It truly distresses me when I watch the city I grew up in and love lose its soul. A slow agonizing death in plain view of the new elite.

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AS a former professional truck driver who crisscrossed daily the roads and highways of Seattle for 30 years, I feel the “improvements” to our traffic grid have been an unmitigated disaster.

A crosstown trip that takes 15 minutes one day may take more than an hour the next. The blocks of gridlock have become so bad on both Dexter Avenue North and Westlake Avenue North that, in desperation, I have executed U-turns and gone miles out of my way to reach my destination. About half the time, my alternative routes are also jammed because of bottlenecks or other trumpeted traffic improvements.

The words that come to mind as I think about the city’s choices in traffic management are stupid, criminal and hubris — not in any particular order.

I find it mind-boggling that a city like Seattle, with the brainpower coefficient running off the charts, could make such a cascading series of poor transportation choices piggybacked on each other and then be surprised at the result — absolute gridlock.

A reasonable person would stop and say, “Wait a minute, this is not working, let’s recalibrate.”

So what is the Seattle Department of Transportation’s (SDOT) solution? A $930-million levy to “fix” things. Officials told us they had solutions to our traffic problems — they just needed more of our money. They played on Seattle’s traffic angst. Voters passed the levy last November and SDOT simply accelerated its previous planning that created the capacity-choking “fixes” in the first place.

Traffic flow is like water: You can cut it off or divert it, but it will go somewhere.”

As I sit in gridlocked traffic, looking at blocks and blocks of two-way turn lanes, bus-only lanes and dedicated bike lanes sitting nearly empty, I want to cry. Does no one else see the contradiction? The new road allocation is out of proportion. Individual solutions are good, but only if they don’t create a bigger problem.

Traffic flow is like water: You can cut it off or divert it, but it will go somewhere. This metaphor explains why maintaining a healthy grid of secondary roads also is critical. Like a river, when flow increases, it looks for smaller tributaries. SDOT’s master plan is not only choking the rivers, it is filling in the tributaries.

One of my main goals when I drove professionally was to keep moving — time was money. I often wondered if any traffic-policy wonks were sitting next to me in heavy traffic. I suspect not.

I understand how various user groups like bicyclists would be excited about new bike lanes. But when dedicated, protected, signaled, blind-side-lane bike riding is codified, what’s the result? Gridlock. Is this really progress?

I am stunned at the selfishness and small mindedness of each interest group involved in the destruction of Seattle’s working street grid: bicyclists, pedestrian-safety experts, bus-route planners, streetcar-route designers and builders.

I realize I am a dinosaur — a Northwest mossback. Someone who remembers mounted horse patrols, the Benson Waterfront Streetcar, Bobo and Ivar Haglund. I remember free parking and not having to think whether I can actually get to a city event that I would like to attend. Sometimes I just give up and stay home.

It truly distresses me when I watch the city I grew up in and love lose its soul. A slow, agonizing death in plain view of the new elite.

Greed, power mongering and hubris are desecrating Seattle. What can be done? I’ve tried in various small ways to make my concerns heard. I have tried to share my expertise on transportation, thinking that perhaps the new SDOT officials are just ignorant of past traffic patterns and really want to make things better. I was mostly rebuffed. I am the old guard. I need to get with it or get out of the way.

Maybe they are right. My heart, however, does not break any less as I hear the sucking noise of Seattle’s soul disappearing.

Is anybody listening?