Transportation bill collapse could kill hundreds

I tuned in late to catch the score of a World Series game back in 1989, only to find coverage of the Loma Prieta earthquake. I was somewhat confused by overhead footage of what reporters kept describing as a massive freeway collapse, that to me appeared to show an elevated freeway still standing. Unfamiliar with the Bay area, I had no idea that this was the remnant of a double-decker freeway, the top deck having collapsed onto the bottom, crushing cars and their occupants underneath tons of steel and concrete.

Since moving to Seattle a couple years later, I have always been wary of this doomed freeway’s kissing-cousin, the Alaska Way Viaduct. Whenever I drive across the Viaduct or walk beneath it, I do so speedily, with images vividly in my mind of the dead being pried from between the decks of San Francisco’s Embarcadero Freeway. While I know my chance of being in the wrong place at the wrong time is exceedingly small, my discomfort is not the product of irrational paranoia. A major earthquake will hit the Seattle area, and left as-is, the Viaduct will collapse, killing dozens or even hundreds, depending on the time of day.

And if this tragedy occurs due to the partisan bickering currently transgressing in Olympia over funding the Viaduct’s replacement, I will personally blame these deaths on the petty, heartless legislators who are clearly willing to risk sacrificing the lives of innocents in exchange for a few extra dollars of spending in their own districts.

This exploitation of regional tensions is politics at its most disgusting… and incredibly stupid and shortsighted. House Transportation Committee Chair Ed Murray (D-Seattle) sums it up bluntly:

Murray said complaints that state spending is too concentrated on Seattle-area projects were misguided. “We’ll come back here in two years when that thing falls down and we’ll get all of it.”

Lives are at stake. The Viaduct is a human and economic tragedy waiting to happen… as is the 520 floating bridge, one of the oldest structures of its kind in the world. In a region that has witnessed not one, not two, but three major bridges collapse or sink, it is absurd to pretend that it could not happen a fourth time, especially with a structure so in need of repair or replacement.

To oppose this transportation package because the spending is too “Seattle-centric” is an arrogant, absurd and dangerous fiction. Transportation spending is Seattle-centric because Washington state is Seattle-centric. Seattle is our cultural, economic and population center… it produces the lion’s share of the tax dollars, and currently has the most immediate transportation needs. If Republicans want more money for projects outside of the Seattle area, then they should propose raising additional tax dollars to pay for them.

Like most Seattle voters, I’m willing to pay my fair share to fund needed transportation projects in the rest of the state. But personally, I’m not willing to die to save a couple pennies on a gallon of gas.

Comments

  1. 1

    Don is an even bigger indoctrinated tool spews:

    When pennies become dollars I’ll remember you said that. I agree that something needs to be done, but this tunneling next to the Elliot Bay crap was a completely vacant minded idea. hmm.. the ultimate question drown or be crushed?

  2. 2

    prr spews:

    Having lived in Boston for a number of years, I can attest that creatying our own big dig is not the answer……

    Nor is creating another “focus group” in this state with a blank check (ie, momorail).

    How abourt we figure out:
    1. What needs to be done.
    2. How much it will cost.
    3. How we will pay for it.

    Not just raisie taxes and throw another project into the fire.

  3. 3

    John spews:

    As a rabid Seattleite, I have to disagree with you Goldy.

    The tunnel proposal is just a non-starter. A nice dream like Boston’s Big Dig but it doesn’t make any sense these days. Truck traffic serving the port is easily diverted and there’s already an emergency plan in place. The great majority of viaduct traffic is commuter based.

    And by the way I-5 is badly in need of major maintenance as well.

    I favor replacing the seawall and taking down the viaduct. I believe we can live without it.

  4. 4

    Debbie spews:

    Willing to pay YOUR fair share…..what do you think your fair share is? I’m soooo sick of hearing about funding needed for ANY transportation project. Law makers point out transportatiom problems TAX US TO DEATH complete nothing , run over budget, tax is some more…..and never account for the money. If you feel uncomfortable on/under the viaduct…DON’T GO THERE. If you need to drive it to get to work in Seattle, move closer to work…..CAN’T AFFORD THAT…..neither can alot of us that already pay OUR FAIR SHARE, bought any car tabs recently, how about gas?

  5. 5

    Nindid spews:

    prr @2 So how are we not doing what you suggest?

    1. We must replace the viaduct – options are being discussed.
    2. Depends on the best option.
    3. Some variation of gas tax, federal funding, etc.

    Or is it just that you don’t like the results of the process so you say it is simply throwing money?

  6. 7

    Nindid spews:

    Debbie @ 4 – Calm… breathe. Now, the viaduct or some other major transportation corridor is needed for Seattle to even basically function as a major city.

    You can whine all you want, but I am just glad the grown-ups are in charge who are willing to make some of the tough calls. On the city level, regionally, and as a state this absolutely has to get done for the sake of our economy and public safety.

  7. 8

    Nindid spews:

    Fool @ 5 If you mean Debbie’s attitude is the problem I agree with you. If you mean that her solution of ignoring the problem is the right one, then no.

    But maybe I am selling Debbie short – if she is complaining that the basic needs for the state are being shortchanged because of a horribly unbalanced taxation system then she is really on to something. And she would be right that a progressive income tax would stabilize revenue and lift the burden on those who can least afford to pay.

  8. 9

    Ninid is a self proclaimed fool spews:

    Nindid @ 7 & 8

    Just so you know, you were the fool @ 5.

    Since when was saying yes a tough call? “Grown-ups” find it much harder saying no when children throw fits, however I guess it must be pretty tough having a state credit card with a virtually uncapped limit *cough, cough*.

  9. 10

    Nindid spews:

    Lol… it would not be the first time I did something foolish and it won’t be the last.

    Anyway, figuring out what to do with the viaduct seems to be a pretty tough decision. The easiest thing to do would be not to decide what to do, not to find the money, not do anything. To delay and pass the buck is easier and safer.

    If they DO anything someone is going to be upset. If they don’t they we just have status quo.

  10. 11

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    “Lives are at stake”
    Goldy—with the 600-mile Cascadian Fault Line off our Washington Coast and past due to pop another megathrust earthquake, more lives are stake than you can imagine. However, the reality is we do not have the funding, or even close, to address the real threat thousands of buildings in Seattle face.
    Perhaps you don’t know this Goldy but Seattle is built on fucking JELLO!
    The last Cascadian MegaThrust quake was January 26, 1700.
    Prior Quakes were approx. 400BC, 600AD & 900AD—something like that. If the quake doesn’t get us…the Tsunami will.
    Sweet Dreams.

  11. 12

    Goldy spews:

    Critics et al,

    First of all, all options for the Viaduct replacement are still on the table. There has been no decision to go with a tunnel. What we are talking about is the state putting up their portion of the funding for what is, after all, a state highway. If Seattle chooses to go with the more expense tunnel option, Seattle taxpayers will end up paying the difference.

    Second of all, Boston’s Big Dig is a red herring. There are plenty of major infrastructure projects that go smoothly and on time. I suppose because Boston fucked up, we can no longer do any other public construction, huh? (And by the way, as poorly managed as the Big Dig was, something was desperately needed, and fixed some huge traffic problems.)

    Let’s face it… next big quake and both the seawall and the Viaduct fail. Something needs to be done there… we’re living on borrowed time.

  12. 13

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    The LEFTISTS ought to get themselves educated about the dangerous place they live. Folks outside the People’s Socialist Republic of Seattle could give a damn about YOUR plight. Why is this viaduct the problem of Easter Washington towns? Do you really think that David Goldstein ranting & threatening to BLAME Legislators if the thing falls down is going to get you anywhere?

