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Word Nerd

Lower Valley would benefit from transit

I didn't really grow up with transit.

I lived in the Renton Highlands, and although we had bus service through King County's Metro system up there, the routes were few and none ran near my home.

It wasn't until I went off to school and experienced Whatcom Transit and its complete coverage of Bellingham that I fell in love with the notion of being able to take the bus instead of relying on cars.

Once I married and moved to Seattle, Metro was part of my daily commute. Having a monthly pass became as natural as breathing. I could go anywhere in Seattle at any time, day or night. I was never worried about being stranded, and I had no concerns about parking, gas prices or car maintenance.

And Seattle's transit isn't even all that good compared to most places.

But here in the Lower Valley where the need is great, transit barely exists. If we didn't have People For People, it would be pretty much non-existent.

Transit helps communities by allowing people to live and work in different areas. It also allows people to go further while shopping and to indulge in local tourism.

And when times are tough and gasoline prices are high, a good transit system serves as a safety net for the entire community, keeping people in work and businesses afloat because customers keep coming.

Yakima Transit is trying to form a public transportation benefit area to extend service into the Lower Valley. In my opinion, it's something that's way overdue.

Yes, it would mean slightly higher taxes. But it would also mean people from Sunnyside could more easily travel to Yakima or other cities to work or shop, and people from Yakima can work and shop here.

The benefits of a transportation system are likely to far outweigh the costs, in my opinion.

What Yakima Transit is proposing for the Lower Valley isn't a comprehensive system, but it would be a great start. Isn't it about time?

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