Follow us:

Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

December 18, 2008 at 11:35 AM

Alaskan Way Viaduct

Save the scrapers

I appreciate the work Charles Anderson did designing the gardens for the Olympic Waterfront Park but I do not think the scope of his outlook is broad enough when considering the Seattle waterfront as part of the Puget Sound region [“Viaduct replacement gives city a chance to make waterfront unforgettable,” Charles Anderson guest commentary, Dec. 14].

He claims to be a 20-plus-year citizen and advocate of the Greater Seattle community. I do not doubt this. However, as someone who remembers when the Seattle skyline consisted of the Smith Tower, the Space Needle and the box it came in (the IBM building), I feel Seattle has enough skyscrapers. We do not need more extending down to a waterfront boulevard.

If the land portion of Seattle waterfront were convex, we would not need a highway there. Since Seattle is not convex but rather concave and is constricted by Lake Washington to the east, the only logical place for a highway that relieves pressure on the crowded Interstate 5 is where the elevated Alaskan Way Viaduct is now.

How does an elevated, double-deck Alaskan Way Viaduct preclude having the waterfront amenities Anderson proposes?

— Harvey Friedman, Seattle

Look forward

The new version of the Alaskan Way Viaduct is even worse than what we have: an even wider black hole underworld of darkness, filth, rats, pigeons, garbage, soot, dampness and crime. The waterfront will be further inaccessible to the city — all for a 1950s mentality of moving cars.

The question to ask is, “How will our cities look and function in 2050?” Global warming, energy independence and downtown livability should be our focus over the provincial outlook of a few Ballard/West-Seattle commuters and truckers.

Seattle should be the leader in 21st-century transportation solutions, but we must follow neighbors that have reconnected to lost waterfronts. Portland and San Francisco demolished freeways to reconnect to their waterfronts, thinking globally about transportation systems and land-use patterns to reduce traffic volumes on 1950s-era freeways, and moving people alternatively with buses, trains, ferries, bicycles and feet.

The surface/transit option is the choice that puts us ahead of the curve in building a 21st-century Seattle. The fact that local voters overwhelmingly supported the Sound Transit extension last November says a lot about the direction to take on this issue.

Let’s look forward to the surface/transit option.

— Mike Moedritzer, Seattle

Comments | More in Transportation, Viaduct

COMMENTS

No personal attacks or insults, no hate speech, no profanity. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate this thread by reporting any abuse. See our Commenting FAQ.



The opinions expressed in reader comments are those of the author only, and do not reflect the opinions of The Seattle Times.


The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited seattletimes.com access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►