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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

December 1, 2008 at 4:01 PM

Alaskan Way Viaduct plans

Washington State Department of Transportation

An artist’s rendition of what a multi-tiered Waterfront Parkway might look like as a replacement for the Alaskan Way Viaduct.

Don’t forget,

you work for us

Editor, The Times:

The opinion piece “Don’t mire viaduct plans in lawn-sign politics” [Times, guest columnists, Nov. 26] demonstrates the arrogance of the political elite at its worst. Former mayors Norm Rice, Charles Royer and Paul Schell contemptuously lecture us that the viaduct decision should be left exclusively in the hands of the Stakeholder Advisory Committee, not “lawn-sign politics.”

So who is on this “stakeholder” committee? Am I on it? No. Are you on it? No. It is a self-appointed committee of the area’s political elite and so-called experts. And who are the “obstructionists” who are putting up lawn signs? They are interested citizens like you and me.

The fact that three previous mayors (i.e., public servants) would suggest that the citizenry should butt out is appalling. Who do they think they are? We are the real stakeholders, not them. We are the ones who will be living with the consequences of the viaduct decision.

Today, our country finds itself in serious trouble as a result of the failings of the political elite and economic “experts.” As a nation, we have voted for change. At the core of that change is the demand that our leaders not forget who they work for.

We are not silly, irrelevant “lawn-sign” rabble rousers, we are citizens.

— Dick Schwartz, Bellevue

A turkey of an idea

The Waterfront Parkway? Yuck, what a crummy idea [“High on elevated viaduct,” News, Nov. 26].

We think the existing viaduct is bad. At least we can see through it in spots. A giant wall — that’s [Speaker of the House] Frank Chopp’s idea, an architectural monstrosity of monumental proportions that will put Seattle at or near the top of the “worst public projects in history” list. Building it would mean that Seattle would take a bad thing and make it 10 times worse — a historic civic blunder far worse than the construction of the original viaduct.

I say build a more-slender elevated roadway (if we must) or do a surface option. The surface option allows the greatest flexibility for future changes. We don’t have the money for a tunnel anymore, unless it can be done under the coming “Works Progress Administration”-type federal spending.

Our waterfront is a jewel, not a condo location. It’s the city’s front door to the world. The Chopp wall is the architectural equivalent of those horrid tract houses that show only their garage doors to the street. It’s not a problem at all for those inside looking out. But the wall would be awful for everything and everyone behind it.

What would a mile-long, mixed-use condo/mall-wall say about us? Tacky rubes who lack any vision or social/public responsibility. With all due respect to Chopp and in keeping with the season, this idea is a turkey.

— Pete Rogerson, Seattle

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