After spending years of talking about Seattle's "transportation problems", "transportation needs" and "traffic problems", including the "Mercer Mess", the City has finally managed to earn the distinction of having the 2nd worst traffic congestion in the nation.
It was just one of the many alleged reasons the Boeing Company gave for moving its corporate headquarters from Seattle to Chicago. We can only assume the company had become totally frustrated with the City's inaction in resolving its traffic congestion. But , so has the average Seattle motorist.
Seattle's traffic problems had originate d within City Hall, where elected officials had "morphed" the City's traffic engineering division into a research center for alternative transportation programs. Advocating the use of bicycles, walking, carpools, water taxi, vanpools, and subsidizing some motorists for not using a second car, etc. as pragmatic solutions for our traffic-gridlocked City is totally unrealistic.
In addition, my contention is that the presently configured Sound Transit, endorsed by this administration, be abandoned or at least be subjected to another vote of the people. It is deficient as a mass transit system and can no longer be viewed as the proposal that was originally approved by the electorate. As Mayor, if that conclusion has not already been reached, I will call for rescinding the City's support of the plan. On the other hand, I support the current Monorail proposal, simply because its goal appears to be attainable and that it will be able to serve its intended purpose.
Our elected officials ought to face the fact that, whatever their "transportation" policy is -- it's a failure. They cannot solve the City's traffic problem, because they have as yet to define it. As Mayor, I will first begin the process of reducing "congestion" by replacing the mindset of this administration toward the motorist. I am convinced the morphing of "traffic" to "transportation" is the greatest reason for our traffic problems, so I will morph "transportation" back to "traffic." Secondly, I will see that dedicated engineers who understand traffic principles be assigned to solving the traffic mess we're all currently facing.
For the purpose of this paper, I have defined "transportation" and "transportation needs" to mean delivery systems particularly suited to moving large numbers of people and heavy volumes of indu strial and commercial cargo efficiently throughout the City. And, by "transportation problems" I mean deficiencies in the system which prevent such as METRO, for example, from meeting or maintaining the demands of its mission.
On the other hand, by "traffic" I mean vehicles and supporting infrastructure which promote the efficient movement of people and goods. For the City to perform its function as traffic engineer, it must provide intelligent and logical traffic patterns for the motoring public, and a well-designed, constructed and maintained infrastructure to make it all work. The purpose is to prevent traffic problems, which manifest themselves as congestion. In other words, the City has a mandate to keep vehicles moving smoothly toward their goals and to keep them reasonably separated from one another and from pedestrians. As Mayor, I will consider it a personal challenge to eliminate Seattle's traffic gridlock, and I will interpret my election to the Office of Mayor as the authorization I need to start the process.
We must constantly remind ourselves, however, that the motoring public also includes commercial, industrial, regional and "tourist" in addition to local traffic, and that congestion is taking place on U.S., state and local roadways, all within Seattle's city limits. It underscores two inescapable facts, one is that road problems under any one jurisdiction will impact Seattle, and the other is that the City cannot unilaterally solve traffic problems involving state routes and U.S. interstate highways.