Coalition for Effective Transportation Alternatives
530 Dayton, No. 202
February 4, 2003
CETA's Consensus Package
of Regional Transit Alternatives
CETA has drafted this package of cost-effective alternatives to Sound Transit's Link light rail project. This has the support of former Gov. Booth Gardner, King County Councilmember Rob McKenna, numerous elected officials, Sane Transit, Freeway Monorail, and advocates of bus rapid transit, monorail, and personal rapid transit.
People are frustrated because their cars and buses get stuck in traffic every day. They
yearn for ways to reduce traffic, speed it up, or avoid it altogether. Frustration turns to
anger when they see that putting a prohibitively expensive rail line in one corridor wonít
address the traffic problems that most of us face.
People recognize the importance of mobility not just for commuters, but also for a
growing senior and youth population, families, shoppers and freight. They see that
growth has not followed traditional patterns and thus requires non-traditional solutions.
Our region is not a single downtown hub surrounded by a ring of suburbs. It has
become a web of interconnected urban centers, with equal numbers of commuters
flowing into and out of Seattle.
People are looking for 21st century solutions. They want to balance the convenience of
road-based transportation with a desire not to pave over paradise. They want transit
that works for more people in more places, while reducing the burden on the
environment created by single occupancy vehicles.
People continue to distrust government. They want to see that the taxes they have
approved are producing results. They do not want to dismantle what works well now.
They would rather see success demonstrated in an incremental series of smaller
projects and innovations that provide the most benefit for the least cost.
We recognize that there is no one silver bullet for Puget Sound's complex transportation
problem. We need a package of effective strategies. Given the scope of the problem,
our unique topography, limited resources, and the need to ensure money is being spent
wisely, we call for a redirection of our Sound Transit light rail project dollars. It is simply
the wrong technology for our region--that is why it costs so much here. Light rail was
never meant to be elevated or tunneled to the extent that would be required in our
We propose two key strategies. The first -- in recognition of the urgent need for near
term results -- calls for redirecting some of the $3 billion into expanding existing
The second strategy is to quickly launch a sincere, thorough, an objective comparison
of other promising alternatives for our Region. Instead of spending any more time or
money figuring out how we can afford to get to Northgate or the Airport with light rail,
letís take a fraction of the time and money to improve the ways we already get there!
The remainder of the $3 billion should be spent on those which bring the most benefit
for the least cost.
More specifically we recommend the following:
STARTING TODAY WITH SMALL BUT
PRODUCTIVE PROJECTS which
Improve and Expand Successful Bus,
Vanpool and Commute Trip Reduction
programs and other services.
- Incrementally increase and improve
bus service, especially Express
service, on routes where there is
existing or potential demand.
Examples are: I-5, 405, 167,
Northgate to SeaTac, 522, North 99
and East-West corridors.
- Open the Bus Tunnel longer on
nights and weekends. Increase the
number of buses and bus routes as
- Reduce transit fares.
- Improve bus and bus stop
- Provide more information on how to
use the system.
- Speed up bus travel via signal
- Create more mini-park and ride lots
where affordable space is available
along routes (church lots, etc.)
- Increase carpool/vanpool usage by
reducing fees for vanpools and
modest marketing of both.
- Reduce the time it takes to clear
accidents and incidents off the
- Evaluate and potentially strengthen
tax incentives that reduce the need
to travel alone. For example:
- Proximate Commuting-moving
employees to branches closer to
- Parking cash outs and subsidized
- Work with private sector to get the
most benefit from taxis and Flex car
STARTING TODAY WITH LARGER
- Evaluate our major freeways and
arterials for possible future
incremental conversion from express
buses to Exclusive Busway, Monorail
or other appropriate technology.
- Evaluate contribution towards HOV
lanes and Direct Access Ramps in
North/South King County for
- Speed up fare collection through pre-pay,
proof of payment, or one-pass-for-
- Evaluate feasibility of HOT (High
Occupancy Toll) lanes, a variation on
HOV lanes, which would maintain
24/7 60 mph mobility for transit, 3-
person carpools, and emergency
vehicles; and provide toll access for
time-sensitive trucking and "rush-to-the-
emergency-room" (or daycare)
non-carpools. Monitoring to maintain
lane speed would be sensor-based
- Partner with the private sector and
universities to invest in Research
and Development of new, potentially
beneficial technologies, such as
Personal Rapid Transit (PRT), fuel
cells, elevated magnetic levitation
- Evaluate contribution to help finish
and expand planned bikeways and
designated bike routes.