SPEECH President's Message
by Janine Gates
Several articles in this issue of the South Sound Green Pages are about transportation. One's transportation choice is very personal, that's for sure. With such a variety of needs, economic and mobility limitations, work and family schedules, home locations, lifestyles and social activities, there is no one transportation method that is necessarily better than the other - what works for one person isn't always right for another.
Different strokes (and spokes) for different folks. I happen to be getting around this summer on a two-stroke engine, a classic '81 Honda Express scooter. I love it! To get to and from work and running errands, I've gone from spending $70 a week in gas for my trusty '95 Ford Explorer to spending about $30 a month, and I'm getting at least 90 miles to the gallon. It's working for me until the rains come, then we'll see what happens.
Going over the handle bars while trying to jump a curb, I haven't ridden a bicycle since I was 12. I've always been a walker and didn't learn to drive until I was 27. Living in Seattle for my high school years, I took the bus everywhere and didn't need a car. Living in downtown Olympia after college, many folks remember seeing me tote my daughter around in a baby sling while dragging a shopping cart to and from Yardbirds and Mark-It Foods (now Bayview). I also took Intercity Transit where I needed to go. Taking the bus now isn't convenient for my work schedule, but it works, and is vital for many people.
Whether you transport yourself for work or leisure activities using a traditional car, electric car, moped or scooter, wheelchair, skateboard, bus, airplane, ferry, train, bike or walk, it's all part of a system we need to take into consideration when planning for local traffic, safety, and land use decisions.
A high capacity transit study, which will examine the costs associated with bringing the Sounder rail system to Thurston County, is due in September to the Transportation Policy Board, a regional group made up of elected officials and citizens. "It would be very expensive and take a vote of the people (to fund)," said Lacey council-member Andy Ryder, at a recent council meeting. Indeed, I moved to the Northwest in 1980 and people were complaining then about the high cost of building a comprehensive monorail system along the I-5 corridor - and that's when I remember hearing a distinct ebb and flow of I-5 traffic. It's a whole lot more expensive now.
Later this month, SPEECH is excited to host an end-of-the-summer volunteer recognition event on Sunday, August 28, from 4:00 pm - 7:00 pm at Fertile Ground Community Center. If you've ever volunteered for SPEECH, or would like to, you're invited! Special gifts and recognition will be awarded. Pizza, refreshments and music will be provided! I look forward to seeing you there!
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