In a packed city hall chambers on Monday evening, June 3, the Elevated Transportation Company (ETC), the group voters created to come up with a monorail plan by this November, made some significant "final stretch" decisions. (The ETC's recommendations will undergo two months of public comment before the agency writes the final proposal for the November ballot.)

About 100 people, along with the usual suspects, were at the meeting, including Peter Sherwin, author of I-53; Martin O'Donnell, one of many Belltown residents against a Second Avenue monorail route; and Cleve Stockmeyer, a former ETC lawyer with concerns about future ETC governance. Steve Koehler, representing Westlake Mall Associates, was concerned about the existing Westlake monorail station and how the new monorail would affect it. At about 9:45 p.m. after exhausting public comment and a variety of contentious ETC board votes, final recommendations were made. Here's what Seattle can most likely expect from a 2007 Seattle monorail line:

· The "Green Line," a 14-mile Ballard to Downtown to West Seattle monorail route, will cost $1.25 billion to build, have 19 stations, and run every four minutes during peak time.

· Monorail tickets will cost $1.25, and a commute from Ballard to Downtown would take about 17 minutes; West Seattle to Downtown would take16 minutes. Each day, 68,000 riders are expected.

· To build the new line, Seattleites will be charged a 1.4 percent motor vehicle excise tax (MVET). If you have a $10,000 car, it will cost $140 bucks a year to register.

· Coming from Ballard, the monorail will stop at Seattle Center, then head down Mercer Avenue, taking a right at Fifth and making its way through Belltown, eventually crossing over to Second before going on to West Seattle.

Running the monorail down Fifth Avenue through Belltown, instead of down Second, means the old monorail will be torn down and replaced with current technology. The new columns will be much thinner and farther apart, and Westlake Mall and the EMP will most likely lose stations. Sure, the old monorail has some sentimental value--but put the cars in a museum or something. Hell, even Glen Barney, general manager of the current Seattle monorail, is supportive. "Should have been extended or replaced a long time ago," he says from his Seattle Center office. "This old train was only the starter line."

Call or send public comment--like demanding the ETC run the monorail till at least 1:30 a.m. (they're thinking midnight! What will all us drunks do?)--to the Elevated Transportation Company, 701 Fifth Ave, Suite 3600, Seattle, WA 98104; phone 262-8184, e-mail info@elevated.org.

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