Mukilteo Beacon - Your Hometown News Source

Survey shows locals against commercial flights at Paine Field, want more public transit options


For the last two months, The Beacon has been asking our readers about transportation issues facing Snohomish County.

Of the 300 readers who took the online survey, 54 percent said no to commercial flights at Paine Field, while 67 percent said a commercial airport at Paine Field is a bad idea.

Commenters said driving all the way to SeaTac, dealing with parking and traffic is a headache.

"The drive from Mukilteo to SeaTac keeps getting more difficult with each passing day," wrote one commenter. "Soon there will not be a two-person HOV lane on I-405, so if one wants to catch a 11 a.m. flight at SeaTac one will have to leave the Mukilteo area somewhere around 7.”

Others said the noise at Paine Field was a factor for saying no.

"We don't need to be the transportation doormat of Snohomish County," one responder wrote. "The sound levels in Mukilteo are too high. I am woken up at night by the ferry, trains, cars and even without a [commercial] airport here, the planes. They are really noisy."

When asked if readers regularly use public transportation, such as buses, carpools or ride shares, 65 percent said no, while 35 percent said yes.

"I live in Edmonds and am only 7 miles from my office in north Seattle," wrote one reader. "The only way to get to my office in the morning is a 1.5 hour commute on transit with two transfers, traveling from Snohomish County to King County to downtown Seattle to the U-District to north Seattle, only to repeat the nightmare to come home, yes, the 7-miles. No thanks. Extremely unpleased to be paying tax dollars for something of no use in my situation."

Another said the commute out of Mill Creek is "horrendous – even on a bus,” but that riding the bus helps reduce their footprint. Others cited a lack of parking at park-and-rides as keeping them from using transit more, while another said even carpooling to Bellevue each day doesn't save time.

Readers were then asked if they would use transit regularly if there were more options. Seventy percent said yes.

"Absolutely," wrote one reader. "My bus pass is paid as part of my UW tuition. It would also be great to get around more easily and in a more timely fashion."

Sound Transit expects to open the Lynnwood light rail station sometime in 2023. When asked if readers plan to use it, 65 percent said yes, while 35 percent said no.

Many wrote they would love to use it, but 2023 is a long time away.

"We will use light rail in order to help reduce vehicle traffic on our already congested freeway lanes," a reader wrote. "If we don't use light rail, how in the world will we get around our region with nearly 1 million new neighbors within the next 25 years?”

When asked about how much readers spend on gas each week, 52 percent said they spend $20, while 32 percent spend $40 and 11 percent spend $60. Only 6 percent of those who responded spend more than $60 a week on gas.

A majority of survey takers live in households with at least two people of driving age. Sixty-three percent of the 300 respondents said there are two drivers in their home, and 15 percent had just one, while 13 percent have three and 9 percent have four or more.

Based on survey results, most readers live in households that have at least two cars. Fifty-seven percent of those who took the survey have two cars, while 19 percent have one and 18 percent have three, and 6 percent have four or more.

Most of the readers who took the survey have a fairly short daily commute. Forty-four percent have a commute of five miles, while 30 percent go at least 15 miles and 18 percent travel 30 miles, with 9 percent going 40 miles or more.

Even though many aren't going very far on a daily basis, 69 percent said they have altered work schedules or plans in order to avoid traffic.

"I don't know if 'alter' is the right word, we 'plan' on congestion so we try to avoid it," wrote a reader. "The WSDOT traffic maps are great for that."

"I am late every single day because of traffic," said another. "I shouldn't have to allow more than 90-minutes for a 22-mile commute. Ridiculous!"

Another said in Mukilteo, week-day trips are planned around Boeing's shift schedule.

"If I'm not working on a week day, I know I need to have all my errands done and be back at home before the 2 p.m. Boeing shift change, otherwise it's awful trying to get out of Mukilteo."

Others said they leave work early in the afternoon to avoid the worst of the traffic, but some said they have no choice in their work schedule, so they use backroads as much as possible.

In terms of ferry use, 94 percent said they take the ferry only every once in a while, while 4 percent said they take it at least once a week. One percent said they take the ferry two to three times a week, the same number as those who take it four or more times a week. Of those who do use the ferry regularly, 83 percent said they drive on, while 17 percent choose to walk-on.

While ferry wait times, especially during holidays, can be hours long, 77 percent of those who took the survey said they wait less than an hour for the ferry, while 22 percent wait an hour. Only 1 percent said they waited two hours or more. Ninety-three percent of those who do use the ferries said they take it for pleasure, while 7 percent use it for business.

"The ferry is a great amenity to our area," wrote a reader. "Many people who visit our area from other places have never been on a ferry before, and it leaves a lasting impression of the beauty our state has to offer."


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