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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Up or Down on the Rebuild

posted by on February 14 at 11:08 AM

Two months ago, after Gov. Christine Gregoire’s first iteration of her viaduct position—a vote between the rebuild and the tunnel— I slogged that the vote was booby-trapped against the tunnel because, as everyone knew, the tunnel didn’t have a legit plan yet. So, at that time, I suggested an up or down vote on the rebuild.

Well, we’re back again. Only now it’s literal. With the governor’s latest iteration of her position on the viaduct, the state has declared the tunnel dead and the dual vote irrelevant.

Okay. So, as I said two months ago, if the rebuild is currently the only fully realized plan, let voters have an up or down say on that plan.

The city council should scramble and let the public vote yea or nay on the rebuild without having to do what amounts to calculus book run-off voting in this bizarre tunnel/rebuild vote scheduled for next month.

RSS icon Comments


At least we in Seattle won't be on the hook for anywhere from $1 billion to $6 billion in inevitable cost overruns for the tunnel - the state will cover all cost overruns, except for the Seattle Seawall portion.

Posted by Will in Seattle | February 14, 2007 11:08 AM

And such a vote will do...what?

Posted by David Sucher | February 14, 2007 11:09 AM

When the rebuilt viaduct (or new 4-lane "lite" tunnel) gets past the Market and feeds into the existing Battery Street Tunnel, what happens?

How can the state mandate a monster because it's a "state highway," then allow it to funnel into a 4-lane, no-shoulder tunnel under/through Belltown? Isn't THAT a safety hazard?

Posted by Ronald | February 14, 2007 11:11 AM

I thought the Battery Street tunnel is to also be expanded, no?

Posted by lars | February 14, 2007 11:13 AM

A vote against the rebuild will send a clear message that the state is foisting this upon us against our will. They won't be able to pretend otherwise. Sounds good to me

Posted by lars | February 14, 2007 11:17 AM

Well there is not going to be a citizen’s up and down vote on the GOD Damn NASCAR track that King and Snohomish county legislators are trying to force up Kitsap's ass. We threw out ever single Pro-Pork for NASCAR candidate in the 2006 election so NASCAR's corporate lobbyists had to turn to KING AND SNOHOMISH county legislators to shove their stadium through using our taxes but you wouldn't know about it since the Strangers ban on all discussion of it in favor of “All Sonics All Viaduct coverage All the time”. Never mind the fact that Rep. Sherry Appleton is on the house transportation committee and is going to vote on the viaduct. She is the biggest opponent of the damn NASCAR track but don’t let that get in the way of your King county only coverage.

Posted by Jake of | February 14, 2007 11:19 AM

Why doesn't everyone who disagrees with the viaduct plan just write 1 letter to the Govenor and stuff her mailbox- virtual and physical. If enough people express their outrage maybe she'll finally listen to the people this plan affects.
And if you don't live in Seattle and are just driving through- I don't care how long you have to sit in traffic. It's not Seattle's responsibility to accommodate people living in the suburbs, I am responsible for making Seattle a better place to live. Seattle would be a better place without a new highway. That is my position.

Posted by Enigma | February 14, 2007 11:23 AM

I feel like it's been apparent for a while now that yes-or-no on the rebuild is exactly what this March 13 election is all about.

What's silly about Josh's post is that if he's willing to accept Gregoire's edict that the tunnel is dead, then to be consistent he should also accept Gregoire's edict to proceed with the rebuild. That is, if you want to use Gregoire as an excuse to have only one topic to vote on, then you might as well use Gregoire as an excuse to not have a vote at all.

Frankly, I think the anti-viaduct position is strong enough we don't have to resort to such self-contradicting mental gymnastics.

Posted by cressona | February 14, 2007 11:23 AM

Jake @8:

The Stranger is "Seattle's Only Newspaper." Not Kitsap's. Stop whining in every single comment thread, please... it's tiresome.

Posted by giantladysquirrels | February 14, 2007 11:28 AM

Well. "giantladysquirrels" It is KING and SNOHOMISH COUNTY legislators that are voting for this giant turd using your taxes. I guess you might be interested in what YOUR elected officials are doing. We also get the Stranger here in Kitsap.

Posted by Jake of | February 14, 2007 11:33 AM

Quick question. Does anyone know how high the barriers are now on the viaduct? Does anyone know how high they would be with the rebuild? Links to sources appreciated. Thanks.

