"Smart Growth" and "New Urbanism" Compared with "Large Lot Zoning" (Tom Lane) [ Home Page – Click Here]

(May 17, 2017) – Traditional "Large Lot Zoning" is "Greener" than "Smart Growth" within Urban Growth Boundaries . . . Copyright 2009 – 2017 . . . Tom Lane . . . Photographing California, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Oregon, and Seattle, Washington.

Tom Lane Letter: East Link, I-90, I-1125

(Updated December 8, 2011, Tom Lane) My September, 2011 advocating a yes vote on I-1125, was used for campaign purposes and sent to voters and public officials. However, please note that I have other posts on 1125, as follows –

Tom Lane’s Other Posts on I-1125, Light Rail, and Kemper Freeman

Sadly, 1125 was defeated by the votersin Washington State in November, 2011. See all my posts on Kemper Freeman, Light Rail, and Initiative 1125.  Click the following link for a list of all of my posts. (Posts and Photos Copyright 2010-2011, Tom Lane, except the Video screenshots from Firefox, with appropriate credit provided.)


Second, please click this link, for my I-1125 You Tube Video page:

Tom Lane’s Letter Advocating a Yes Vote on I-1125

Below, I have used several arguments from the official Yes on 1125 web page, http://yeson1125.org, to add to my original arguments for a YES vote on Initiative I-1125, and to explain why East Link Light Rail on Interstate 90 is Unconstitutional, violating the 18th Amendment to the State Constitution.

I sent the original version of this letter to the Sound Transit board, selected members of the Puget Sound Regional Council, and several local politicians and commentators.  Ratings on Google indicated that the letter was well received in the 8 weeks prior to the election.

And, be sure to Click Here for the Official Yes on I-1125 Web Site:  http://yeson1125.org

Introduction:  Kemper Freeman Donated $1,000,000 to Tim Eyman’s I-1125 signature gathering campaign. 

Although Kemper Freeman opposes Light Rail, especially East Link on I-90, he is the first private business owner in the entire Pacific NW, to install Electric Car Charging Stations at Bellevue Square.

Clearly, Kemper Freeman is not “anti-environmental,” despite all the blogs out there that claim that he is.

Kemper Freeman recognizes, as do the majority of transportation planners, that the suburbs and commuting are not going away.

Instead, as gas becomes more expensive, we will find cheaper forms of fuel, such as natural gas, hybrid, and electric cars, along with other solutions such as bike lanes and bike trails. Kemper even advocates free bus rapid transit, see this interview:  http://navigatekingcounty.com/blog/light-rail-off-track/76/

Introduction – Why I Wrote This Letter

The Washington State Republican party endorsed Initiative 1125.  Unfortunately, the State Democrat party did not. 

This is unfortunate for several reasons, as I explain in this letter sent to over 50 Public Officials and commentators below, including the Board of Sound Transit, selected members of the Puget Sound Regional Council, and many others in Seattle area politics.


September 9, 2011

Editorial on I-1125 and the 18th Amendment of the Washington State Constitution from Tom Lane, Politically Independent, webmaster of:  https://smartgrowthusa.wordpress.com

Note: This letter is dedicated to the recent retirement of Mr. James C. Glennon, history instructor who taught me the Constitution, formerly of Highline Community College and also Mount Rainier High School.  I wish him the best in his retirement years! July, 2011 Article and Photo of Mr. Jim Glennon as he retires:


Dear non-elected planning and transit personnel and others:

I am one of about half a dozen folks with prominent web sites who oppose Sound Transit and East Link in Seattle, and who advocates A YES VOTE on I-1125. In a few days, I will place this letter on my web site: https://smartgrowthusa.wordpress.com

Today, I was very pleased to receive notice from Tim Eyman that the State Republican Party endorses I-1125.

As you know, I-1125 will essentially ban the Washington State Agency Sound Transit, from their illegal and Unconstitutional intention of using the State Gas Tax, to fund Light Rail on Interstate 90, between Seattle and Bellevue.

If I-1125 passes this fall in Washington State, it will make national headlines, given the USDOT’s current agenda for nationwide High Speed Rail.

Such gas tax monies ABSOLUTELY CANNOT fund ANY form of NON-highway purpose, under the State Constitution’s 18th Amendment.

