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Coalition for Effective Transportation Alternatives

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Samples of Letters We've Sent

Reply to King County Councilmember Cynthia Sullivan

June 6, 2002

in reply to Reply from King County Councilmember Cynthia Sullivan

I thank you for your reasoned response and for taking the time to respond. So far as "...monorail or tunnel makes little difference in cost" I would like to rebut. Gaining right of way (which I agree is essential) for an on-grade system (Light Rail) displaces many houses, businesses and people. While there may be some displacement with a monorail system, the footprint will be greatly smaller and a monorail system can use existing rights of way. Additionally, cost can be measured in ways other than dollars. There will be huge amounts of dollars for LR and enormous costs in personal terms. For the monorail the costs in both measurements will be less.

Mobility is an interesting term. Who could argue its importance? But take a close look at who depends on public transportation. With LR some will be forced (in more than a few cases) to take a bus, transfer to LR, then get back on a bus. More time and higher cost. The existing system serves them better. On a related comparison, assume (by some financial magic) 100% of the LR system could be built. Then assume 100% of the monorail system could be built. When I look at such a comparison I find (a) more terrain covered and potentially more people served with monorail, (b) minimal subsidy to maintain monorail [vs. at least 5X ticket cost in subsidy for LR], and that adds up to more mobility. And (c) transportation not affected by weather or traffic conditions. (Congestion impairs mobility when, for example, there are 31 rail cars traveling back and forth over 14 miles and passing through 18 at-grade crossings.)

Thank you for giving consideration to these ideas.

Dick Fike,
Seattle
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