On April 3rd, Mayor Jenny Durkan announced that Seattle will develop a plan to toll city roadways as part of its efforts to reduce traffic congestion and greenhouse-gas emissions. The Seattle Times used the comment and information as a front-page story.
I had just finished a white paper for a history project about the changes in downtown Tacoma in response to the merchants fleeing the city’s core in favor of the Tacoma Mall in the early 1970s, so I knew once gone it is difficult to lure both merchants and shoppers back. It took efforts of organizations, volunteers, and urban planning experts to study, promise and cajole investors, tourists, and regular people to return.
Wondering what the response would be from those regular people I posted a question on Facebook: “The mayor of Seattle is proposing a toll for driving in downtown Seattle. What do you think? Will it work in Seattle? Tacoma? Portland?”
The day after the announcement was made, there was a follow-up Seattle Times article how people had responded by asking how the toll would work. That comment was the exact opposite of most of the comments from my Facebook post.
Comments (posted as is):
1. Omg. Enough with the taxes!!!
2. I really thought the new mayor would be the answer for our issues in downtown, she’s not. Very disappointed. I know she is encouraging bus and rail, not everyone can do that.
3. Seattle just wants money. That is why they are talking about a head tax for employers also.
4. …one more reason I don’t go there… have you seen the mess with tents and garbage everywhere..? They already tried to impose an ‘income tax’ that the courts rejected…
5. Well, there goes lots of business down the drain due to their greed!
6. Seattle is the very last place in the state where I will spend any money. They suck enough out of those of us who don’t live there with “Sound transit” and the Seattle based “King County” government. A lot of our tax money supports Seattle’s stupidity.
7. Many other cities around the world have done this in effort to reduce the congestion. The funniest example I saw was years ago in Lagos, Nigeria where if your license plate ended in an even number, you could drive in the downtown core on M, W & F. If it ended in an odd number, you could drive on the other days. City planners were unavailable for comment when all the city’s elite bought additional cars and specially requested the other number on their plates
8. Wonderful Seattle. One more reason I don’t go there anymore, a place I used to love but can’t stand now. Tax it all Seattle, your liberal constituents don’t care, they must love having empty pockets.
9. After living in Tacoma for 22 years and the rest of my life was Seattle or Edmonds, Here’s what I know for fact. Seattle doesn’t go to Tacoma and Tacoma doesn’t go to Seattle, except for baseball and football.
10. I’ve been debating back and forth whether to go to Seattle for a local holiday, simply because of the parking problems. I would rather see city planners do a better job of not allowing overpopulation of an area -the cause of these problems. Cities need to think about what their infrastructure can support, and not just about the the possibility of increased tax revenues.
11. I won’t take my dollars to Seattle, won’t even go to the Mariners and I love baseball. I vote with my feet and wallet. Seattle is a uber progressive city attempting to engineer behavior because they are so much smarter than us dolts out in the hinterlands. Seattle has a big, fat unwelcome mat out unless one is of their worldview.
12. Maybe they should build a wall around downtown and let everyone in for free and pay 20 dollars to get out.
In all there were three dozen comments from my post. A number of people re-posted and Seattle Business News reached another 625 people on Facebook.
My wife and I had recently visited Seattle for a fund-raiser for the Bright Water Waldorf School. My wife and I stayed overnight at our favorite B & B and took a cab during rush hour to the event. The cab from and back to the B & B cost $29 (including tip), but if we had driven we would have had to pay as much as $20 for parking AND we would have had to speed, dodge, and serpentine our way through Friday night rush hour traffic in downtown Seattle. To add a toll onto the expense would have been another reason to stay home. – thesubtimes.com/2018/03/27/orfeo-bright-water-and-brighter-futures/
A follow-up article in the Seattle Times suggested: “. . . there are other ways to reduce traffic without nickel-and-diming — or more accurately, 10-and-20ing — an already price-shocked public.”
Still stinging from a downtown Tacoma parking ticket for $50 and wondering how the toll would work locally, I asked Lakewood mayor Don Anderson. He made sense: “There is no thought of tolling in Lakewood. Quite to the contrary, parking is free and shoppers, diners are encouraged to visit.” I love the welcoming approach.