The Seattle Way

The Seattle Way is a Brick Wall

Seattle and its surrounding environs have a rather odd method of doing things in government; locally nicknamed “The Seattle Way.”  In endless efforts to obtain a consensus by pleasing all, very few decisions get made in a timely manner. Many of the projects that actually get started often lead to loopy results instead of practical solutions. Below is but one glaring example:

Seattle’s two ancient roadways — a viaduct and a floating bridge — carry 225,000 vehicles per day, from Smart Cars to 53-ton truck combinations.  Both are ready to collapse in a good earthquake.  While these long known dangers imperil the entire local economy, billions of dollars have been sunk into 19th century technologies like commuter heavy rail, light rail, and streetcars serving in total less than 18,000 riders per day, each perhaps burdened with a sack lunch and a laptop.

How does Seattle do it, one might ask? Below is a satirical announcement from a “Study Group” which closely resembles the reports we routinely see in the local press:

Group to Promote New Rapid Mass Transit Formed

Air Ships in New Innovative Novel Environments (ASININE) announced today that it is moving forward to create commuter dirigible service between Seattle, Tacoma, and Everett. ASININE is a coalition of grass roots activists formed to find ways to cut greenhouse gasses and promote eco-friendly transportation alternatives. Spokesperson Dilarine Lightpockets announced that ASININE was founded by feminist paralegals seeking inclusiveness and consensus in the process of system specific planning.

The group has a proactive “zero tolerance policy” on road construction and demands an immediate statewide moratorium on such plans. A coordinating task force chaired by Wilhelmina Broom-Wickersham will interface with a steering committee that will in turn organize workshops, panel discussions, and neighborhood roundtable groups. Rignalita Ramos-Hoogerwerf has been named to dialog with state, county, and city officials on diversity issues, and seek opportunity grant money to initialize the planning stages. Ramos-Hoogerwerf will also establish a resource sharing forum to provide outreach to various advocacy groups with common goals and author a manifesto/position paper based on their input and throughput. “The solidarity with other groups will lead to synergistic diversity, tolerance, and empowerment as ASININE evolves” according to Lightpockets.

Civil engineer Buskirk Brubacher studied alternative transportation and did his PHD thesis on airship design in Europe.  “The drawings of the Hindenburg are all in good condition and can easily be scanned into AutoCAD files. The US has the world’s largest supply of helium and a simple switch to that gas would make the airships safe for commuter transportation” he said.  Additionally, Brubacher mentions that this transportation mode can be adopted between large buildings thereby eliminating any use of roadways.  “The Empire State Building was built with a mooring mast and it is still in place. We can do the same with the Columbia Center here.”

Bids for planning, design, and construction of the airships will be sought from Asian and European firms. “Nearly all our present transit equipment from the monorail to hybrid busses were sourced outside the US” said Brubacher. “There is no reason to work with a Boeing or GM when we can purchase everything from abroad.”

Cartoon Credit:  Shiers, Jr., published in Bellevue Reporter Newspaper on February 24, 2010, page 4.


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