I don’t really care who came up with the idea first, Danny or Dan. (In fact, I’ve been quietly thinking along the same lines myself in recent weeks.) The point is, as long as we’re going to have to live without the Viaduct for a number of years regardless of the replacement option, why not just live without it and see how it goes?
Transportation planners predict massive gridlock if the Viaduct disappears, but… well… transportation planners have been wrong before. One thing we’ve learned from our nation’s freeway construction binge is “build it, and they will come.” And one thing we’ve learned from the few experiments in freeway removal is “tear it down, and people will find some other way to get the hell where their going.”
Okay, that second catch phrase isn’t all that catchy. But for the most part it’s true.
I’ve always found it odd, the argument that Highway 99 is a vital north-south freeway that we simply cannot do without, when in fact the vast majority of 99 runs at-grade, traffic lights and all. And ironically, my own yearlong personal experience routinely heading north on 99 from South Seattle to Ballard during afternoon rush hour found that the double-decker Viaduct was the only portion of 99 that was absolutely guaranteed to be mired in stop-and-go traffic.
How could a surface street option possibly be any worse?
So yeah, tear down the Viaduct, try the “surface plus transit” alternative, and let’s see if it works. And if it doesn’t, well… we can always blame Danny and Dan.
David Sucher points out that he argued for this approach way back in May. So there you have it… two Dans and two Daves all think it’s a good idea. What’s there to lose?
One sign that an idea is catching on is when everybody starts demanding credit for it.