    Perhaps you can organize a whole horde of lazy LEFTIST a$$holes who don’t do much of value anyway to take turns holding up the current pilings? Seems like a cheaper solution. I can just picture a bunch of Seattle elistists sweating and groaning to hold up the viaduct. What a noble undertaking.

    What was that???? I think I felt the ground shake. Hurrrrrry Golllllldddddyyyyyy. Now that you have identified the problem Goldy, you are personally responsible if you don’t do everything in your control to mitigate the possible damage. If that damn thing falls down and you aren’t under it Goldy, I’m going to hold YOU personally responsible!!!!!

  13. 14

    Don is an even bigger indoctrinated tool spews:

    I never disagreed with you Goldy, I just agreed with Debbie (on most points) and Prr, that we need to research cost effective INTELLIGENT options then pick one, and then plan an INTELLIGENT tax to provide for the cost.
    This carte blance’ crap never works, the money just gets shuffled into another program and/or gets squandered. Once again I’d have no problem with democrats in this state if they would just dig deep inside themselves and find some commonsense. If something doesn’t work, research why it doesn’t work then research and impose a viable alternative, taxation is not always the answer like they’d always have us believe.

  14. 15

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    Dear Donisatooleverytime@14–
    You got it.
    The LEFTIST ELITE in Seattle are in love with planning & process. They use the Elsie the Cow method on every problem that comes up…big & small. Chew it, swallow it, spit it back up, chew it some more, swallow it, puke it up on & on & on.
    Then by the time they finally agree on something all the money has been spent on process. Then they whine that taxes aren’t high enough. PINHEADS!

  15. 16

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    Notice how all planners are LEFTISTS. They all learned at Evergreen and Evergreen-clones that planners are like superman and Jesus all rolled up into one. The world will end without them. PINHEADS!

  16. 17

    steven spews:

    Dear Diaebint~

    It is difficult to disagree with you, since you seem to be saying nothing more than we should spend money wisely. But your post does raise questions, most of all, what would you consider to be an INTELLIGENT tax? The current bill would spend approximately 50% of the gas tax money raised in Snohomish, King and Pierce Counties. Coincidentally, approximately 50% of the gas tax revenues would come from Snohomish, King and Pierce Counties. So, in this proposal, the people who will use the improvements (drivers) are generally the ones paying for the improvements, in some proportion to the amount they use the improvements, and the tax is generally geographically neutral within the state. Is this an INTELLIGENT tax (is INTELLIGENT an acronym–I can’t figure it out)? If not, why don’t you quit SHOUTING and provide some proposals that you would consider intelligent.

  17. 18

    Jeff B. spews:

    Beware of Goldy’s FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) before you help pass legislation that will have a huge fiscal impact on Seattle and WA as a whole. Read on for the facts.

    I was in the Bay Area in 1989 and felt the Loma Prieta quake shake the two story building I was in at just after 5 pm on that October Tuesday. Believe me, you don’t forget that kind of force, right away I knew that some people had died. It was indeed a tragedy that the Cypress structure collapsed. I had driven on it many times in the weeks and months prior to the quake. It’s also true that the Puget Sound region is just as susceptible to earthquakes as the Bay Area.

    However, before one goes off half cocked praising billion dollar projects, it’s helpful if one knows some of the basics of civil engineering and what the actual risk is for similar viaducts and what has been done and what could be done to improve safety at a reasonable cost.

    The Loma Prieta quake taught egineers ( I also have a degree in Engineering) a lot about earthquakes. We learned even more with the Northridge quake a few years later because it had a very strong Z component (straight up force like what would happen if you struck your palm on the bottom of your dinner table, set with plates, glasses and silverware.) That knowledge was shared amongst transportation and other civil engineers all up and down the West coast and in other earthquake prone areas. You may have noticed that as you drive along I-5, many of the columns supporting the freeway in key places are now wrapped in a steel sheath, a direct result of the knowledge from the CA quakes of what can happen when concrete that is inadequately reinforced with steel, crumbles under a compressive load.

    Particularly special attention was paid to all double decker viaduct structures that are still in existence in CA and WA. For example, the approach to the Bay Bridge in San Francisco on both 280 and 80 are double decker structures. These structures carry and intensely high volume of traffic each day, so any attempt to rebuild them would have a tremendous impact on the flow of traffic in those areas, yet safety is also obviously of paramount concern.

    Due to the danger, soon after those quakes in the late 80s and early 90s, all double decker structures including the Alaskan Way viaduct were reinforced with bracing and steel strapping in key areas. More importantly the segments of these structures were linked together with cables. Go look Goldy, you will see them. These cables are important because much of the tragedy of the Cypress structure could have been averted if the segments of the top deck had simply stayed on top of the concrete pillars that remained intact. As it was, they were only resting on the pillars and not anchored with cables pre-1989. Once one segment went, it triggered a domino effect of shaking the other pillars to collapse (which is different than crumbling) causing further pancaking of the top deck to the bottom deck. WDOT and Caltrans engineers were quick to begin the process of cabling and sheathing support colums to roadway decks all over CA and WA, and in OR too, and massive Federal $$$ helped out. As a result, the Alaskan Way viaduct is far safer today.

    Now, that said, the Alaskan Way viaduct can still be improved upon to be sure. But instead a humungously expensive boondoggle for waterfront property owners, there are much cheaper ways to get the job done. For example, in the Bay Area, the entire length of the double decker section of 280 as it approaches the Bay Bridge after diverging from 101 had it’s columns reinforced and rebuilt in place. This was deemed by the shockingly more fiscally responsible Californians as a much cheaper and less disruptive solution to improving the safety of the Viaduct. And the same laws of economics and physics apply here in WA, however the virulent strain of left leaning thinkers that hemmorage our tax dollars is even greater here than in San Francisco.

    There’s no fiscally responsible reason to completely replace the viaduct with an incredibly expensive tunnel that would also require a massive update to the adjoining sea wall. It would look nice, and it would greatly increase the property value for the owners of property on the east side of the viaduct, who are furiously lobbying and schmoozing the mayor and other politicians that have jurisdiction of this project. But it is a unecessary and massive expenditure that would be a very poor use of our limited tax dollars.

    Until Goldy and team successfully lobby (hopefully not) for a state Income Tax or some other California like massive new form of revenue to advance statism and sociali$m in WA, we need to be much more fiscally responsible with important transportation dollars. Might I remind everyone that the Alaskan Way viaduct carries much less traffic than the other major North South corridoors in the Seattle area. Wouldn’t a better use of the money be to figure out how to expand the ridiculous narrowing of I-5 to two lanes as it passes through the downtown of one of the more populous cities on the West Coast. Or any one of many other needed road projects all througout the state.

    Boondoggle projects like the Alaskan Way viaduct replacement and the Monorial are poorly planned, overindulgent fantasies and should be rejected by all Seattleites for much more fiscally Sound designs.

  18. 19

    steven spews:

    Cynical~

    Your “all planners are LEFTIST” (what’s with the all caps today? Is this some new directive from Rush?) remark has brought new awareness to me. This helps explain so much. The radical right has no planners. I don’t know why this wasn’t obvious to me before, but I now see it. Imagine the possibilities if Bush had one LEFTIST in house to help plan the Iraq adventure. You know, a little planning goes a long way. Or if any planning had been done on a Social Security reform proposal. My God (I guess I can say that on Goldy’s blog), the possibilities are endless. The world is truly beginning to make sense. The Right has no planners…the Right has no planners…it was right in front of me all along.

  19. 20

    Alan spews:

    “Whenever I drive across the Viaduct or walk beneath it, I do so speedily, with images vividly in my mind of the dead being pried from between the decks of San Francisco’s Embarcadero Freeway.”

    Maybe this explains why so many people do 80 on the Viaduct. I wondered about that.

