I’m not a huge Greg Nickels fan, and to be honest, it wouldn’t surprise me if a ghost writer penned the guest column that bears his name in today’s Seattle Times, “Seattle shouldn’t repeat its viaduct mistake.” But whoever wrote the words, Nickels deserves a load of credit for putting his name on the vision, and getting out in front on an issue that the MSM currently finds faddish to rail against: replacing the decaying Alaska Way Viaduct with a tunnel.
When considering Seattle’s future, it’s helpful to look back at our past.
Take the Alaskan Way Viaduct. When it opened in 1952, the “modern” double-decker highway replaced a tangle of railroad tracks along the shores of Seattle’s working waterfront.
It might have made sense to some at the time to wall off the still-gritty waterfront from the city with a noisy concrete curtain. But it didn’t take very long for people to realize that we’d made a very big mistake.
Which is why it is all the more baffling that 50 years later, when we finally have the chance to do it right by replacing the viaduct with a tunnel, some people are arguing we should make the same mistake all over again.
Another noisy, messy blight