The phrase,'Unsound Transit', was coined by the Wall Street Journal to describe Seattle where,"Light Rail Madness eats billions that could otherwise be devoted to truly efficient transportation technologies." The Puget Sound's traffic congestion is a growing cancer on the region's prosperity. This website, captures news and expert opinion about ways to address the crisis. This is not a blog, but a knowledge base, which collects the best articles and presents them in a searchable format. My goal is to arm residents with knowledge so they can champion fact-based, rather than emotional, solutions.


Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Everett Council Considers Streetcars


Reviewing concept isn't 'over the top'

In response to the Tuesday letter attacking the City Council as "over the top" for daring to even think about the feasibility of a streetcar system for our community: What is truly "over the top" is the writer's unfortunate and misleading rhetoric.

The council is not proposing to spend an additional $112,700 on a further study. That much -- and more -- has already been spent by the city administration. What the council proposes to do is review the matter further with our staff, looking at successful operations across the country, in similar-sized cities. Given that no new funds are even being discussed, let alone proposed, the council's action is a pretty modest step.

The attempt to equate a modern streetcar system with the cute little Parks Department trolleys of a generation ago is just plain silly. In numerous studies, streetcars of various types have been shown to be highly popular and effective in moving large numbers of people in and around an urban city center, reducing the need for single occupancy motor vehicles and the consumption of increasingly scarce fossil fuels. Streetcar systems have also led to substantial economic development whose value exceeds the costs of the system.

Everett's population is expected to grow 30 percent over the next two decades. We have adopted policies that encourage much of that new population to live in the downtown core. With major residential and commercial development also expected on the harborfront and riverfront -- let alone a possible new university in the Everett Station district -- we need to think today about the kinds of public transportation systems that will meet our future needs. While a streetcar system is only one of many potential solutions, we cannot afford to be hamstrung by the narrow limits of conventional thinking and dismiss it out of hand. The concept merits further study and evaluation.

Mark G. Olson
Transportation Committee Chair
Everett City Council

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