Posted by cressona | February 14, 2007 11:34 AM

I wish this state could just go through w/ a public works project WITHOUT a public vote. Constant voting just delays necessary projects or, in the monorail's case, KILLS them. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for democracy, but it's pathetic to watch our elected officials asking permission from the entire citizenry for every project.

Posted by Steve | February 14, 2007 11:34 AM

but what about the children?

Posted by michael strangeways | February 14, 2007 11:39 AM

Kill the Viaduct Rebuild!

Here is how to contact the Gov.:

Here is how to contact Chopp:

Those of you who support the re-build should ignore these links...

Posted by GoodGrief | February 14, 2007 11:50 AM

Writing a letter to the governor sounds lame but I'm told staff categorize and file every letter by position. The files are a presence -- everybody knows it's a lame way to measure sentiment but they still talk about the letter files. Remember that government for the most part works like your office. Not sure if same holds true for e-mail but you can do that too. Fax it!

Governor Chris Gregoire
Office of the Governor
PO Box 40002
Olympia, WA 98504-0002

Fax: (360) 753-4110
Phone: (360) 902-4111

Posted by j | February 14, 2007 11:57 AM

Totally ridiculous. We've been relegated to begging the politcal leadership to issue a competently worded ballot, so we can vote on something that both the city and the state will ignore anyhow. Wow. Should we be happy is they give us stale bread too?

We are suckers if we participate in this election, and talking about it as if is legitimate. Some politician or agency issues a statement every few days, and we have to continually change position. There is more democracy playing the shell game or "three card monte" with some hustler then being a "subject" in Seattle polical process. Only in this case, the hustlers can't even agree to the rules of their scam.


Posted by georgetown stew | February 14, 2007 12:01 PM

I have nothing against writing letters to Gregoire and Chopp, but at this time the best way to convince them that a rebuild is wrong is to convince your fellow Seattle voters that a rebuild is wrong. Campaign!

Posted by cressona | February 14, 2007 12:02 PM

Or you could just be glad we won't be in debt, cressona.

Posted by Will in Seattle | February 14, 2007 12:06 PM

How about we do both? I'll write up a letter stating our hate of the viaduct in any form, then bring it to your friends and while they sign the letter, tell them to vote No/No.
It's time Seattle speaks up for all our leadership's bungling.

Posted by Enigma | February 14, 2007 12:07 PM

@9 - Word. Now, if NASCAR switches to hybrids, give us a shout.

Posted by Will in Seattle | February 14, 2007 12:08 PM

battery street not to be expanded just fireproofed - and the nickels' argument that because the battery tunnel isn't as safe as one with shoulders let's build more tunnels with no shoulders is brilliant.

they are also pulling the enviro card and they're lying more than usual - the tunnel will take twice the energy to build and will cost more in energy to operate and cost billions more - money that could actually be used for global cooling efforts - you know like an actual hybrid (car) for say 100,000 people - or transit from WS to Ballard via DT

Posted by Peter Sherwin | February 14, 2007 12:08 PM

Hey, georgetown stew, I'll tell ya what, go talk to some of those No Tunnel Alliance folks and try to convince them to boycott the election.

History shows pretty emphatically what happens to those who boycott elections. They get left out of the process. But of course, this is Seattle politics, so every idiotic idea must have its moment.

I'm pretty sure 99% of rebuild opponents will agree that they'd rather fight Chris Gregoire armed with an overwhelming defeat of the rebuild on March 13 than with an inconclusive result from a low turnout. Just the fact that Frank Chopp is open to a surface alternative and is only opposing the tunnel out of pure politics should be enough indication that there's enormous political value in exercising your democratic right and voting against the rebuild.

Posted by cressona | February 14, 2007 12:11 PM

Good pro-enviro points, Peter.

Posted by Will in Seattle | February 14, 2007 12:12 PM

"giantladysquirrels" It is half way through the legislative session. Do you know what crappy new stadiums YOUR legislators are planning on voting for? Do you?

Posted by Jake of | February 14, 2007 12:21 PM

"Will in Seattle" I am trying to stop legislators from SEATTLE from using your taxes to force a build of a NASCAR track in my town. I freaking hate NASCAR and am slightly pissed at King and Snohomish county legislators putting a NASCAR track that they don't want in King or Snohomish in my god damn town.

Posted by Jake of | February 14, 2007 12:24 PM

Cressona, the barriers on the current Viaduct are 36 inches. The legal requirement to meet federal safety standards is 32 inches. It's in the EIS somewhere.

