Recluse reflections: Monorail: No traffic relief for Queen Anne
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Monday, October 31, 2005  
Monorail: No traffic relief for Queen Anne

We don't often expect the slogans or attack ads of political campaigns to be honest, even if they're required to to avoid outright lies. We're seeing one example of all-too-typical campaign misrepresentation in the efforts of a group now funded, in part, by a monorail contractor. "2045 Seattle" [Corrected name 11/1] offers do-it-yourself posters to monorail proponants that take aim at Mayor Greg Nickels with the slogan "Mayor Gridlock".

The slogan is kinda funny. And the posters help show that these folks are mad at the mayor for insisting that the monorail board should be financially responsible.

The slogan also contributes to a campaign of misdirection that has often been the primary tactic of monorail activists. It suggests, without actually saying it, that someone other than the SMP board and the staff that they (supposedly) oversee is responsible for the mess that's been made of these plans.

It also suggests that building the monorail short line that will be on next week's ballot is actually going to do something about traffic congestion.

A writer for the Queen Anne News, Greg Buck, finds those claims wanting for residents of Queen Anne. He points out that for most QA residents, traveling downtown on the monrail would actually increase the time, cost, and inconvenience of commuting.


So, using the monorail to get from the top of Queen Anne Hill to downtown would not only actually take a few minutes longer than just staying on the bus the entire way - it would be perceived as taking about 13 minutes longer, because you would have to transfer from the bus to the monorail, instead of enjoying a one-seat ride on the bus the entire trip.
What Buck doesn't mention is a factor that should cause concern for bus riders who don't live withing walking distance of one of SMP's handful of open-air stations: Because the monorail agency has not yet finalized an interagency agreement with Metro for bus service to their stations, we don't know if Metro will end up decreasing frequency or destinations on some of the routes near the guideways. If they did so, then building this short line could have a ripple effect on neighborhoods like First Hill and the Central Area that currently share the No. 2 route and other buses with Queen Anne Hill.

A transit system can't help with road congestion unless it somehow encourages people who would otherwise drive a car to instead use the transit system.

The monorail wouldn't do that for one of the neighborhoods that would be served if the line that will appear on next week's ballot were actually built.

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posted by WebWrangler | 11:12 AM | Link | 1 comments links to this post
Comments:
A few comments:
1. The name of the group is 2045 Seattle, not "2045 Monorail". It says so right at the top of each page and in the URL itself.

2. We existed before anyone kindly offered money to us and we're an all volunteer operation. When we were offered money, we made sure to get it in writing that there were no strings attached.

3. We have over 500 members and not a single one is getting paid for anything. This is an all volunteer outfit and every penny is going for supplies and equipment.

4. The monorail will certainly help Queen Anne residents as it will deliver an incredible amount of traffic to Seattle Center for games, festivals and tons of other activities that take place there, especially once the viaduct comes down and those in the west part of the city don't have any other reasonable option. That right there is less cars on the road and a chance to create instant rapid transit users.
 
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