Re: “If it feels like rush ‘hour’ through Tacoma and Fife is getting longer, you’re right” (TNT, 11/19)
As long as the jobs are in Seattle and affordable and desirable housing is in the South Sound, traffic congestion will not improve significantly.
Some new out-of-the-box thinking is required as well as the political will to back it up. Wider roads are expensive and come with long timelines. The improvements encourage even more traffic. Extending mass transportation systems to the suburbs are unlikely to occur in our lifetime.
At this point regional management offers better solutions than more engineering and construction. Regional management could identify all employers by the total number of daily employee commute miles and could provide incentives for new and present companies with suitable cost-effective characteristics to relocate to the South Sound for a minimum period. They could also coordinate work schedules and public event times to minimize overcrowded highways. A more radical approach would be to enforce odd/even license plates access through specific bottlenecks.
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There are negative aspects to each of these suggestions, but they are mentioned here just to show that there are other options out there rather than the continual expansion of the local highways. And yes, political will is crucial to any solution.