New Alaskan Way Viaduct scenarios: Guest editorial

First there were eight, then there were two. Since we first saw the two “scenarios” to which the Alaskan Way Viaduct Central Waterfront options list has been narrowed, and relayed them to you in as-it-happened coverage from City Hall late yesterday, we also have been glad to facilitate the sharing of opinions as well. You’ve heard from West Seattle’s representatives on the Viaduct Stakeholders Advisory Committee, Pete Spalding (his reaction here) and Vlad Oustimovitch (his, here). You’ve heard from dozens of WSBers in comments on our Viaduct reports (all archived here). Now another West Seattleite’s voice — that of the veteran journalist who wrote editorials for the West Seattle Herald for years, until his position as editor of the WSH and Ballard News-Tribune was cut last week. Jack Mayne contacted us this week and asked if we would be interested in editorial contributions. WSB itself has not taken official editorial-style positions on issues since our first year, before evolving into a news site. But this is certainly a place for voices to be heard, and read. Here is what Jack Mayne has written about the latest turn in the road to the Viaduct’s future (followed by a personal note from him):


Editorial by Jack Mayne
Special to West Seattle Blog

Yesterday, transportation officials chose two preferred options to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct. Both of them would shaft West Seattle, dooming commuters to long, slow traffic-snarled slogs to downtown, and even dooming promised added bus routes by enmeshing them in the traffic mess either option would create.

We strongly urge anyone who commutes to downtown daily, or who travels north of downtown to Ballard and beyond: Attend and make your concerns known at a public forum this Monday, December 15th, beginning at 5 pm at Town Hall.

The first option chosen is a new elevated viaduct, starting at Safeco Field and connecting to the Battery Street Tunnel. At first blush, this sounds as though it would be a good replacement for the viaduct the governor has said she will tear down in 2012.

But it is not.

Gone would be the Seneca Street offramp that allows people working downtown to move directly into the central city.

There would still be an offramp onto Western Avenue just before the roadway enters the tunnel, as is the case now. This arrangement would mean a commuter would either have to drive north of the city center and backtrack on surface streets, or would have to exit State Route 99 at King Street and then negotiate numerous traffic signals and downtown city traffic to their destinations.

But the real stake through the heart of this proposal – which would have an end cost of well over $3 billion – is that Mayor Greg Nickels has vowed again and again to never allow an elevated roadway along the waterfront. Nickels, Metropolitan King County Executive Ron Sims, and Governor Chris Gregoire are the three who will make the final decision. Further, the Seattle Downtown Association, the Metropolitan Seattle Chamber of Commerce, and numerous politicians have opposed the construction of another elevated roadway to replace the viaduct.

That option appears to be only a stalking horse for the politicians who want it their way or no way.

The second choice by the transportation agencies is the real disaster for West Seattle. It needs a stake driven so deeply into its heart that it never, ever comes up again. That is the so-called surface and transit option.

A two-street surface esplanade has magical music for many downtown romanticists — but West Seattleites, think what it would mean to you.

Pigeon Point resident Pete Spalding said this on West Seattle Blog last night:

“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.”

Remember, buses will travel many portions of this route, too, so taking the bus may not save commuters any time.

Besides Nickels and Sims, we are told that West Seattle resident and City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen is in favor of not replacing the viaduct with anything but city streets, thus making downtown streets into clogged transportation corridors.

Not only will this option cost almost as much as the elevated option, more than $3 billion, but it will doom West Seattle resident to an estimated two hour commute each way. Traffic will mean buses will be caught in the gridlock.

You can forget going downtown for anything but the most important of missions, considering the traffic snarls on the way, then the exorbitant cost of parking once you get there.

Shoppers will find it is faster, cheaper and easier to journey to newly renovated Southcenter, with relatively easy access via Highway 509 and free parking once there.

The 20 percent of Seattle’s population that lives here seems to mean nothing to the politicians who are making this choice. The only question on final judgment now is Gov. Gregoire, who does have a wider constituency to answer to.

We urge West Seattle residents to crowd Town Hall next Monday night and demand that we have a say in this. Old-timers remember the bleak days when the West Seattle Bridge was down and being replaced. Many businesses went under, others barely survived. Getting to the job center downtown was a daily nightmare.

The one good thing out of this is the decision to keep the deep-bored tunnel option on the table for the future. That is a best answer to moving traffic through the city. It would not permit direct access to Ballard, but it would to the north. The tunnel as now conceived would start at Qwest Field and come out a couple of blocks north of the current mouth on Aurora, allowing connection of some surface streets around Seattle Center.

We need to kill the surface and transit option once and for all — or else maybe we should take up the old cause of leaving Seattle and becoming the City of West Seattle (again).

