Joel Connelly, a Horse’s Ass “Friend of the Blog” and Drinking Liberally attendee, absolutely savages Mayor Nickels’ tunnel in today’s column. It’s not a surprise; Joel’s been pro-rebuild for a long time, but I can’t help thinking the anti-tunnel trash-talking is played-out.
Why? Simply put, the tunnel isn’t going to happen. It’s going to lose at the polls. Plus, we don’t have the money. We have projected money, but we don’t have cash money. And Frank Chopp hates the tunnel, so it’s “game over.” Joel’s column is titled “It’s time for Nickels to bury tunnel,” as if the thing isn’t already politically buried.
I’d like to see columnists from every paper realize that we’re down to two choices. Do you want an elevated rebuild? Yes or no. The incessant hacking at Nickels and his dead tunnel just short circuits the debate. However, Joel Connelly does address the “surface plus transit” option:
The crowning consequences will come if there is no tunnel, no new viaduct and the tear-down, don’t-replace folks win out.
It’ll send thousands of cars toward Pioneer Square, which in the ’70s was the first place downtown rescued from highway culture. (Garages were to replace historic buildings.)
And, if the predicted 12 hours of daily gridlock comes to pass on Interstate 5, thousands more cars will crawl along the freeway, belching greenhouse gases into the air shed of America’s greenest city.
While cars would go through Pioneer Square on a the new Alaskan Way surface boulevard instead of a Viaduct, lots of people would be able to use new transit investments. That’s a good thing for the historic district. As for cars on I-5 and their greenhouse gases, I’m confused. Do cars somehow emit no gases when their cruising at 40 mph on the waterfront? Oh well… I patiently wait for the column in which Joel interviews Cary Moon or Ron Sims, two prominent “surface plus transit” supporters.
Lastly, I can think of no better way to fight the highway culture than to not build highways.