Tomorrow night: Speak out – and find out – about The Tunnel

6-8 pm tomorrow at Madison Middle School, it’s your next major chance to find out — and speak out — about the plan to replace the Central Waterfront section of the Alaskan Way Viaduct with a deep-bored tunnel. Reps from the state Transportation Department (which is advertising the meeting on WSB to help get the word out) and other involved agencies/departments will be on hand both to answer your questions and to take your comments, to help shape the environmental-studies process required before tunnel-building can begin. It’s open-house format, so drop by any time between 6 and 8. And remember it’s not just about the tunnel itself – these meetings also offer information about component projects (such as the Spokane Street Viaduct Widening Project taking shape alongside the east section of the West Seattle Bridge). In the meantime, three working groups continue meeting to discuss specifics regarding how the tunnel and other components of the “transportation corridor” will work — read on for the latest on what they’re up to:

Two of the working groups have West Seattle representation: Jerome Cohen, Vlad Oustimovitch and Pete Spalding are on the South Portal working group; Chas Redmond and Mark Wainwright are on the Central Waterfront working group.

At the south group’s third meeting last week (as reported here), a surface-road concern that erupted at the second meeting was addressed: Here’s how Oustimovitch explained it when we sent a followup question afterward:

The project team has come up with an alternative that maintains a through connection along E. Marginal Way (the continuation of surface Alaskan Way as it bends around the Coast Guard Station heading south). The three alternatives that were presented at the previous meeting all severed E Marginal in the area of Pier 46, and eliminated the direct waterfront connection to the West Seattle lower bridge. This was opposed by all three WS stakeholders, as well the stadium and the manufacturing industrial representatives. We were all very happy to see that the project team had developed an alternative that uses an elevated section for E Marginal to overcome a the dimensional constraints in the south portal area. It still needs to be fully designed, but it looks promising and should maintain an important alternative to using SR99.

You can see materials from the working groups’ meetings (including presentations with graphics) by going here The South Portal group meets again June 24, 4 pm, Sound Transit board room (map); the other groups’ next meeting dates/times aren’t listed yet but you can watch this page on The Viaduct’s official website.

13 Replies to "Tomorrow night: Speak out - and find out - about The Tunnel"

  • B-squared June 9, 2009 (8:22 pm)

    I just got a really strange robo-call for a poll about my opinion about the tunnel. The gist of it was a series of damning statements, and, after having heard said statement, did my opinion of the tunnel change. things like, the tax payers will be on the hook for over runs, the tunnel was the idea of the Discovery Institute (spooky local think tank), persons running for mayor oppose/support the tunnel and would you vote for them, etc……. i’m not sure i get what they were looking for or if they were pulling a Karl Rove and sowing seeds of doubt about the tunnel. weird.

  • WSB June 9, 2009 (8:48 pm)

    Can’t say for sure that this is the same thing, but apparently one of the anti-tunnel mayoral candidates has been running a poll that shows him scoring better when people realize he was anti-tunnel. (added – it was Michael McGinn)

    I would wager this is related to somebody’s campaign – although I thought laws required disclosure of who’s behind the robocall??? will have to research that — TR

  • MargL June 9, 2009 (9:41 pm)

    Yeah – I probably just got the same robo-call. “Scientifically selected” “registered voter” blah blah, I just hung up.

  • Michael June 9, 2009 (10:59 pm)

    I get really, really tired of the crap Seattleites always do to delay and inflate the cost of infrastructure with squabbling and blocking. (That Monorail would have sure come in handy last December…come to think of it, so would all the other mass transit people obstructed over the last 40 years.)
    Smart concerns about particulars are important, but going back to the drawing board would be a colossal waste of money and time.
    And this cinches my vote against McGinn, that’s for sure.

  • Chris June 10, 2009 (6:40 am)

    If you think this $4.2 billion tunnel boondoggle is progress, I understand why you liked the monorail.

    Seattle taxes are going up by a billion dollars to pay for this thing, plus we’re on the hook for all the cost overruns. Our heads will be spinning by the time the city is done raising property taxes and increasing utility rates. All for a half-baked plan that doesn’t even have onramps downtown!

