Who REALLY wants another Viaduct?

The same people who want you to turn the music down! Josh Feit explains.

Check out the No Tunnel Alliance blog. Look at who is pushing for the rebuild, and whose support they tout: Helen Sommers, Joni Balter (and the Seattle Times editorial page), Joel Connelly, the Washington State Alliance for Retired Americans, Nick Licata …

It is a veritable who’s who of Seattle oldsters.

The rebuild is endorsed by the WSARA? (Their slogan: “We’d like some deli and a comfortable chair.”) I think retired people are great, don’t get me wrong. They still use checks, drive the speed limit, and their houses smell like medicine. But…

Of course, if we take their advice and rebuild this monstrosity, most of these folks won’t be around in 25 years to explain why the city made such a dumb mistake.

A friend who works in politics once told me a story about a room full of folks listening to a transportation planner talk about the region’s future. The speaker says, “Now, most of this won’t come to fruition until the year 2015…”

An old man rose to his feet, and slowly walked out of the meeting. I guess he figured he’d be dead by then.

The question of how to replace the viaduct is too important to be left only to those who’ll never see it’s consequences.

Comments

  1. 1

    Alex Bartholemew spews:

    Just patch that bad boy up, and decide in ten years how to best deal with the viaduct part of SR 99. We’ve got more important transportation fish to fry here in ’07.

  2. 2

    proud leftist spews:

    I have great admiration for many of the people pushing for a new viaduct. I think they are well-intentioned and their concern for a tunnel project becoming a boondoggle has some substance. On the other hand, swapping the viaduct for a tunnel seems like a no-brainer to me. Seattle’s natural setting is what sets the city apart from other cities; it is that which gives the city a global reputation as a destination city. Connecting downtown to the Sound would enhance our natural assets immensely. So, I would hope all my Democratic friends who oppose the project take a second look at the tunnel.

  3. 3

    ArtFart spews:

    Ah yes…the new lions have arrived and need to piss on the trees.

    We’re probably better off with neither. Provide some sort of trucks-only roadway paralleling the railroad tracks to serve the working waterfront and whatever’s left of the industrial area, and leave it to the rest of the idiots to figure out that they don’t each have to drag 6,000 pounds of steel and glass downtown every day to get to work.

    Nickels’ latest compromise of a four-lane tunnel to replace a six-lane viaduct makes no sense whatever, and the bux ain’t there to dig a bigger hole.

  4. 4

    Libertarian spews:

    will says,

    “I think retired people are great, don’t get me wrong. They still use checks, drive the speed limit, and their houses smell like medicine. But…”

    Don’t knock gettin’old. It beats the alternative!!!

  5. 5

    Right Stuff spews:

    Tunnel light?
    C’mon now.. What sense does that make? Either build the same capacity in a tunnel or replace what you’ve got. Don’t, whatever you do, Dig a big hole and put fewer lanes in it…..

    Who would vote for that? But then again, Nichols is from Sound Transit…Have they reduced their service corridor lately? It seems like we haven’t had a vote in a while to spend more for less service for Sound Transit….( pissed off at transit spending humor )

  6. 6

    spews:

    Interesting piece on the supporters of the rebuild.

    Transportation policy is similar to education policy in the sense that too many people who will never see the benefits are asked to vote on whether or not they’d care to share the costs (this is also an argument against ballot initiatives, by the way).

    What’s the solution? How about some real leadership in Olympia? I’m a life-long Dem who’s seriously considering crossing party lines to vote against Gregoire and Chopp because of their abdication of responsibility (Gregoire) and utter lack of vision (Chopp).

    ________________

    Bruno and the Professor: Progressive Talk Radio

  7. 7

    busdrivermike spews:

    Anybody read the Washington Post? Sunday it featured an article about how global warming will cause volumetric pressure changes, and a rise in sea level by at least 4 feet by 2050. Money quote: If we had a million of the fastest available computers, we could not accurately predict how high the oceans will rise.

    But I guess that will not matter seeing how the tunnel will be waterproof, right? I’m sure giant sea pumps will be put inside the tunnel for moon phases, and it will be much more safe than we have now.

