A lot's been said
about Proposition 1, but apparently it's not enough, as the Crosscut
"prediction" poll says it will fail. I hope these Crosscut readers are looking into defective crystal balls. Seattle's inability to get with the transportation program is a source of embarrassment for me, as my family and friends back in Missouri (a red state, no less) are poking fun. They, and not Seattle, after all, have light rail
, and I'm not talking about some cute little trolley with a politically incorrect (but unforgettable) acronym
. Neither am I talking about an aged relic from the World's Fair. St. Louis has an honest-to-goodness light rail system comprised of 37 stations and stretching 46 miles. It crosses the mighty Mississippi River, spanning two states (Missouri and Illinois, for the geographically challenged). It links, at its westward end, St. Louis' Lambert Field airport with, at its eastward end, Scott Air Force Base. You can fly into Scott, take the train across the river, and fly out at Lambert, never once stepping into a car. MetroLink is certainly a flawed system, as it does not yet have a north-south line to complement the impressive east-west line. However, as someone who used to make the grueling commute from Southern Illinois into downtown St. Louis every day for years, I'm quite impressed at how it's grown, and I applaud the east-west prioritization. When they broke ground on MetroLink in 1990, I was interning in Washington, D.C., where I lived an entire summer without a car and got around just fine on the D.C. Metro.
Say what you want about Prop 1's failures, but it's something. Does it represent a compromise? Surely. It's no heavenly vision of carbon-footprint-reducing transit options, but neither is the plan governing the MetroLink agency's bi-state transportation work, despite its impressive light rail line. You can send the whole thing back to the drawing board, which seems to be what Seattleites do best, or you can take a cue from Missouri and compromise.