However, it’s unfortunate that just ONE major party in our state – the Republicans – are HONEST enough to endorse I-1125 (See their endorsement below.)

Unfortunately, the Washington State Democrats oppose I-1125.

Why is this unfortunate?

Because following the Constitution is patriotic and the right thing to do.  We must respect the views of our founding fathers.

In fact, voters even approved the 18th Amendment in November, 1944. From Ballotpedia, http://ballotpedia.org/wiki/index.php/Washington_Vehicle_Taxes_for_Road_Fund,_Amendment_18_%281944%29

Here is the Text of Amendment 18.  As you can see, it’s very clear that all gas taxes collected by the State of Washington can only be used for highway purposes, including building and maintaining highways, roads and city streets.  While Amendment 18 designates ferries as a use for gas taxes, there is absolutely no mention of public transit of any form, including light rail.

18th Amendment to the Washington State Constitution, passed by the voters in 1944.  From: http://yeson1125.org  Accessed: September 27, 2011

Furthermore, it’s important to remember our history.  In this case, State of Washington voters overwhelmingly(70%)  believed that gas taxes should exclusively be used for highway purposes.

Traffic Congestion

Traffic congestion probably did not exist when Amendment 18 was passed in 1944.  Nevertheless, many of your constituents will vote YES on 1125, since light rail is a very inefficient way to move large amounts of people.

Mr. Bruce Nurse of Kemper Development Co. stated to “The Olympian” Editorial board on TV-W, that East Link light rail on I-90 will carry less than 1% of all of those who currently commute between Seattle and Bellevue.

That will not meet the region’s needs in the next few decades.  Instead, what we need are more freeway lanes, bike lanes, and a bus rapid transit system.  In addition to installing electric car charging stations, Kemper Freeman also supports free transit service, see: http://navigatekingcounty.com/blog/light-rail-off-track/76/

Nationwide Decrease in Public Transit Ridership from 1960 to 2009

In September, 2011, the U.S. Census released the 2009 American Community Survey entitled “Communting in the United State: 2009.”  The report found that ever since 1960, the share of public transit has gradually decreased relative to private automobile since records began in 1960: http://www.census.gov/prod/2011pubs/acs-15.pdf

Transporation shares from the 2009 ACS Community Survey, http://www.census.gov/prod/2011pubs/acs-15.pdf Accessed: October 2, 2011

Empiracally, this demonstrates three things.  First, Americans prefer private transporation over public transportation.  Second, the current modes of public transporation are not efficient for the average American commuter. Third, billions of dollars invested in mass transit and conventional bus routes has failed to increase shares for public transportation.

Therefore, new approaches to increase public transit are needed.  Here in the greater Seattle area, the most promising approach is bus rapid transit, with BRT on the extensive regional network of HOV lanes. BRT would encourage public transit use, due to its velocity, efficiency in freeway HOV lanes, and less stops.

Furthermore, additional HOV lanes can be built along four lane boulevards in the entire four county region.  However, both Sound Transit and the Puget Sound Regional Council have placed too much money on a light rail system that is failing to meet Sound Transit’s ridership goals.  BRT is significantly cheaper that light rail, since it requires no infrastructure or eminentn domain, operating on pre-existing HOV lanes.

I would encourage you to read John Niles’ August 22, 2011 letter to Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, on why bus rapid transit is better than east link light rail for I-90.  In his introductory comments, Mr. Niles states:

“Based on findings from research funded by FTA and others, we are convinced that retaining, expanding, and strengthening express bus service on the I-90 floating bridge between Bellevue and Seattle will work better than Sound Transit’s proposed light rail service. Driven by ideology rather than sound analysis for over two decades, light rail must be able to withstand an objective alternatives analysis as required by Federal law.”

I would also encourage you to watch Bruce Nurse on the September, 2011 TV-W video, featuring Tim Eyman and Doug MacDonald:

Variable Price Tolls Hurt the Poor during Commute Hour

Furthermore, getting stuck in traffic is a Non-Partisan Issue, affecting the Working People who must pay for gasoline, get lower gas mileage, and spend less time at the gym and with their families, due to gridlock.

At the above TV-W link, Mr. Nurse also states that variable rate tolls, with higher rates during the commute hours, are unfair to the poor.

In other words, the poor will pay more than the middle class and the rich for commuting.  Therefore, if you vote NO on I-1125, then you are not a liberal Democrat, and instead, favor a regressive tolling structure on the poor.

