Alaskan Way Viaduct scenarios: West Seattle stakeholder’s view

After the two “final” Viaduct scenarios went public late today (WSB as-it-happened coverage here), they were presented to the Stakeholders Advisory Committee that was created as a sort of “sounding board” in the Alaskan Way Viaduct scenario-review process. Two West Seattleites are on that committee: Pete Spalding and Vlad Oustimovitch, both longtime community activists (Pete lives in Pigeon Point; Vlad, in Gatewood). We have asked both for their thoughts on what was announced today. First response in, from Pete:

I am still concerned about the long-term viability of citizens of West Seattle to have the ability to get out of or into our community. Most folks do not realize that 20% of the population of the city of Seattle lives on this side of the Duwamish River.

Under the I-5, Surface & Transit Hybrid Scenario

If you leave West Seattle and drive through downtown going to north Seattle you will encounter 28 stop lights, a 90 degree turn to proceed through the Battery Street tunnel and a 30 mile per hour speed limit. On top of this there is no mention of how the ferry traffic (entering or exiting Colman dock) will be figured into the traffic flow.

Elevated Bypass Hybrid Scenario

I am not convinced that another elevated option will solve our transportation needs 50+ years into the future. This is our opportunity to make Seattle a world class city with a world class waterfront. Building another elevated structure running along the waterfront does not help to accomplish that in my opinion.


No matter what decision is made at the end of the day we have to have better transit service into and out of West Seattle. Not only for Delridge but for all of the peninsula. I pointed out that not everyone leaving West Seattle had downtown as their final destination. Our transit options must include destinations to the north, south and east without first having to connect to another bus somewhere in the downtown business district. Adding a new Rapid Ride line on Delridge is being proposed but has its own unique set of difficulties. Not the least of which is where do you come up with dedicated bus only lanes from Genesee to the bridge?

In conclusion I lean toward the hybrid solution that has been brought forward by the Seattle Chamber of Commerce (presented to the SAG on Monday) which was referred to tonight as the P3 hybrid option. I also encouraged the Executives to give a much stronger look at the deep bored tunnel option which was the final option taken off the table late today prior to the briefings beginning. This option needs more study as it would be the least disruptive to all of us here in West Seattle. I am not convinced that the cost estimates have been thoroughly vetted and are somewhat exaggerated in materials that we were presented.

Finally, just as reminder there is a public hearing on Monday, December 15th beginning at 5 pm at Town Hall. If you feel strongly about this issue please state your preference (opinion) at that time or go on line to the Viaduct website and do it there.

That site is at Meantime, we’ll have more Viaduct views tomorrow, including Vlad’s thoughts.

8 Replies to "Alaskan Way Viaduct scenarios: West Seattle stakeholder's view"

  • Jennie December 12, 2008 (8:57 am)

    Where do we find a timeline for either of these options and interim solutions?

    This is all I’ve been able to find and it looks like they won’t start taking down the viaduct until 2012?


  • worms Roxanne, I'm afraid of worms. December 12, 2008 (9:24 am)

    I love how the artist renderings of the surface street option only shows about 10 cars that are all spaced evenly. We all know the reality will be somewhat different…

  • WSB December 12, 2008 (10:40 am)

    There is no timeline yet, Jennie – 2012 is when the governor has declared the viaduct has to come down (the central waterfront section of it – the south end replacement work starts next year). In an earlier report, various timelines for length of construction were presented, but now that they are down to two “hybrids” they will, I’m sure, be crunching those numbers again. The previously quoted timelines for option C (surface transit) and option D (elevated) from the first round of ‘scenarios’ might be close, though, I’ll have to look them up later.

  • Mickymse December 12, 2008 (12:56 pm)

    Here’s what our Waterfront could actually look like, then:

  • Mickymse December 12, 2008 (1:00 pm)

    Or this:

  • Carole December 12, 2008 (7:24 pm)

    Pretty pics, but I still don’t see the existing railroad tracks. Are they going to just vaporize?

  • Flavian December 13, 2008 (2:49 am)

    The Embarcadero is essentially a long off ramp to Fisherman’s Wharf. The 99 Viaduct northbound connects West Seattle with downtown, south Lake Union and Fremont, and southbound connnects Fremont, Queen Anne Hill and downtown with West Seattle. The previous Embarcadero freeway was of limited value to San Francisco residents, while the Viaduct is a core north-south axis route. The view of the Seattle waterfront is also obstructed by the working piers, tall buildings, hills, and passing trains (thanks Carole!).

  • captainDave December 26, 2008 (12:03 pm)

    The best option I have seen so far is to bore a tunnel under 6th and 7th avenue uptown away from the waterfront congestion– connecting to SR99 near the north end of the Battery Street Tunnel from 6th Avenue South near Quest Field as suggested by Citizens for Seattle Tube ( The best thing about this option is that the new route can be built while the other remains in use during the construction period. Seattle Tube proposes that a new elevated expressway be built over the industrial area of 6th Avenue South to connect to Spokane street and eventually the 1st Ave South bridge as discussed on Kiro’s Dori Monson Show last week. This ends up being a win-win situation for everyone. Better access for West Seattle, a chance to have a tourist friendly waterfront to improve downtown business, and something that can integrate better with I-5 as a dependable through-town route.

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