I’m feeling ornery this morning, so as long as I’m pointing fingers at our incompetent president, I thought I’d level some well-deserved criticism at us voters as well. An article in today’s Seattle P-I reports on a draft letter from the state Transportation Performance Audit Board criticizing the monorail authority, and suggesting that it was the wrong body to be doing transportation planning in the first place.
The letter recommends that the city immediately begin looking at whether monorail is the best technology for serving the West Seattle and Ballard corridors to and through downtown. The city is preparing a Seattle Transit Plan, and the audit board said that is the ideal vehicle for the city to ask how best to serve the two corridors.
After an investigation, the audit board “found no evidence” that non-monorail alternatives were ever considered by the Monorail Board or any other group.
“The review of viable alternatives is an integral part of transportation planning which was bypassed by legislation and at the polls in favor of a (m)onorail technology choice,” the draft letter says. “The lack of alternatives analysis then is being compounded by inadequate reviews now.”
The letter emphasized that the two corridors “suffer from congestion, which deserves relief.” But, the audit board said transportation planning to create “a coherent, integrated transportation system” should be done by the mayor and City Council within the city’s planning framework, not by “an independent, singly tasked authority.”
No shit, Sherlock. But while it’s become fashionable these days to slam the monorail and the board that’s trying to build it, I think it’s time voters started blaming themselves. The monorail wasn’t imposed on the city by some secret cabal of arrogant, out-of-touch politicos… four times the monorail went up for a vote before the citizens of Seattle, and four times it passed. Along with I-695 before it, and I-912 this November, the monorail is yet another example of why transportation planning via public plebiscite is a sure-fire recipe for boondoggles and/or gridlock.
The initiative and referenda process is simply a stupid and fickle way to build a coherent transportation infrastructure in a region as large and complex as the 21st Century Puget Sound. This type of critical planning needs to be done by experts, not by professional loudmouths like Tim Eyman or John Carlson or Kirby Wilbur, and the angry voters who rally to their cry to “send another message.”
Send a message?! To whom?
If you ask me, it’s us voters who are arrogant and out-of-touch.