    Does global warming only count when it works to Republican disadvantage?

    Uh, Will, how far above sea level will your beloved tunnel be? Is Puget Sound still connected to the Pacific Ocean?

  8. 9

    Right Stuff spews:

    @7 Hey if it’s good for New Orleans…… We are good to go….Build it below see level.. If it floods we’ll just build it again..

  9. 12

    spews:

    @ 4

    I hope to have fun in my old age. If I reach 80, the least of my worries will be some waterfront freeway. Who knows, maybe when I’m 80 we’ll have a decision made!

  10. 14

    Ira Sacharoff spews:

    Seems to me that the two options presented to Seattle voters are both bad:

    1. Expensive, unknown tunnel lite with less capacity
    or
    2. New viaduct with a much larger profile than the existing one.

    Why do we have to choose between bad and bad?

  11. 15

    Libertarian spews:

    The rest of us in Washington are waiting to see if there’ll be a toll on whatever “replaces” the AWV.

  12. 16

    World Class Cynic spews:

    Hmmm. I thought Seattle was a hip, edgy, with-it world-class city. So why was Mayor Nickels so scared of putting the tunnel to a vote, then?

    I mean, putting the six-lane tunnel to a vote. Now he’s decided to go with a four-lane fraud and has jiggered the numbers to dishonestly inflate the viaduct numbers and lower the tunnel numbers. After all, it’d be cheaper for downtown to spend a few thousand to bamboozle the voters than to actually pick up the difference between the viaduct and a viable tunnel.

    Thinking about it, I do believe I’d rather have surface + transit than a four-lane tunnel. If the objective is to screw up, let’s at least screw up as cheaply as possible.

    Hey, I’m in favor of a tunnel as long as the downtown interests are willing to pick up the difference in cost. Otherwise, I’ll favor the viaduct.

  13. 17

    joel connelly spews:

    How will the Montlake Ale House be able to support itself, and welcome Drinking Liberally, if working families are driven out of Seattle by the huge cost of tunnel vision?
    It’s the children and grandchildren that some of us are thinking about, Will.

  14. 18

    spews:

    Oh for chrissakes.

    Will, Will, Will. Don’t be such an ageist like Mr. Feit.

    Check out the KING-TV January 17th survey:

    http://tinyurl.com/36s8j8

    When you mention cost it breaks down thusly:
    (sampling error +/- 4.3%)

    18-34 yrs – 61% support Elevated
    35-54 yrs – 64% support Elevated

    White support for elevated = 62%
    Black support for elevated = 82%
    Hispanic support for elevated = 64%
    Asian support for elevated = 71%

    Male support for elevated = 64%
    Female support for elevated = 65%

    You get three “old man” points for being as crotchety as your friend over at The Stranger.

    I’m in my fifties, and I’m clearly in the minority on this issue.

    Next.

  15. 19

    eponymous coward spews:

    Provide some sort of trucks-only roadway paralleling the railroad tracks to serve the working waterfront and whatever’s left of the industrial area, and leave it to the rest of the idiots to figure out that they don’t each have to drag 6,000 pounds of steel and glass downtown every day to get to work.

    That is, if you’d actually build something resembling affordable housing in Seattle I could purchase.

    Try looking up where you can find housing under 200K for purchase in Seattle- and recall that median income in Seattle is around 50K.

  16. 20

    spews:

    Oh for chrissakes.

    Will, Will, Will. Don’t be such an ageist like Mr. Feit.

    Check out the KING-TV January 17th survey:

    http://www.surveyusa.com/clien.....f38912f79c

    When you mention cost it breaks down thusly:
    (sampling error +/- 4.3%)

    18-34 yrs – 61% support Elevated
    35-54 yrs – 64% support Elevated

    White support for elevated = 62%
    Black support for elevated = 82%
    Hispanic support for elevated = 64%
    Asian support for elevated = 71%

    Male support for elevated = 64%
    Female support for elevated = 65%

    You get three “old man” points for being as crotchety as your friend over at The Stranger.

    I’m in my fifties, and I’m clearly in the minority on this issue.

    Next.

