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Freeway planned through Whitworth-Waikiki area!?!?!?

by Hawke Robinson last modified Jul 26, 2016 05:48 PM
"...the good citizens who live in the Whitworth--Waikiki area don't know that these same county traffic engineers have in mind using the right of way under the wide power line route which runs through their neighborhood to construct the westerly continuation of the north-south freeway which, because of Bigelow Gulch, will be summarily transformed into a semi-beltway..."

Below is this article in it's entirety by Robert Herold as posted in the Pacific Northwest Inlander.

"The Pacific Northwest Inlander (March 9, 2006)
by Robert Herold

Traffic engineers, scams and cabals
Citizens on the South Hill are outraged and dismayed by the city's
traffic engineers, who, now flush with money the voters gave them in
expectation of getting potholes fixed, are moving ahead with plans to
destroy streetscape through what amounts to urban deforestation
project. Word that Mayor Hession has decided to save "up to six
trees" on Bernard---where the assault is to commence-----is good news,
but misses the bigger issue; that is, the strategic and principled
application of the Comprehensive Plan throughout the city. His
reluctance to break ranks with his discredited traffic engineers
mystifies especially his supporters. Alienating his natural
constituency on this issue might be compared to a New York City mayoral
candidate telling anti-Semitic jokes in lower Manhattan.
At the same time, folks who live off Bigelow Gulch Road, are stunned
to learn that the county traffic engineers are using their safety
problem as an excuse to reroute surreptitiously the north-south freeway
(dunno about you, but that's what I call a four lane roadway with a
median, wider shoulders and access roads). Instead of coming down from
Hillyard to I-90 it would go turn east at Francis and absorb the
Bigelow Gulch route, eventually ending at Sullivan where it would turn
south again to I-90. All the while, of course, the politically
charged term "north-south freeway" will never have to be mentioned, nor
the rerouting debated, because, officially, the traffic engineers would
only be addressing that "safety problem." A few years back the
engineers had proposed to remedy the problem by the simple addition of
a turn lane and wider shoulders. Apparently this idea made too much
sense.
And speaking of flying under the radar, I bet that the good citizens
who live in the Whitworth--Waikiki area don't know that these same
county traffic engineers have in mind using the right of way under the
wide power line route which runs through their neighborhood to
construct the westerly continuation of the north-south freeway which,
because of Bigelow Gulch, will be summarily transformed into a
semi-beltway. Today bucolocia, tomorrow freeway commercial trash.
In the meantime, i.e. the bigger world out there, experiments
conducted in Portland reveal that almost all city streets everywhere
are unnecessarily wide. And we already know this, or should. Take
Wall Street, for example. Designated as a minor arterial that's
supposed to be forty feet wide, it has effectively carried ten thousand
cars a day for years----yet is only thirty feet wide! So why
unnecessarily wide roads? Simple. Engineers, who never saw a road
that was wide enough, are supported by land development interests out
there in sprawl-land who want more "flow". And not to worry about the
effects of annoying laws such as the Growth Management Act or the
Comprehensive Plan when our traffic engineers are on the job. Think
skids and greasing.
Elected "leadership," when urged to clamp down on out of control
bureaucrats, points to the gobs of money that their busy beavers bring
into government's coffers. Such praise makes about as much sense as
complimenting a person for managing to get wet by diving into a fast
moving river. From the Department of Transportation in D.C. down to
the local level, we have here a lavishly funded bureaucratic cabal
dedicated to one thing, spending gobs of money building roads-----the
wider and straighter the better. The cabal lets the engineers in on
what amounts to a scam which gives them what all lesser politicians
want----the appearance of free cash; thus engineers usually get their
way, which is what HQ in D.C. wants--- more and faster flow, which, as
we have come to understand always results in the destruction of
neighborhoods, downtowns, even entire communities, while encouraging
expensive sprawl. The Congress created this cabal when it passed the
Highway Trust Fund act back in the 1950's. Instead of your tax
dollars going to support the development of "transportation," money
from this source could go only to build and repair roads. Thus America
has such a cheesy rail system and such ugly and expensive sprawl.
The Growth Management Act was passed to give the public relief from
this cabal through the creation of comprehensive plans which were to
provide communities important political, esthetic and moral texture .
Counterattacking, the engineers have sought to marginalize the
political process by falling back on their built in autonomy to
contrive a kind of bureaucratic shell game: unelected bureaucrats, with
impunity, using safety as an excuse to construct a freeway; unelected
bureaucrats using a pothole problem as an excuse to destroy streetscape
by unilaterally cutting down all the trees; unelected bureaucrats
unilaterally plotting to build a freeway next to a college and through
one of more attractive neighborhoods in the area.
Elected leadership, if it had the will, could rid us of this
bureaucratic scam if not the cabal; but, alas, most often, intimidated
by the protection racket operated by the cabal, leadership cowers in
the background. Thus abandoned, citizens are forced to rely on the
courts, which only underscores how the engineers have managed to
marginalize the political process.
To keep the scam working, planning must cynically be kept in its
proper place---in a state of perpetual irrelevance where it can
continue to serve nicely as a kind of civic narcotic used to keep the
natives (that's us) from getting restless."