Initiative I-1125 seeks to ban variable rate tolls.  The official web site, http://yeson1125.org, discusses general considerations concerning tolls:

“Tolls Are Uniform …

Tolls have always been uniform and consistent. This means the toll is the same price for everyone, regardless of how they pass, be it car, truck or bus. And the tolls are the same everyday of the week, 24/7.

“Tolls Are Not Taxes …

If government can collect tolls at a certain location perpetually, and spend the money somewhere else on whatever they wish, (even non-highway purposes), then they cease being tolls and become taxes. That is the difference between a toll and a tax.

“However, as of this year, the legislature began changing our tolling policy by making tolls never-ending, variable pricing, using funds for anything lawmakers want, disregarding the 18th Amendment’s “highway purposes” only provision, and letting some people off the hook from paying. Now, they are no longer tolls – but have become taxes!

Has State Democrat Party Chairman Dwight Pelz Read the 18th Amendment?

The State Democrat party chairman, Dwight Pelz, is against I-1125.

And, Pelz took the low road, by personally criticizing Internationally Respected Bellevue Businessman and Developer Kemper Freeman Jr., who cares deeply about the Working People of our state, and who donated over a million dollars to the Initiative:


It appears that Pelz is throwing our Constitution out the window.

Pelz is unpatriotic, and should resign from the State Democrat party, for ignoring the Washington State Constitution.

Not only that, but he ignores the will of the people when they voted for Amendment 18 in 1944.

Indeed, if you think about it, a requirement for a Chairperson of any organization is to follow the organization’s charter.  In this case, the State Democrat party must follow its own rules, and also follow the documents that guide public policy within Washington State, including the State and National Constitutions.

In sharp contrast, State Attorney General Rob McKenna is following the Constitution.  He is one of several state attorney generals suing over unconstitutional national health care signed by President Obama.

We MUST accept what the State of Washington Founding Fathers had to say about the distribution of state taxes.  In this case, the 18th Amendment, delineating legal uses for gas tax revenues, was added by the voters in 1944.

So, I guess Pelz doesn’t respect our founders who added the Amendment. Neither does Joni Earle, or any of the other administrators at Sound Transit (who are receiving this editorial, along with several members of the Puget Sound Regional Council).

Therefore, it does appear that the Republican party is now – suddenly – for the Working People – who are sick and tired of traffic, because all of our GAS TAX money is going towards light rail, that has failed to meet projected ridership figures.

And, nobody is adding lanes to our major freeways.  Fortunately, we are blessed to have rich philanthropist Kemper Freeman who paid Internationally recognized transportation engineer Dr. William Eager a million dollars (of his own money!), to prepare a comprehensive freeway lane study for the region.

That’s two million dollars from Freeman … a million for I-1125, and another million for the traffic study to show the working people that just 6% of additional pavement can cut gridlock nearly in half.

Eager’s plan would reduce gridlock by 36%, with only 6% of additional pavement.

That is an incredibly modest, and highly effective, investment.

Kemper Freeman is an honorable man.  Yet Sound Transit, the Puget Sound Regional Council, and the Democrats just ignored him, along with Dr. Eager, whose list of credentials in transportation engineering is impressive.

As you know, I am an Environmentalist who favors limited government intervention in all issues. I am a Fiscal Conservative / Social Liberal, who strictly interprets the Constitution.

Therefore, I will be voting Republican, until further notice.

And, consequentially, I have no liberal friends left in the State of Washington, since one cannot go against any position of the Democrat party in this state, and be accepted!

On many issues, I have views consistent with the Democrat party.  I’m against foreign wars, a huge fan of organic farms, Mountain Biking, and a very strong advocate of both gay rights, gay marriage, and the equal rights amendment (ERA) to the US Constitution for women.  Despite all of this, I have lost many liberal friends – simply because I am against Smart Growth Planning and Design, along with Light Rail.

For whatever reason, folks in Seattle do not understand that this country was built on subsidized freeways, cheap affordable housing on quarter acre lots, and Equal Rights for all, irregardless of ethnicity, disability, religion, sexual orientation, etc. etc.

Therefore, I am the only True Liberal in Washington State – since I advocate the American Dream for Everyone – including commuters.

