It isn't very sporting to point out that Portland had the foresight to plan miles of rail corridors in less time than it took Seattle to reach consensus on that all-important question, "Should Pine Street be open to vehicular traffic?" So, instead let's point out that around Portland, 70 percent of the TriMet riders have access to cars and choose to take public transit instead. That last figure, dear gridlock victim, is key. Both the choir and the yet-to-be saved must be made to see the benefits of public transit and restricted private-vehicle use. Hint to Prop 1 pushers: Using that $10,000 car as the example for the proposed tab tax is a mistake. It only looks to modest-means working people that they are about to get screwed, yet again. Use a 2008 Lexus SUV as the sample vehicle. With all the high-end advertising agencies in Seattle, surely one of you can do some pro bono work? A guerilla ad campaign could show drivers of all sorts – with various commutes, vehicle expenses, and incomes – how riding the bus would save time and money. (Yes, the bus. Rail may be more appealing, reminding you of European sojourns, but buses are the utility outfielders of the transit world. Always there, always doing the job, no finicky injuries.) The snappy ads could address all the whiny complaints that car hogs raise: Whine: Buses are sooooo sloooow. Retort: Not our buses! Like their counterparts in PORTLAND, the frequent-service routes serve stops every 15 minutes! W: I don't have time to check the bus schedule every time I need to dash out somewhere. R: Don't worry! Like the folks in PORTLAND, you can use a Transit Tracker system that allows you to speed-dial from your and find out exactly when the next one will pull up. Of course, you'll need to have your cellphone plastered to your head all the time. Is that a problem? W: Buses in the free zone are dirty! R: Not any more! That's because the newly formed Bus Dusters (perhaps those repentant folks in the court systems' community-service programs?) get on and tidy up at frequent points throughout the route. (Note to Seattle: Feel free to steal this idea, which came to me yesterday on the MAX train whisking me past stalled traffic to a distant shopping mall.) W: I need my car to run errands during my work day! R: Good news! Your employer gives you bus or shuttle scrip! The boss gets a tax break, you get a free ride and (major bonus!) you always claim your lunch hour took 3 hours because there was an endangered-species bird in the bus tunnel that shut down traffic. No one will check, trust me. W: The bus might work for the office, but what about going to dinner and the movies? Or the opera? Or our marriage-counseling appointment? R: Isn't it great that the movie theater and restaurant give price-breaks when you show them your bus ticket? How cool is that fancy charter-bus coach from the Park & Ride lot to downtown? (Piped-in arias, not one of which is from the Ring cycle.) Oh, well, too bad you can't rehash the whole counseling session at the top of your lungs on the way home. Rats. W: There are weirdos on the bus! R: Don't be so hard on yourself.