-Jack Mayne

Note from WSB editor/co-publisher Tracy Record: We are checking with Councilmember Rasmussen re: his current official stance on Viaduct replacement; in 2006, this link reminds us, he voted with a majority of Council colleagues to support the cut-and-cover tunnel option, and clearly voiced opposition to an elevated replacement.

Now, one more note. After Jack met with co-publisher Patrick Sand and me earlier this week, we also offered him the opportunity to publish a personal note regarding his change in status, as so far as we can tell from the newspaper’s website and current print edition, it has not posted anything aside from changing the name on the masthead. Read on for Jack’s message:

Goodbye West Seattle Herald, hello West Seattle Blog

So, why am I writing this here instead of on Page Six of the West Seattle Herald?

Turns out I was declared redundant last week. The Robinson family owns the Herald, and they decided with no notice, and with no severance package, to end my six and a half years as editor “at this exact moment.”

The paper is strong and growing, something the downtown metros would like to be able to say.

Considering the financial disaster we are all suffering through, advertising is strong.

We had built a staff of three excellent young reporters to work for the Herald (and sister paper, The Ballard News-Tribune).

Now Ken Robinson, who lives in Snohomish County and who will have his office in Burien, is running the paper.

The immediate shock and sadness of the change has passed and we are now happy that their actions propelled this long-time editor from the yesteryear of print journalism to the reality of the future of on-line journalism. It is a new and exciting media, one that has many problems and one that has to continually learn as it grows. Many news sites, or blogs if you will, will prosper and many will shrivel and die once the bloom wears off.

But, we are lucky in West Seattle, because we have the West Seattle Blog, which, in many ways, is ahead of this national wave. This writer is pleased to join with the Sands on an occasional basis.

Nevertheless, I will miss my loyal and involved readers of the Herald, the people who make this part of the city a very special place.

Jack Mayne

53 Replies to "New Alaskan Way Viaduct scenarios: Guest editorial"

  • George December 13, 2008 (1:10 am)

    Jack, You are embarrassing yourself, like Senator Leiberman. The West Seattle community knows you hate this blog.-George

  • WSB December 13, 2008 (1:26 am)

    Hi, George, thanks for stopping by. Jack can answer that for himself if he chooses to, but in the meantime, I have to say: So what if he does? He contacted us, spent a couple hours chatting with us, subsequently wrote for us. We don’t require oaths of fealty. – TR

  • kturner December 13, 2008 (1:50 am)

    All rhetoric aside, we have two options ahead of our city in regards to viaduct replacement:

    Maintain current standards of transportation to move a growing population encouraged by rezoning and construction growth.
    Decreased capacity, almost certain gridlock, and a PROMENADE to enjoy the incredible views of shipping containers!
    Vote now!
    Oh. Sorry. I wish.

  • d December 13, 2008 (2:00 am)

    Hey George –

    The oddest thing, but hardly embarrassing, which Mr. Mayne wrote about, from my pov, was to refer to TR as Mrs. Sands. I KNOW she is the Mrs., but it just reads weird. She’s TR!

    I think it is awesome that journalistic forces join on behalf of the WS community and that excellence is acknowledged.

    Also, Jack’s metaphor of a stake being needed through the heart of a surface option was very nicely put and appealed to me in a visceral kind of way. I still don’t know what’s best – a tunnel we REALLY can’t afford or an elevated we can hardly afford, but more food for thought…

    Stick around Mr. Mayne.

  • WSB December 13, 2008 (2:10 am)

    “D,” funny you mention that. I have never used Patrick’s surname. Sand’s a nice name, but so is Record; his name’s his name, mine’s mine. But it’s still an accepted traditional way to refer to a married couple so I didn’t edit it out.

  • KatherineL December 13, 2008 (5:57 am)

    Surely it’s a prime rule of journalism to get the names right. Not all married women take their husband’s name; their legal name is different. Let’s hope Mr. Mayne is more careful about other facts he opines on.

  • homesweethome December 13, 2008 (7:27 am)

    Married names aside (I too don’t use my husband’s last name but socially I’m called Mrs. X and that’s fine)………Nicely put editorial. We chose to live in West Seattle for its EASY access to downtown, not just for work but entertainment as well – we can be at SAM in 15-20 minutes door to door by bus, shopping, etc. Either option currently on the boards sounds like no option to us.

  • Smitty December 13, 2008 (7:29 am)

    A couple of things I have never understood about the “pedestrian friendly” surface option.

    1) It appears to me that it will still be “noisy” as there are plenty of lanes running north/south along Alaskan Way.

    2) These lanes still “separate” downtown from the waterfront – which is one of the major arguments for tearing down the current version, no?

    One could argue that a new elevated structure would actually make the waterfront quieter (new road materials, higher barriers) AND make it more accessible (by reducing the number of cars traveling at pedestrian level).

    Yes, it would not be as “pretty”, but big cities sometimes need to pick function over form.

