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Dori says ‘I told you so’ about Seattle’s war on cars

An opinion writer for the Seattle Times argues that Seattle's latest 2035 Comprehensive Plan proves the city has a "war on cars." (MyNorthwest)

KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson is not shying away from it — he’s saying “I told you so.”

“I’ve told you for 15 years about the plan to put tolls on every road in the region, and the war on cars, and about politicians who despise those of us with busy lives who cannot ride a bike or mass transit to and from work,” Dori said.

His opinion is echoed in a recent op-ed article in The Seattle Times by Brier Dudley, “City’s vision for a carless Seattle doesn’t match reality.”

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“The mayor just released a proposed growth plan for the next 20 years in Seattle,” Dudley notes. “But if you dig down there’s some real interesting stuff in there about transportation.”

“The city has been denying there’s a war on cars for a long time,” he told Dori. “It’s very explicit that there is indeed a war on cars when you dig into this growth plan. There’s all kinds of stuff in there about how they want to turn street right-of-ways into parklets and cafes. It talks about how cars are the least efficient use of streets. There’s also some policy changes that … have some far reaching effects on Seattle and across the whole region that will increase congestion instead of battle congestion.”

Dudley argues that businesses and private drivers in and out of Seattle will suffer from increased congestion. He said that personal cars were used for 82 percent of trips around Puget Sound in 2014 — that’s slightly down from 86 percent in 1999. Increased congestion on Seattle-area roads will threaten shipping that passes through and businesses that rely on dollars from outside of Seattle. He said that there just aren’t enough people living in Seattle to support businesses, such as the local art industry.

“Seattle is rich because it’s the center of this huge region with lots and lots of people who don’t live here but come and go all the time,” Dudley said. “If Seattle basically screws them by letting its roads go to hell, that richness will diminish.”

Dudley also points out that state and federal standards for measuring effective roads take into account congestion on the road. But Seattle, according to Dudley, is changing things up locally. Instead, Seattle will measure how many single-occupied vehicles are traveling on its roads.

As Dudley put it in his article:

Seattle’s going its own route. It says single-occupant vehicles are inefficient so reducing them improves level-of-service. That’s debatable … Worst of all, City Hall’s assuming that driving is optional — a lifestyle choice — and it can force people to change how they live. Ugh. Seattle’s better than that.

For Dori, it’s just further evidence of his opinion that Seattle policies are hostile to people that depend on cars for transportation. The reality is, according to Dori, most people in the area need cars to get around and bikes or mass transit are just not options.

“Ed Murray is the worst mayor in our city’s history,” Dori said. “The gridlock that he is very carefully engineering with Scott Kubly is going to have a generational impact that is going to gridlock this region. Mark my words.”

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