Transportation study lacks sustainable-energy vision

"The Southeast Transportation Study" has much to recommend it, especially the proposal to make Rainier Avenue more bicycle friendly. The problem is that it doesn't take into account peak oil (skyrocketing gas prices) or global warming (need to cut greenhouse gases).

This means that the next generation will experience less traffic, not more. Also, we must move toward transportation based on electricity generated from hydro and wind power and the like, not fossil fuels. Unfortunately Seattle transportation engineers are living in the past when it comes to traffic forecasts.

Seattle is already mapping out the first phase of a new streetcar network. Let's add Rainier Avenue in the second phase. Then let's link neighborhoods to the light rail and streetcar by electric shuttle buses that circulate every 15 minutes all day.

Meanwhile a good place to start is the study proposal to convert four lanes of traffic on Rainier to two lanes plus a center turn lane, from Alaska Street south to Cloverdale. This would leave room for either bike lanes or wide "sharrow" (traffic/bike lanes). In between traffic lights, safety islands could be constructed in the center lane for extra pedestrian crossings.

The comment period has been extended to June 30 (

Dick Burkhart

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