  • Smitty December 13, 2008 (7:34 am)

    Oh, and one more thing.

    Why the heck is there no Seneca off-ramp on the elevated option?

    That seems ridiculous to me.

    Does that mean no Columbia on-ramp either?

    These people need to understand that you CAN NOT social engineer people out of their cars, no matter how idiotic your decisions. The busses will be stuck in this traffic mess too!

  • KSJ December 13, 2008 (8:03 am)

    Commenter – if you can’t make it to the public forum on Monday you can submit comments using that same link. Let’s flood them with comments and make ourselves heard!

  • carraig na splinkeen December 13, 2008 (8:10 am)

    WSB if there are going to be guest editorials on such topics, in addition to the name of the author perhaps their background be included–engineer, planner, community activist, downtown business owner, W Seattle resident, concerned citizen…all of the former. I happen to work in this field and know that there are as many opinions as there are people living here. I believe in public input and this will help frame these important conversations.

    PS I miss the editing before posting option–where did it go?

  • austin December 13, 2008 (8:46 am)

    Year round water taxi service never smelled so sweet.

  • Matt Durham December 13, 2008 (9:05 am)

    What an incredible oppurtunity bestowed on on the WSB. I look forward to reading future contributions from a seasoned journalist who will bring knowledge and experience to the pages only years in the trenches could elicit.
    Jack attained the position of city editor at Seattle Post-Intelligencer and the Arizona Republic. I had the fortunate oppurtunity to work for Jack, at the Herald, and was rewarded with offerings of his wisdom, proffesionalism and candor.
    I hope I can work with Jack in the future and his efforts continue to target West Seattle.
    Matt Durham

  • Rick December 13, 2008 (9:12 am)

    It appears that the powers that be are trying to force one of two bad options down our throats and force us to eventually gag,choke and die on a Nickels Legacy tunnel. I can almost envision Greg’s new luxury penthouse in one those newly aquired view buildings downtown. I imagine it will be a perk from the building owner as it will take Greg just too much time to tend to his duties from the new boonies of West Seattle.

  • Eric December 13, 2008 (9:56 am)

    Argh… I just don’t understand the transportation decisions made around Puget Sound. The people who make the decisions don’t seem to have any vision for the future. I understand that it would be nice to have a people friendly area along the waterfront. I think that the tunnel would be the best option for this. Unfortunately, this option is most surely doomed because of its price tag. The surface plan is an absolute joke. This will turn a fast commuter friendly thoroughfare into a road rage inducing slog of stoplights. The elevated option also has its problems. Mainly, the loss of lanes and off ramps. What I want to ask is besides being ugly for people walking along the waterfront, what is so bad about the current design? For the most part it seems to function very well. The only thing I hope they could improve upon is the on and off ramps to western ave.

    Moving onto the 520 floating bridge. Why on earth would we spend gobs of money to build it the same way? This is a critical bridge in the metro area and needs to be built for 50 years from now. I’m calling for 4 lanes each way, one being for HOV. Sorry to all of you who live in Montlake. You chose to live there, and who knows, traffic that actually moves might help the environment. There would be less exhaust being spewed into the air. Don’t even start to tell me about how the arboretum is a ecological treasure. Two more lanes of bridge traffic is not going to all of a sudden turn it into an unlivable area for wildlife.

    Finally my favorite whipping boy. The street car. This is completely idiotic. As long as it rides on the same road as street traffic it is essentially a bus with different wheels that only allow it to travel in the same path. Oh ya it also requires road work that slows traffic and it cost 52 million dollars for a 1.3 mile section. This seems like a colossal waste of money, a bus could do the same thing for far less. That being said I will jump on the streetcar wagon if they can get them off the road with other traffic. Then it will be a true option and create a different way of travel.

    I want to end this on a positive not and say that the best thing that is happening is the light rail. We need to invest in more of it. It should connect the suburbs and the centers of large neighborhoods to downtown. The vision I have for the city is one of improving gridlock and offering REAL alternatives to the auto. Lets spend the money we do have in a cost effective and intelligent way. The things that we use heavily should and will cost more and because of it will be a good value 50 years from now. We will look back and say that was expensive but we build it right the first time, and we don’t need to spend more money fix it.

  • Denny December 13, 2008 (9:59 am)

    Welcome Jack!

    I’m sad to hear of your sudden departure from the Herald. For those who keep track, the Robinsons seem to have a record of this type of thing.

    Regardless of their choice, your voice is welcome here! Many of us in WS value your continued thoughtful contributions to the challenges we face in our community.

    I look forward to reading more from you in the future. Take care & have good holidays.

    As to the options remaining, Jack is right – both will require WS to reevaluate its accessibility and connection to DT Seattle. If either is approved, we may need to have a stronger business core in our own community to provide more liveable wages right here. We likely will lose an assett many of us take for granted – relatively quick access to the rest of Seattle for work & play. If you cannot attend, take some time this weekend to post your thoughts on the comments page for the Monday hearing. I’m posting there next!

