What to do about the Viaduct / by Michelle Linden

The problem of the Viaduct is one that isn't very easily solved. I think that most Seattleites agree that it needs to be replaced - its just one earthquake away from catastrophic failure- but, I don't think we can all agree on the how.

Following the state's rejection of a tunnel scheme, a grassroots campaign (so popular in Seattle) has begun to put a stop to an elevated system. Hasn't the current viaduct been bisecting the city for too long? Can anyone imagine actually tearing down the current viaduct only to build a new one? I mean really, once we all get a glimpse of what access to the waterfront could be like... can you imagine giving it back?

Cities like Boston and San Francisco have already reclaimed their waterfront... its time for Seattle to do the same. A no vote on the elevated in March would get us one step closer to the water.

The problem of course, is what to do if we don't have an elevated system? Taxpayers clearly don't want to spend the money required for a tunnel. And honestly, who can blame them after all the money that was spent on the fiasco that is the Seattle Monorail Project.

Perhaps, the best solution would be some sort of compromise. Lake Shore Drive in Chicago is an example of arterials and greenspace coexisting successfully. While, Seattle doesn't have all of the necessary room or infrastructure to replicate this system, it can offer some food for thought. At the very least, we need to give the problem of the viaduct serious thought and consideration before jumping ahead with any particular plan.

By voting no in March, I hope that we can put a stop to the elevated, but I hope that its followed up with some serious thought and dialogue instead of an impulsive decision, which will affect not only the voters of today, but voters for decades to come.
Check out the AIA Seattle's stance on this issue...

Robert Campbell on the Big Dig
- Some older, but interesting insights on the dilemmas caused by a lack of a thoughtful plan for reclaimed land.