  • 56bricks June 10, 2009 (8:33 am)

    Apparently the majority of the people of Seattle aren’t properly informed when they cast their votes. ie stadium,tunnel. Decision’s already been made, we just voted wrong.

  • Patrick June 10, 2009 (9:56 am)

    Can we all stop bickering and just build the tunnel already? No option is perfect, but I think by now it’s been shown that the tunnel, along with enhanced public transportation, is the best overall route to take. Why would we want to build an even bigger hulking highway structure along our waterfront when we can open up the waterfront to downtown – with new parks and promendades for all – for generations to come? And clearly a surface highway along the waterfront can’t carry enough cars. The tunnel is clearly the best option for the long-term. Even if it goes over budget (which any of the options might do), it’s still the best option. So let’s stop trying to stop it and move forward.

  • schwaggy June 10, 2009 (10:24 am)

    Seriously, Patrick is spot-on. It’s done. It’s happening. No more “speaking out” about it. Just go to your happy place and move on if you’re against it.

  • Cliff June 10, 2009 (12:28 pm)

    I didn’t think it was the elevated road that cuts off downtown from the waterfront, but the giant cliff.

  • sarelly June 10, 2009 (1:36 pm)

    A tunnel is a terrible idea. We live in an earthquake zone. The viaduct should come down. I would prefer to see it lowered to street level – and for there to be more water taxi service from West Seattle to downtown, a more pedestrian-friendly lay of the land, more bike paths, and a better bus service grid. While we’re dreaming.

  • Al June 10, 2009 (3:08 pm)

    “Can we all stop bickering and just build the tunnel already? No option is perfect, but I think by now it’s been shown that the tunnel, along with enhanced public transportation, is the best overall route to take. Why would we want to build an even bigger hulking highway structure along our waterfront…And clearly a surface highway along the waterfront can’t carry enough cars. The tunnel is clearly the best option for the long-term.”

    I agree to a point – that we can’t stop it. But we can make sure it’s useful. To address your statements 1) a tunnel with “enhanced public transportation” – they will add one Rapid Ride bus route. No dedicated bus lanes. No streetcar on the waterfront and one streetcar that terminates at the stadiums. No additional bus service to West Seattle area or further south to Burien (RR Bus Route replaces the 54). Buses will be stuck in traffic. Streetcar will be stuck in traffic. 2) Is the “best overall route to take” – to where? Not downtown. The suggested routes from West Seattle to downtown are via 1st and 4th. Not via the tunnel – you will not be able to access downtown directly via the tunnel, it’s for throughput. 3) “Open up the waterfront” – it’s a 6 lane thoroughfare on the waterfront. It’ll be opened and there will be more park space but it’s more of a promenade than parks if you’ve seen the drawings. This thoroughfare will also have an emphasis on throughput rather than getting to downtown (see #2). This thoroughfare is projected to carry 25,000 vehicles per day; not including the tunnel, just the new 6-lane surface street 4) With the emphasis on how to get downtown and how good the waterfront will be anyone thinking about how to get home via only the 1st Ave onramp to the WS bridge or the lower bridge (which almost also lost a connection from downtown)? There’s no access to the tunnel from downtown.

  • Michael June 10, 2009 (8:31 pm)

    People are SO misinformed: the tunnel is the BEST solution for an “earthquake zone.” BART got people across the Bay via tunnel when they couldn’t use the bridges.
    What we should be fighting for is a better solution for mass transit, and I don’t mean buses, which I think you’ll find won’t see much more ridership per capita than they’ve already got.
    Obstructionists crying “boondoggle” got us where we are now, which is about 20 years behind every other major city.

  • tfine June 10, 2009 (11:38 pm)

    The problem is the lack of forethought. WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE? Presently 3 lanes in each direction and heading to Western Ave. Future plan no access to Western and you will have reduced traffic to two lanes. Presently we have additional population growth, in addition to more people moving her and we are going backwards. The government that we have in place is doing wrong, simply any person with common sense can see the problem with this picture. Leadership lacks, come on why can we do the right thing and build it big enough the first time instead of adding onto it in ten years at a horrendous cost. Bad thinking with bad government in place. Let’s get people in place that care about us and want to do the right thing. Disappointed I am, Yes disappointed, we’ll all pay for the mistake, same as no light rail to WS.

    My Opinion, Tom Fine

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