The Secret Worldwide Transit Cabal

Informed but opinionated commentary and analysis on urban transportation topics from the Secret Worldwide Transit Cabal. Names have been omitted to protect the guilty.

Our Mission: Monkeywrench the Anti-Transit Forces

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Tuesday, July 01, 2003


Home of More Transit Links Than You can Possibly Check(tm), Unless you have no life other than websurfing

"Truth passes through three phases: 1) It is ridiculed. 2) It is violently opposed. 3) It is accepted as self-evident." Albert Schopenhouer. In the United States, rail is currently passing through Phase Two.



From the Cabalmaster:

A Seattle-area FOC has this to say about recurring fantasies about building highway bridges or tunnels across Puget Sound:

If anyone is planning a video about cross-Sound bridge and tunnel plans? If so, the background music should be "The Impossible Dream".

Some locals say, "If 'they' built a tunnel under the English Channel, an even longer one in Japan and even the Russkies are planning one between Siberia and Alaska, why can't 'we' build one under Puget Sound?

Ferry riders know, but prefer not to discuss, that Puget Sound is deep. Very deep. Much deeper than the English Channel, San Francisco Bay, the Tsugaru Strait, the Bering Strait, etc. The bottom is 700-900 feet below today's ferry routes, and such depths are reached within half a mile of shore. These facts rule out a tunnel. Even if construction at such depth was practical, toll booths would have to be two miles inland. Either that, or 30 percent grades would be needed to reach toll booths near the waterfront. (More about those tolls in a moment.)

A soaring, majestic bridge, as in San Francisco? Forget it. The Sound is too deep for a fixed crossing. A floating bridge is technically feasible, but there are other problems. Imagine the Coast Guard signing off on this shiny new navigational hazard. Imagine the new freeways that would have to be built with a Cross Sound bridge. Now try to imagine how to finance everything. Forty years ago, planners estimated that Cross Sound Bridge tolls would have to be more than $10 in today's money. The ferry system is a great bargain by comparison.

Landowners eager for more sprawl west of the Sound, and those nostalgic for the days before environmental impact studies, refuse to stop dreaming the impossible dream. Every decade or so, a complacent state Legislature appropriates funds for cross-sound "transportation" studies, even though the outcome is known well in advance. Perhaps the rest of us will learn to live with our geography instead of trying to pave it away.

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