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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

January 13, 2009 at 4:01 PM

Alaskan Way Viaduct

Cars in the basement,

citizens on top

Washington State Department of Transportation

The south terminus of the proposed tunnel would be near the SODO stadiums.

Editor, The Times:

Just looking alongside the elevated [Alaskan Way Viaduct], all one sees are dirty tired buildings, covered in decades of soot and neglect. This is what a new elevated roadway promises, too. A tunnel, opening up the city to the Sound, will promote a vibrant edge where windows are battened and unopened now. [“Tunnel: A deal, but how to pay?” Times, page one, Jan. 13.]

How can a serious city planner support a proposal that replaces the breezes on the Sound with fumes and the roar of traffic and accidents? How can we as a culture elevate cars and denigrate ourselves? Cover ourselves in grime and block off the views of the Port, the Olympics and the water?

Remember, no matter how expensive the tunnel, the benefits in access to the Sound will outnumber it; the rise in real-estate values and taxes to the city will pay for it; we all will be proud of our waterfront and the linkages between the urban and the natural environment.

Portland’s downtown had a renaissance after tearing down the elevated roadway. San Francisco destroyed its elevated roadway after earthquake damage. There are precedents. We can improve our city by putting the cars in the basement and our citizens on top.

The Sydney Opera House cost $140 million, an astronomical sum back then. Yet now, the world over, it is a symbol of the whole country, for visitors and its citizens alike. Long after the hand-wringing about price is over, will we be proud of the roadway, or will we have “settled” for a “cheaper alternative” that doesn’t change a thing?

— John Richards, Tacoma

We already said no

Wasn’t it just a few years ago that “we the people” voted no on the tunnel to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct?

Well, once again the political powers that be have decided “we the people” can’t make decisions of any importance and made their decision that the tunnel was the right choice and the bill for their great plan will be shoved down our already gagging overtaxed throats.

Gee, its wonderful to be part of a democracy here in King County and Washington state, where votes count only if Gov. Christine Gregoire and Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels and their royal courts approve.

— Jeanne Read, Seattle

Yes to the tunnel

I am in complete agreement with King County Councilmember Larry Phillips regarding the subject “Putting the viaduct in a tunnel lets city, neighborhoods thrive” [guest column, Jan. 11]. Our commitment to the region will play out over the next 56 years as it has in the past 56 years.

We must come up with a replacement that addresses the problem — make that, the opportunity to create what our children will have to live with — now. I side with you completely regarding getting it done right this time.

— Wayne Lubin, Seattle

Comments | More in King County Council, Seattle City Council, Viaduct, Washington Legislature

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