Letter to the Editor: Light Rail will disrupt the entire east side of Shoreline

Saturday, October 8, 2016

To the Editor:

The proposed Light Rail route through Shoreline will disrupt the entire east side of Shoreline, east from I-5, south to north. Those living east of this route will have a more difficult time getting to any area west of the proposed route. As drivers they will face considerable lost time while waiting for trains to pass and will have to cope with increased noise and traffic disruptions when trains pass through. Folks whose houses will be destroyed along this route will experience major dislocations, since they will have to find another place to live. This will be difficult and expensive given the housing shortages in the Seattle area. Irreplaceable environmental habitats will be destroyed as well. The resulting increased population density will also bring many other problems.

Folks who live on the west side of Aurora Ave will not face these problems. If those who will be directly and permanently impacted do not speak up about how this Light Rail system will affect them who will speak up about the problems they will face?

The main issue is the huge amount of taxes that will be required to pay for this light rail system. What other public transportation options could be funded instead? Think about an expanded Metro bus system, with fast, flexible, frequent, affordable, fuel efficient buses along routes that could provide residents and businesses with easy and direct access to public transportation. This will not occur because available public tax dollars will be allocated to the Light Rail.

The primary beneficiaries of this proposed light rail route through east Shoreline will be real estate developers who will build the replacement residential units. No wonder Shoreline City Hall, which will increase its revenues with such massive development, supports this Light Rail system through Shoreline.

Gini Paulsen


Anonymous,  October 8, 2016 at 11:28 PM  

This route and the whole concept of light rail was decided years ago -- no major objections and most of us voted for the taxes to build it. Then about a year ago, the city begins to rezone the area to accommodate light rail after two years of planning and communicating about it and not until then do people come out of the woodwork all opposed after having their heads buried in the sand for years.

It was very naive of people to think that light rail wasn't going to change the city of Shoreline. Did you all not think there be stations? Did you not think there might be a need for Park and Ride lots for people to ride light rail? Did you not recognize that the neighborhood around the stations would be transformed? Do you not realize that the majority of those between 20 and 35 years old aren't looking for (nor can afford) single-family housing and want to live in walkable urban villages near robust public transportation?

All of this outrage about light rail in Shoreline came 7 years too late. It was on the ballot and passed with 58% of the vote in 2008. If the voters back in the early '70s had done the right thing, we'd already have a world-class rail system mostly paid for by the federal government. But they said "no" and all that money went to Atlanta and built the world-class MARTA system. Instead our traffic gets worse and worse as housing prices force people to keep moving further north and further south of the employment center of DT Seattle.

The light rail will not solve our problems, but will eventually help slow the growth of the congestion. We've never been good planners in Seattle - no one is willing to disrupt their lives for the betterment of our region. I-5 was built through neighborhoods, so they used a very small footprint to appease the people -- no one had the foresight to realize that the population would actually grow. (Imagine that!)

I think it is sad that Shoreline is going to change. I grew up just a few blocks from where the 185th St station will be. My neighborhood (and even my childhood home) has been rezoned to allow multi-family development. My memories will likely be all that remains. But I realize that this is 2016 and that my neighborhood near North City Elementary School was developed for the needs of the late 1940's and 1950's. Like it or not, the world is a different place today and we got to take our heads out of the sand.

Anonymous,  October 9, 2016 at 6:37 AM  

Change is inevitable. The Puget Sound area is far behind the curve as far as traffic goes and light rail is one good answer. I would love Seattle to build a MARTA type system! I have been saying that for many years.

Anonymous,  October 9, 2016 at 8:20 AM  

I know people who live in Atlanta and they would hardly call Marta world-class. Additionally, redevelopment in Atlanta has pushed poverty to the outer suburbs. With no bus service for low income residents in the suburbs who cannot afford a car to commute to their low paying service jobs, that is hardly a success and this template is repeating itself in Puget Sound. That is hardly a world-class success.

As for the 1970s, I wish those who were not living here or were not alive at the time would understand the context in which the light rail vote failed. Perhaps they were unaware that voters approved several large Forward Thrust infrastructure measures, the benefits of which the region still enjoy today. However, at the time the light rail measure failed, Boeing had just cancelled the SST project and there were massive layoffs. Hark back to one of the infamous stories about Seattle from those days - a private citizen paid for a billboard that asked the last person to leave Seattle to turn out the lights.

Anonymous,  October 9, 2016 at 10:19 AM  

When light rail was on the ballot, Sound Transit and the city talked of neighborhood stations to serve the existing communities. There was no public talk of these huge rezones. Give us a break with the community outreach they did: talking they did, listen they did not. They only people the city listened to were developers.

m bachety October 10, 2016 at 8:57 PM  

I really wish people would use their names. Anonymous makes for suspicion as to who you are and what your true motives are. Gini, I live west of Aurora and I have great empathy for you and I support mitigating this massive change, although I do support getting a train line. It doesn't need to be this way.

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