Opinion

School travels and traffic lights | Q&A with Mr. Federal Way

Mr. Federal Way - File photo
Mr. Federal Way
— image credit: File photo

Q: Mr. Federal Way, I see January is School Board Recognition Month. I would like to recognize Federal Way Public Schools for getting to see the world during 2013. That’s more of a statement than a question. Thanks.

A: Mr. Federal Way appreciates the statement, as well as your sarcasm. It isn’t lost on Mr. Federal Way.

By thanking the school board for “getting to see the world,” Mr. Federal Way knows that you are referring to the district’s Global Learning Initiative, where the school board has racked up nearly $100,000 on trips to Europe, China and Africa, among others.

Superintendent Rob Neu and the five-member school board have defended the trips, saying they are making sure students are “internationally minded, with the skill sets to ensure success in the new global economy, is absolutely essential.”

While they were taking trips around the world, there were a lot of people in Federal Way, including Mr. Federal Way, complaining that there weren’t enough textbooks in classrooms and district employees have not had cost-of-living pay raises in recent years due to the economy.

But, Mr. Federal Way is going to save that criticism for a later day. January does mark School Board Recognition Month across the state. It’s the 19th year of the annual observance, initiated by the National School Boards Association in 1995.

And, despite the trips all over the world, the members of the Federal Way school board do volunteer a lot of time and seem to have the best interests of the students in mind.

“There is no more important elected office when it comes to our children’s future,” said Washington State School Directors’ Association President Mari Taylor. “School board members put in long hours to guide public education in their communities. This recognition is well deserved.”

They have to make the tough decisions on numerous complex educational and social issues. And it’s not like they are school board members in Medina or Redmond.

So, Mr. Federal Way says give the members of the Federal Way school board a quick pat on the back for all their work. But, if you feel the need to start the criticism back up after that pat, that’s your right.

Q: We have spent a great deal of time waiting for the traffic lights to be responsive to the traffic flow from the intersection of Pacific Highway South onto Dash Point Road. Try driving from Pacific Highway onto Dash Point Road at about 4:30 to 6 p.m. and you have the perfect storm for a nightmare of driving.  What can the tax-paying citizens do to get someone’s attention about this traffic mess? What do you think?

A: There are basically three traffic lights in a one-block area on Dash Point Road off of Pacific Highway. Those three traffic lights located so close together have obviously created a traffic nightmare, as you said. And Mr. Federal Way doesn’t think there is really anything substantial that can be done to alleviate the problem, outside of constructing a raised viaduct from Pacific Highway to 320th with no traffic signals.

There’s just too many people who are not using Dash Point Road during the day. There are a lot of Federal Wayans who work north of the city, who are using Pacific Highway South in the mornings and evenings. People who live in Twin Lakes and northeast Tacoma use Dash Point Road as a shortcut, so they don’t have to get on Interstate 5 or deal with the congestion on 320th around the mall and all the restaurants.

That’s just the way it is.

But, you asked Mr. Federal Way a question, and Mr. Federal Way will do the best Mr. Federal Way can to answer it. Obviously, Mr. Federal Way is not a traffic engineer and is just spit-balling here. But, it seems pretty excessive to have three separate traffic lights in, essentially, a one-block area.

It’s also not ideal that Sacajawea Middle School is located smack dab in the middle of the three traffic signals and the speed limit goes down to 20 mph in that stretch during the morning and afternoon.

What about using those flashing-yellow signals on Redondo Way and 11th like are used at other intersections around Federal Way? This would keep the traffic on Dash Point Road flowing, but would cause backups on the side streets for people coming out of Marine Hills and up Redondo Way.

In short, you are damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

Q: Mr. Federal Way, I work out all the time, but every January my gym, all of a sudden, gets packed. Any advice on how to get through dealing with the people that make New Year’s resolutions to work out?

A: Just give it a couple weeks, the crowd will thin out at the gym, like it always does around February.

Every year, millions of Americans make a New Year’s resolution to eat healthier and exercise more. And, in a shocking development, most of those people only keep that promise for a month, maybe two.

Some University of Washington psychologists even completed a recent study that concluded that “most people keep their main resolution for no more than two months, which explains why gyms are always busiest between January and March.”

Wow, impressive use of public money for that study. That would be like Mr. Federal Way coming up with a study that concluded it rains quite a bit and the sky is pretty gray during the winter months in Federal Way.

If Mr. Federal Way were any type of businessman, Mr. Federal Way would rent one of the numerous, vacant storefronts in town for just January and February of each year, throw in a few treadmills, elliptical machines and maybe a bench press or two and watch the money roll in.

Mr. Federal Way would call the gym something like “A New You” or “Keep That Resolution.” If anyone has some financial backing and they want to partner with Mr. Federal Way on this business venture, let Mr. Federal Way know.

As always, Mr. Federal Way’s email address is at the end of this column. We could be millionaires.

Q: Why do you feel the need to always be so sarcastic in your columns?

A: None of your business.

Got a question for Mr. Federal Way? Email mrfederalway@federalwaymirror.com

 

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