Posted by BB | February 14, 2007 12:28 PM

hey Jake. Why don't you use your stupid fucking blog for this instead of wasting space on Slog comments. It seems like you only care about video games. What if Xbox360 came out with a new NASCAR game that had the track from Kitsap on there? Also, why the fuck do you live in Kitsap? Still mooching off mommy and daddy? Get a fucking clue dorkface. Your stupid Video game blog and idiotic Slog comments are played out! Go post on Anandtech or Slashdot.

Posted by crystal_ball | February 14, 2007 12:43 PM

@22: Great to hear you have so much faith in the process. I get the sense that others don't.

Posted by georgetown stew | February 14, 2007 12:55 PM

@24,25 - sorry, I have $400 million of bribes for sports stadiums we don't want to pay for stuffed into my ears - can't hear you.

Posted by Will in Seattle | February 14, 2007 1:03 PM

I live in Kitsap because that is where my job is and I like to live in a nice place where I can actually afford to buy a house someday. Well “crystal_ball” let me take a look at my big hairy crystal balls and respond. Seattle area newspapers and blogs read the Stranger an the stranger has had great political coverage of the Sonics stadium pork, The Viaduct and other political issues this term but they have only had one Slog post about the ISC corporation of Florida and their damn attempt to build a NASCAR track here using YOUR TAXES. Horses ass, Sound Politics, Seattle Times, The PI they all read the Stranger and will pick up and report political issues covered here. I am waiting for The Stranger to dedicate a twentieth the space they do about the Viaduct and the Sonics and actually talk about the bought off corrupt politicians from King and Snohomish county that can’t wait to waste your money on fucking NASCAR in my town. The Stranger has yet to do ONE PRINT story on this issue in a fucking year. It is called HB 2062. It has plenty of sponsors from YOUR PART of the state and so far they have not even brought it up. I will bet your twenty bucks that there will be another post about the Sonics or the viaduct and absolutely nothing written about the crappy corporate welfare for NASCAR bill that SEATTLE area legislators have sponsored.

Posted by Jake of | February 14, 2007 1:05 PM

NPR is discussing the viaduct right now on 'The Conversation'. I've already emailed, but call in and let them know what you think. The more we express our disapproval, the better.

Posted by Enigma | February 14, 2007 1:08 PM

georgetown stew: @22: Great to hear you have so much faith in the process. I get the sense that others don't.

No, I don't have much faith in the process, but I have even less faith in time-tested foolish ideas like voter boycotts.

Posted by cressona | February 14, 2007 1:29 PM

Hey everybody, go do something constructive and write Gregoire a mail, per goodgrief @ 14.

Here's what I wrote:

"I'm writing you a personal letter that is not part of some broad e-mail campaign. I wouldn't be able to live with myself if I didn't say something about this unbelievably bad idea called the rebuild option for the viaduct.

We must start moving away from highway-based transportation spending and toward reallocation of those funds for transit-oriented solutions. Period. That is the only responsible way to think if you care about:

1) Seattle as a world-class city
2) The world's environment
3) Our kids

There are other reasons to stand against the rebuild, most notably that it creates a barrier between Seattle and its natural front door: the harbor. Also, making that bridge earthquake-safe will be prohibitively expensive, tunnel or no tunnel. We know this already from the cost overruns that occured while retrograding and fixing buildings in Pioneer Square after the 2001 Nisqually quake. A danger of collapse, given the tenuous nature of the seawall along the shore and the shifty ground that lies under that part of the city, will always be there.

But the most compelling reason is that Seattle has a huge problem with cars. I do not want to live in L.A, with its culture of driving, its smog, and its never-ending traffic. But that is where we are headed. Why, when we have a chance to do something innovative with the city core do we want to perpetuate this dysfunctional aspect of how we live?

Everyone in a position to do so needs to endorse and pursue solutions that help to head off the more catastrophic effects of global warming. It is just this kind of project that must be a part of that thinking because it simply is more important than the WSDOT's constant concern over "vehicle capacity."

Please, consider putting more funds and time toward studying a surface/transit option. Go back to the Legislature, try to reason with them, and get them to agree to reallocating the funds earmarked for this project. Make me proud I voted for you.



