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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

December 30, 2008 at 4:15 PM

Viaduct replacement

Here we go again

I’d pick the surface-transit option to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct, with one big change: Sink the three-lane southbound roadway into a lidded trench where it adjoins the waterfront, and put a real park with grass, trees and flowers on the lid. Mitigate the added cost by selling air space for one or two condo towers above the roadway.

This hybrid offers advantages to all sides: faster traffic flows southbound and a real waterfront park — not just wide sidewalks, traffic noise and fumes.

It includes elements of Frank Chopp’s idea — a park-covered roadway lid paid for by development — and Mayor Greg Nickels’ vision of a downtown park.

All great waterfront parks have grass and trees: think of Chicago’s Grant Park, or the green waterfronts in Tacoma, Portland and Vancouver, B.C.

Seattle has a once-in-lifetime opportunity to get it right.

— Garry Kampen, Newcastle

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