Hello, tolls, bye, bye Seattle? | Craig Groshart

A state study has been released showing the possible effects of tolls on the 520 bridge – and perhaps I-90 as well. I say possible because the study doesn’t really say how high tolls should be and when they should be charged. The data in four scenarios is merely to help officials analyze the situation.

  • Friday, July 25, 2008 3:07am
  • Opinion

A state study has been released showing the possible effects of tolls on the 520 bridge – and perhaps I-90 as well. I say possible because the study doesn’t really say how high tolls should be and when they should be charged. The data in four scenarios is merely to help officials analyze the situation.

I know what you’re thinking: we’re going to get tolls. And, you’re probably right.

Now, you say, it will just be more expensive to go into Seattle. But look closely at the study. Data suggests that the amount of the tolls and when and how they are used could determine how people choose a destination. Put another way, tolls might make a significant number of people decide not to cross the lake.

I say, “why bother with Seattle?”

The Eastside has gotten past the point where Seattle is the hub of everything. Most, if not all, our needs can be met on this side of the lake.

Need a good job? Employment is booming over here. Microsoft, and other companies, can’t seem to hire people fast enough. Even if you don’t work for one of these firms, others do and that means spill-over jobs in many industries.

Want good schools for your kids? The Bellevue School District boasts five of the top high schools in the nation, according to data collected by Newsweek.

Like to shop. Nothing tops downtown Bellevue for variety, style and convenience.

Like going out? Again, Bellevue is your place. Not only are there a wide variety of restaurants, including top of the line eateries, but they’re conveniently located in the downtown core.

Like fun. Have you tried the upscale Lucky Strike bowling facility? How about The Parlor Billiards and Spirits? The Lincoln Cinema is considered the best movie facility in the region. And the music and jazz scene is booming at many restaurants and lounges.

Like parks? The Bellevue Botanical Garden is a destination all its own. Bellevue even has a world-class skate park for kids. And, just east in the Crossroads area, is a spectacular Spray Play park, geared for kids and others with disabilities, but a fabulous experience for everyone.

While we don’t have (yet) a venue for touring Broadway plays and musicals, we are preparing our own Performing Arts Center Eastside, a 2,000-seat facility that will handle the best the world has to offer.

I’m not happy that tolls are likely to come to the 520 bridge, and probably I-90, too. But it isn’t the end of the world for us here. Actually, it could just be the start of a pretty good existence.

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