Whereas the Democrats have become Socialists by way of Eminent Domain for Smart Growth and Light Rail, high taxes on Corporations that produce jobs for the rest of us, while the Republicans have become Tyrannical with an anti-affirmative action, anti-union, and anti-gay agenda.

The Democrats must stop their Anti-Freeway / Anti-Affordable / Anti-Jobs / Anti-Regulation / Anti-Housing Agenda.

Otherwise, they will lose in 2012, and Texas Gov. Rick Perry will be our next president.

Would I vote for Rick Perry?  Would I overlook his conservativism on the aforementioned social and other issues?

Absolutely !  Unemployment and spending have increased under Obama, and USDOT Secretary Ray La Hood advocates both Smart Growth and Light Rail.  Texas has created more jobs than any other state since the Sept. 2008 stock market crash.

And, most importantly, Gov. Rick Perry vetoed the Texas State Legislature’s Smart Growth Act, stating that planning decisions should be left up to local communities.

Exactly the problem that Bend, Oregon officials are dealing with today, as the State of Oregon Land Use department continues to stop them from expanding their “urban growth boundary” into the desert.

While I’m always Independent, for the foreseeable future I am voting with the Republicans, since they follow the Constitution, advocate affordable housing, and oppose illegal light rail.

Respectfully submitted,

and Feel Free to Forward anywhere, to convince others to Honor the Founding Fathers of the State of Washington, along with their great wisdom reflected within the Constitution that they – and in this case the Voters – established, for future generations of The Evergreen State.

Tom Lane

Links to the aforementioned Seattle area Traffic Engineers on my web site, below.  You may wish to take a few minutes to review their traffic studies for more freeway lanes, and bus rapid transit.


Endorsement from State GOP Below …

From: Josh Amato
Sent: Wednesday, September 07, 2011 1:48 PM
To: Josh Amato
Subject: RELEASE: WSRP Endorses Initiative 1125

Contact:   Josh Amato
Phone:     425.460.0570
Email:       JoshAmato@wsrp.org
Website:  www.WSRP.org
September 7, 2011


WSRP Endorses Initiative 1125

I-1125 will require state government to stay fiscally prudent

Bellevue, WA – At the August 25th State Committee meeting in Moses Lake, the Washington State Republican Party voted to endorse Initiative 1125.

Initiative 1125 will ensure tolls are used only for projects they are collected for and the toll will end once the project is complete.

WSRP Chairman Kirby Wilbur said, “I-1125 will require state government to stay fiscally prudent and has the added benefit of requiring elected Representatives to set the cost of tolls – not unelected bureaucrats.

“It’s important that we hold Olympia accountable and 1125 does just that.”


Paid for by the Washington State Republican Party. 11811 NE 1st St, Bellevue, WA 98005.
Not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee. 

An Evening in Bellevue:  From I-90, Proposed Route of East Link, to Somerset

Sound Transit wants to illegally violate the 18th amendment and use state gas tax monies for light rail on I-90 between Seattle and Bellevue, condemning at least two vehicle lanes.  The photos below are over 2 hours on July, 25, 2011, beginning on I-90 and ending in the Somerset neighborhood in Bellevue (as annotated):

Looking east on I-90 towards Mercer Island Mansions and the Bellevue Skyline.

Looking SE from I-90 towards the Somerset HOA (on the first hill). The Golf Club at Newcastle is on the second hill to the right, if you zoom in (Click any image on this web site to enlarge with your web browser).

Factoria in Bellevue, below the Somerset hill, is home to the Factoria Mall, T-Mobile, and many other very successful businesses.

Finally, at 9:15pm here is a gorgeous sunset from Somerset, looking at the I-90 span between the Enatai Neighborhood and Mercer Island, Lake Washington, the Seattle Skyline, and Puget Sound in the far distance along with the Olympic Mountains. The Bellevue Skyline would be to the right of the screen.  

Bellevue Downtown Park is stunning, approx. 19.5 acres just SW of downtown. This is looking east at Memorial Grove and the (“twin”) Bellevue Towers (condos).

112th Ave. NE – Sound Transit’s Proposed Route of Light Rail After it Exits I-90

This is 112th Ave. NE, where Sound Transit plans to extend light rail, after it exits Interstate 90 in Bellevue. However, there is no room for light rail on 112th. As you can see, the Bellevue City Hall is close to the street, along with many other structures, including residential towers and office buildings that are not shown. You can see on Microsoft tower here; another is located 300 yards north of here directly on 112th. Sound Transit will have to condemn BILLIONS of dollars of real estate, when they could just run buses on 112th for a fraction of the cost.

