Why We Still Need the Green Line

by Bob Fleming

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The people of Seattle have voted to not build a monorail. Does that mean we don’t still need it? No! The voting took place in the midst of confusion, controversy, and doubt. We still need the Green Line. Here’s why:

We need better rapid mass transit — Most people drive, so we need road improvements, but many people don't drive, so we need mass transit also. Furthermore, if there is good mass transit, some drivers that can do so will decide to save hassle, time, and expense by using mass transit when they can. This in turn will take some cars off the road, measning less congestion for those who drive.

Monorail is one of the best options for mass transit — Buses, light rail, commuter rail, subways, and bus rapid transit (BRT) are all excellent means of mass transit, and each has its place and its own advantages and disadvantages. In some situations monorail is a newer technology that is the best choice.

Of various possible monorail routes, we should start with the Green Line — Three years of intense work has already gone into designing the Green Line, most of the land required has already been acquired, and a contract was ready for approval. If the project had been approved on 8 November, work on the Green Line would have begun in early 2006 and the line would have opened to passengers in late 2010 or early 2011. If we choose a different route now, it would be necessary to start all over, so it makes sense to build the Green Line first, because it is almost ready to be started.

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©2005 Robert M. Fleming Jr.

This page was last updated on 20 March 2013

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