By David Anderson, Tillicum
Last week’s mail produced this year’s challenges under the headline “Key policy issues the (Lakewood) City Council will address in 2011.” Four of the six listed impact the Tillicum neighborhood, two of which are especially grievous – a new gate for Camp Murray, and Amtrak trains – the first that would put over 1,000 cars/day down Tillicum’s western border, and the latter that would run 14 high-speed trains per day down Tillicum’s eastern border.
With regards the Camp Murray gate, the City’s publication asks, “Is there a feasible solution for a new gate that is acceptable to the City, the State Military Department (SMD) and the neighborhood?”
First of all a clarification. There are only two entities at this table, not three. There is the SMD, and there are the people. The people are the city. And the people have spoken.
As President of the Tillicum Woodbrook Neighborhood Association, and therefore one that believes he has heard quite clearly from the residents he represents, the answer to that question raised above is resoundingly, repeatedly, unanimously, and emphatically ‘No!’
Page 10 of the aforementioned publication – which lies directly opposite the policy issues – shows an organizational decision-making flow chart for the City of Lakewood. At the top, as they should be, are the citizens of Lakewood. Not governments, or their dollars, or their plans – federal or state – but residents. And the residents of Lakewood – specifically those that live in Tillicum – have made abundantly clear how they feel about being run-over and railroaded through.
As stated in this online newspaper previously, Camp Murray has a gate already – at the southern terminus of their campus. They just don’t want to use it, won’t even discuss it, in fact eliminated it out-of-hand in their so-called rigorous review of gate alternatives. Their reason was, in their own Environmental Assessment, it didn’t fit their criteria of a pedestrian-friendly campus.
Ditto Amtrak. They have a track to run on. But they want to by-pass that and pass through us. Sure the passenger line has legitimate concerns with freight, but we’ve got legitimate concerns with fright. Seven-hundred people are killed each year by walking along the tracks. Yes, that’s trespassing. And yes, according to train officials, no amount of fencing can ensure safety. But why multiply by seven the number of trains already going through our city each week and make that happen at potentially twice the speed every single day?