  17. 21

    uptown spews:

    joel;

    We already have tunnels (Battery St, and two on I-90) – they didn’t cost that much and none are falling down.

    As for those who keep talking about less capacity…WTF??
    The current Viaduct only has two lanes each way, you might have noticed that the Battery St. tunnel is only 4 lanes. Those other lanes are on/off ramp extensions and just leave you in traffic somewhere else (waiting on Western to go north, or sitting on Elliott to go south). Yes, they are great when there is no traffic, but suck during commute times.

  18. 22

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    My burrow doesn’t smell like medicine! It smells like rabbit pee for some strange reason.

  19. 23

    uptown spews:

    As for those references to “below sea level” – I guess you got us there, no one has ever built a tunnel below water before…just London, New York, Boston…do I have to go on?

    As for rising seal levels, isn’t that part of why they want to rebuild the seawall? (the answer is “yes”).

  20. 25

    kirk spews:

    Josh Fiet’s incoherent love for the monorail should preclude him from making a decision on anything.

  21. 26

    rhp6033 spews:

    HMMM, that’s a thought. “Rising seal levels” leave the tunnel unusuable, as harbor seals take it over and the DOE refuses permits to forcibly relocate them, a’la’ “Hershell”….

    Okay, back to work now.

  22. 27

    YOS LIB BRO spews:

    SURFACE + TRANSIT + FIX THE SEAWALL FOR ME.

    BUT OLYMPIA DOESN’T WANT THIS.

    IT’S REALLY BAD THAT ANYONE WOULD WANT TO PUT A STRUCTURE LIKE THAT IN FRONT OF A CITY’S WATERFRONT. PEOPLE JUST DON’T WANT TO ADJUST.

  23. 28

    rhp6033 spews:

    Perhaps we should decide if we want a tunner that simply provides “through traffic” from 99 North to 99 South, going under Seattle in the process, or do we want it to supply on/off ramps to send traffic into and out of the downtown core?

    If we have downtown core access through ramps BEFORE and AFTER the tunnel begins, four lanes should be sufficient, as it was previously pointed out that as long as the Battery Street Tunnel isn’t going to be expanded, that pretty much dictates how much traffic is going to go through the Viaduct/Tunnel. This works as kind of a compromise between the tunnel/surface options.

    But as long as you are trying to put in ramps in the middle of the city, then the expense (and width of the tunnel) will need to increase considerably.

    And has anybody else noticed that we already have two tunnels going under Seattle – one for buses, and one for trains? Why is it such a big deal to build one more? And since we are going underground anyway, what rule says it has to be along the waterfront – why not direct it under 1st Ave. or some other more “uphill” location instead, thereby keeping it from being and “underwater tunnel”, and allowing us to use boring to dig the tunnel, which is less disruptive to the surface activities?

  24. 29

    Tree Frog Farmer spews:

    rhp6033@27 Your thought has many virtues. A tunnel through downtown at first or second avenue would not even require tearing down the viaduct while being constructed. Because of the topology, it might be in part, cut and cover construction. HOWEVER, it would have to be negotiated around the existing railway tunnel. Not insurmountable, but certainly challenging. . .and in consequence, expensive. And, expense would also be the objection to moving the tower further up town, like fifth avenue.

  25. 31

    spews:

    @27

    Cost, for one thing.

    If you were here during the ’80’s when we built the second tunnel you referenced, then you’ll likely remember what a messy, muddy, wet – and expensive – endeavor that was. It still leaks. A dirty (wet) little secret about the basements in downtown buildings is the number of sump pumps necessary to keep water out. Much of downtown sits on glacial till – sand, gravel, clay and humongous boulders – our lovely hills are made of the stuff, unlike, say, the gneissic, amphibolitic Manhattan Schist you can bore through under NYC. (I can’t wait for the horror stories once Sound Transit really gets to digging under Capital Hill and Montlake – but I digress.) Underground Seattle is peppered with springs and various water flow. (Which is another reason they’re talking about a cut and cover tunnel and not something deeper.) Whatever the projected costs are for the tunnel proposal, based on past experience – here and elsewhere – you’d best double or even treble the figures, and unfortunately, we’re on a budget.

