Letters to the Editor

Transit argument is misinformed

Following the Mirror’s letters to the editor, it is hard to miss the concentrated effort by the proclaimed supporters of Councilwoman Linda Kochmar to undermine certain members of the Federal Way City Council. They name this certain group as the “Federal Way City Council majority,” and with the upcoming election, that those in this group who are up for re-election “be gone.”

I commend this democratic reaction. What I don’t support or understand is how facts are misrepresented and misinformation is used in an attempt to influence the electorate.

Clara McArthur made two statements in her letter May 14 (“Council majority getting its way”) that were based on erroneous information. The first was her claim that the 1,500-parking-space garage, currently planned for 1,200 parking stalls, is being forced upon the citizens of Federal Way without any public input. She assuredly did not consult with any council members or with public records. Any council member could inform her that community open houses were held in 1998 and 1999. Besides those open houses, a design charrette was presented in May 1999 that was well-attended by the general public and by the council.

Ms. McArthur could even consult with the so-called council minority about that presentation. Twenty-thousand newsletters requesting feedback about the Sound Transit improvements were mailed to the public in 1998 and 1999.

In November 2001, a public hearing encouraging input from the community was held at SeaTac Mall regarding the environmental assessment. It is also worthy to note that the council as a whole, in August 1999, voted to support the parking garage project. Jack Dovey and Ron Gintz were absent.

The second statement that misrepresents the facts is about what she claims as the “infamous 320th Street traffic problem.” She states that 1,500 car trips would be added to 320th because 1,500 parking stalls will be added in the proposed parking garage between 317th and 318th streets by 2005-06. According to the traffic study done by Transpo Group and using the Pacific Highway South--320th Street intersection as an example, currently 6,350 car trips are registered during the peak afternoon hours. In 2005, at the same intersection, it is estimated that 7,165 car trips will pass during those peak afternoon hours.

When the parking garage is built in 2005-06, that number will increase by 36. Granted, the traffic on 318th and 317th will be increased by 425 car trips because of the new ramp to I-5 for HOV traffic. But, it is notable that the trips on the 320th on and off-ramps are expected to decrease by 545 trips. So, in general terms, traffic on the 320th and Pacific Highway intersection will increase, and traffic on the 320th on and off-ramps will decrease by 5 percent. Granted, Transpo did this study and was contracted and paid for by Sound Transit, but the study was reviewed and supported by transportation experts from Federal Way Department of Public Works and the state Department of Transportation.

Ms. McArthur may still take the positions that traffic on 320th will be increased by 1,500 trips a day and that the parking garage was forced upon the citizens of Federal Way without any public input. If that is her choice, I would sincerely hope in the future that she supports her positions with information that is truthful and based on facts.

If her intention is to replace certain council members, I would hope that she backs candidates who are honest, informed and whose interests are the same as past council members who have used sound fiscal judgment to continue to make Federal Way a growing, healthy community.

Al Stipe

Federal Way

Editor: Mr. Stipe is a nember of the Executive Advisory Committee for the Federal Way transit center and HOV access ramp project.

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