  • J December 13, 2008 (10:00 am)

    Jack, I disagree with you on a lot of things, but I’m sorry about your “change in status”. I don’t think West Seattle will be as well-served by a newspaper run from outside the community. This loyal subscriber is dubious it will be worth my money to re-up.

    On the viaduct: I still support the surface/transit option. I think it will take that kind of pain to force an extension of the light rail, or some similar, truly-rapid, grade-separated transit to our peninsula. If people had been able to visualize this before the viaduct needed to come down, it would have been much better. But apparently, imagination is in short supply.

  • Martha Carrier December 13, 2008 (10:01 am)

    The surface street option will ironically strangle downtown businesses as a result of complete regional gridlock. West Seattle residents will be virtually isloated with no easy regional access. I am shocked that the consideration of 20% of the city residents can be so readily ignored by elected officails who have pledged to represent our citizenry. The property values of our homes in West Seattle will plummet. I guess my best option now is to try to sell my home ASAP.

  • OtherHand December 13, 2008 (10:47 am)

    The most aggravating thing for me throughout the whole viaduct debate/process/quagmire is that so little focus is put on how completely and utterly broken I-5 is. I know they plan on adding lanes but it sounds like no one believes that will make a difference.

    How many W.Seattleites take 99 largely because I-5 blows so badly? I know I do. Why not tackle the root cause, suck it up, and fix I-5? I know it is sandwiched between downtown and Cap Hill, and that it would be an incredible challenge, and traffic would be from hell. But, you know what, useful, long-lasting solutions/investments are often painful, require sacrifice, and are expensive. I’d sacrifice my time and pay more taxes if I knew they’d nail the I-5 throughput.

  • PSPS December 13, 2008 (11:14 am)

    Everything in the guest editorial is correct and only underscores the irrationality of the decision to scuttle the only logical (and affordable) solution — a retrofit. It would be under half the price of either of these options without any traffic disruption at all.
    As for being a “barrier” between downtown and “the waterfront” (piers full of either shippping containers or tourist stores,) I can already quite easily walk between the Maritime Building on Western and Ivar’s “on the waterfront” by crossing the two lanes of bike-friendly Alaskan Way in a pedestrian-friendly crosswalk.

  • Mickymse December 13, 2008 (11:27 am)

    Frankly, I am rather disappointed in Jack Mayne, Vlad Oustimovich, and Pete Spalding…

    I have looked at the same documents and images they have and I simply do not see the impending disaster for West Seattleites that they seem to predict.

    One obvious error would be in their concern for buses. Currently proposed at part of the Surface+Transit option is a so-called RapidRide route through the Delridge corridor. Not only would this offer more frequent service through a crowded corridor, but the plan is to run the buses in dedicated bus lanes. Of course that will be faster than taking a car, just as the current bus routes are faster into Downtown.

    Another example I will offer is the complaint about the stoplights and speed limit. I’m certainly not in complete agreement with the current proposal. I plan to question why we can’t have fewer stoplights and increase the speed to at least 35 MPH, as is typical of arterials.

    However, I don’t currently run into gridlock navigating Alaskan Way or Elliott Ave on the north end of the Waterfront, and I certainly don’t encounter crazy amounts of gridlock driving down 35th Ave at 35 MPH with multiple stoplights.

    Finally, Vlad and Peter should both know better than to cite the commute times reported by WSDOT for the future. They don’t point out that ANY report on traffic through Downtown will report longer travel times in the future because we expect more people to be living in and traveling through Downtown.

    They also fail to point out that WSDOT’s assumptions include more people driving their cars, rather than an expected reduction in auto use as gas prices go up and transit options increase in the future.

    Despite what some folks seem to fear, the planners who thought up the Surface+Transit idea are not just a bunch of young drunkards out for a prank. There is a reason that a dedicated group of smart, forward-thinking people have been able to convince more and more electeds to get on board with this idea. And there’s a reason that city after city in the U.S. and around the world have managed to replace waterfront highways with beautiful boulevards.

  • mar3c December 13, 2008 (11:35 am)

    it’s going to get really interesting starting in may. sdot will be widening the spokane street viaduct until july 2011. benefits to west seattle will be wider lanes, full-sized shoulders (for those pesky stalled cars), merge/weave lanes, westbound on/off ramps at 1st ave, and an eastbound off ramp at 4th ave. this should facilitate entry and exit to and from sodo.
    the south end of the viaduct is being replaced beginning next year, from holgate to safeco.
    brace yourselves.
    without going into the central waterfront replacement impacts, this south portion will provide on and off ramps to and from alaskan way. so west seattleites that work downtown or in sodo will have options.
    getting into downtown isn’t the problem. it seems to me that any viaduct replacement option’s problem is the battery street tunnel and through traffic. any surface roadway will literally hit a wall at battery street.
    if a tunnel is bored below battery street that surfaces between denny and mercer, i’m pretty certain that they can’t do it with the existing viaduct standing.
    what a mess for west side traffic trying to get to the north end – which includes me.
    personally, my ire is with the mayor. he let martin selig kill the best option west seattle had: the monorail. nickels screwed his own neighborhood in favor of a downtown developer.

