Opinion

Time and again

The saying goes, the more things change, the more they remain the same. Faces and even places have changed here but familiar issues and debates return again and again, much of it these days about mobility.

The list is short but shaded with complexity.

Despite assurances that more money will be found by the Legislature to complete SR-520, everyone is still concerned about the possibility of tolling on I-90.

Next, what is happening to the formerly-sleepy Town Center needs no explanation. More construction is ahead and more people are coming. And while Islanders hope for more places to spend their time and money along S.E. 27th Street or 76th or 78th Avenues S.E., parking will be at a premium even with the added ‘walk-off’ parking promised by developers.

Open spaces and parks are revered yet, two new developments; an expanded thrift store and a proposed theater, both honorable endeavors — will, for better or worse — encroach on Mercerdale Park and the streets that surround it.

And just steps away, at least one major new multi-story project is  proposed for the block bounded on the north by  S.E. 29th Street. That by itself, will create more traffic and its own demands on parking.

The cuts to Metro service planned for next year will shave further the mere sliver of bus service that exists on the Island now. Islanders wonder, just where will they park to shop or catch the bus to get to the north or south ends of the Island ­ — or get on I-90. For their part, city leaders hope for changes in thinking; in how we move about, how we use precious resources. Yes, there are now bike lanes painted onto many Island streets. Not too great in the rain, to haul groceries though, or for those who are less mobile.

People wonder aloud why the North Mercer Park and Ride parking structure was not built to accommodate more vehicles at the Park and Ride.  When it was planned in 2006, city leaders kept it modest, wanting to lessen the impact on the north-end neighborhoods nearby.

But that was before.

 

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