KIRO Radio’s Jason Rantz: I’m embarrassed by Seattle Department of Transportation

Jun 14, 2016, 8:21 AM | Updated: 10:12 am
mercer mess...
Here's the Mercer Mess on Tuesday morning. (Courtesy MercerMess.com)
(Courtesy MercerMess.com)

Tune into KIRO Radio’s Jason Rantz Show weekdays at 7 p.m. or listen to the podcast.

Working nights, I usually get to avoid the rush hour commute in the mornings. But last week, I had to be in for a meeting at 9 a.m. On a drive that normally take six minutes (including the time spent at traffic lights), it took me 30 minutes because my commute takes me within a block of the Mercer Mess.

Why did it take so long? Because the leadership at the Seattle Department of Transportation is so inept and unqualified, it’s completely embarrassing. I’m embarrassed for them. They don’t seem to think anything is wrong.

Related: State representative angry Rantz called him out on tolling

It is nearly impossible to get on or across Mercer. It doesn’t matter if you’re driving northbound or eastbound, you will not get on or across Mercer without breaking traffic laws. You absolutely have to block the box in order to get across intersections or you won’t move.

Signal synchronization? There is none. And if you’re telling me there is, then either no one is operating the system or it’s broken. In front of every green light is a street full of cars: you can’t go anywhere but block the box. You get a green turn signal? Awesome. The street you’re turning onto is completely congested because you’re turning into a red light full of cars.

This is a major, world-class city and we can’t figure out some basic traffic management. Why? Because we have people in place who simply don’t give a damn.

Seattle’s city engineer is Dongho Chang. I’ve spoken with him; he seems like a nice guy. But it’s disturbing how in over his head he is. Or, he’s willfully ignoring the problem.

Take a gander at his Twitter feed. Almost all of his tweets are focused on bike, transit, and pedestrian work. He’s easily impressed with bike parking, thinks it’s fun when curb bulbs are installed at crosswalks, and boy does he like the failed bike share service Pronto. This is a city engineer who is completely disconnected from the driving experience (he doesn’t drive) because he doesn’t care about drivers. Much like a good portion of SDOT leadership, he wants to transform the city into one giant bike lane. Good for him. Perhaps he should work in a different department more suited to his goals.

Related: Not even SDOT bike leaders signed up for Pronto!

Look, everyone understands solving traffic issues is complex. But you have to at least understand the situation we find ourselves in if you actually care (or at least pretend to care) about finding a solution. How can you address a problem you don’t understand? Chang and SDOT Director Scott Kubly either don’t know the driving experience or simply don’t care.

When will they start to care? When there are consequences to their ineptitude and/or willful ignorance. Keep this in mind the next time they ask for your support.

Video: Check today’s Mercer Mess

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KIRO Radio’s Jason Rantz: I’m embarrassed by Seattle Department of Transportation