  • ivan December 13, 2008 (11:55 am)


    What dedicated bus lanes are you talking about? On Delridge? Tell me where they will be. Are we to rip out all those islands in the center lane, maybe?

    Tell me why I should give a rip about your “beautiful boulevard” if it will take me half an hour to get through downtown.

    Build the elevated, three lanes each way, and be done with it. It’s a STATE HIGHWAY. The mayor be hanged. There is nothing “forward thinking” about the charlatans who are pushing this “surface option.” They should be ridden out of town on a rail.

  • George December 13, 2008 (12:10 pm)

    “We don’t require oaths of fealty.” – TR

    I am not surprised. (hahaha) However, some in the community may expect a certain amount of faithfulness from Mayne. Let’s not get too sanctimonious here. His participation with your fine blog has the bitter odor of sour grapes…as does Matt Durham’s comment, considering they were both fired by the Robinson Newspapers.

    As Mayne well knows, the Robinson Newspaper’s editorial staff operates out of Burien, West Seattle, and Ballard. Where they live is their business.

  • d December 13, 2008 (12:20 pm)

    I think attempts to turn this into a “fearful oldtimer paradigm” vs. “fresh and visionary worldclassers” debate doesn’t really serve us. There are practicalities which are NOT being addressed by these options. A myopic pursuit of “beautiful boulevards” begs the reminder that beauty is too often only skin deep. Remember: this is a public project FOR THE GREATEST GOOD, not soley the appeasement of downtown aesthetics and property values.

    Even so, a tunnel seems smart but spendy – is liquification even a real safety/engineering concern given modern engineering? Rather, I should ask HOW much of a concern is it? If it WERE a concern, it couldn’t be tabled, right?

    I’m still trying to comprehend why only two lanes on the elevated? I would love to see someone explain that for me.

  • Herman December 13, 2008 (12:23 pm)

    The reason for 28 stoplights and 30 mph is because they want to force you to find an alternative to this route. They want to force you off that avenue so that it can be more pedestrian-friendly.

    But there is no alternative. So what will happen is, after months of gridlock, the city will be forced to synch the stoplights and raise the speed limit to 40 mph to open this lane up again.

    And that will create the “Aurora Ave North of QA” experience that others have referred to. This plan stinks.

  • mar3c December 13, 2008 (12:54 pm)

    given the space currently occupied by alaskan way itself *and* the footprint of the viaduct – which is currently used for parking – we’re talking about the possibility of around 100 feet or more of traffic lanes.
    surface options are viable if they’re done wisely.
    why not a surface highway where the viaduct now stands, which is straddled by parking structures, rooftop parks, overpasses, works of art and architecture, etc.? i.e. something like a surface-level cut-and-cover, which would greatly reduce construction costs and traffic impacts. property which straddles the highway could be sold, providing a combination of private and public funding.
    the overpasses and parking structures would access a waterfront boulevard – which wouldn’t be hindered by through traffic except at an elevated commuter hub around colman dock.
    how about a wider colman dock – which really could handle vashon traffic – with options for getting through downtown or direct, quick access to the waterfront? (keep running a ferry to w.s., though.)
    what about elevating commuter rail above the current tracks? stations could also straddle a surface highway.
    at the north end, a four-lane surface highway could be split, dumping half of its traffic load at a two-lane exit at western and a two-lane exit to thru nb 99 (battery street tunnel).
    this opens up other ideas, like a revitalized western ave boulevard from pike place market to pioneer square, with galleries and restaurants, etc.
    i think it’s an effective compromise to the elevated/surface argument that adds beauty, useable space, access, and commuter connectivity while burying a noisy through freeway.
    anyone got an etch-a-sketch i can borrow to hammer this out on?

  • d December 13, 2008 (12:57 pm)

    mar3c –

    HA! LOL – totally appreciate that! ;)

  • Mickymse December 13, 2008 (1:07 pm)

    Ivan, Delridge is an increasing traffic problem no matter what happens with the Viaduct, so that’s red herring. Of course, the only reason the islands are there is to control our neighbors over here who like to illegally pass drivers by using the center lane. They’re a possibility on Fauntleroy if it gets re-striped for the same reason.

