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Neary asks residents to write feds with concerns over train project

Post by Brent Champaco on Nov. 10, 2009 at 2:38 pm with 4 Comments »
November 10, 2009 3:27 pm

As reported in my story today, Lakewood residents and their elected leaders voiced their concerns over the state Department of Transportation’s plan to reroute passenger train service through their community.

Monday night’s tight deadline meant I had to leave out most of the back and forth between the city and DOT representatives from the meeting.

Councilman Walter Neary urged the 50 or so people who attended, the majority of whom said they opposed the Point Defiance Bypass project, to write their elected federal and state leaders who might have more pull.

He reiterated his comments today on his blog, Neary-Sighted:

People pleaded with the Lakewood City Council to do something, and we will do our best. However, as I told them, the best and most effective approach is to write federal and state officials. Those folks don’t give a darn about the Lakewood City Council. But some of them either do care, or at least keep track of, what citizens say. If nothing else, the act of writing is a great thing to tell children about to let them know that you’re acting on behalf of democracy. And if you are a registered voter and actually vote, I’d include that in the letter.

It’s unclear whether those efforts would affect the future of the project — which the state determined would have no major impact on the area’s roads two years ago.

On Monday night, DOT representatives told the City Council that the benefits of rerouting trains through Lakewood are worth it. They include reducing the ride from Seattle to Portland by six minutes, as well a freeing up the track through Ruston and Point Defiance for freight traffic.

Leave a comment Comments → 4
  1. johnesherman says:

    So, do the all trains have more benefit than presented here simply—“reducing the ride from Seattle to Portland by six minutes, as well a freeing up the track through Ruston and Point Defiance for freight traffic…”; on the other hand, if the existing tracks through Ruston and Point Defiance used only for freight traffic are damaged from land-slides or just track failures; as a result, if those existing Ruston and Point Defiance tracks become damaged and impassable for any trains travel; it follows, logic just says: all trains—freight and passenger train—will move over to new Lakewood passenger train tracks. More trains with more train traffic.

    Just maybe there exist a rule the prohibits any and all freight train use on these Lakewood tracks at any time and under any condition?

    Anybody know what type trains will never be allowed to travel on these Lakewood train tracks?

  2. Brent Champaco says:


    There was some discussion about freight traffic at Monday’s meeting. For sure, the existing railroad track is used occasionally for freight – including from Fort Lewis – and no one has said that would change if the bypass is built.

    As to your question of Point Defiance freight moving through Lakewood, some residents who spoke at Monday’s meeting echoed your concerns. I don’t remember anyone giving a definitive answer.

  3. ldozy1234 says:

    Now, wasn’t a “benefit” also cited that this would improve the Ports ability to utilize more freight time?

  4. To the newcomers living in the City of Lakewood. The railroad tracks you hate were here before most of you were born. Before 1913 All trains leaving Tacoma and Puget Sound traveled on these tracks on their way to Portland and points south. (Upwards of forty a day at times.) The tracks served troop trains moving injured soldiers to Madigan Army hospital during WWII and Vietnam and have provided a route to move thousands of military trucks and tanks in and out of FT Lewis over the years, keeping them off our over-crowded roads. Remember that many businesses in Lakewood rely on the tracks to provide materials to keep taxes rolling in to your city. Also remember that the city of Auburn not too many years ago fought this battle at great expense to city taxpayers and lost. The time, money and efforts to stop this would be better spent working to improve the long established relationship between your fine city and the railroads that have existed here for over 100 years.

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