The decision by transportation planners to possibly map a replacement for the Alaskan Way Viaduct along Western Avenue worries those at the Pike Place Market who fear it could damage the Market’s historic character.
“We’re disappointed this was chosen,” said Carol Binder, executive director of the Market. “We’re going to have to change and look at some of the ways we operate.”
Apparently, the folks at the Market would rather have an elevated freeway in their front yard than an arterial street. Huh.
If you’re not 100% clued in to why they’d be upset with the surface “couplet” option, here’s the skinny:
Instead of a viaduct freeway through downtown Seattle, the “couplet” would send traffic north and south on a reconfigured street grid, using Alaskan Way’s southbound lanes and Western Avenue’s northbound lanes as replacements, knitting together the street grid without building a limited access freeway through the neighborhood.
Western currently comes to a four-way stop at the north end of the Market, near Victor Steinbrueck Park. The plan would be to lid Western near the park, sending traffic under the Market instead of through it.
There is all sorts of hyperventilating over this whole viaduct mess. The Pike Place Market has nothing to worry about. On an issue where so many can disagree, everyone involved agrees that the Market is something worth protecting.