By David Anderson, Tillicum
The Washington Military Department’s $4.7 M plan to move its main gate the distance of a couple football fields will mean vehicles traveling to and from Camp Murray will save 40 seconds in travel time over leaving the gate where it is. Click here to read more.
And that’s a steal.
Consider what Amtrak plans on spending to save six minutes on the Seattle to Portland run. Just the leg through Lakewood alone is expected to cost in excess of $90 M say officials with the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT). Throw in an additional $660 M for another 14 rail projects “intended to increase the frequency and reliability of Amtrak service” along the I-5 corridor and you get the idea of what being taken for a ride on Amtrak to Portland, or Camp Murray through Tillicum, actually costs.
Camp Murray admits that their gate relocation will “continue to divert more traffic – an additional 900 vehicle trips – through the residential neighborhood along Portland Ave, adding to the 2,700 daily vehicles” already jammed into that less-than-one-mile stretch.
“We know Portland Avenue is not preferred by the Tillicum community,” said Dave Bugher, Lakewood’s Assistant City Manager of Community Development. But with reference to the gate relocation Bugher said that it “might move traffic faster.”
Nearly $5 M is being spent based upon “might”?
Why not implement the very doable mitigations prior-to-rather-than-post gate relocation, ideas that cost little but deliver much? For example, Camp Murray promises to “evaluate the feasibility of implementing access restrictions at the Rear Gate to eliminate cut-through traffic and reduce Main Gate vehicle volumes by up to 20%.”
Camp Murray promises – eventually – to “more strongly support and encourage the use of carpooling and vanpooling to reduce the overall number of daily vehicles to Camp Murray.”
The National Guard has even proposed “relocating some employees to Joint Base Lewis-McChord, including Camp Murray’s combined support maintenance shop and other support units – or about 475 personnel.”
Ok, so what’s the hold up? And why are taxpayers being held up? If a 20% reduction in rat race, cut-through, scofflaws can be achieved some day, why not now? If carpooling can be encouraged, why not enforce? Since employees can be moved, why move a gate?
“I have some questions that need to be answered,” said Mayor Doug Richardson following the demonstration held at City Hall recently in which nearly 100 Tillicum residents spoke in opposition to Camp Murray’s plan. “We should go back and see what else should be done.”