Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Seattle, The Viaduct, and Life In The City

Here’s my response to this article/survey (online at the Seattle PI).

The Question:

What's the best option for the viaduct?

Gov. Gregoire seems to have resuscitated the possibility for a tunnel to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct. Have you decided what transportation option you want on the waterfront? If not, what information do you need in order to come to a decision?

Looking over the debate, the mayor only seems to be concerned about the beautification aspects of this whole debate. I'm bothered by the fact that few folks are mentioning the economic impact of tunnel construction, how we will mitigate the effects of this roadway being inaccessible for nearly a decade, or, of course, the justification of the extra expense. The tunnel hasn't been sold to me, at least.

Personally, I’m worried that this project has not been thought through. The economic impacts for areas such as Ballard and immense, and haven’t been publicly addressed/discussed. Mayor Nickels has not addressed many of the valid criticisms of his plan, and certainly hasn’t made a case for the tunnel option being better. The only I see in the tunnel is the beautification of the waterfront. A great thing, don’t get me wrong. I’m just not convinced that it’s worth the other costs incurred.

2 comments:

Librocrat said...

I've basically given up on the entire public transportation system in Seattle. Sadly, I also gave up on driving a while ago, too, so the former is my only mode of transportation. But the monorail shut down, my busses tend to be 20 minutes late (literally) and for some reason the express buses and the normal busses that go down the exact same path come at the exact same time. Why is that? I still have to wait 30 minutes each time for the bus, so what exactly makes it so "express?"

But that's just me ranting about Seattle transportation. In response to your question: If they stop spending money on road reconstruction for roads that barely have a single pothole, they probably can find a little extra money in the budget, but it is not worth the time or trouble for something that will not be completed for a decade.

Carl said...

For several years I was able to live exclusively on public transit in Seattle. However, I lived just out of downtown, one block up the hill from the ride free zone. Also, I worked downtown, and their was a small grocery about 2 blocks away. Once I started working at Northgate, busing was too limiting and annoying (for all the reasons you point out). Now, I live up north and taking the bus goes from annoying to grossly inconvenient.

Sadly, there are times that I think the whole mess in Seattle is just hopeless.