  20. 21

    Goldy spews:

    Jeff B @18,

    Thanks for the engineering lesson. I won’t pretend to have that sort of expertise. But it is my understanding that the seawall is in need of being replaced, with or without the Viaduct, and so it has been determined that it makes sense to replace them both at the same time.

    Again… a replacement design has not be decided. One of the things that is missed when talking about the extra expense of the tunnel, is the increase in local property values that would result from it, and thus an increase in tax revenues over the long haul. It would completely open up the waterfront to the downtown, something that has been a economic boon in other cities. So I think it is mistake to look at tunnel vs replacement vs at grade in isolation of the broader economic and environmental impact.

  21. 22

    Don is an even bigger indoctrinated tool spews:

    steven (scrutinizes before digesting) @ 17

    If you read again you’d notice I said we should come up with the course of action before the tax. You offered what the tax is and who it effects, but you have yet to offer me the plan/benefit of that tax, thus proving my point.

  22. 23

    Alan spews:

    I could easily go along with the GOP demand for audits of transportation projects, as long as it’s done on the level, and not used for pushing political or ideological agendas. The original price tag on the Viaduct and Seawall was $15 billion. Now we’re down to something like $4 billion and there still appears to be some gold-plating in there. I’ve had other encounters with state transportation bureaucrats that led me to believe these people live on another planet and need to be brought back to earth.

    The gas tax issue is complicated. It’s true that eastern Washington is subsidized by western Washington taxpayers — across the board, not just in highway construction. But we’re talking about piling a hefty gas tax increase on top of excruciating gas price increases, and from their point of view, they live in areas where wages are lower and commuting distances in many cases are longer. A 15-cent or even 9-cent gas tax increase is going to hit many of the $8 and $9 an hour workers in the rural areas in the breadbasket — it will take food off their tables or force them to leave their low paying jobs because they can’t afford to drive to work every day. They do not get as much benefit from the Viaduct as they do from I-90, which carries their farm products to ports and markets, and carries big-city goods back to their local stores. I think a case can be made for financing a new Viaduct and Sea Wall with tolls. Many eastern states have them. You can’t drive in or out of Chicago without paying tolls. Maybe a mix of a lower gas tax combined with a lower toll rate would be a good compromise. Socking the entire state with a 9-cent increase is pretty onerous and I understand why their legislators are objecting to it.

    But I think the hoopla over a gas tax increase beggars a much larger issue looming on the horizon. If you look at the history of oil prices over the past 50 years, you see spikes and troughs. It’s possible we’re in a spike and will see $1 gas (or at least $1.50 gas) again. Even so, the world’s oil supply is limited, and some day production will begin to fall. What crude prices will do then, will make this gas tax hike seem inconsequential. Per-barrel prices, adjusted for inflation, are still well below past spikes. There is a lots of room for crude prices to go much higher than they are today. To set a record in purchasing power terms, they will have to exceed $80, but if the peak oil pundits are right and peak production is just a few years away, $150 a barrel could easily become the floor. We may coast along for a while yet, but a day when gas prices exceed $5 is inevitable and most likely not in the far distant future. Our government and society is ignoring this very grave threat to our economy and way of life. We need to be developing the energy sources of the future NOW, not putting it off until the crisis is upon us. The world depends on a handful of supergiant oil fields for over 50% of its oil, those fields have all been in production for decades and are starting to decline, and it’s extremely unlikely that any undiscovered supergiant fields exist to replace them. Peak oil WILL occur; the only question is when, and some think the “when” is right now.

  23. 24

    Alan spews:

    prr @ 2

    Yeah, I’m with you on this one prr, it’s disturbing how Seattle’s mayor and the DOT bureaucrats want to just throw money at a tunnel. There is absolutely no good reason to soak taxpayers or motorists for billions just to preserve views for downtown office building owners so they can charge more rent. A limited access surface highway on the existing right of way with a parallel frontage arterial to access the docks seems to be the cost effective way to go. I don’t agree with the people who claim the 99 traffic corridor is unnecessary and should be eliminated, but I think we should built the least costly option that will move the traffic that needs to go through there. A picturesque waterfront may be more than this community and state can afford.

  24. 25

    Nindid spews:

    Alan @ 24

    I don’t think anyone is saying that we should absolutely do one version or the other. I think it is closed-minded and foolish to not take into account the benefits of doing a tunnel as Goldy has said above. It may very well be that the costs do not balance the benefits, but it is incredibly short-sighted not to look at it.

  25. 26

    Alan spews:

    C @ 11

    You just proved you don’t know any more about geology than you do about the election contest. Seattle is built on top of a mile of glacial till. That stuff is extremely dense and compacted. It has no trouble holding the foundations of 70-story buildings. Geology poses no problems that proper architectural design and engineering can’t deal with. The problem is older buildings put up before designing for earthquakes was well understood, but these buildings are being replaced rapidly, as downtown land is too valuable to leave old buildings on it. It’s true that a well-placed earthquake under Seattle or the sound could generate wave action in the sound, but in general the depth and narrowness of Puget Sound would minimize wave effects generated elsewhere, and a tsunami from a megaquake off the coast would be blocked by land masses before reaching downtown Seattle. You would get some ripple effects dispersing into the sound, but most of the energy would be expended against the coastal shorelines.

  26. 27

    Alan spews:

    Idiot @ 13

    Most of what eastern Washington produces goes through Puget Sound ports, and most of what eastern Washington consumes comes through Puget Sound ports. If Seattle shuts down, so does eastern Washington. Their crops will rot in the fields because they have no place to go.

  27. 28

    Alan spews:

    steven @ 19

    Yeah, I think you’re onto something there. The right has no planners. It follows that when they’re running things, all kinds of unexpected shit just happens.

  28. 29

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    Don @ 26 & 27–
    I’m glad you have so much confidence. Perhaps you can join Goldy’s Heroes…and be one of the PINHEADS to hold up that Viaduct. As for Eastern Washington and the need for Seattle’s Ports…..I just bought some property in North Bend as future Puget Sound waterfront property.

    Frankly, I think the vast majority of farmers in E. Washington would use a bike and rowboat to move their crops in exchange for the demise of the Seattle LEFTIST Elitists…I’m certain they would…it would be cheaper!

  29. 30

    Alan spews:

    Nindad @ 25

    The tunnel has been publicly discussed for several years now, and everything I’ve read about it indicates it’s a very expensive option.

  30. 31

    Alan spews:

    C @ 29

    Your post is unresponsive to my points, but I do admire the foresight evident in your recent real estate purchase. I’m holding on to my rowboat for future price appreciation in the event your vision of our state’s future transportation system proves accurate. Meanwhile, it provides a good nesting spot for the raccoons in my backyard.

  31. 33

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    Don–
    Remember what Harry Truman’s Plan B was up on Mt. St. Helens??
    He had somethings like a D-9 Caterpillar just outside his front-door to fire up when the mountain blew. Didn’t work out to well for Harry. You might want to reconsider that rowboat scheme!
    How about a spaceship!!
    There are plenty of them around. I’m convinced that’s how most of the Seattle LEFTIST Elite got here. Buy one of those.

  32. 34

    Jon spews:

    Main Entry: troll
    Function: noun
    Etymology: Norwegian troll & Danish trold, from Old Norse troll giant, demon; probably akin to Middle High German trolle lout
    : a dwarf or giant in Scandinavian folklore inhabiting caves or hills

    It is hilly up in North Bend, isn’t it, Mr. Cynical?

  33. 35

    Jeff B. spews:

    Goldy @21,

    Selling this on the intangible futures of economic benefits is an irresponsible use of power by city officials that both stand to benefit financially and associatively with the legacy of a beautiful waterfront.