Posted by matthew | February 14, 2007 1:44 PM

I posted this over on washblog:

The real debate is not about Mayor Greg, Speaker Frank, Director Doug, or Governor Chris.
Some argue that the choice of how to proceed is about global warming and encouraging higher use of single occupancy vehicles by maintaining current capacity or through the policy of providing for demand 20 years out as the state spends a few billion dollars. This is an interesting argument which is kind of the opposite of the "if you build it they will come" argument or in this case, 'if you remove it they (SOV commuters) will go away"
Regardless of ones perspective I would submit that the real debate is about form verses function, and finance.
Respecting where the players are coming from is I think helpful in keeping this debate in perspective. For myself, and no I do not live in Seattle, the choice is about the regional and state wide competition for transit and roads funding and voter confidence in our WDOT's ability to deliver on recent promises. I like the idea of a tunnel but cannot justify the choice given the larger picture.

Below the fold are some opinions about where each of the key players are coming from.

Mayor Greg wants to make Seattle a better place and a tunnel which achieves all of the functional demands such as safety, future capacity for transit and auto as well as freight mobility while being financially viable would be an acceptable outcome. The city got off track however when to salvage their preferred form in the face of a huge financial shortfall, it chose to sacrifice function.
Speaker Frank is focused on the big and bigger picture which the viaduct/tunnel debate is only a part of. Our state faces huge needs for transit and roads funding and the available capacity for all such funding is understandably limited. Future funding state wide is closely tied to how efficiently the money now in the pipeline is spent and trust of the voters is tied to our state keeping the promisees it made when the money was raised. Still, even if all of the promises are kept and the money is efficiently spent the state and the three county area only has so much potential funding capacity. So to a great degree, the time to select a tunnel over a viaduct rebuild past years ago, back when the ten cent gas tax bill was debated and passed with a set project list and more recently when the voters reaffirmed this gas tax and project list. As for the regional funding ceiling issue, it makes little difference it the people of Seattle pick up the extra billions for a tunnel that meets the legitimate functional demands, since spending this additional money on this one project will reduce voter support for the other major transit and mobility measures which will go before voters in the near future.

Director Doug's first priority is to manage this states highways for all the people of this state and to bring in funded projects like the viaduct rebuild on time and with minimum cost overruns caused by factors within WDOT's control. In his role as director Doug must remain concerned about the issues which effect available funding and perception of the voters. Delay is the largest driver of cost and as such a project with a greater risk of delay has a greater risk of out of control cost escalation. Simply put, every square foot of additional excavation adds to the certain risk that Native American materials of archeological significance will be detected. The area in question is historic waterfront and the first 5-10 vertical feet excavated for a cut and cover project will cause delay and drive up the cost of construction. This is the greatest unknown with any tunnel project in the viaduct area and while the effect could be on the order of months and millions it could very well cause a years delay and involve hundreds of millions in cost overruns.

Governor Chris who appoints the WSDOT director has many of the same concerns and obligations. When the legislature provided that the decision regarding how to replace the viaduct would revert to the Governor if the city, legislature and DOT could not reach agreement by the end of 06 the intent was to prevent endless debate and delay once a reasonable period was allowed for consideration of optional ways that the promise to replace the viaduct could be achieved. As this deadline approached tunnel function collided with cost or finance and the and the parties were at an impasse. The debate quickly eroded into politics when the city made it clear that the state would be obstructed in every feasible way by the city if it simply pressed forward with the viaduct and the state was not about to start building a tunnel until it was known where the remaining money would come from. So the plan to place the viaduct designed to meet demand projected in 2030 and a tunnel option capable of meeting that same test was intended to go on the ballot along with real cost estimates and with disclosure of the limit on state funding. Had this actually been put on the ballots as an either or choice, the election would have had meaning and minimized delay. Unfortunately, the city saw the writing on the wall and politics again entered its ugly head yielding what can only be called a false choice between a viaduct rebuild which meets the states fiduciary responsibilities and is fully funded and a fatally flawed and unsafe tunnel design with a highly conservative estimated cost.

Posted by Particle Man | February 14, 2007 1:56 PM

HAHA! This from

Is Seattle Ready For The NASCAR-duct?

One of the great things about the Viaduct is that it reminds us of a Hot Wheels track. Which gives us an idea. Since we're having a rebuild forced on us anyway, why not make it a value-add? If legislators who don't actually live in Kitsap County want to put a NASCAR track over there, how hard would it be to talk them into relocating it to Seattle's waterfront?

The legislation would not require the track to be built near Bremerton, though [state senator] Hatfield said he believes track promoters are serious when they say they have no other site selected. The location would allow NASCAR to connect with latte drinking Seattle urbanites, he said.

