As Seattle descends into chaos brought about by temperatures not seen here since the Last Glacial Maximum, it does this native son good being able to

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The Future of Commuting in Seattle Snow

As Seattle descends into chaos brought about by temperatures not seen here since the Last Glacial Maximum, it does this native son good being able to operate a motor vehicle with a decent set of tires, trumping everything Mother Nature is able to throw at the Pacific Northwest.

So passing one abandoned vehicle with an Obama bumper sticker on the side of the road after another, there's been plenty of time to reflect how the thousands of out-of-staters in the Greater Metro-area who don't understand the basics of navigating hilly streets in the snow will be off the streets next year, leaving miles of bare pavement open for the rest of us.

Despite being billions of dollars over budget and years behind schedule, Sound Transit's light rail line will finally, finally begin operation in 2009. And once it does, all of our transportation problems will be solved.

Because anyone who has lived here for any amount of time can tell you, and as anyone who has given commuting figures even a cursory glance can attest, the main routes people take to get to work in Seattle - and back home - follow exactly the path taken by the ST light rail line from SeaTac through the Rainier Valley and Columbia City on into Capitol Hill.

Oh sure, the Alaska Way Viaduct and 520 Floating Bridge could have been rebuilt (without the need for tolls) in the 1990s for the amount of dough dropped on building the SeaTac line and boring tunnels through Seattle hillsides. Hell, there would have even been enough left over to fix the choke points on I-5 and I-405 and to widen Highway 167 to four lanes.

But it is the hope that people in Seattle will change their driving habits - especially when it snows - that has made the billions of dollars spent on light rail and the delay of basic infrastructure improvements in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties well worth the cost.

 
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