    There’s nothing wrong with a beautiful waterfront, but it comes at a cost. The option that has been repressed is the less appealing, yet far more fiscally responsible option of simply retrofitting the existing structure and seawall, rather than a complete replacement.

    The cost of digging down many tens of feet and disturbing the existing fill plus replacing the sea wall is so much greater than working with what we’ve got because cut and cover will force us to replace the sea wall as it would otherwise be unstable without all the fill that is a large part of what comprises the sea wall now.

    The sea wall replacement and viaduct safety issue have been comingled for the convenient enhancement of the scope of the project and thus the price of what would otherwise be a far lower for retrofit and stabilization.

    Wrapping this as an imminent danger panders to fear that should never be a substitute for sound and methodical planning which incorporates both economic as well as physical prudence.

  34. 36

    chardonnay spews:

    Goldy,
    you say
    “A major earthquake *will* hit the Seattle area, and left as-is, the Viaduct *will* collapse, KILLING dozens or even hundreds, depending on the time of day.”

    um, where is your crystal ball(singlular)?
    Another DOOM DAY leftist message or shall we call them massages.

  35. 37

    Don is an even bigger indoctrinated tool spews:

    Absolutely Jeff B., but when was the last time “fiscally responsible” rolled off a democrat’s tongue?… oh I ‘m sorry when was the last time it rolled off a democrat’s lips other than election time?

  36. 38

    Dave spews:

    Chard @ 36,

    In January 1700 the Japanese recorded a tsunami that was eventually traced back to a subduction fault on the Pacific North-West coast which runs from northern California all the way past Vancouver Island. The quake was so large that it spawned myths among the local Native American populations.

    http://news.nationalgeographic.....unami.html

    http://www-sci.pac.dfo-mpo.gc......Plates.gif

    This is exactly the same kind of fault line that produced the December earthquake off Sumatra so that should give you a bit of an idea what we’d be in for. Estimates are that a slip along the entire Juan De Fuca plate could generate an earthquake higher than 9.0 on the Ricther scale and lasting upwards of five minutes.

    Geological evidence indicates that great earthquakes may have occurred at least seven times in the last 3,500 years, suggesting a return time of 400 to 600 years.

    http://www.pnsn.org/HAZARDS/CA....._zone.html

    It’s been 300 years since the last one. Place your bets with nature now!

  37. 39

    Bax spews:

    Why is this viaduct the problem of Easter Washington towns?

    For the same reason Eastern Washington roads have been subsidized by the Seattle region for decades: because we’re a state.

    Quite frankly, I don’t have a problem with subsidizing Eastern Washington roads. I’m just pretty damn tired of them being so ungrateful about it.

  38. 40

    Jeff B. spews:

    Happy Day for Goldy and the rest of the tax lovers. We just got hit with a 9.5 cent gas tax hike from the Senate, and I’m sure Gregoire will fall all over herself to sign it into law as soon as she possibly can accompanied by a pathetic speech containing lot of sociali$t rhetoric. We’ve now got one of the highest gas taxes in the country.

    Let’s hope this money gets used to fix the real problems instead for pet projects like the Viaduct to Tunnel project.

    Seven Republicans voted for the tax and seven Democrats (many of whom were up for reelection) voted against the tax.

    There’s no doubt that the transportation system in this state is pathetic. The solution though is not to raise taxes, it’s to redistribute state income away from left leaning programs, welfare and other entitlements and instead focus on making sure that first and foremost, the state has a working infrastructure.

  39. 41

    Mr. X spews:

    Wow, it’s a rare day when I agree with the Rethugs on this board, but I concur that Goldy has overstated the risk of a Viaduct collapse. Long before the Nisqually quake, development interests had floated a trial balloon about replacing the Viaduct with a toll tunnel.

    An earthquake of Nisqually magnitude is likely to render the Viaduct unusable – not to cause an outright collapse. See Jeff B’s post above for the engineering specifics, but the fact is that the Viaduct uses a different sort of construction than the Nimitz had, and has been reinforced. The real damage from the Nisqually quake to the Viaduct is only to the segments along Pioneer Square, and there are plenty of engineers who have proposed lower cost solutions.

    Combine the fact that the development crowd is drooling over new waterfront views with the fact that Paul Allen’s Vulcan company has buried a $500+ million proposal to submerge Aurora Avenue north of the Battery Street Tunnel (part of the Mercer Boulevard boondoggle – and totally unrelated to any safety issues with the Viaduct and/or the Seawall), and the real motivation behind this becomes clear.

    The State ought to look at a stand-alone fix for the Seawall. Saying it’s convenient to do a tunnell and the seawall is like deciding to fix your toilet and then expanding the job to retiling the whole bathroom while you’re at it.

  40. 42

    spyder spews:

    Some of Jeff’s points regarding the use of lessons learned from CA quakes are most salient. I hadn’t been in the Seattle area since 1988 until i moved to Washington two years ago. I was surprised to still see the Viaduct in full use. I grew up in CA, and had unfortunate, some say jinxed, experiences with most of CA large earthquakes; i literally was within five miles of the epicenter of each large quake, since the 40’s, except for the 94 Northridge one, which destroyed my father’s home. One of the lessons i learned was that all the retrofitting of overpasses, double decks, columns, support pillars, etc. doesn’t really matter. When the earth does what it does, not much we build is fully capable of withstanding it. The last place i would want to be is in a subway tunnel or on, or under, a bridge.

    Jeff’s suggestions regarding investing in retrofitting the Viaduct until more appropriate and economically feasible solutions are created is fine, up to a point. What he didn’t mention is that the various double-decked systems in CA are due to be replaced, as funds become available. When you are standing on a street during a 7.1 quake and are thrown up in the air as the street ripples in four foot waves, you get the idea that there aren’t many solutions to the problem. That said, choosing to solve a relatively unsolvable problem with huge revenue expending projects only serves to improve the profitability of one set of construction corporations than a different set. The real lesson from CA quakes is that investing in protecting human lives garners windfalls for some at the expense of others.

  41. 43

    grant spews:

    Look, I’m a Seattle area native. Born and Raised. I’m 25… most of you are probably in your 30’s and 40’s and beyond. It’s MY generation that is going to have to pay for the viaduct and, you know what, I hoping we do. I drive on it everyday… Ballard to Georgetown. But you know what, that’s NOT why I want to replace it.

    I want to replace it because I think it’s best for my generation and my children’s generation and my grandkids. Let’s look 50 years in the future instead of 50 days for a change. This will change the face of this city for the better.

    The viaduct debate reminds me of stories my father (a REPUBLICAN who agrees with the tunnel option) tells me about Forward Thrust (don’t know it… native Washingtonians will). My fathers generation failed us then.. and do you know what we have to thank them for… some of the worst traffic in the country.

    Yes, it will be expensive. Yes, it will probably run over budget. However, lets think about the future for a change instead of the moment.

  42. 44

    Diggindude spews:

    Jeff b.
    Why is it, a slurry wall cant be used to laterally stabalize the waterfront, and a thick blanket of rip rap used, to anchor the toe, And take the place of the seawall?
    I dont pretend to know what the sub structure resembles under the viaduct now.

  43. 45

    David spews:

    Jeff B. @ 35 implies (or argues in a confusing way) that the seawall replacement is unneccessary and won’t be required (saving money!) if we don’t dig a tunnel:

    The cost of digging down many tens of feet and disturbing the existing fill plus replacing the sea wall is so much greater than working with what we’ve got because cut and cover will force us to replace the sea wall . . . . The sea wall replacement and viaduct safety issue have been comingled for the convenient enhancement of the scope of the project

    The seawall is collapsing and needs to be replaced ASAP. Go look at the Washington St. Pier—it’s already closed and falling into the Sound because the seawall has crumbled there. But FYI, replacement of the seawall is included in the plans and costs of each of the viaduct replacement options, so they can all be compared equally.

