Transportation: Whidbey needs another bridge
July 3, 2008 · Updated 10:07 PM
Is there anyone else who thinks the state should build bridges to replace the ferry system to major areas? I know small island residents want to stay un-inhabited and thats just fine, but it seems to be slightly ridiculous that Whidbey Island, the nations longest island with 72,000 plus residents only has two ways on and off, the two lane bridge at the top of the island that can be completely at a stand still on sunny days during tourist season, not to mention the truck accident that had the bridge closed for half a day, and the ferry at the lower level.
Why not build a bridge in the middle of the island to connect us to Camano and one at the lower level to connect to Mukilteo. I would be happy to pay tolls to cross the bridges, even the current ferry rates, just to be able to drive there in 10 minutes instead of an hour or more depending on wait times.
When polling islanders on their views concerning bridges, I have found mixed emotions. Many of the retirees that make up the majority of residents living from Greenbank to Clinton feel that a bridge would take away from the serene, tranquil life that they have worked so hard to enjoy here. Some feel that crime would increase and others say that the current two lane roads wouldnt support more traffic and then we would be forced to build a four lane roadway. Imagine that. What about the residents who commute off island for employment that pays higher than minimum wage for professional skills, why do we have to suffer daily to support our careers because we arent yet retired and cant afford to not leave the island?
We are out there in very large numbers, I know because each morning at 5:30 a.m. I am one of the cars in line at the ferry which is full of other commuters and also in line for the afternoon wait in the ferry holding area trying to get back home in time to have supper before bedtime.
Has anyone asked the local shop owners if they would like more traffic to come through their area and spend more dollars locally? Has anyone in Oak Harbor figured out that if you dont want the big retailers like Home Depot to come in then make it easier for those who want to shop there to get there. This way those who want the towns to stay small can keep it that way, and those who want access to larger stores can be happy as well. Instead of spending money to save a diseased tree or study round-abouts lets study the citizens opinions on the current situation and open a civil discussion on the pros and cons of bridges.