"They're trying to get into a whole new demographic."

Hear that? They want to connect with us! We're this close to some high-speed movement on the Viaduct, people! We just have to slide it past Frank Chopp somehow:

House Speaker Frank Chopp, D-Seattle, was less encouraging this week. Asked about the racetrack, he pulled out a Wall Street Journal article sent to him by a legislator describing the rowdy crowds at the Talledega Speedway in Alabama.

The article reported that "hard-drinking" fans "whoop it up for days."

Obviously we'd want to locate the stands near Pioneer Square. But other than that, downsides? We can't see any. Construction costs are shared. Best of all, use is shared: how often do NASCAR races happen anyway? If the Viaduct closes down for a race one weekend per month, big deal. The new structure would be rated for speeds much higher than 45mph. Shit, build in a loop, and you can charge a toll for that view.

File this one under "Thought Leadership." Governor, we await your call.

Posted by Nick | February 14, 2007 1:58 PM

What I don't get is why nobody seems to be questioning Mayor Nickels motives in all of this. The guy was in real estate development and he will be again in the future. If there is a tunnel then there will be development on top of it or on the edges and his pudgy fingers will certainly be in the pie. Nickels isn't serving the best interests of the city or the people who would drive through it, but only his own.

Posted by simon | February 14, 2007 2:01 PM

Will at 1 and 18:

Regarding state cost overruns on a rebuilt viaduct, you don't seem to care that the bulk of state transportation taxes are paid by people in Seattle and the larger Seattle metropolitan area. Seattle will pay for a huge portion of any cost overruns.

If we want to stop a colossal waste of money, we have to stop the rebuild as well as the tunnel. Then we need to "repair and prepare" as Peter Sherwin calls it.

In my opinion, what we should prepare for is the eventual removal of the viaduct, by planning and fully deploying light rail in the corridor within ten years, fixing surface connections, creating freight-only lanes where they are really needed, and instituting tolls to defray costs and discourage unnecessary trips.

Posted by Cascadian | February 14, 2007 3:02 PM

Tear down the viaduct and replace it with Stripper Boulevard.

Every world class city has a world class red light district to match and it's time that Seattle joined them.

Posted by Aexia | February 14, 2007 3:08 PM

If anyone cares, the actual hard cost differential between the Rebuild portion of the SR 99 project and Tunnel portion of the SR 99 project (even then 6-lane, since I have the state-approved numbers for that) is $400 million. This was on the old $2.8-$4.6 billion numbers. But wait, you say, it looks to be 1.8 billion - but the tunnel numbers have $1 billion (twice as much) contingency and remaining diffences are mitigation related (a bit is financing). So the tunnel is loaded with double the contingency on hard cost as the rebuild but we are told its still more risky about thr 4.6. Can't have it both ways - give us the price difference and call risks equal or eliminate the risk mark up and explain the risk differential

I don't have a breakdown of the tunnel lite version, but conceivably it could cost about as much as the 6-lane rebuild when contingency is excluded. If it is included, stop hyping the risk WSDOT - its priced into your numbers.

This process is a fraud. thanks Frank Chopp.

Posted by flotown | February 14, 2007 4:03 PM

PS- anyone actually read the cost breakdown presented to council this summer.

Why are we building a 300M interchange over the tracks at Spokane Street to get trucks into a Port Terminal worth a third of that as a shipping port?

Or the $100M for Batter Street Tunnel. Really?

Posted by flotown | February 14, 2007 4:07 PM

@37 - yeah, but we're talking Seattle here, so it will be 50 more years before they increase bus service and we still won't have any real medium level light rail or monorail here. So I say Rebuild.

You can live in your fantasy world, but I'm Down With Love ... or was that Down With The Seattle Process ...?

Posted by Will in Seattle | February 14, 2007 4:14 PM

@38 - we call it Aurora - what did you think Surface Plus Transit or Tear It Down meant? It means we just replace it with either Aurora Ave or Aurora Ave on Transit Steroids.

Posted by Will in Seattle | February 14, 2007 4:17 PM

@39,40 - no, tunnels inherently have double the risk factor of elevated. Engineering truism, been true for a long time.

Posted by Will in Seattle | February 14, 2007 4:18 PM

#39 - Underground construction is way more risky than above ground - ask any builder - look at the Big Dig - look at the costs of the ST Link tunnel costs - I believe the capital hill tunnel came in 100% over the original budget (same consultants as on the AWV tunnel) inflation adjusted.

