Slog News & Arts

Line Out

Music & Nightlife

« Live From Steinbrueck's Announ... | Re: The Big Steinbrueck News »

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

“We’d like to see what the possibilities are.”

posted by on February 28 at 6:15 AM

In an interview with Governor Gregoire by Lynn Allen over at Evergreen Politics, Governor Gregoire—using Ron Sims’s language about capacity for commuters rather than cars—says the state is willing to look at the surface/transit option… sorta, kinda.

As you know, it’s hard to pin down Gregoire on a viaduct position, and she seems to be telling anybody and everybody whatever they want to hear. So, with surface/transit gaining some momentum (see ECB’s scoop interview with Peter Stinbrueck about his gasp-worthy announcement), I’m not surprised Gregoire told Seattle’s Allen she’s “working with Ron Sims” (a staunch and popular advocate of surface/transit.)

Gregoire puts surface/transit in a secondary role to the rebuild or the tunnel (wait, she’s still considering a tunnel?). But she strikes a more politically conciliatory tone about than surface/transit than I’ve heard before.

Read it yourself, and you’ll see why I’m not “applauding” the news the way the folks at Northwest Progressive Institute —who called my attention to the interview— are.

From Lynn Allen’s interview:

Let’s take the Viaduct issue first since we’re still on the front page.

As a resident of Seattle, I will have to ask if there is any way the surface and transit option would be entertained by the state.

Gregoire: Absolutely. We did entertain it earlier but couldn’t make it work. We have a set of criteria we have to meet. We have to maintain safety. We have to meet capacity for both moving freight and people in that corridor.

We’re not accommodating increases in capacity if we either rebuild the viaduct or build a new tunnel. There won’t be an increase in today’s capacity. It’s now somewhere in the neighborhood of 110,000 per day.

So, no matter what we do, we still have to maximize transit and surface. No matter what happens, there has to be a comprehensive transit component. We will need to be able to increase the capacity for moving the increase in population we are expecting.

Then, too, what we decide to do has to be fiscally responsible and friendly to urban design.

That’s why we’re working with Ron Sims. The state is saying, “Show me what you’re talking about here”. We’d like to see what the possibilities are.

RSS icon Comments


It's more of a doubling up of local transit thing. But the whole global warming thing is changing the nature of the debate faster than people can vote on things.

Posted by Will in Seattle | February 28, 2007 8:15 AM

Gregoire: "So, no matter what we do, we still have to maximize transit and surface. No matter what happens, there has to be a comprehensive transit component."

She's absolutely right on this point. Repair, rebuild, tunnel, or bridge, we'll still need to maximize transit and surface.

The problem is that Gregoire's incoherence and lack of leadership on the viaduct replacement options and her over-reliance on WSDOT has done more than just about anything to obscure the common ground around transit and surface. Not that any other politician involved has done much better.

It's time for everyone to unite around a common plan: Repair, prepare with transit and surface, and then evaluate replacement options.

Posted by Cascadian | February 28, 2007 9:02 AM

That makes me happy.

Posted by Fnarf | February 28, 2007 9:15 AM

Cascadia @ 2:

Over-reliance on DOT? Hello! What the hell is DOT FOR? What the hell are our taxes paying for? Who then should she listen to?
The Stranger editorial board?

Posted by ivan | February 28, 2007 9:17 AM

it's hard to pin gregoire down on anything...she's the original waffle queen..

Posted by michael strangeways | February 28, 2007 9:28 AM

That sounds like a shift from what she said to me back in January, Josh. Back then, I asked her directly why we weren't looking at maintaining capacity of people through that corridor, and she said we needed to maintain capacity for 110,000 vehicles through the corridor.

In all fairness, she was talking even then about the need for transit to play a role in future projects, and how we need to change our auto-focused planning and development.

But when I asked her why we weren't doing that for this project, she dodged the question. She was clearly focused on vehicle capacity and not transit when talking about the AWV.

Posted by Mickymse | February 28, 2007 9:32 AM

Yikes! What's happening to my memory. Actually that was October, so she's had more time to learn about it:

Still, her point was we need to do transit but only after replacing the existing capacity. And stated back then that she didn't believe a Surface+Transit option would work because it couldn't handle all the 110,000 vehicles currently there.

Apparently, she thinks that people currently driving in Seattle are incapable of using transit if properly planned, but all the new drivers and people who move to Seattle in the future will just magically be transit users and not continue to demand more road capacity.

Posted by Mickymse | February 28, 2007 9:52 AM

Ivan @4:

WSDOT is a highway-building agency. Any comprehensive solution for the waterfront is going to be broader than simply building (or not building) a new highway. Transit and improvements to surface streets are central, as Gregoire now admits. There are also clear aspects of smart urban development, and environmental considerations related to the project. She should have been gathering information from all relevant sources, then making a clear decision, and then directing WSDOT to do its part once a decision was made.

Instead, Gregoire has allowed herself to be led by WSDOT, which is exactly backwards of a true leadership role. It reminds me of classic "Yes, Minister," with the clueless politician led around by the civil service and other entrenched interests.

Posted by Cascadian | February 28, 2007 11:24 AM

"We did entertain it earlier but couldn’t make it work. We have a set of criteria we have to meet."

you have a set of criteria you need to CHANGE.

what would Dino Rossi have done? i bet he'd have cheaped out & gone for the surface solution, then shunted the money to 520. no? well, i can dream. i can't believe that i'm pining for a fucking republican governor...

Posted by Max Solomon | February 28, 2007 11:32 AM

@9 - Shut Yo Mouth!

Posted by Will in Seattle | February 28, 2007 11:50 AM

Cascadian @ 8:

WSDOT does all kinds of things related to all modes of transportation in this state.

Don't just make stuff up because you don't like what you're hearing from them.

Posted by ivan | February 28, 2007 12:35 PM


About 11% of WSDOT's budget (both revenue and spending side) is not for highways and ferries (which are legally highways) and related administration. 3 of that 11% goes to trains--mostly freight trains, though some funding goes to support federal (Amtrak) and local (e.g. streetcars in Seattle) rail projects. The other 8% basically goes to supplement funding for local bus service.

These are all transit services planned and implemented by local and regional agencies. When it comes to transit, WSDOT is acting as a parasite agency that takes in local dollars and then redistributes them, on a very small scale, without adding value. For all intents and purposes, WSDOT plans and implements highways, and that's all they do.

Posted by Cascadian | February 28, 2007 1:35 PM

At least that was one thing more honest from the fifties. The Department of Defense was called the War Department and WSDOT was called the Highway Department.

Posted by just sayin' | February 28, 2007 2:43 PM

When I`m sitting on the toilet it sounds exactly the same as everything the govenor says.WSDOT should figure out how to fix the clusterfuck that is on the 5 everymorning;We have multiple lanes of crossing traffic because of exits on the left side of the freeway,who else does that? Also metered lights are supposed to be staggered so you don`t have to race the other car and then jam up traffic.And I hate to sound rude MOVE YOU ASS ACROSS THE FUCKING ROAD PEOPLE!!! By shuffeling you slow asses across the street and jumping in front of moving cars YOU are making traffic back up.Save the city some money!! Just like kindegarten; look both ways and move quickly across the street,or get run down by some a-hole in a hummer on his cell phone.

Posted by pyrofly70 | February 28, 2007 9:00 PM

Comments Closed

In order to combat spam, we are no longer accepting comments on this post (or any post more than 14 days old).