  44. 46

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    Frankly after studying the comments on this thread, I think the biggest threat to Seattle is drowning in a flood of LEFTIST bullshit. The LEFTISTS deserve being tied up in traffic jams, fearing earthquakes and generally all the misery they have brought on themselves. I thought LEFTISTS were the best planners??? Perhaps they can plan a little bit but they can’t execute worth a shit! Just look at the mess they have created for themselves. How?? By spending all the money on planning and bureaucracy rather than concrete, rebar and asphalt.
    Now you want E. Washington to bail you out??? Yeah, right.

  45. 47

    Dave spews:

    Eastern Washington has never bailed anyone out. Besides, traffic jams are a population problem – not a political one. The only thing political about it are the efforts by partisans to undermine those seeking genuine solutions to difficult situations.

  46. 48

    jpgee spews:

    I am from Eastern Washington. They have their own problems that they need the entire states help with. They could care less about the Western part of the state, except for the monies that flow to them for their own use.

  47. 49

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    Dave–@47
    “undermine those seeking genuine solutions”
    The problem is the time & money spent “seeking”. If you ever added up all the planning and bureaucratic dollars spent on KingCo transportation over the past 2 decades, it would be enough to solve the problem many times over. SEEKING?? That’s the problem…LEFTISTS cannot get beyond that. Where is the accountability Dave for what has already been pissed away?? You think we should just forget about it?? You just don’t want to hear that your ilk are incompetent tax dollars pissers!

    jpgee–
    WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!

  48. 50

    Erik spews:

    Quite frankly, I don’t have a problem with subsidizing Eastern Washington roads. I’m just pretty damn tired of them being so ungrateful about it.

    Yeah. They pay very littl property tax and have a 100 mile cement road to their town of 200 and they think they are paying their share. Without the west side, they would still have all dirt roads and be without telephone service or mail service, all of which are heavily subsidized by the west side.

  49. 51

    K spews:

    There is no question that there is insufficient roadway capacity in the Seattle area. There is also no question that Hwy 99 and the seawall are deteriorating and need capital improvements. Eastern Washington does rely on efficient flow of traffic to get its goods to market. They do have a stake in Puget Sound transportation solutions. It’s somewhat amusing that some here both argue against wasted effort in planning and also argue that the plans are insufficiently developed.

  50. 52

    Dave spews:

    You just don’t want to hear that your ilk are incompetent tax dollars pissers!

    Okay, and even the ass troll couldn’t have come up with a more hypocritical whopper than that one.

    Regardless, your point is moot. Accountability for past poor planning – if that’s even the case – isn’t going to somehow fix Seattle freeways or repair the Viaduct.

    Delay the inevitable any longer and it will only end up costing more money later. How is that good planning?

  51. 53

    Bax spews:

    If you ever added up all the planning and bureaucratic dollars spent on KingCo transportation over the past 2 decades, it would be enough to solve the problem many times over.

    Okay. So why don’t you go ahead and add it up for us, and provide specific information on the amount of money you claim was spent on “planning and bureaucratic dollars.” Remember, be specific. Then we can see if it’s enough money to “solve the problem many times over.”

    Somehow I think we all know what the result is going to be.

  52. 54

    Mr. Cynical is a BIAW tool spews:

    I suggest we invest a small amount of rebar and concrete in Mr. C’s keyboard now, to save us a big bunch of bullshit later.

  53. 55

    Diggindude spews:

    eastern washington, will pay 25% of the gas tax hike, and they will get 10% back for projects.
    At least thats what the ratio was, last time they tried the 9 cent tax.

  54. 56

    chardonnay spews:

    dave @ 38,
    I think you should start moving to higher ground NOW! PS, don’t go to Ocean Shores, the tsunami warning time is roughly 15 minutes.

  55. 57

    jsa on beacon hill spews:

    I’ll float another idea (continuing on the thought of the Viaduct being turned into a toll road).

    Since some part of the voting population seems to axiomatically think that taxation is evil, and since without a gas tax hike, there will be no capital improvements done on the highways of Washington State, at least using the traditional models, can we float the idea of doing the viaduct as a BOT (Build-Operate-Transfer)?

    If you’re not familiar with this mechanism, it has been used in Europe and in parts of Asia for infrastructure projects for several years, including for the England-to-France Channel Tunnel, the Bangkok subway system, and a few others. It is NOT a panacea (the Chunnel has been fraught with financing issues, showing that private sector infrastructure contracts can be botched just like public ones).

    The mechanism works as follows. The government of Washington State (or wherever) grants a charter for a transport company (say JSA Infrastructure Holdings, LLC) to build a road. The company is granted 25 years (or whatever) license to collect tolls in order to recoup construction, maintenance and a little profit to boot. At the end of the lease period, the road reverts to state management to be used as they please.

    Under no circumstances does the transport company “own” the road. They get a license to collect tolls for some years and that’s it. If the transport company acts in bad faith, the state gets to yank their charter and the road reverts to state management. If the state acts in bad faith, i.e. yanking the charter under false pretenses, they’ll take it in the shorts in the bond market for years to follow, and only an idiot would enter into another BOT for a generation.

    I don’t love the idea of toll roads. It would be nicer if everyone could get along and pay for the common good. If the residents of this state continue to act like spoiled children though, this may be the only way the Viaduct will get rebuilt.

    Thoughts anyone?

  56. 58

    Terry J spews:

    The Tacoma Narrows Bridge is being expanded from two lanes each direction to two lanes each direction, plus a bike paths and bus lanes and new toll plazas. Tolls have been estimated at $3 each way. Actual results may vary.

    Someone please make the case that tolls are appropriate for crossing to and from the Olympic Peninsula, but inappropriate elsewhere in the state. People on the Peninsula will pay both the toll and the new gas tax, and many will wonder why Seattle gets new bridges with no tolls.

    Eventually someone will look at a county-by-county analysis of where taxes are paid and where the tax revenue is spent. They may even compare that with the Red/Blue voting results. They might conclude that transportation projects are a subtle form of revenge of rural Washington for not electing enough Democrats.

  57. 59

    DamnageD spews:

    Mr. Cynical @ 11

    Nicely put! I don’t often agree with your opinions, but this time
    you did hit the nail squarely! And just to argue on your point, if Seattle we built on so much till, then explain why a “mild” 6.0 did such damage to Pioneer Square and the viaduct it’s self. Correct me if my knowledge of local history is incorrect, but wasn’t West Seattles primary use a land fill for the Denny regrade? If so, then it’s akin to “Jello” in the midst of the magnatude expected when the zone breaks. Lets also not forget the tidal/lahar fill areas of the East Side and south end. Current shake modles show an acceleration of seismic intensity. So even if some areas are less effected (like that really means jack shit) by the predicted +8, those in more prone areas will suffer greatly.

    Too little to late. Even IF we manage to get the viaduct and seawall fixed, there are SO MANY buildings/bridges/arterials/houses that need retrofits, Alaska way might be one of the few things left after the “doomsday scenario” plays out.

  58. 60

    jpgee spews:

    jsa @ 57 I like the idea, Somewhat the same as when you live in other major cities (Chicago comes to mind) Let the traffice pay for the upkeep. I see that as a fare compromise. Then hopefully, we can start to shift our income base of taxes to an income based more on usage. The government charges entries for national parks, the state for state parks, etc. We should have our freeway system like it is in Florida. Ie, Toll Roads. At first there are complaints. But after several months, it is just the norm.

