like the movie monster that just won’t die, the nightmare is back – and apparently not going away any time soon.

A state Department of Transportation construction project is under way to get rid of the infamous Nalley Valley viaduct “weave.” That was the dangerous maneuver that took place when northbound Interstate 5 drivers wanted to merge onto state Route 16 at the same time traffic from southbound I-5 was trying to take the Sprague Avenue exit. Read more »

Jan.
5th

Get off the phone and drive!

I’m working on an editorial in support of making it a primary offense to talk on a hand-held cell phone while driving except for emergency purposes. (And yes, I know columnist Peter Callaghan thinks hands-free devices are just as unsafe. I disagree, figuring at least they allow drivers to keep both hands on the wheel. The research is also conflicted on whether hands-free is as dangerous as hand-held.)

In my research, I came across the latest roundup of where the different states stand on cell phone use by drivers. It’s only a secondary offense here, meaning police need to

Read more »

Oct.
6th

Russell Investments’ not-so-green commute to Seattle

This from a disappointed member of the keep-Russell-in-Tacoma team. He asked to remain nameless, but his numbers look credible:

See below for ‘irony of the month.’ Russell signs enviro protocol while it decides to throw 700-900 employees into single occupancy vehicles onto I-5 every morning, more than tripling most of their employees’ daily commutes. Can’t have it both ways.

Our analysis, which we shared with Russell, shows that in the aggregate Russell employees will spend an additional 373,880 hours per year in their cars (if the company left Tacoma). This is 474 more hours per commuter per year. Based on IRS mileage reimbursement rates, Russell employees would see an additional cost of commuting of $4.5 million per year. We used actual Russell employee zip codes so this takes into account the few people whose commutes will be shorter.

In terms of miles traveled, the Seattle commute will result in 8,225,360 additional miles traveled annually by employees.
Read more »