City Allied Arts Lobbies Surface/Transit Supporters
posted by February 1 at 12:15 PMon
Laine Ross, president of Allied Arts, the once-progressive-arts-organization-turned-campaign-arm-of-the-mayor’s-office, sent out a letter yesterday urging supporters of the surface/transit option (which would tear down the viaduct and replace its capacity with transit and fixes to surface streets downtown) to vote no on a larger new viaduct and yes on the mayor’s four-lane tunnel and surface roadway. Ross claims that surface/transit supporters like the People’s Waterfront Coalition and the Sierra Club “have been inspired” by the mayor’s proposal.
As PWC founder Cary Moon told me in an e-mail, Ross’s condescending claim is absolutely untrue. “PWC is not ‘inspired by’ the mayor’s tunnel lite proposal. We do not support it. We did not help develop it. We are for no highway on the shore. Their plea to co-opt Transit + Streets supporters is based in misinformation.”
The letter continues:
The good news for Surface & Transit advocates is that the new Surface-Tunnel Hybrid incorporates many of their suggestions. The People’s Waterfront Coalition should be congratulated for its work of getting new transit and better roadway connections incorporated into the Surface-Tunnel Hybrid.
There will be a temptation for some environmentalists to vote no on both ballot questions - against a new viaduct and against the Surface-Hybrid Tunnel - “to send a message” to a car-dominated Olympia. We advise against this ‘Ralph Nader’ approach.
Again, Allied Arts gets it absolutely wrong. Surface/transit supporters aren’t opposing the tunnel and the rebuild because they want to “send a message” to Olympia, a la a vote for Ralph Nader They’re opposing the tunnel because it’s only 13 blocks long; does not (as Allied Arts falsely claims) include funding for a “lid” between Pike Place Market and the Battery Street tunnel (instead, the roadway will be in an uncovered trench); and only includes transit (bus capacity for 21,000 new riders daily) for the length of construction, with no commitment to continue enhanced transit service after the tunnel is open.
Moreover, they oppose both options because they have a better way—one that doesn’t involve building a massive, dirty, ugly new freeway on our waterfront: Tear down the wall, improve surface-street connections downtown, and spend our tax dollars putting transit, not pouring concrete, in the Alaskan Way corridor. If voters check NO and NO on their ballots March 13, as the PWC has urged, both of Gregoire’s false choices will fail. And the surface/transit option will emerge as the only sensible, affordable alternative.