There's No Getting Around It: Seattle's Transportation Issue

It’s the least sexy, most flammable cocktail-party topic around: transportation. The horror story about a one-hour crosstown crawl. The strategy swap about how best to cross the lake during a Mariners home stand. And the sharply divisive rhetoric about which multibillion-dollar projects our region really needs—and how to pay for them.

Why would we put such a potentially ugly and ungainly story on the cover of our magazine?

Because transportation touches us all; and the environmental, fiscal and political stakes are only getting higher as Seattle makes progress on some show-stopping developments.

As our editor-in-chief Rachel Hart writes in her editor's note this month:

"In the coming months, our city will embark on the biggest transportation projects we’ve ever seen—the biggest-diameter tunnel in history, cleaning up the Mercer Mess, the light-rail buildout and the 520 bridge replacement, to name a few."

As you probably remember, Seattle didn't come to the decision to set forth on those projects easily. Joe Follansbee looks at the infamous "Seattle process" and considers whether it helps or hinders us. And Jordan Royer considers a bigger picture: how Seattle's transportation decisions can impact the economy of our entire region.

Then there's the personal responsibility aspect. If we want less traffic, well, we should drive less. That's easier said than done in some circumstances; but the bottom line is 52.9% of Seattle drivers are still driving alone in their cars as a primary mode of transportation.

We've put together an entire package of helpful and hopeful solutions, including some outlandish ideas from local transportation experts that came forth when we posed the question: If money were no object, what would you do to fix Seattle's transportation?

Finally, there's some fun musings on Seattle's transportation past and future from writers Feliks Banel and Knute Berger.

All of the solutions and problems couldn't possibly be covered in this one cover story. What we have here is a bird's eye view of what's coming and what's going. Hopefully, it prompts you to consider the question: what will you do to get around better in the future?