Well, that was fun, wasn't it? Here's the Seattle Times on yesterday's traffic clusterfishfuck:
A semitruck carrying a load of salmon overturned and blocked all southbound lanes of the Alaskan Way Viaduct on Tuesday afternoon, causing rush-hour gridlock and hourslong commutes throughout the city.
The traffic was terrifically, tragicomically bad: People abandoned their cars for bike share and arrived at their destinations minutes later, the Sounders goalkeeper reportedly took off sprinting on foot to make it in time for kickoff at CenturyLink stadium, and local transit officials bailed from their own buses and walked.
Were you stuck in your unmoving car for hours? Did you miss an important appointment, or just get home really late after work? Were your insides churning with seemingly impotent rage?
Friend, that rage is not impotent. It has a home called Olympia. Send it home.
RAGE LEVEL 1: If you're at this level, send a simple e-mail to the Washington House Transportation Committee about it. Yesterday probably would not have happened if the rail lines connecting downtown to West Seattle and Ballard in this map—see the solid and dotted red lines—actually existed. But they could exist sometime in the not so-distant future, as I explained yesterday. That's if the Washington State Legislature gives Sound Transit the $15 billion authority it needs in order to let the Puget Sound region tax itself for more and better transit.
"The full $15 billion," says Sound Transit spokesperson Geoff Patrick, "would put us in the position to look at how we can stretch resources to get to both West Seattle and Ballard." Maybe even White Center. The agency's long-term vision includes light-rail connections to Everett, Tacoma, and Issaquah.
This taxing authority is embedded in a statewide transportation package—one that's died in previous years, but is still alive and currently working its way through the legislature. Republicans are sneaking all kinds of terrible stuff into the package, and they're trying to cap our local taxing authority at just $11 billion, which would severely handicap light rail.
Whether we get to $15 billion depends on what the House Transportation Committee does next. The committee will take up the senate version of the transportation package tomorrow in a 3:30 p.m. hearing. Transportation Choices has an action alert with a form letter, demanding the full $15 billion for Sound Transit and increased investment in bicycle infrastructure, among other things. We should expect the slim Democratic majority in the committee to restore these common-sense provisions to the package, but it's really important they don't fuck this up.
RAGE LEVEL 2: If you're truly hopping furious, though, Transportation Choices policy director Andrew Austin recommends upping your game and e-mailing these three pasty stooges, because once the transportation package gets out of the house, it will go back over to the senate and into the hands of these guys.
These are Republican senators who represent South and East King County: Joe Fain (Auburn and Kent), Mark Miloscia (Federal Way), and Andy Hill (Redmond). Fain is one of two lead negotiators on the Republican side when it comes to transit. Don't these Republicans hate big government and want local control over local affairs? Don't they want their own constituents to be able to vote on whether to tax themselves to fund light rail connecting them to Seattle and their neighbors around the region? Mind-blowingly, the answer is no. Earlier this month, they, along with the rest of the Republican majority in the senate, voted against giving Sound Transit the ability to raise $15 billion. But if they decided to stand up for their own constituents, the senate could have the pro-light-rail bloc it needs.
And here's a suggested letter from Transportation Choices. Add rage—including, possibly, the phrase "traffic clusterfishfuck"—to the text wherever you see fit:
I recently learned of your no vote on amendment number 38 to Senate Bill 5987 to give Sound Transit full authority to continue the build out of Sound Transit’s regional high capacity transit network.
As one of your constituents who would like to see more light rail in our community, I was disappointed and disheartened by your vote.
[Insert your neighborhood] needs better transit service. Many of our residents use transit to get to work, job interviews, the doctor, or just to live their daily lives. Sound Transit 3 will extend light rail throughout our region and connect us to jobs, education and healthcare.
I urge you to reconsider your position on this matter and support Sound Transit’s full authority ask. Give the voters a choice to move forward on transit build out in our region.
[Your name here]
This post has been updated since its original publication.