1. 1

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    The Fishwrapper reports:

    “‘Tunnel Lite’ could work, panel says
    “By Mike Lindblom

    “Seattle Times staff reporter

    “Outside experts say that if the state wants to solve political congestion, transportation officials should quit treating the Alaskan Way waterfront corridor like a freeway.

    “The state could allow lower speed limits, so that a narrow tunnel or viaduct could operate safely — and be built at a much cheaper cost, says the panel of experts.

    “The eight-person panel, appointed last year by the state to study the Alaskan Way Viaduct and Highway 520 replacement projects, aired its views Friday in a letter to Gov. Christine Gregoire. …

    “The panel said many such projects ‘are operating safely, provide necessary capacity and are integrated with the surrounding environment. This is certainly worth further review by everyone involved in the project.'”

    Qutoed under Fair Use; for complete story and/or copyright info see

    Roger Rabbit Commentary: I’m not opposed to a tunnel per se; however, I am deeply suspicious of who will get stuck paying for it, and I believe maintaining SR-99 as a high-speed, through-traffic corridor is essential to the region’s mobility.

  2. 2

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    The only way a surface option gives you “less noise, less pollution” is by reducing traffic. If the downtown Seattle leg of SR-99 is turned into just another urban arterial, carrying less than AWV’s current 110,000 vehicles per day, where will the rest of those vehicles go? Onto I-5, making the latter even more congested? Or will they spill over onto adjoining downtown surface streets as drivers seek to avoid perpetual congestion on SR-99 Boulevard?

    You see, this is the trouble with slick commercials: An advertising man’s ability to make something look and sound good is no guarantee it will work, and they never tell you about the drawbacks.

  3. 3


    Roger @2 – It’s not just slick, dishonest advertising. The “surface option” proponents want to outlaw automobiles. That’s the only way to achieve their stated goals. Of course, they will destroy all the business in the city of Seattle in the process, but that is considered a necessary tradeoff in deference to the benefit of becoming a “World Class City”. How a World Class City thrives without its businesses is the part that hasn’t yet been explained.

  4. 5

    me spews:

    In some cases Roger Rabbit is not a ‘Raving Rabbid’!! Thank you Roger for your very valid opinion!!

  5. 6

    Charlie Smith spews:

    The ad is pretty dishonest, though. How many businesses, like Ivar’s, Ye Olde Curiosity Shoppe, and the businesses that make the waterfront what it is, can exist for seven or eight years while either the tunnel or the rebuild is under way?

  6. 7

    Erik spews:

    No designer in the world would suggest rebuilding a cement monstrosity on the water.

    If the tunnel doesn’t work, just place the traffic on the street.

  7. 8


    @ 3

    We all like to mischaracterize our opponents arguments, but to say that people who advocate the ‘surface plus transit’ option “want to outlaw automobiles” is ridiculous.

  8. 9

    thor spews:

    It is a good spot.

    Clearly the state engineers have stretched the truth to match their big freeway thinking when it comes to dismissing the smaller tunnel, which can obviously be built safe. They have some ego involved because they’ve spent many millions on two big higher cost freeway designs that won’t cut it.

    $2.8 billion is an utterly unreasonable sum for the puny traffic benefits and severe blight the big rebuild would bring. (Along with all the contruction pain.)

    Instead of treating the problem with a big freeway solution (which can’t work because of big freeway costs whether you build up or down), the most practical approach is to engineer a solution that works for traffic moving into and through the city.

    The tunnel-lite can be built even lighter and at less cost – all that needs to happen is for real engineers to dig put on their thinking caps instead of their blinders. Another elevated structure that spans the entire length of the waterfront can’t ever be built, and is too pricey even after the 10 year long battle advocates would waste on the idea.

    Instead of trying to defend either the $2.8 billion elevated freeway or a $3.4 billion tunnel (the costs for both are very preliminary estimates) engineers ought to be paring the costs of both down to something reasonably affordable that meets needs.

    Parts will be elevated leading up to the Battery Street Tunnel, parts will be on the surface, and parts will be underground – all to match the complex reality of the city and the port.

  9. 10


    Shoephone @3,

    The “surface option” proponents want to outlaw automobiles.

    Damn you! You’ve learned of our secret plans! Now we’ll have to kill you. (Please forward me your home address via email, and I promise to make it quick and painless.)