JASON RANTZ

Anti-car Cary Moon will make Seattle traffic worse

Oct 3, 2017, 6:09 AM | Updated: Oct 4, 2017, 7:31 am
Cary Moon, Seattle traffic, mayoral candidate...
Cary Moon. (KIRO 7)
(KIRO 7)

It’s ironic that in a blog post about tackling the root causes of Seattle’s traffic, Seattle Mayoral candidate ignores the root causes of traffic. Cary Moon is embracing her anti-car side.

Related: Seattle to profit off of parking nightmare

Now, it’s not all bad. But Moon’s main contention is that the city’s transit options are lacking, which forces workers to drive. She is incorrect.

There are plenty of options and they are being utilized. Many workers in the city are using buses and sidewalks; while it’s not keeping up with the population growth and has declined over the last several years, there are also people biking to work. A considerable chunk of drivers are coming from outside of the downtown core and South Lake Union, pushed out by rising costs of living, which has been fueled, in part, by high taxes to fund the transit plans Moon supports.

Moon argues that Seattle “should offer people convenient, fast alternatives to driving that get us where we need to go…” as if driving is fast and convenient in Seattle. Speaking frankly, she says Seattle “spends too much on car convenience — that’s why there are too many cars on the road.” These are the types of ridiculous comments that get her the support of anti-car fringe groups like Seattle Subway and Washington Bikes.

I’m not sure what “too much” spending on car convenience is to Moon. I think she means too little is spent on bicycle commuters, which her transportation plan disproportionally addresses.

Moon’s campaign remains reluctant to have her actually talk to me and answer tough questions, even though Moon personally told me she would. She was in the building for another interview. Moon approached me to introduce herself since I’ve been a vocal critic of her. She said she’d make time to come on with me shortly after our meeting, but I’m still waiting for the campaign to fulfill her promise.

I’d contend to her the city doesn’t spend too much on car convenience. City officials just spend money inefficiently. The new signal synchronization system to address the Mercer Mess? Traffic has gotten worse, it seems, taking almost 30 minutes to go four blocks.
Moon wants to shift the spending to areas that would make traffic even more crippling. She wants to expand bike lanes, even though bike commuting is down and not keeping up with population growth. These bike-only lanes that take lanes away from cars and buses end up making congestion worse while serving a small percentage of the commuting public. It’s a poor use of space in many areas, particularly around the Mercer Mess.

Related: Despite investing millions, bike commuting declines again

Noticeably absent from her position paper? Any meaningful mention of the Seattle Department of Transportation. And when she briefly gives them mention, it’s to push anti-car measures.

My position on this is as informed as anyone who truly uses most of the transit options at their disposal. I rarely drive, I frequently walk, and I make great use of my ORCA card for buses and light rail. I know we already have great options because I use them. Some should be expanded, particularly bus service, which can be a reasonable option for people who live relatively close to work.

But to almost exclusively blame drivers for the traffic mess — and give a pass to horrible SDOT management and planning in the process — while embracing a rosy picture of bike lanes that will never offer most drivers an option to ditch their vehicles? That only makes traffic worse and it’s a plan no Seattleite should get behind. It’s a nice way to court activist voters that went for Nikkita Oliver, but it’s not a plan that serves more than a small group of commuters.

This is not a good plan for Seattle traffic. Read it for yourself here and feel free to leave comments below if you think I’m wrong. Let’s have a dialogue.

Jason Rantz on AM 770 KTTH
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Anti-car Cary Moon will make Seattle traffic worse