Seattle Votes "No" on Tunnel, New Viaduct: Surface-Transit Only Option Left Standing

Seattle voters officially rejected both the viaduct replacement and a four-lane tunnel options on Tuesday’s ballot, showing that more and more people are starting to share the vision articulated by John Norquist of CNU, Scott Bernstein of CNT and Seattle's Cary Moon and fellow advocates -- a waterfront complemented by improved surface streets and transit service, not an ovescaled highway. Councilman Peter Steinbrueck, the council’s vocal surface-transit cheerleader, is proposing an ordinance to require the DOT to study this option. Still, some, including Mayor Greg Nickels, are skeptical of Steinbrueck’s plan that would rely heavily on the grid to absorb traffic.

While it's not time to declare victory just yet, this new wave of openness to the surface boulevard option is encouraging. As we’ve learned from other downtown highway teardown projects, Seattle would see a boost in downtown street level activity and urban investment from a surface-street-and-transit solution. Steinbrueck's study will build on one CNU commissioned (see the full report by Smart Mobility) that shows the Seattle streets and transit-system with ample capacity to move traffic efficiently without an elevated or buried Alaskan Way highway. Without a viaduct acting as a barrier between city and bay, the Emerald City's waterfront could sparkle even more vibrantly than Vancouver's.

For more background on Seattle’s Alaskan Way Viaduct debate, click here.


Thursday, March 15, 2007

Surface-transit option is gathering steam_Details are hazy, but Steinbrueck pushes for study
The surface-transit concept is still alive -- even though it didn't make the ballot in Tuesday's advisory election and no one seems to know exactly what it would entail.
But in the wake of resounding rejections by Seattle voters of a hybrid tunnel and a new viaduct as replacements for the Alaskan Way Viaduct, the surface-transit option -- considered Seattle's official fallback option -- is gathering steam.

Read the full article.

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