    As for taking “half an hour to get through downtown,” I have two comments. First of all, some of the traffic in Downtown is drivers trying to get to/from the Stadiums, Seneca or Columbia, and Western to access the Viaduct. If you provide multiple entry and exit points, some of that traffic goes away. Second, while I like going from West Seattle to Ballard, and that will definitely become much more difficult… people who are traveling THROUGH Downtown should be utilizing I-5. That’s what it was built for. And that’s why both of these solutions include improvements in that corridor.

    And I suppose you’re right that there’s nothing “forward thinking” about the surface idea; we’d be far down the list of cities that have ALREADY implemented such solutions.

  • connie hinton December 13, 2008 (1:08 pm)

    We are going to miss you in the Herald but maybe we can catch you weekly on the blog. Thanks for your many years of service.

  • J December 13, 2008 (1:25 pm)

    An Observation:
    I counted the emotional (as opposed to rational) and ad hominem phrases used in critiques of the proposed elevated, proposed surface/transit, and (not proposed) tunnel scenarios in the comments in this thread so far. Here are my results:

    Opposed to elevated:

    DOOM; stake through the heart

    Opposed to tunnel:

    force down our throats; gag,choke and die

    Opposed to surface/transit:

    DOOM; real disaster; a stake driven so deeply into its heart; doom; nightmare; kill; magical music; romanticists; ridiculous; idiotic; road rage inducing; absolute joke; slog of stoplights; strangle; charlatans; should be ridden out of town on a rail; myopic pursuit; stinks

  • CB December 13, 2008 (2:09 pm)

    It seems the surface option folks have forgotten how much of the city tax base depends on the viaduct. Without it, many of those businesses will leave Seattle due to increased traffic. No businesses = no sales and B/O tax. How about the decreased property values in West Seattle when it becomes a nightmare commute to travel in/out. Lower property values = lower property tax collections.

    How bad will it be? When 99 was closed after the earthquake, the backup extended up Fauntlaroy to the Morgan Junction!

    What’s next… are we going to get rid of running water?

  • Vlad December 13, 2008 (2:31 pm)

    J: Thank you for providing the WS lexicon of the “Viaduct Civil War” that David Brewster described so eloquently in his recent Crosscut article. That is precisely what I would like to avoid, but I suppose that it was a matter of time before someone like Mickey would be disappointed in even a moderate, balanced approach to the complex issue of what to do about the viaduct.

    Given my years of working for better public transportation in WS, I am a little hurt by the insinuation that I somehow don’t support public transportation (no problem, I’m a big boy – I can take it). However MM should remember that the potential Delridge RapidRide is in large part to the efforts of both Pete and my raising the issue of the need for increased public transportation during the stakeholder process. I only wish we could get some serious public transportation out of all this, but it looks like we are destined to another 30 years or more of isolation. West Seattle is a blank area of nothing on even the most distant planning maps for Sound Transit. And the monorail that would have gotten us downtown in ten minutes… that is just a fading memory. Maybe we can get the pedestrian ferry system to be more than a prototype, that would be a good start.

    I do want to thank everybody for your posts in this and each of the Viaduct threads. I have read all of them and will keep reading them as they come in. Also a big thank you to the WSB for providing a community forum.

  • Matt Durham December 13, 2008 (3:03 pm)

    It behooves one to tell the truth.
    I wasn’t “fired”, as you so loosely throw that term about.
    I was offered an unexceptable compensation package for my services and I chose to stop serving under the Robinsons’. The last business offer I had with the Robinsons’ expressed their desire for me to shoot photos for their paper without an increase in compensation and a change, whereby I would lose all copyrights to my work.
    So I suggest, in your loose use of the facts, that you might choose to be less sour.
    My praise for Jack is genuine. He was a wonderful Editor to work under.

  • Mickymse December 13, 2008 (3:17 pm)

    I certainly didn’t mean to imply, Vlad, that you — or Pete — are not great activists or pro-transit. (I know better.) I just feel like you are both expressing worries for perhaps the worst case scenario… and forgetting that most people reading them are not as well-versed in the transit and transportation goings-on around here as you both are.Let’s try to better explain to our neighbors that this isn’t simply about replacing the Viaduct and its 100,000+ vehicles with something that moves the same number of vehicles through the same exact space. It’s about moving the same amount (or more) of people and goods through the entire corridor. If faster buses will convince some number of drivers to get out of their cars, that’s a good thing and increases flow. If some number of cars currently drive all the way to the Seneca exit only to backtrack into Pioneer Square, then an option to exit earlier increases flow.Surface supporters believe in the entire project. We don’t foolishly think you can replace a six-lane highway with “just” a surface boulevard and nothing else. I’m trying to make folks understand that.

  • ivan December 13, 2008 (3:30 pm)

    Sorry, Michael, buses have to use the same right of way that autos do.

