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Traffic and Western Washington University

If WWU gets their way, $20 million in state taxes will be spent on jack-hammering out good roads and building new ones a hundred yards away. No increase in safety nor traffic movement. A big increase in roadways on campus. Two roads replacing one. Not a single new classroom. The roads are to help expand the campus further - setting up traffic patterns aimed at the South Hill and Happy Valley neighborhoods.

Tip Johnson, former two-term Bellingham city council member and Happy Valley resident is now serving on Western’s Traffic Advisory Committee. The committee is only allowed to consider a fraction of the campus and not allowed to consider impacts off campus. The process is a charade designed to give WWU administrators the plan they want.

Tip has prepared a packet advising Western to change its approach to traffic management. And to change its attitude towards the three neighborhoods adjacent to campus. Tip, who has a community development degree from Fairhaven College, writes from experience and many years of involvement with Bellingham planning.

The PDF file (340K) will stay available here for easy reference to our legislators in Olympia and those interested in this issue. It includes two revealing maps that illustrate Tip’s concerns and which he made from existing WWU maps and aerial photos.

Currently Western has 12,000 students. Tip, and many of us who understand Western and its place with other Washington State higher-education institutions, feel it is time to limit the ultimate size of the campus to its current space and the student body to 15,000 students.

As a contiguous campus, WWU has reached its limit. The neighborhoods around Western are well developed and it is time Western showed them respect. Western can develop areas on the Bellingham waterfront, at the old Chestnut Medical Center and in downtown Bellingham if it wants to grow beyond 15,000 students.

We appeal to our state government to halt Western’s contiguous physical growth. It is too expensive and too disruptive to neighborhoods. Put the $20 million into the new Cascadia University in Everett or into more classrooms and education facilities. Not unneeded roads.

About John Servais

Writer • Fairhaven, Washington USA • Member since Feb 26, 2008

John started Northwest Citizen in 1995 to inform fellow citizens of serious local political issues that the Bellingham Herald was ignoring. With the help of donors from the beginning, he has [...]

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