    That said, we still have to repair the seawall; Mr. Bartholemew’s post at #1 sums it up best.

  26. 32

    World Class Cynic spews:

    Laurence, I hate to go off-topic, and maybe I should save this for an open thread, but are you the local actor?

  27. 33

    Aaron spews:

    Joel @ 17

    In all fairness, are taxes the reason working families are finding the costs of living in Seattle harder and harder to bear? I think not, it’s the cost of housing. For that, we can blame the local boom economy (thanks a lot, MSFT!) and the desireablity of life in Seattle (for many).

    Even if we build a gold plated $5 billion dollar tunnel, the taxes incurred for a home owner in Seattle would still be a small portion of the monthly expenses for a 30 year mortgage. (Although frankly, as Seattle is the economic hub of the entire state, the entire state should bear costs not just at an adaquate level, but at a desireable level.)

    Maybe it’s time we stop listening to the people who for years and years now have been essentially saying, “I’ve got mine, now we can’t afford to build this public facility because the taxes will be too high”. I for one am sick of hearing that we have to give up on good works. Another viaduct would truly suck, I’d much rather see a tunnel, or at least a surface plan that would still allow for a tunnel when people stopping listening to those who will always bleet “it will cost too much”.

  28. 34

    leckmichfrankchopp spews:

    Another elevated roadway on the waterfront would confirm, as if the title were ever in dispute, that Seattle is the worst-run city in the worst-run state in this country. Frank Chopp just has to have an elevated road to let everyone know what a big, bad man he is.

    A hearty mooninite bird to you, Frank – I voted for Will “I’m so desperate I’m calling myself Chopper” Sohn last year. The next time you’re up for reelection, I am taking a freaking sabbatical from work to volunteer full time for your primary and general election opponents.

  29. 35

    Michael Caine spews:

    Opening up the waterfront will increase the property values which, in turn, would increase the ammount the properties are taxed without an increase in the actual tax rate. That in itself would pay for the tunnel.

  30. 36

    Greg spews:

    Next time you pick someone up from the airport, take the back route home via the viaduct coming into Seattle along the city wall and Elliott Bay with an elevated view of both the Olympics and the Cascades. Then tell me what a bad idea a viaduct replacement is.

  31. 38

    ArtFart spews:

    30 It doesn’t make much difference whether we “cut and cover” or bore a tunnel–Seattle sits on top of 400-900 feet of glacial till.

  32. 39

    Tree Frog Farmer spews:

    Art@38 The difference is in expense. Shoring up a ‘cut and cover’ with essentially a steel lid just isn’t the same as building a shock-resistant unified tunnel able to withstand earthquakes and liquifaction.

  33. 40

    spews:

    leckmichfrankchopp said:

    “Another elevated roadway on the waterfront would confirm, as if the title were ever in dispute, that Seattle is the worst-run city in the worst-run state in this country. Frank Chopp just has to have an elevated road to let everyone know what a big, bad man he is.”

    No, it shows that Mr. Chopp listens to his constituents. That poll of registered Seattle voters may well have just driven a stake through the heart of the tunnel option.

    It appears that, even if the costs are the same, the majority of Seattle voters prefer a rebuild of the viaduct. The percentage of Democrats that prefer a rebuild is actually higher than the overall number.

    SR99 is an important transportation corridor, so even though I live quite a distance from Seattle, I’ve got no issue with having my tax dollars pay for rebuilding SR99.

    However, for those that think that my tax dollars should pay for the extra costs of a tunnel, I can only say that both of my State Representatives and my State Senator will hear from a large number of their constituents about our displeasure with that idea.

    I’ll even help organize it. It shouldn’t be that hard around here, considering that we’re still pretty mad about that extra bridge you’re making us buy.

  34. 41

    proud leftist spews:

    JB @ 40
    I always enjoy, and mostly agree with, your posts. We part company on this issue. Good government is not always about cutting costs, as I’m confident you know. Sometimes, some vision is a good thing. Not rebuilding the viaduct would also be a good thing. By the way, as a Kitsap resident, I might just contact you when I sell my house.