    People driving through downtown should “just use I-5?” That’s bogus from the jump. In the first place, I-5 is a hell hole even now. In the second place, if I’m going to Ballard, Fremont, Wallingford, Green Lake, or points north along the Aurora corridor, exactly why the hell should I use I-5? Because *you* think I should?

    You know I respect you, but you haven’t made me understand a damn thing here.

    This absolutely IS about moving the same amount of vehicular traffic through this corridor. It is a state highway, after all.

  • B-Squared December 13, 2008 (3:51 pm)

    I will be at Town Hall Monday night to voice my opposition to the surface option, which i think is SO misses the point of this transportation corridor.

    One thing no one has mentioned (or i haven’t seen it) is the potential that the surface option has for increased safety hazard. in west seattle we are all too familiar with people and bicyclist being hit by cars. Add more tourists to the waterfront, and more people trying not to use their cars……. Suddenly, all the traffic that was elevated and out of the way will be coursing through the city streets with the pedestrians and cyclists.

    Hey, how about ripping down the West Seattle bridge and putting in a surface street? it’s pretty much as scenic as the waterfront (better view of the containers). No one for a minute would consider this, and rightfully so. It is just as dumb as eliminating the viaduct.

    west seattle should really get on the same page or we are going to be so very sorry.

  • Mickymse December 13, 2008 (4:25 pm)

    Funny, B-Squared, the West Seattle bridge serves different goals. You have to cross a waterway; and, we want to avoid having to wait while it opens for ships (see: Ballard).

    However, notice that our bridge moves roughly the same amount of traffic as the little Ballard Bridge.

    But let’s stick with the West Seattle Bridge for alittle bit of history. You’d think West Seattleites would support this “obvious” need, right? Except there was a referendum against it:

    And, Ivan, I-5 didn’t exist when the Viaduct was built. So we needed a highway to bring people into Downtown and to help alleviate traffic through the city. Once Seattleites agreed to ram an interstate through the middle of the city, Downtown’s “front door” turned around asyou might expect.

    Now there is a problem with SW-NW travel, as I admitted above. The monorail was supposed to help with that one. Oh well, check back in 30 years!

  • George December 13, 2008 (4:29 pm)

    “I wasn’t “fired”, as you so loosely throw that term about.”
    -Matt Durham

    Sorry Matt. My mistake. I think someone told me you were. And you do take great photos. My point was that, like Mayne, you have harbored hard feelings toward the Robinson family since becoming dislodged from the paper and it was in this spirit, I believe, your praise of Mayne was written.

    P.S. So you are now earning more money at the blog than you were with the Robinson Newspaper’s “low” offer?


  • WSB December 13, 2008 (4:48 pm)

    Matt’s not a WSB employee. He is one of many occasional contributors (and whenever he has something to send, we are pleased as punch to run it, since, as you acknowledge, he “take[s] great photos”). The 2 current full-time employees of WSB are Patrick and me, and we have a part-time reporter/editor posting for which we’ve been interviewing candidates. We also pay freelance writers for assignments. – TR

  • B-Squared December 13, 2008 (6:08 pm)

    my point about getting rid of the west seattle bridge is that it would be a step backwards……just like getting rid of the viaduct would be.

  • Ralph Nichols December 13, 2008 (9:03 pm)

    Ivan is spot on. Build a new viaduct – 3 lanes each way – and be done with it. Or else return to the oft-dismissed retrofit option, and add some exterior design to brighten the updated structure. Because it IS a state highway.

    One factor largely overlooked here is their (Gregoire, DOT director Paula Hammond, Nickles and Sims) collective ANTI-car stance. They don’t want real congestion relief (i.e., functional roadways for cars) – they want people out of their cars. (Gregoire and Hammond have said congestion relief is not a priority; never mind a state performance audit that said it should be.) They would rather control people’s transportation options than improve freight mobility, ease congestion, let people continue to make their own transportation choices, and make it easier to get from point A to points B and C and beyond.

    As a former, 15-year resident of WS, who lived near the on-ramp from Delridge, I understand well the need for a viable viaduct – something the mayor who lives in WS seems blinded to by his ultra-green zealotry. And as a current resident of SW King County, I understand well the same need for the many people who won’t be taking the light-rail ride into Seattle but will continue to drive up 509.

    Regarding the commentary, well done Jack. It’s good to see that you will continue to write from WS. And for those who question Jack’s motives, this insight: the current quality of the WSH, which likely will begin to decline soon (for anyone who questions this, check out the Federal Way News, also published by the Robinsons), is the result of Jack’s professionalism. Quality in journalism is an afterthought for the WSH publisher and his associate publisher sons; only employees who care “make it so.”

