Drunk drivers – take the bus

Think of all those poor people in Seattle who can’t get to Edmonds!
By Nathaniel Brown | May 17, 2013


We’ve been reading of two interesting and important issues coming up before the legislature: a comprehensive transportation bill, listed by Governor Inslee as a top priority for the Special Session – and a movement to lower the percentage of blood alcohol permissible for drivers, together with increased penalties for drunk driving.

Especially for Edmonds, the two bills have a relationship, which I have not seen addressed.  In simple terms, better public transportation means less drunk driving.

Without condoning drunk driving, I think it’s simply realistic to recognize that at one time or another, most of us have found ourselves in a situation where we realize we may have imbibed a bit too much alcohol, but with no way to get home without driving, given the inadequate public transportation system we have.  (Let’s leave taxis and friends out of the argument for now.)

I live in Edmonds.  If I go to a restaurant in Seattle, the only viable way to get home in the evening is by car: there are no trains; no bus goes within .6 miles of my home – and even then, taking a bus means two transfers – if the buses are still running!

I make a point of not drinking too much, but to be realistic, even if one is abstemious, there will be times when one may exceed the limit – especially if .05 percent is to be the new standard.

No trains run late – and try getting a taxi from the Edmonds station when you need one!  (I have: it took 30 minutes to arrive.)

Better transportation means fewer drunk drivers.

I live in Edmonds. We moved here in 1961 because Edmonds was close to Seattle.  It’s not close any more: it has taken me over two hours to get to Seattle for a meeting downtown, and I rarely go in the evening because of traffic time AND the tension traffic generates.

A perhaps apocryphal headline in the London Times is said once to have read: “Heavy Fog in Channel – Continent Isolated.”  An “Edmocentric” headline might read “Heavy Traffic on the Freeway – Seattle Isolated.”

As a result, I rarely go to Seattle any more, though I have thought of throwing in the towel and moving there as the only reasonable way to participate in what the city has to offer.  We’re just too cut off these days.

So – the issues are related.  Getting tough on drunk driving is something that we can all get behind – but let’s work to provide an alternative way to get home when and if it’s needed.

And let’s work for better – far better – regional mass transport that will bring Seattle closer to Edmonds and outlying towns.  Think of all those poor people in Seattle who can’t get to Edmonds!

Write to your legislators.  Support a comprehensive transportation bill and tougher drunk-driving laws.  It’s going to cost, but we need both things if the area is to grow, and they are inter-related.


Nathaniel Brown

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