  59. 61

    DamnageD spews:

    Jeff @ 18

    I would like to thank you for the details on how civil engeneers have utilized their experiences of the the Loma Prieta quake. Quite correct in the west coast retrofitting for those identifed faliure areas. You can indeed see the science in action.

    But I’d really like to underscore you second to last paragraph. Very well said.

    This entire post has been one of the better discussions i’ve read to date.

  60. 62

    Dave spews:

    Chard,

    Higher ground isn’t going to help much in a megathrust earthquake. Washington’s geography will work to protect cities like Seattle from tsunami damage but that’s the least of their worries. A 9.0 quake sustained for longer than 2 minutes will be catastrophic for older brick buildings or antiquated bridges and potentially equally so for skyscrapers. Applying the lessons learned from San Francisco and Asia is just smart policy.

  61. 63

    VCRW spews:

    Seattle can pay for the Alaskan Way Viaduct with tolls just like they will with the new Tacoma Narrows bridge.

  62. 64

    Alan spews:

    DD @ 55

    Right now, the most pressing transportation needs are in the Seattle area, not eastern Washington, so that’s where the money should be spent. If eastern Washington insists that all gas taxes paid in eastern Washington be spent in eastern Washington, nothing will ever get built anywhere in this state. Eastern Washington has 22% of the state’s population, so paying 25% of the gas taxes isn’t out of line. They probably use a little more gas per capita than we do because of the longer distances over there. As has been previously pointed out, people in eastern Washington benefit from money spent on the Puget Sound area’s transportation network, which is vital to commerce in the entire state. They also visit here, send their kids to the University of Washington, attend sporting events here, use our hospitals and medical clinics, travel through SeaTac, and so on.

    However, anticipating this complaint, I wrote to my representative early in the legislative session saying I would support paying for Seattle-area improvements with tolls, which is a common method of financing highways in eastern states. Collecting tolls in the Seattle area would not completely immunize eastern Washington, because trucking firms moving their crops to market or transporting goods to eastern Washington stores would have to pass this cost on to their customers. But it would put the lion’s share of the cost on local commuters and trucking firms, who will use the improvements the most. And when easterners come to town to visit their son at the U. or attend a Mariner’s game, they can reach into the change jar and throw some quarters into the toll bin like the rest of us.

  63. 65

    VCRW spews:

    Goldy@12,

    Funny you mention that the viaduct is *after all* a state highway. So are the ferries, but they are now at 80% cost recovery. That means that they pay 80% of their cost through fare box recovery. Some in the legislature want to make it 100%. Buses have only 30% farebox recovery while light rail is only 13%. So, the state highway argument holds about as much water as the leaking seawall on the Seattle waterfront.

    Here is a “progressive” idea, how about Paul Allen, Bill gates and all the rich liberals who contributed millions to MOVE ON.ORG in the last election cycle come up with the money?

    Or we could just say that we are building a sports stadium for a rich barron robber and the Democrats would immediately slam through the funding. Give Mike Lowry a call, he seemd to be best at doing that.

  64. 66

    DamnageD spews:

    cheep white whine @ 56

    I think (and I SURE it would be agreed) you should move to Long Beach, or maybe Ocean Shores. Get one of those pretty beach front homes. Don’t fear nature, for I’m sure you wont notice when the ocean disappears…

    Idiot

  65. 69

    Donnageddon spews:

    I am completely against Trolls.

    And my nomination for the dumbest of the dumbass comments of the day goes to— jpgee @ 49 “You just don’t want to hear that your ilk are incompetent tax dollars pissers!”

    The irony is so thick you could not cut it with a CBU-87 cluster bomb. The stupidity of the right wing cannot be underestimated.

  66. 70

    Diggindude spews:

    ALAN@63

    I was addressing 39, 47, and 50, when they suggested eastern washington, is either subsidised, or doesn’t pay their share of taxes for roads.

  67. 73

    dj spews:

    indoctrinated tool @ 37

    “…but when was the last time “fiscally responsible” rolled off a democrat’s tongue?”

    Are you really as stupid as this question makes you out to be?

    The answer is, as least, the last time we had a Democratic President! When was the last time we had a Republican President that didn’t rack up debt like a crack addict with a pile of stolen credit cards?

    “Fiscally responsible Republicans” died with the Apollo Program.

  68. 74

    GS spews:

    So put a damn toll on these two projects and let the users of it pay for it not the whole damn state. A 9.5 cent increase makes us the 3rd highest gas tax in the nation, only 3 cents from being 1st. What a damn business killer this one is! And don’t tell me there will be drive up McDonalds windows in the tunnel to help defray this monster’s real cost!

  69. 75

    Richard Pope spews:

    I think that a $4 billion to $15 billion gold-plated fix of the Alaskan Way viaduct and seawall can easily be financed by an increase in the property tax in the City of Seattle. Just like the $2 billion or so monorail boondoggle is being financed by about 1.4% excise tax on the value of automobiles in the City of Seattle.

    Seattle has become a rather exclusive town of very wealthy liberals. Most of the poor people are being priced out of the city, so there is no longer that much need for social welfare spending. Therefore, it is necessary to have projects that are a total waste of money and have no redeeming social value — such as the Monorail, tunnel, etc. — to soak up the tax dollars that the wealthy liberals in Seattle are capable of paying.

    Just so long as they don’t make average people in other parts of the state pay for this — I say that a Seattle liberal and their money are soon parted.

  70. 76

    Donnageddon spews:

    “When was the last time we had a Republican President that didn’t rack up debt like a crack addict with a pile of stolen credit cards?”

    dj, that had me spitting up my bile medication! Hilarious! I am gonna steal that line. Perfect!

  71. 77

    Donnageddon spews:

    I say we sell eastern Washington to Kansas and put the proceeds on a down payment for a frothy triple tall decafe iced latte.

    As a former Kansan, I can assure you that E. WA will love it there. You can’t swing a dead cat by the tail with out striking a gusher of ignorance.

  72. 78

    GS spews:

    Christine Gregoire’s “No New Tax” Lie is now almost 9 billion in new taxes and counting. It looks like we got us a Mike Lowry spender on steroids!

  73. 79

    David spews:

    jsa @ 57: The BOT (Build-Operate-Transfer) model sounds interesting, but if the road is going to revert to the state and they no longer get to profit after 25 years, doesn’t that give the builder an incentive to do the job cheap, so the road will last as little as 25 years?

  74. 80

    jpgee spews:

    Donnageddon @ 69….lol…thanks for the nomination….but I really do not know what for!!!!!! Where do I receive my award?

  75. 82

    jpgee spews:

    David @ 79, my understanding of the B-O-T is that when the facilities are back in the hands of the government, then the government decides whether to keep the tolls or to drop them. If needed, they keep collecting and this money goes to the State funds.

  76. 83

    Bax spews:

    A 9.5 cent increase makes us the 3rd highest gas tax in the nation, only 3 cents from being 1st. What a damn business killer this one is!

    Business lobbyists have been screaming for the gas tax increase in Olympia because they know that traffic congestion is a business killer.

  77. 84

    jsa on beacon hill spews:

    David @ 79:

    A B-O-T is fairly complicated to implement correctly. You need specific contracts to cover the planning and design components, and competent external oversight to make sure that a scenario like you described doesn’t happen. It’s not a libertarian fantasy where a private sector company goes and builds a road and the government just stays the hell out of the way.

    And yes, once the state owns the road, they can decide whether or not to keep collecting tolls.

    Since I’ve floated this, a reason for everyone to start acting like grownups instead of … what is being done now.

    B-O-Ts work well in urban areas where there is a demonstrated market demand.

    Eastern Washington needs roads too. Not critically, but last I checked, there were cars, trucks, and transportation needs over on the other side of the mountains too.

    You are not going to construct a toll road between Kettle Falls and Omak. Such a road is necessary, but is in no way economically self-sustaining.

