Followup: Maps showing WS-to-downtown access if tunnel’s built

These maps were mentioned in the WSB report on last night’s Delridge District Council meeting – and now we’ve obtained an electronic copy of the maps so you can take a closer look: Pages 8-10 of this WSDOT map package show how West Seattleites will be able to access downtown, and points beyond, if the current plan to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct‘s Central Waterfront section with a tunnel is approved. (Got questions? Remember next Tuesday’s “scoping meeting,” WSDOT reps galore, at Madison Middle School, 5:30 pm, which – disclosure – is being advertised on WSB this week to get the word out.)

29 Replies to "Followup: Maps showing WS-to-downtown access if tunnel's built"

  • Smitty February 19, 2009 (4:16 pm)

    For the love of Mike, why no on/off ramp at Columbia or Seneca? Too expensive to build from underground? Then don’t build a fricken tunnel!


    Royal Brougham it is, I guess. At least 10 minutes added to my commute each way.

    I assume I’m not the only one.

  • RS February 19, 2009 (4:25 pm)

    Nope, you’re not the only one. It’s insane that there’s no downtown exit.

  • MAS February 19, 2009 (4:32 pm)

    The lack of a downtown exit is a huge mistake for Seattle, unless they are trying to promote growth in SODO and Georgetown.

  • Pete February 19, 2009 (5:00 pm)

    If you look at the entire package you will see why there is no off ramp from the tunnel. The cost of putting in one ramp would almost double. If you look at the other options you will see that you commute time to downtown will not change that much unless you are going to the north side of downtwon. If you are going to SODO your travel time could actually decrease. I would encourage you to come to the scoping meeting on Monday and learn more about the whole project before jumping ot all of these conclusions about the project without all of the facts having been considered. The tunnel really does make a lot of sense and is by far the best possible solution to replacing the viaduct. Please learn about the other aspects of this project that work in conjunction with the tunnel to improve our traffic options from West Seattle and I think you will then agree that the tunnel is the best choice for the long term.

  • alki_2008 February 19, 2009 (5:06 pm)

    Am I reading this right? From West Seattle, one can either go into the tunnel at Brougham or go onto the 6 (later 4) land “boulevard” and then access the downtown streets from that “boulevard”?

  • Mr. Matt February 19, 2009 (5:09 pm)

    Well it’s good to see that my initial impressions of “this idea is terrible” are wholly confirmed. I use both the Seneca and Western Ave. exits all the time!!! Having to take the surface street option of Alaskan to Western is such a terrible, terrible idea. Can you imagine how much of a mess that’s going to be during the summer and/or tourist months? It would take AGES to get through there if you wanted to head up to Ballard/Magnolia/Interbay. And no Seneca-esque downtown outlet? Why are the Mayor/Governor so sprung on this absurd plan???


  • Mr. Matt February 19, 2009 (5:13 pm)

    Oh, and as a quick aside: I’m going to hope and pray that if this option is pushed through they don’t involve or employ anyone from Boston’s “Big Dig” project. :P

  • Curtis February 19, 2009 (5:22 pm)

    Now before everyone jumps off the West Seattle Bridge, the tunnel is the ONLY good plan that has been proposed. Two things to consider here. 1, the nature of Western and Alaska streets will change markedly, allowing downtown transit times to not suffer quite so much. Fourth Avenue will also become a much more usefull option. While I do wish that there was a downtown exit, NONE of the plans have one included. The other, and frankly FAR MORE COMPELLING reason for West Seattle to love the tunnel is that the Viaduct will remain open far longer than any other plan. I don’t want to think about life for 2 or 3 years “between viaducts”.

    The bottom line – the Tunnel will be for going THROUGH downtown, all other options will be for going TO downtown.

  • cmc February 19, 2009 (5:33 pm)

    tunnel + no downtown access = fail

  • Ken February 19, 2009 (7:26 pm)

    This is probably the most lies, conjecture and misdirection I have seen in a pdf file in years.

    Someone notify Adobe there is a new record contender to take on WAMUs mission statement pdf.

    If you had to prove it was not designed to make sure you cannot get to and from Downtown from southern half of WS in a reasonable manner and you cannot get home on game day at all, I don’t think you could do so.

    The non existent rail links and the imaginary rapid ride and the magic transition from 6 to 4 to 2 into pioneer square is going to guarantee a road rage death toll to listen to in your car as you’re gridlocked.

    I hope everyone involved with this project has the sense not to publish their names on it because I will not forget.

  • Brenda February 19, 2009 (7:48 pm)

    I take Alaska down to my office by the Sculpture Park every day. I think this is going to be a great improvement. And they can build the tunnel and leave the Viaduct great is that for West Seattle.