  35. 42

    ArtFart spews:

    I think I’m going to go ahead and contradict myself…glacial till is a helluva lot easier to dig through than solid granite. In the past, we’ve bored tunnels (like the bus tunnel downtown) using machines that if I recall correctly, were actually developed here. That being said, the “cut-and-cover” approach is shooting for the absolute bargain-basement way of putting something underground, assuming it’s OK to destroy whatever’s sitting on top, and hey, I guess nobody’s all that concerned with preserving Alaskan Way’s lovely layer of concrete.

    As to the statement above about the viaduct being only four lanes…uhh, nope. The elevated section is six, except for the ends. The Battery Street tunnel is only four, but there’s a helluva lot of traffic that comes from/goes to Western/Elliot…servicing traffic between downtown and Magnolia, the west side of Queen Anne, Ballard, Greenwood, and Broadview. On the south side, you have six lanes of the mostly-surface southern extension of the viaduct handling traffic to and from West Seattle and environs. Funny thing…put that all together and you have what would have been served by…the MONORAIL.

    (Of course, it’s also served by the #15 bus route, but that’s not sexy enough for commuters to be drawn to, not to mention for politicians to crow about.)

    Ah, screw it. Let’s just keep jerkin’ our gherkins until the water rises to First Avenue, then bring back the mousquito fleet.

  36. 43

    spews:

    I LOVE your idea of evaluating public policy proposals by examining the demographics of their supporters. Why hasn’t anyone thought of this before??

  37. 44

    John Barelli spews:

    proud leftist said:

    “I always enjoy, and mostly agree with, your posts. We part company on this issue. Good government is not always about cutting costs, as I’m confident you know.”

    Perhaps this is the best example of our differences from the wingnuts. We can disagree on policy and issues and still work together on other things. Will Rogers said it best when he said “I don’t belong to an organized political party. I’m a Democrat.”

    No, good government is not always about cutting costs. I think that the people in Seattle would be far more likely to support a tunnel if they were convinced that it wouldn’t turn into a huge boondoggle, like what happened in Boston.

    The folks that simply say “do away with it” are looking at the benefit to Seattle and ignoring the needs of the rest of the state. It really is a major thoroughfare.

    The folks in favor of a tunnel make the perfectly valid point that it would beautify the Seattle waterfront. They could, if they made the effort, even make a case for additional funding for it based on the fact that Seattle is the tourism draw for the state, and a lot of money is generated through that means.

    But… first and foremost, it would increase the property values in that area. The property owners in that area need to bear a large part of the expense.

    Next, while I make no claim to being a structural engineer, my rather rudimentary knowledge of the subject tells me that there will be any number of serious issues to be addressed, even leaving out the additional problems that even a moderate raise in sea levels will cause.

    I do not know of any major traffic tunnel project that has not had huge cost overruns, building delays and a myriad of other problems. I’m also very much in favor of asking the folks that will bear the impact and cost of any project exactly how that project should proceed.

    Personally, I liked the bridge option, although it seems that this has it’s own share of problems. The big plus on that option was that Seattle wouldn’t have to deal with years of traffic nightmare, as the viaduct could stay open until the bridge was finished.

  38. 45

    spews:

    42:

    According to the City’s website “Cars entering and exiting from Elliott and Western Avenues would have a dedicated lane” in the 4 lane tunnel. So you will stay have your extra “lanes”; normally called “merge lanes” as they are there to help traffic merge safely. Plus there will be 14-foot shoulders (wider than the current lanes) – something the viaduct doesn’t have.

    Remember, the tunnel would only replace the central waterfront part of the currant viaduct (about a mile). The south end will still be a mix of elevated and surface.

  39. 46

    Barry spews:

    Well Goldy – lock step with the STRANGER – you balding, half ugly, looking very old fucker…… clinging to bogus youth as marketing is almost abnormal. Oh, but it works for Dan Savage and Josh.

    Shame.

    The state has he money, the thing needs to be rebuilt, the general population is not stupid just knows that budgets count.

    Rebuild and get on with it.

    Shame Goldy, will never read you again with any respect. You and Dan are two of a kind it appears, how did their candidate do in the 432rd?