    If the Puget Sound area is told to finance its own transportation, and Eastern Washington comes back hat in hand asking for gas tax money when they need a road, my sense of largesse to the poor and unfortunate may find itself sorely tested.

  78. 85

    Sirkulat spews:

    Goldy, Seattle and WsDOT transportation planners have their head up their ass for so long, they should not be trusted. The Viaduct should be brought down, but the larger question is not how to finance its replacement, but what to replace it with.

    I am glad to see the gas tax increase. This stick, rather than carrot approach to conserving energy may be uncomfortable for motorists who drive a gas hog to compensate for having a small penis or some other insecurity complex, and drive like there’s no tomorrow, but this gas tax increase is likely to prove invaluable. Still, don’t trust the DOTs to direct these funds anywhere but into the pockets of the few and achieve the least effective expenditure.

    If the large portion of the new funds is to go into new roads, expect traffic congestion to worsen. Replacing the Viaduct with a tunnel is not the only option. Building a tunnel will take many years. How will traffic be managed during this time? And, if traffic is manageable then, why is it necessary to build the tunnel?

    I suggest you read Peter Calthorpe/William Fulton’s “The Regional City”. You’ll notice that Seattle’s effort at regional development is noteworthy only in that it is all hype and no substance. Long-term application of the principles of Regionalism (New Urbanism on steroids) can reduce overall travel need by half; making feasible a surface route replacement for the Viaduct.

  79. 86

    G Davis spews:

    Why is the Viaduct a necessity any longer?

    Why not tear it down, leave a reversible two lane surface road in it’s footprint (or better yet remove traffic from downtown altogether and widen the I5 downtown corridor by two reversible lanes), toll it as the ferries and Tacoma Narrows is (and 520 was), and raise the property taxes on the exclusive waterfront properties that creates?

    I can’t imagine that wouldn’t pay for the tear down, remake of the road as well as the sea wall reconstruction.

    And by all means raise the gas tax until folks in this area get it that one person per car three or four trips a day is a complete and total waste of nonrenewable resoures. Don’t want to pay higher gas tax? Buy a hybrid or vegetable oil run vehicle.

  80. 87

    Mr. X spews:

    Tolls are not going to work on the Viaduct the same way they would on SR 520 or SR 16 – there are too many other alternate routes. Can you imagine how traffic will stack up southbound at a toll plaza just north of the Battery Street Tunnel?

    I say rebuild it – 100,000 locals a day get one of the best City views now, if it’s replaced with a tunnel, the only people who will be on the waterfront most of the time will be cruise ship tourists. As for a surface road, can you imagine how “pedestrian friendly” the waterfront will be with a 6-lane road and 100,000 cars a day whizzing by?

    As for the “opening up the waterfront” argument – you will not be able to get any closer to the water than you already can today, and 6+ billion for a 1.5 mile stretch of road is a damned expensive way to indulge the civic vanity of the Downtown Cabal.

    Also – on the seawall, there is about a mile-long stretch of the seawall both north and south of the proposed tunnel that will have to be repaired without being incorporated into the tunnel.

  81. 88

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    DamageD–
    I’m afraid these folks will never come to grips with the fact Seattle is built on JELLO. It’s just too hard to comprehend. You are absolutely right…if a 6.0 earthquake can cause that much damage…what will a 7.0 or 8.0 quake cause???

    A friend of mine walked down by the Viaduct this AM and reported that none of Goldy’s Heroes were down there holding the pilings up just in case. Goldy, I am holding YOU personally responsible for all the death & destruction!!! Ludicrous.

    Perhaps the best idea is to get rid of the damn thing and force everyone to ride bikes and walk. That would be areal sight, wouldn’t it. Rush hour congestion would be at the Sani-Cans!!!
    There’s a time constipation would be a real blessing!

  82. 89

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    DonSux–
    Sadly, DamageD is right. It is too little too late for Seattle.
    You see, the pending Cascadian megathrust earthquake is not a matter of IF…it’s a matter of when.

    The VIADUCT is not where limited resources should be spent. Sadly, huge amounts of resources have been pissed away planning and analyzing over & over again. It’s too late.

    When the Cascadian Fault pops, you feel the earth starting to shake in Seattle 2 minutes afterward. If the quake starts at the southern most point of the fault and runs up the 600 miles to the northern most point, Seattle will feel that earthquake for approx. 5 full minutes. Once you feel the quake, your best chance might be in one of the newer high rises. Some of them may survive. If you panic and run outside or are unfortunate enough to be in an older brick building, immediately grab your ankles and quickly kiss your ass good-bye. It will be over soon. Trust me, hiding under your desk or in a doorjamb won’t matter.

    Downtown Seattle was created on borrowed time and built on JELLO!

    One bit of good news—you won’t have to worry about the tsunami. Unlikely whatever is left of Seattle after the quake will be impact too much…some.

    SOLUTION:
    1) Make sure your life insurance is paid.
    2) Tell your family you love them everyday.
    3) Trust in the Lord.
    Not necessarily in that order!

  83. 90

    Alan spews:

    DamnageD @ 66

    I think you missed the boat (and a golden opportunity), D, by not suggesting that Cheep white whine move to another state — or better yet, another country, the Maldives would be good. (That’s the first country expected to go under when global warming raises the sea level, as the mean height above sea level of its 1,700+ islands is something like 3 feet.)

  84. 91

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    Don @ 90–
    The Cascadian megathrust earthquake will make global warming seem like just another pimple on your already acne-riddled back!

  85. 92

    DonSux spews:

    Mr. Cynical Pants @ 89

    It’s an exercise in futility, because eventually the sun will turn into a supernova and swallow the earth, so we’re doomed no matter what we do.

  86. 93

    Alan spews:

    Mr. X @ 87

    “I say rebuild it – 100,000 locals a day get one of the best City views now”

    They’re supposed to be getting a view of the traffic in front of them, not rubbernecking at the waterfront or sound.

    It’s easy and inexpensive to provide pedestrian access to the waterfront across a surface arterial with pedestrian bridges.

    Tolls would work. Surface streets are not a viable alternative to the limited access routes through downtown, and nobody will do that to avoid paying a toll. If tolls were charged on both 99 and I-5 there would be no incentive to move over to I-5 to avoid the toll on 99. However, there are advantages to leaving I-5 a freeway and charging a toll only on the rebuilt 99. This would tend to increase traffic (and slow down traffic) on I-5 and reduce traffic on 99, giving commuters the option of buying a faster commute trip through the downtown bottleneck if time is more important to them than the price of the toll.

  87. 95

    DamnageD spews:

    Alan @ 90

    Don’t think for a second the thought didn’t cross my mind. I thought that for her sake I would give her something local that she can identify. I didnt want her to have to waste precious drinking time on a futile attempt to educate her self on something as mundaine as geography.

    Not to mention, since the likehood of tidal waves from earthquakes is soOOoo remote (as CWW would like us to believe), the state was good enough to make pretty little signs pointing folks like her UP hill, and these cute mounted alarms…since theres no reason to worry, I bet that was a waste of $$$ too?

    Just remember…when at the ocean, if the water dissapears, stay there and wait for it to return. It ALWAYS comes back. Three hundred thousand dead cant be wrong, right whine?

    Learn to swim

  88. 96

    enough_of_this_bullshit spews:

    So let’s get this straight.

    Why does Pierce and Snohomish county have to pay for your little viaduct tunnel? Because Ron “hey let me screw you again like I did with sound transit” Sims says so.

    Both counties are already paying for your sound transit mess. We are paying a lot more than we are getting out of that TAX. you get light rail, we get smelly buses that don’t go anywhere.

