Mudflow into Art
I enjoyed the article on the killer mudflows ["The Super Flood," Oct. 19]. Seattle Weekly readers might also enjoy visiting Terminal 107 along the Duwamish Waterway, mentioned in the article as the place geologists discovered the sand layer that arrived from Mount Rainier 1,200 years ago. Having spent several years making art at T107, I collaborated with noted U.S. Geological Survey geologist Brian Atwater to create a 15-foot-high cast iron sculpture there. The Geo-slice literally shows the layers under the ground, having been cast directly from a probe produced at the site by Atwater and a team working with him from the Japanese Geological Survey. The Japanese came equipped with a special machine that could bring up an intact ribbon from below the ground, and it clearly showed how the Mount Rainier mud is above what should be the riverbed. A key at the base of the sculpture depicts the sand layer and its arrival from Mount Rainier. The Japanese were involved because Atwater correctly theorized that the mudflow set off a tsunami in Japan.
Just a quick note on Brian Miller's bike commuting piece ["It's Gridlock vs. Bike Lock," Oct. 19]. Employers that provide facilities for cyclists make it easier, too. Commuting in summer is fine, but commuting in winter can be nasty work because of our famous wet. Employers that provide a place to change, maybe even showers, and a place to hang up your gear to dry out for the ride home go a long way toward helping us get out of our cars. Parking, which Miller mentions, is also key—secure, covered parking provided for bikes leaves us worry-free during the day, and again, if it's wet, at least we can start out on a dry saddle.
I was a hard-core commuter for many years—I rode from Capitol Hill to south of Spokane Street. I quit when I started working on the Eastside. The risk of missing my bus because the bike rack was full, the distance, the bridge crossing, the horror of riding through Bellevue—all that made it just too difficult. When I worked in town, I commuted about eight miles each way. It took me the same amount of time on the bus, but I was way healthier and happier when I commuted by bike. I miss having bike commuting be part of my daily life.
Commuting in Sync
I couldn't agree more with Barbara Culp and David Hiller ["It's Gridlock vs. Bike Lock," Oct. 19]. It's not the price of gas but schedule and convenience that drove me to bike. I live on Vashon, and dumped the car for the bus to and from the ferry on both sides about six years ago. That all changed with the fall ferry schedule change. Forget working late and taking the passenger-only ferry—its last run is 6:10. What, take the 54 bus to the Fauntleroy ferry? What should be an hour and a half commute turns into two to two and a half hours because the bus and the ferry are not coordinated after the regular commute hours of 4:30 to 6 p.m.
Since mid-September, I'm bike commuting, not because gas is taking a big bite out of my wallet, but because I have few options to get home in any reliable time frame. It takes me about the same time to get from downtown to the West Seattle dock as on a bus, and I don't have to worry about schedules.
Smokers Are Pariahs
Geov Parrish thinks Initiative 901, which would ban cigarette smoke in restaurants and all other workplaces, would make those poor persecuted smokers feel like "pariahs" ["Butt Out," Oct. 19]. Hmm, they spew carcinogenic fumes in my face and lungs, and I'm supposed to feel sorry for them? Sorry, but the nonsmoker's right to breathe clean air trumps the smoker's "right" to pollute it.
Besides, smokers aren't the only ones left outside. For example, restaurants can expel customers who play loud boom boxes. Does Parrish shed tears for those musically inclined pariahs? If we can protect our ears from noise pollution, certainly we can protect our lungs from cancer-causing smoke.
And yes, the smoke and loud music should be kept a few yards from the entrance. It makes no sense to allow cigarette smoke to drift through a smoke-free restaurant's doors and windows, just as it makes no sense to allow the boom box to blast directly outside those same doors and windows. A nuisance is a nuisance. They both ruin a meal.
Matthew J. Barry
Geov Parrish is worried about a nanny state ["Butt Out," Oct. 19]. He fusses that Initiative 901 would force us to breathe clean air! To be consistent, Parrish must also object to health regulations that require clean water and insect-free food in restaurants. I can hear Parrish screaming, "How dare those King County nannies keep cockroaches out of my pasta!" He must also strenuously object to regulations that say restaurant workers must wash their hands after going to the bathroom. Government inspectors who ensure that meat in grocery stores is free of mad cow disease must be health nazis in Parrish's mind.
But in reality, most of us like the fact that the government protects our health by requiring clean water and food. Requiring clean air is no different.
I am pained to see the steamrollerlike progress of Initiative 901, the measure that bans smoking inside and outside of public establishments throughout Washington state ["Butt Out," Oct. 19]. The provision creating a 25-foot-wide no-smoking zone outside the doorways of such places seems more like persecution than sound public policy. The overzealous measure—if it's to be enforced as expected—would even bar pedestrians with lit cigarettes from strolling the sidewalks of major business districts. Where will smokers go? Please note that the leases of many apartment buildings (like mine) currently contain a no-smoking clause. It all adds up to a wimpy, underhanded version of Prohibition, which the backers dare not call by its real name.
$1.7 Billion Phad Thai
If the point of Rick Anderson's monorail Buzz item [Oct. 19] was to say that the monorail is a bad deal for Seattle, he should wake up . . . he's obviously still whining about the crappy finance plan that was unveiled last June. The finance plan that was unveiled Oct. 17 is well within the spending parameters we established with our last vote. This fixed-price contract of $1.7 billion to design, build, operate, and maintain the system has built-in accountability and financial protections for taxpayers, and we are not going to get another grade-separated rapid transit system any cheaper—ever! Especially not one that works for our city's topography, with its hills and waterways.
So Anderson doesn't want to go to Interbay. Fine; he can just ride the monorail from West Seattle through SoDo, past the stadiums, the International District, and Pioneer Square, past the Market, through Belltown and the Seattle Center, and stop in Queen Anne for Thai food. Besides, this first 10.6 miles of track is Phase 1, and the system is designed to be extended the full 14 miles.
You know, the only time I ever took my bus all the way to its terminus was when I fell asleep one day coming home from work. It wasn't a big deal. Really.
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