Split along “party” lines …

Via The Olympian, “Lane cut from Capitol Way“:

But council members Joe Hyer, Jeff Kingsbury and Doug Mah weren’t ready to make that decision Tuesday night.

In a vote about having 3 or 4 lanes on Capital Way, one could easily be forgiven for thinking that the result was a division along party lines. Mah, Kingsbury and Hyer … voting based from what might be politely called a “business perspective.” If that perspective were more inclusive it might not be so striking. Not unexpected, I suppose given the apparent entanglement of the ODA interests.

There’s benefit to having a creative tension of community interests on the council, I would imagine. However, in such a small sampling of the community, voting blocs are too susceptible to being non-representative of the whole.

On the other hand, if Capital Way were to go down to 3 lanes, I cannot help but wonder if another path would be chosen by traffic. Would traffic move to all the way to Plum?

Historically, if I’ve figured correctly, Capital Way was the southern turn on the right angle that old 99 took through downtown. So, Capital Way was the primary path south from Pacific. That’s significant because it is the path that major traffic would have taken.

The question really should be asked is where should traffic go? Perhaps Plum is an ideal bypass for downtown, but there’s soon going to be, it has been projected, over 100 trucks a day heading toward the Port.

Perhaps another option to think about is to echo the matched one-way streets State and 5th which provide the east-west corridor by created matched one-way streets north-south as well.

Unfortunately, the north-south corridor is pinched between the Capital campus and there’s no neighboring street through this bottleneck. The only other primary north-south pathways appear to be Plum and Eastside which are too far to offer companionship to Capital Way, although they are close to eachother, and both connect with I-5.

I could imagine a north-south loop through downtown that utilized either Columbia or Washington to match Capital between the Capital Campus on the south end and the Farmer’s Market on the north end. Another option would be to use both Columbia and Washington as the loop with Capital being a 3 or 2 lane, very pedestrian and bike friendly corridor.

Of course, any decision should not be made only within the myopic scope of what to do now, but in the larger scope of a long term plan and vision by the community for downtown.

Update: In a more recent article, “Capitol Way plan: Fears of jams, hopes of safety” via The Olympian, it appears that the 3 lanes will be between 14th and Carlyon. That’s south of the bottleneck I was talking about on Capitol Way. So, I appear to have been talking about something else, not the area in which the change would happen. I was mostly talking about changes to the streets north of the bottleneck. I should have read the original article more clearly.

The print version of this newer article has some additional graphics which are worth a gander, which don’t appear to be attached to the online version. The image of the proposed three-lane road looks quite nice with bike paths and bus turnouts as well as a planted median. Somehow more appropriate to the residential neighborhoods than something approaching a highway. Of course, I can’t help but wonder if a nice light rail track might fit down the middle …