If the costs would be almost the same and WSDOT/PB loved the tunnel until about six months ago, why would they overprice it? And the ERP ok'd the wacky finance plan of team nickels - if the fix was in why didn't they just say no way?

Posted by Peter Sherwin | February 14, 2007 4:57 PM

The city's breakout

They have the tunnel at $575m and the viaduct rebuild at $135m - but finance costs, engineering, sales tax, contigencies, misc (285m tunnel 150m viaduct) etc.

look it up

Posted by Peter Sherwin | February 14, 2007 5:15 PM

sorry meant to say that the list of costs were not included in the base costs

Posted by Peter Sherwin | February 14, 2007 5:17 PM

All I'm saying is the risk is already sufficiently priced into the equation so it doesn't have to be reiterated again and again. The Rebuild has the potential of catastrophic overruns, too, but no one mentions that.

City DOT director says tunnel can be built in 6-7 years, as opposed to 9-10 for rebuild, as the new structure is literally built around the old one piece by piece. What are the costs of that added construction time. Speaking of, what are the savings from shortened construction time for a surface alternative. No one's talking about that either.

The rebuild is a joke. Frank Chopp's sick joke on Seattle

Posted by flotown | February 14, 2007 5:21 PM

#42--A surface-only Alaskan Way corridor wouldn't be like Aurora further north, because you wouldn't have the strip malls, big box stores, low-rent motels, cheap restaurants, and sprawling parking lots. It would be expensive condos and restaurants and tourist attractions, which is fine with me, particularly if the developers are taxed to recoup some of their profits as transit revenue. The less oversized Alaskan Way is, the better the development there. That's why I think it should be about the same size as other four-lane downtown streets, except for extra room for transit and waterfront parks.

Yeah, that would reduce capacity even more. That's why we repair and prepare with real transit, starting now.

Posted by Cascadian | February 14, 2007 5:26 PM

What constitutes *real transit*, @48? More buses on streets? No rail system to the inner core branching outwards? I don't think so. Hence the fact there is no *surface+transit*. Doesn't exist, just some random ideas that no one can agree on. All I needed to reinforce that fact was going to the 34th Dems meeting this evening and getting a different story from each of the politicos that was there.

Look at a places like London, Sydney, New York. Trains get past the traffic. Buses tend to go very slowly. Even in the radiant SF so often quoted in here, people prefer to ride BART or Caltrain over taking Samtrans or AC Transit to get from their house to the city.

When it's as quick or quicker to hop on the train to get somewhere rather than use a car you'll see people use it by the thousands. You'll never get there with buses on our current street system and tearing out roads doesn't make sense until we get real transit. I sat behind one of our fine buses today inhaling the fumes it put off. Thats some progressive environmentally friendly activity if I've ever seen it. And when I passed that bus there were about 5 people on it.

If we start now, we might get there around 2040. Until then, the unfortunate truth is that we need roads. In particular we need to keep one of the two routes through the city on a north/south routing.

Your condo owners lining an updated Alaskan Way will not allow people to be wandering across their property and will block the views of the waterfront just as effectively as the viaduct. People that spend a million bucks on their waterfront condo won't want the likes of the Cap Hill street urchins hanging near their home. Given most of the condo development going on in this city right now (ie Belltown, Cap Hill) and the crap quality involved, I doubt any of it will make any of Charles' list of architectural wonders. Then again maybe we can have Frank Gehry design some golden blob to be an art piece for show across from Ivars.

Posted by Dave Coffman | February 15, 2007 4:22 AM

#49, I doubt anyone else is reading at this point, but I have to respond.

Real transit means rail, as I've mentioned in numerous posts. That's why we need to run spur light-rail lines north and south from the downtown line to serve the AWV corridor. Sound Transit, through board members such as Greg Nickels and Ron Sims, needs to include these spurs in their next round of ST expansions.

It will take time to put in rail, which is why I propose we repair the viaduct long enough to get rail into place. With a real commitment, we can have it operational within ten years at most. We should start with the actual capacity along the elevated section--more like 70,000 and not 110,000. Then we need to subtract trips by creating alternatives. Whatever current trips remain after creating those alternatives can be accommodated by a surface street sized for what remains. Something similar to the Embarcadero in SF is probably sufficient to carry what remains after rail is implemented.

Posted by Cascadian | February 15, 2007 8:45 AM

Cacadian, I'm still reading and well said!

Posted by CameronRex | February 15, 2007 11:02 AM

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