Everett recently earned the dubious honor of having the worst traffic congestion in the United States (“Everett has Earth’s worst traffic congestion — by one measure,” The Herald, Feb. 6).
This alarming reality comes as no surprise to careful observers of Snohomish County’s frenetic pace of urbanization. Horrendous congestion is the natural consequence of cramming hundreds of thousands of automobile-reliant human beings into a relatively compact region. And, the traffic crisis will worsen as an estimated 200,000 more souls will relocate to our county within three decades (“Growth puts Snohomish County planners in tough spot,” The Herald, May 15, 2015.)
For Snohomish County residents, our overall quality of life will likely decrease. In 2017, area drivers wasted 31 hours of their lives mired in traffic; factor in hundreds of thousands of additional drivers, and those figures will only increase dramatically. Additionally, our collective health will be impacted as well. Sedentary commuting has negative consequences on our bodies, such as increased depression and spikes in blood pressure (“10 Things Your Commute Does to Your Body,” Time, Feb. 26, 2014).
It is time for an urban sprawl moratorium in Snohomish County. By “sprawl,” I specifically mean the development of presently undeveloped land. Temporarily halting chaotic growth will allow our communities to combat urban blight, demolish dangerous structures, and redevelop old or vacant properties. There are numerous aspects of growth, and we should embrace them in order to improve our communities.
Concerned citizens must act to ensure a healthy future for ourselves, future generations, and our environment.