    In the interest of full disclosure, until I met a similar fate (also with no severance package) as Jack in April, in a brief impromptu meeting with two of Robinson boys while still working on final deadline, I was an editor at another sister paper – the Highline Times in Burien. However, to accuse either of us of “sour grapes” misses two realities that almost every former Robinson employee understands well. One’s life improves exponentially beyond this little company – and long before leaving, one already knows that the emporer is wearing no clothes.

  • chas redmond December 13, 2008 (9:19 pm)


  • mar3c December 14, 2008 (12:16 am)

    there is no conspiracy.
    awv is seriously fubared. we, the city, have a chance to make changes and actually improve mobility. you can call it lack of vision, lack of imagination, or sheer laziness, but the two options on the table *are* steps backwards. everyone in west seattle knows this. while i fully agree with you and ivan on that score, this is not a conspiracy to take your car away.
    it’s a geometry problem and a cash problem. how do you move 110,000 vehicles daily into and through a major urban core, get people where they’re going, satisfy a growing variety of commuter options, and fund it – all in a timely fashion?
    let’s not demagogue the problem. let’s have a true meeting of creative minds and solve it without pointing fingers and without casual dismissals of public concerns by our elected officials. (yeah, nickels, i’m talking to you.) and let’s not get anything rammed down anyone’s throat or have visions of improvements destroyed by political agendas or moneyed interests.
    as i said in a previous post, there is plenty of real estate along the waterfront to accommodate a wide variety of stakeholders; facilitate mobility for west seattle; maintain or even increase traffic and freight capacity; and keep the waterfront from becoming a noisy, stagnant, permanently-gridlocked freeway.
    let’s face it: simply replacing the viaduct with an identical structure won’t help, as anyone who has to endure ballard-to-west seattle on a daily basis will tell you. imho, this is a lazy answer to a complicated problem.
    we have a rare opportunity to improve our infrastructure, and we shouldn’t squander it for petty reasons.

  • George December 14, 2008 (8:01 am)

    “Matt’s not a WSB employee. He is one of many occasional contributors (and whenever he has something to send, we are pleased as punch to run it.”-TR

    Just how pleased is punch? What is this, The “Howdy Doody Show?”

  • WSB December 14, 2008 (10:26 am)

    Reminder to a few people whose comments we did not approve for this thread. Directly insulting other people participating in the discussion is a violation of WSB rules. Example: You can say someone’s idea is idiotic. You can’t say, hey, you’re an idiot.

  • Jen December 14, 2008 (10:28 am)

    “Just how pleased is punch? What is this, The “Howdy Doody Show?” – George

    I understand the give-and-take of differing opinions and even emotional expressions regarding our current transportation cluster.

    But an informative explanation is made about one person’s status and someone needs to heckle? This might well be the Howdy Doody Show, since we clearly have a peanut gallery.

  • diva December 14, 2008 (11:45 am)

    In my opinion, Jack Mayne was the heart and soul of the West Seattle Herald and Ballard News Tribune. He hired and mentored many fine young journalists over his years at WSH & BNT. It will be interesting to see what direction Mr.Robinson takes those community newspapers. Diva

  • Honduranrose December 14, 2008 (3:51 pm)

    Probably down the cr-pper.
    I agree with you Diva.

  • Jack Mayne December 15, 2008 (10:25 am)

    Trip to Vancouver kept me from seeing the massive response to the editorial. I usually never respond to comments about an editorial because the purpose of an editorial to get people talking and thinking. No editorial will ever be agreed with by a vast number of people, but that is not important.

    We have a problem and we need to make our representatives think about our input, and no better way that to stir up reaction as this editorial has done. Believe me, experience has taught that they see and consider such comment.

    A couple of comments on the comments. I do not hate the WSB any more than I hated the Times when at the P.I. or UPI when I was at The AP. Loyalty to one’s media is not hate. I was charged with building these papers, and I did and I am proud of that. Rose, Rebekah, Michael Allison and Jackie are a great credit to the field of journalism and I am proud I was lucky enough to hire them.

    I do apologise for using Sands instead of Tracy Record. It was an oversight.

    I hope I can write more editorials here, I am itching to comment on the latest fiasco at the Seattle School District and the once-again savaging Cooper School to save worthwhile Pathfinder. Will they ever learn?

    Jack Mayne

  • Jackie December 15, 2008 (11:10 am)

    I’m really going to miss working for you Jack, it was always a pleasure. I sincerely hope that we get to continue hearing your often thought-provoking (occasionally inflammatory) opinions on West Seattle issues. You got people talking regardless of the issue, and that’s what’s important. It will be interesting to see what happens, but in the meantime you certainly are missed!

  • kurisu December 15, 2008 (10:29 pm)

    The surface/transit option includes improvements to I-5 for traffic mitigation- Jack’s article does not discuss this.

    Nor does it mention that vehicle miles traveled have peaked and will decrease over time in Seattle.

  • grr January 9, 2009 (10:08 pm)

    what about this TUBE plan!?!?

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