    You weren’t here when Dan declared the AIDS epidemic over, after he said the deaths were Darwinian as in “thinning the herd” – supported the war in Iraq – and rode the very safe, very publicly supported monorail story for years but never asked how sound were the finances…… what editors.

    Shame – those of us who are a bit older made this town what it is. And do expect 30-40 more productive years…. out of ourselves and the REST Of YOU TURDS.

    Rebuild.

  40. 47

    Barry spews:

    Goldy – my apology – this some nobody named Will – who posts a lots of pro Stranger stuff at Slog – lap doggie.

  41. 48

    spews:

    @ 18:

    This survey presents only two of the three options — it leaves out the roads & transit plan. Hard to say how the age breakdown would have gone if the questions had reflected the full set of choices.

  42. 51

    Rod spews:

    If Frank Chopp is going to be so happy with an elevated viaduct rebuild, why don’t we force them to put their legacy where their mouths are? I suggest forcing the State to name the monstrous rebuilt viaduct the “Frank Chopp Memorial Elevated Structure” so that our children and grandchildren can remember who put it there and why. My name is Frank Chopp, legislator of legislators. Look upon my works ye mighty and dispair.

  43. 52

    Wells spews:

    Maybe all this fine ‘what to do about the viaduct’ debate rehashed again and again is more like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic? Arguments for tunnel or elevated vs arguments against. blah blah blah.

    The boldest and most visionary solution is the surface + transit, but there are few people of any age who understand its elegant logic.

    The Californian plan to reduce greenhouse gases officially recognizes the necessity and incorporates the means to direct growth and development in such a way that abominably excessive driving must and will be reduced. It’s necessary and possible to reduce travel demand to the point where the AWV corridor need not maintain current capacity. Thus, the surface + transit option is viable.

    Me, what do I know? I’ve repeatedly submitted a monorail proposal since May of 2000 that was low-cost ($500 mil), low visual impact (single-beam), low physical impact (single-beam stations are much simpler to construct). Yet, this proposal, “The Seattle Circulator Plan”, would have predictably served more people and generated more revenue than the Greenline – a god damned marvel. It was completely blacklisted by every media outlet and government agency to which it was submitted. I know that Seattle is entirely corrupt and populated with keyboard tapping idiots.

  44. 54

    skagit spews:

    I know that Seattle is entirely corrupt and populated with keyboard tapping idiots.

    And overpaid bureaucracrats – at any price.

    To whom did you submit your plans?

  45. 55

    Death Trap Re-build spews:

    Why would someone want to rebuild the “Death Trap”.

    “Re-build the Death Trap! Because 1940 technology is good enough for me!!!”

  46. 56

    Wells spews:

    I most recently submitted via certified mail an abreviated version of the Seattle Circulator Plan, not for the first time, to the Gates Foundation. I won’t hold my breath waiting for a reply from that edifice of unimpeachable confidentiality. Over the years, starting with Sound Transit in May of 2000, the Seattle Circulator Plan was submitted to ETC, SMP, WsDOT, the Seattle branch of the FTA, The Times, the P-I, the Weekly, the Stranger, the Business Journal, Transportation Alternatives, the City of Tukwila. I dare any of you to contact the Gates Foundation and make an inquiry.

  47. 57

    leckmichfrankchopp spews:

    51: Oh man, now *THAT* would be a great ballot initiative – if a new viaduct is built, it damn well better have Frank Chopp’s name on it, preferably in 4-foot-high letters on the outside of its 4-foot-high solid barrier walls so that every downtown visitor, ferry rider, and cruise ship passenger knows exactly who is responsible for it.

  48. 58

    spike spews:

    I thought I would add a different take on this. I think the overlooked truth about the viaduct is that it is the single readily available place for the average citizen to see and enjoy the beauty of the waterfront, and thousands of people get those moments of pleasure every day. I always bring guests in from the airport via the viaduct, and they exclaim at the beauty of the city.
    My reading of this is that this tunnel is a way to get the ordinary person underground and out of sight, a way to free up the waterfront for the pleasure and profit of the developers who are going to reap huge profits from their new private views. So the wealthy will soon be the only ones able to cross our bridges (let the poor worker who can’t afford eight dollar tolls drive through Bothell); the wealthy won’t have their views of the harbor soiled by the hoi polloi.