    I also heard that the governor is signing a bill today renaming the city of seattle after Seattle Slew. Or rather his droppings.

  89. 97

    DonSux spews:

    Neither. At the rate Bush’s clean air policies are melting the polar ice caps, your house will be under water long before the tsunami arrives or the sun incinerates it. That earthquake probably will show up sometime in the next 100,000 years, possibly tomorrow, possibly long after you’ve turned into an old fossil. Hmmm … actually … you’re already an old fossil.

  90. 98

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    DamageD–
    The denial of the damage this imminent earthquake will cause is fascinating. To equate global warming with the earthquake timetable is ludicrous!

    THIS JUST IN FROM THE VIADUCT:
    NONE of Goldy’s Heroes have shown up yet to hold this big bastard up in case the earthquake hits today. Wait…I just felt the Earth tremble…my whole house is shaking…could it be??????

    Never mind..it’s just the portly but ever-lovely Mrs. C taking a #2!

  91. 99

    jsa on beacon hill spews:

    enough_of_this_bullshit @ 96:

    (rant about viaduct deleted):

    You know something, every Saturday, I’ll look at I-5 and see that tens of thousands of cars are streaming into downtown Seattle. If I’m off work and in Chinatown on game day, every parking spot will be full of rather portly folks sporting game colors.

    Friday night, I’ll be pedaling home from work through Pioneer Square. Everyone within 60 miles looking for love (or some reasonable facsimile) will be down there.

    It would be no skin off my nose if all these folks went and found something fun to do in THEIR neighborhood.

    Maybe this isn’t your speed. Maybe you don’t go clubbing or shopping downtown. Maybe you’re a sensible person who figures that everyone who lives, works, or plays in Seattle is a little off their rocker. Good for you.

    Let me assure you, there are lots of people who come streaming in from outside. For work, for play. This is where the cargo is unloaded (and loaded) for most of the Northern states. Some goes to Tacoma, but the next big deep water port is down in Oakland.

    You refer to the Viaduct like it’s a toy built for use solely by Seattleites. That’s not the case.

  92. 100

    Bax spews:

    I asked Cynical at 53 the following:

    If you ever added up all the planning and bureaucratic dollars spent on KingCo transportation over the past 2 decades, it would be enough to solve the problem many times over.

    Okay. So why don’t you go ahead and add it up for us, and provide specific information on the amount of money you claim was spent on “planning and bureaucratic dollars.” Remember, be specific. Then we can see if it’s enough money to “solve the problem many times over.”

    Somehow I think we all know what the result is going to be.

    Due to the lack of response I’m assuming that Cynical is acknowledging that “If you ever added up all the planning and bureaucratic dollars spent on KingCo transportation over the past 2 decades, it would be enough to solve the problem many times over” is not an accurate statement.

    Oh well.

  93. 101

    Bax spews:

    Why does Pierce and Snohomish county have to pay for your little viaduct tunnel? Because Ron “hey let me screw you again like I did with sound transit” Sims says so.

    Both counties are already paying for your sound transit mess. We are paying a lot more than we are getting out of that TAX. you get light rail, we get smelly buses that don’t go anywhere.

    ST has sub-area equity, so Snohomish and Pierce tax dollars aren’t going to light rail. All of the ST tax $ collected in Pierce and Snohomish Counties stays in those counties. Try again.

  94. 102

    C spews:

    Hey Debbie, are you one of the same Republicans who went batshit in 1998 about an extra nickel a gallon?

  95. 103

    C spews:

    By the way, they should rebuild the viaduct the same way in the same place. All those people who say the city can live without it are dreaming. They want everyone to walk or ride bicycles everywhere they go.

  96. 104

    Terry J spews:

    Interesting debate.

    If you build it they will come. Is the corallary If you tear it down they will leave?

    What happens if you eliminate some things?

    What if you eliminated the HOV lanes and transferred then to freight and commercial purposes only? No Busses, no car pools, no Van rides? Just commercial vehicles. Woud that solve freight mobility as an issue?

    How about eliminating the Alaska Way Viaduct. Wasn’t I-5 supposed to replace it?

    Transportation facilities and asetts make it possible to live far from where you work or shop. Gated communities ensure you live far from where you work or shop. Zoning accomplishes the same thing.

    So, a theoretical question for the assembled commenters. Could Seattle have been developed to its present form and state if current zoning laws and practices were in effect 100 years ago? Or your city of choice?

    Is the debate mis-directed? Do zoning and land-use laws and regulations cause more of the traffic congestion than they solve?

  97. 105

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    Terry J–
    I’ll answer your last question first-
    YES!! Who can afford to live in these “smart growth” areas??
    Not the working people. High regs=high prices.

  98. 106

    G Davis spews:

    Cynical you really need another hobby…or a life… ;(

    Somewhere up there I asked why the Viaduct was necessary…I read further down that it has to stay as there’s no viable alternative followed shortly by there were too any alternative routes for tolls to work…so which is it?

    I should think all of us would want our cities to be vital and alive as opposed to Detroit-like cities that are literally being bulldozed…but the Viaduct is not essential to vitality for Seattle.

    What could add more to Seattle than the four existing lanes of Alaskan Way alongside two reversible tolled surface lanes…between the two roads a wide median well planted and the trolley running through it?

    The property owners behind the exisitng Viaduct could be jumped into the astronomical property tax bracket of waterfront thereby generating more revenue for the project.

    The city would have a glorious waterfront lead in for tourists which enhances those dollars as well.

    I just don’t see why the structure is necessary and could easily visualize a wonderful scene without it at far less cost and much more revenue.

    What a I missing here?

  99. 107

    G Davis spews:

    Forgot…I like the idea of making the HOV lanes freight only…bet the truckers would as well!!

  100. 108

    Bax spews:

    I just don’t see why the structure is necessary and could easily visualize a wonderful scene without it at far less cost and much more revenue.

    What a I missing here?

    I believe twice within the past few months the Viaduct has been shut down during rush hour due to accidents. Downtown became absolutely gridlocked, with every alternative route basically sitting at a dead stop. It was a vision of what would happen if you get rid of the viaduct. That’s what you’re missing.

  101. 109

    G Davis spews:

    So Bax, given the choice of the very expensive alternatives or figuring out an alternate route, which one would you choose? ;)

    Besides, you’re talking about shutting the traffic off completely…I’m talking about installing a reversible two lane substitute…apples and oranges.

  102. 110

    Alan spews:

    It’s unrealistic to think this city can do without the Hwy 99 traffic corridor. We need more, not less, transportation right of way through downtown. The tunnel is an expensive pie-in-the-sky scheme that taxes people of limited means for the benefit of ultra-wealthy downtown property owners. Given the region’s limited transportation resources, the most cost-effective means of moving the traffic (and increasing capacity, if possible) should be built, which probably is a surface highway on the existing right of way.

    BTW, after reading the P-I and Times articles, it is clear the gas tax passed by the legislature will provide only part of the funding for viaduct replacement, with the rest coming from local revenues. Seattleites will, in fact, pay more than people elsewhere in the state. This seems like a very fair allocation of cost sharing. The rest of the state does get benefits from transportation infrastructure located in Seattle.

    And why is it that our righty trolls yell and scream about 9 /12 cents a gallon for vital transportation projects but are strangely silent by the $1 added to the price of a gallon of gas since Republican oilmen took over our national government, held energy meetings in secret, and gave the industry carte blanche to rape us? If the righty trolls enjoy bitching so much about the price of gas, they should be bitching about how much goes into the pockets of the oil industry. These taxes are pin money by comparison.

  103. 111

    G Davis spews:

    *We need more, not less, transportation right of way through downtown.*

    I don’t agree…we need smarter transportation through downtown in partiular.

    I do agree with your latter comments though. ;0