  • Meghan February 19, 2009 (8:33 pm)

    Pete and Curtis are absolutely right. Let’s get beyond the “sky is falling” mentality (which is based on small-mindedness, negativity and fear) and let’s look at the reality. Even though a downtown exit is feasible, the tunnel is clearly the best option. We can build it while the Viaduct is still in use and eventually get rid of the monstrosity that the Viaduct is. And there will be many improvements to the surface streets to make acceess to downtown as convenient as possible. So stop whining and threatening like a 2 year old, face reality and support the best overall option.

  • zero-to-life in West Seattle February 19, 2009 (8:54 pm)

    First off, I love the viaduct. But obviously, I didn’t get what I wanted. That said…think how smooth traffic will move through the tunnel without any merging from onramps or backups from exits. For me, it is a huge deal that the viaduct will remain open during construction.

  • homesweethome February 19, 2009 (9:12 pm)

    For a city that claims to be so green – if we really want to look at reality – how about some real transit? We are so far behind any other major city it is ridiculous.

  • KSJ February 19, 2009 (9:32 pm)

    Ditto Meghan and thanks for those who express positive attitudes here. The tunnel plan will allow the viaduct to stay up during the transition. This is a great solution for West Seattle, and we need to work together as a community and “show up” to hold politicians accountable to the plan, schedule and budget.

  • westwood February 19, 2009 (11:33 pm)

    None of the plans have Seneca or Western ramps. As Pete said the cost is astronomical. And you can’t build a ramp like the ridiculous one at Seneca that is a 90 degree right turn to a stoplight.

    The idea behind the tunnel and the Alaskan improvements is to separate the traffic the viaduct currently carries. The tunnel will carry the pass through traffic–70%–and the street network and the exit by the stadiums will handle the other 30%.

    West Seattle folks that work downtown will actually have more options with a new ramp at Fourth, an exit by the stadiums, improved traffic on the waterfront, and a tunnel.

  • mrhineh February 19, 2009 (11:35 pm)

    Gosh Meghan, you really like to drill down people don’t you? Everyone who disagrees with your ideas of new growth are “small minded, negative, fearful,whining, threatning, 2 years olds and (taken from another tongue lashing) 20th, oops 21 Century absentees.” Really. You are so nice.
    Anyway,the Tunnel project takes how long to build? So we get to use the Viaduct for that (short) length of time, right? And then, we get to fail on the tunnel for the next 100 years. That’s a poor trade off short term vs long term IMHO for a plan than has no vision into the future needs of downtown access. I-5 will become a bigger mess, West Seattle access be damned. Having a poor plan just to “keep the Viaduct up during construction” is very short sightedness. How about a welcome for the 22nd Century? Too many projects in W. Washington get built for today, not tomorrow, and this is another classic example.

  • Smitty February 20, 2009 (6:54 am)

    Is the “math” on the 70/30 through traffic vs downtown traffic available? I find it hard to believe, but even if true represents approx. 35,000 cars that currently exit/enter at Seneca/Western displaced “somewhere” – and no, they won’t “magically” start riding the bus. 4th and 1st won’t pick up the slack, no matter how well they time the lights.

    The waterfront will still be hard to access because those streets are bigger and will still need to be crossed.


  • homesweethome February 20, 2009 (7:01 am)

    I think small mindedness is clearly reflected in those that think another car-based solution is nirvana. A tunnel is not a savior for West Seattle. How about these funds be used to secure right-of-way for future rail? Funding for transit routes that connect all areas of the city to outlying suburbs to actually make it possible to travel around this region without a vehicle quickly and efficiently would be a forward thinking initiative. I don’t appreciate Meghan’s contention that those of us that oppose the tunnel are small-minded, negative or fearful.

  • Pete February 20, 2009 (8:08 am)

    For all of you that don’t like all or part of this proposal you should come out to the open house on Tuesday evening right her ein West Seattle. It is very easy to make a comment here on the blog but it is quite another thing to show and have your voice be heard. If you feel so strongly about this proposal (whether for it or against it) you should consider coming out and having your voice heard. Some of your neighbors have been deeply studying the various solutions for months and have made decisions after working with reams of information dealign with the various scenarios and building blocks. It is a tragedy that as big a decision as this is for West Seattle there will probably be fewer West Seattle residents at the scoping meeting on Tuesday than have posted comments here.

    If you are so convinced that the tunnel is a bad idea show up and do something about it instead of just making commments on a blog. Stand up and do something positive for your community.

