Inside Opinion

What's on the minds of Tacoma News Tribune editorial writers

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Tag: Washington State Department of Transportation

Feb.
3rd

Naming rights could alleviate, not solve funding shortages

This editorial will appear in Monday’s print edition.

Would you support renaming the Tacoma Narrows Bridge if it kept tolls from rising higher than they otherwise would?

What if it were renamed the Taco Bell Narrows Bridge and only kept the toll from increasing, say, by 25 cents?

It’s that kind of question that lawmakers must consider with House Bill 1050 and 1051, which would allow naming rights for public facilities and transportation infrastructure, respectively. Both are prime-sponsored by state Rep. Jan Angel, R-Port Orchard; HB 1051 is co-sponsored by freshman Rep. Linda Kochmar, R-Federal Way. Read more »

March
25th

Preserve park honoring one of Tacoma’s civic leaders


Raindrops collect on the fencing around Don Pugnetti Park March 12. The owner, the Washington State Department of Transportation, is looking for buyers. (Staff file photo)

This editorial will appear in Monday’s print edition.

Green space is at a premium in downtown Tacoma, with few places where downtown workers and students can sit out on a nice day and maybe eat a sack lunch in the sunshine.

One of those few places – at South 21st Street and Pacific Avenue – is in danger of being lost forever. Don Pugnetti Park has been a little oasis of green for 25 years, dating to construction of Interstate 705. But now it’s fenced off with chain link and tagged with “No trespassing” signs. The barrier also blocks access to a century-old railroad monument.

Owned by the Washington State Department of Transportation, the pocket park was an Occupy Tacoma tent city for four months. The Occupiers are gone, but now WSDOT suddenly wants to shed the park for “liability” reasons and is seeking buyers. Maintaining the park isn’t an issue; a private company takes care of that as part of a deal to operate a nearby parking lot. Read more »

Aug.
7th

WSDOT’s secrecy undercuts its own tunnel plans

This editorial will appear in Monday’s print edition.

The state Department of Transportation really does want to build a deep-bore tunnel to replace the crumbling Alaskan Way Viaduct, right?

Why in the world, then, are transportation officials giving tunnel opponents campaign fodder by denying their request for public records?

Late last week, the group behind an Aug. 16 referendum on the tunnel went to court, supposedly to force the state to produce the latest version of the tunnel financing plan.

State officials had earlier denied the document request, invoking the “deliberative process” exemption to the public records law because the financing plan is currently being reviewed by the Federal Highway Administration.
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 »

Nov.
19th

Much ado about nothing in Lakewood, transit blogger says

Ben Schiendelman of the Seattle Transit Blog (which does a great job of tracking transit issues up and down I-5 despite its name) has a counterpoint to our Wednesday editorial about Amtrak trains running through Lakewood.

Schiendelman laments that the state Department of Transportation’s outreach efforts have done little to stem opposition that has emerged in Lakewood. He says calling these trains “high-speed” is a misnomer and notes that passenger trains already run up to 79 mph through Sumner, Puyallup, Kent and Auburn without incident. Schiendelman points out that the crossings will be much quicker with shorter

Read more »