Here’s the aforementioned Microsoft Tower on 112th. The entire tower would probably have to be condemned by Sound Transit. What an incredibly foolish and fiscally irresponsible idea when they could just run Bus Rapid Transit down 112th, from I-90 to Redmond.

Looks like they’d have to demolish part of CH2MHILL as well. The proposals of Sound Transit are tantamount to organized crime! It’s more than just the Constitution under attack. This is much more than pork barrel politics. These are real peoples’ homes and careers at stake.

This is north of downtown, when 112th is down to only 2 lanes. I’m not sure if the light rail line is still here, but if it is, then dozens of Mid-Century Modern Office Buildings are in its path, suited for condemnation, in whole or in part. Well, perhaps Sound Transit doesn’t appreciate mid-century modern architecture. That wouldn’t be surprising, since “Smart Growth” is the antithesis of Mid-Century-Modernism.

Here’s the SW side of the Hidden Valley complex. Fortunately, the parking lot is located between 112th and the building. However, I wouldn’t put anything past Sound Transit. I mean, 112th at this point is only 2 lanes, so they’d have to condemn something. Again, my disclaimer, I don’t know if light rail extends on this part of 112th or not. But if you love mid-century modernism as I do, then you

Finally, a “Charge Point” Station in Kemper Freeman’s Bellevue Square mall. Alternative fuels, including electric cars, are the future, certainly not light rail with associated condemnation of private property by corrupt public agencies.

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Salt Lake City – Rio Rancho, New Mexico – NO Urban Growth Boundary = AFFORDABLE HOUSING on LARGE LOTS – More Photos Forthcoming

Mysterious Massive Walls and Clearcutting at Issaquah Highlands … vs. Green Neighborhoods in Arizona and Oregon … Click Here …

Durango Smart Growth – La Plata County Comprehensive Plan – Cancelled (Nov. 23, 2011) – CLICK IMAGE for Plan Maps and Photos –

* NEW * October 8, 2011, Seattle – KEMPER FREEMAN VIDEO – If You Drive, Vote YES on I-1125, Kemper Freeman on TV-W w/ Doug MacDonald

Dr. Bill Eager – “End Gridlock Now” – Stop Seattle Gridlock Today

Kemper Freeman Sues a Third Time over Seattle Light Rail – May 9, 2012

SEATTLE – Why Washington’s Anti-Tolling and Anti-Transit Initiative (I-1125) Didn’t Pass (12/6/11) – CLICK IMAGE of the skyline from West Seattle –

* HEY SEATTLE * – VOTE YES on Kemper Freeman’s Initiative I-1125 – Protect Your Gas Taxes and Tolls – Stop Illegal East Link I-90 Light Rail – Stop the Destruction of Downtown Bellevue with an Ugly Transit Oriented Development -CLICK HERE –

Salt Lake City’s Legacy Parkway – A Green Solution for Seattle Gridlock

*CETA* Coalition for Effective Transportation Alternatives (Seattle) – John Niles – August 22, 2011 Letter to Ray La Hood advocates Bus Rapid Transit on I-90

* SEATTLE DISPLACEMENT COALITION * – John Fox and Carolee Colter – Defending Lower Income Apartment Residents against Greedy Smart Growth Developers and Seattle Politicians – CLICK HERE for web site & columns –

*GREEN ALTERNATIVE * to Smart Growth – *WATCH VIDEO* from Pique Architects – Do They Present Something SIMILAR to the “LANDSCAPE URBANISM” Concept of Harvard’s Dr. Charles Waldheim? Image Source: http://vimeo.com/user4133046/videos – Pique LLC of Bend, Seattle, & Montana –

* SMART GROWTH * – The Wolf at Your Front Door – You Tube – (5 Minutes) – Image Source: http://www.youtube.com/user/regsgridlock –

Stop Obama’s Smart Growth … Preserve Organic Farms and Parks on Acreage … We Have No Choice but to Vote Republican … The Truth from Talk Host Mark Levin … Defending Private Property Rights Every Day – Coast to Coast, 3P-6P, Pacific … CLICK for Free Archives.

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