    Your arguments about the visual pollution of the viaduct isn’t borne out by experience. Visitors here invariably exclaim about our beautiful city, and our beautiful waterfront. They incorporate the viaduct as part of the way we are.

    I am a liberal democrat myself, but I am shocked to see fellow liberals buy this boondoggle of an overpriced “esthetic” argument. More power to Gregoire and Chopp for speaking out for the people.

  49. 59

    spews:

    spike:

    Maybe you could bring people in from out of town and show them a city that wants to decrease global warming and isn’t auto-centered.

    It’s a fake populist arguement, spike, to say that only developers win if the viaduct is torn down. The space on which it sits is PUBLIC property. It’ll become a park or a trolley line or a bike path.

    Building an elevated freeway is a godawful way to get a great view. The city will look a hundred times better without it.

    Oh, and I’m not for the tunnel. (my option is cheaper than yours)

    The viaduct has nothing to do with “how I am”. It’s a freeway.

  50. 60

    spike spews:

    The importance of the esthetics of the viaduct is certainly up for debate. For the last fifty years it has been on all our postcards with the Smith Tower and Mt. Rainier. It is hardly debatable that the cost of removing the blemish and putting in a tunnel is up in the billions more than a replacement (if money is an issue, that is).

    I don’t believe for a moment that the site of the viaduct will turn into public spaces. The powers that be will get it, control it, and build their condos on it. And they will leave one of those pocket parks for the people, the kind that are hidden by the hotels so people don’t actually use them.

    My point was that the viaduct provides beauty FROM, not necessarily beauty TO the structure, though how ugly it is is a personal judgment. And I believe that it is part of a significant movement here to force regular people to cede the amenities of Seattle to the rich. Ultimately we will have nice freeway lanes for the rich who can casually pay the money in fares to use them. The bridges will have tolls so high that only people with large casual income will afford to use them. Only the wealthy island owners will be able to afford the ferries, etc. The powers that be are creating a society to cosset themselves and let the devil take the ordinary citizen.

    Personally, I am in favor of mass transit, but the pressure to use it better be as significant to the microsoft millionaire as to the fast food clerk. And that is not what is happening. Just who was forced off the roads by the high gas prices? You think Starbucks’ president was thumbing a ride?

  51. 61

    R. T. Prehn spews:

    I saw the pancaked cars when the Viaducts brother in Oakland collapsed. This mght happen tomorrow with our own viaduct! It will have to be closed whatever solution is decided upon, so why not close it tomorrow and see what happens. It might just be that after a few months of pain and adjustment, we might find that we really do not need either a tunnel or a viaduct. It just could be!

  52. 62

    cdc spews:

    Spike,

    There are plenty of truly free views of the bay and the city available that don’t require ownership and operation of a motor vehicle, and can be enjoyed at any pace, not just at the speed limit. Victor Steinbrueck Park near the Market, for example, has a great view, is free, and is accessible even to those not wealthy enough to own a car. It’ll be far more pleasant, even, when it doesn’t have a freeway running through it.

    Heck, with all the money we save by not buying a couple million tons of concrete, the city could buy out the swanky club at the top of the Columbia Tower and make it a public library. Now that is a view.

  53. 63

    croydonfacelift spews:

    The entire viaduct debate strikes me as profoundly retarded. Either rebuild or, if feasible, retrofit it, or at worst take it down and see what happens.

    The tunnel option is completely ludricrous. Like, ten years ago, were people walking around going, ‘Oh, man, Seattle would be so great except for that viaduct? No, they weren’t. Instead, they were setting Frasier here, because, in spite of the horrible, nasty viaduct, they thought it was a pretty great city. Once it’s rebuilt or whatever, the whole issue will vanish from public awareness faster than the reopening of Pike through Westlake (which we seem to have survived).

    Nickels is a terrific chump to have squandered so much political capital on what should have been a minor decision.