  • WSB February 20, 2009 (8:22 am)

    I echo what Pete says, although this isn’t just “a blog” – this is a community-news website, and like other news sites, whether run by a newspaper, a tv station, or another enterprise, and whether the comments are in “letter to the editor” format or a paragraph here, they are all important too. But the great thing about these meetings is that you are not committing yourself for two hours – you can drop by and pose a question directly to someone who knows the answer, usually in depth, and generally has access to collateral such as maps or other literature to demonstrate it. While they’d love to have your name and formal comments in writing, you also are absolutely within your rights to show up and NOT identify yourself to anyone, just to get answers, ask questions, see the maps and drawings and plans, and head back out again. Since the city and county participate too (as you can see in the ad at the right of this comment, all three agencies are putting this on), you also have the opportunity to find out about some of the projects linked to this – for example, Metro transit expansion, RapidRide, the Spokane St. Viaduct widening. It’s not a traditional “meeting” where you go sit down and listen to someone drone on. Lots more info now also available (and feedback opportunities) at:

  • AlkiResident February 20, 2009 (9:44 am)

    I would like to attend the meeting next week, unfortunately I will be out of town on business, so here is my “voice”. I like the viaduct. My husband and I use the viaduct when we need to get TO downtown all the time. I-5 is ridiculous. I love being able to see the water, mountains, buildings, West Seattle, and the surroundings when on the viaduct (as a passenger, of course). I don’t like the tunnel as a replacement at all – the cost, design, or capacity.

  • Amber February 20, 2009 (10:13 am)

    Am I correct in reading the map that one would be able to exit from the northbound tunnel onto the new two lane Mercer? That would provide decent access to Ballard and to Eastlake/Montlake, and would ease many of my concerns. I’m glad that a direct route to points north is being preserved, by the proposed tunnel. Transit is great and I use it all the time to downtown, but when one needs to get home to WS from Green Lake or Shoreline or Ballard after 7pm or on a weekend, the car comes into play, and a fast route through downtown is a godsend.

  • Smitty February 20, 2009 (11:16 am)


    I voted against it – why does that not count as “something positive for my community”?

  • Steph February 20, 2009 (12:06 pm)

    I agree with AlkiRes. Who has time to go to these meetings anyways. If you have to be stuck in traffic, what a better way to do it than have a wonderful view of our nature, not inclosed in a tunnel.

  • alki_2008 February 20, 2009 (12:50 pm)

    About meghan’s comment – I read it as a comment about people that have a “sky is falling” mentality, not just people that oppose the tunnel.

    Anyway, I must admit that I didn’t do much reasearch about the different options that had been proposed before the tunnel was selected…but for all those that are so opposed to the tunnel, which of the other options did you think would be better? It’s always easy to sit back and say “no, that’s no good” – but it’s another story to say “no, that’s no good, how about xyz instead”?

    I’m glad a decision was finally made, and from the minor research I’ve done recently to get a feel of the other options that were proposed…I don’t see how the tunnel is any worse than the others. I think it’s great to have the viaduct available during construction and I’ll like having a direct route past downtown without having to go all the way to I-5.

  • Remi February 20, 2009 (3:42 pm)

    It looks to me like the offramp to alaskan way would get really congested. If i were trying to get downtown that’s the way i would go!

  • cmc February 20, 2009 (4:52 pm)

    Mass transit has one very major problem: it’s pegged to the level of technology and the travel dynamics in place at the time it was built. The state spends money and resources putting a major infrastructure in place (such as a fixed-stop light rail line). That light rail line may have an expected operational lifespan of say, 50 years. (Maybe more, but probably not much less, given the money and resources involved with constructing it.) So when that light rail line is middle aged, it’s 25 year old technology, built for population patterns 25 years ago. And the gap keeps getting wider the longer it’s in service.

    Cars and roads, on the other hand, are easier to update and replace. As automotive technology improves, cars themselves are self-replacing at the consumer level. Like today they get individuals where they want to go quickly, and when they want to go there– thus in all likelihood they will always be the preferred choice. For the most part, roads are easier to update and reconfigure than a light rail line, to keep pace with changing travel dynamics.

    So in 25 years, most of the cars on the road could be cleaner, more efficient, use better fuels, and be made of better materials than the 25 year-old light rail line running next to them. More so at 35 years, etc.

    The solution isn’t no cars, it’s better cars.

    I’m not a Detroit shill. I have a Life magazine from 1971 with an ad for a Datsun extolling it’s “30 mpg”– it’s just sad that’s still considered a pretty good number today. A change is absolutely in order. I just wonder if that change we need to make isn’t “get people out of the cars and onto the trains”, which only helps marginally for the next 10 or 20 years; but “get people in the right cars”, which allows us the flexibility to grow.

  • Curtis March 4, 2009 (4:32 pm)

    Just stopping back to see how the thread developed. 2 things. 1, to reiterate – NONE of the proposed options have a downtown exit. No such exit was ever planned. That’s NONE, Zero, Zip, Nada. The viaduct replacement will only be for getting THROUGH downtown.

    2, you’re supposed to take the new 4th ave offramp from the widened Spokane Street Viaduct to go downtown. We’ll see how well that works, won’t we.

    In the meantime, folks who want a new viaduct need to keep in mind that it was never planned to have a downtown exit. Did I mention that none of the final plans had a downtown exit? Cuz that’s kinda important.

Sorry, comment time is over.