(Note: I'm keeping this post up toward the top for a few days as it is an important one.)
Even the staid mainstream media is giving the "surface option" some serious play and the Seattle P-I asks the question: Could Seattle do without its elevated highway?
The obvious way to answer the question is to experiment and close the Viaduct for a year and see if we can get by without it.
It's going to happen anyway during construction if we go with the Tunnel or Rebuild options.
So do it now, under controlled circumstances, when we still have the Viaduct up in case the experiment is too painful etc etc. We have the luxury of being able to experiment - why commit to a five year closure when we can actually try it out?
The politics are not easy and it would take self-discipline not to use it in case of emergencies.
But it is going to be closed for years anyway if the Mayor has his way.
So let's just try it and get this "Can we? No we can't. Yes we can." issue over and done with one way or another. Close the Viaduct for a year and see if WSDOT's construction period transportation plan actually works.
Note: The Peoples Waterfront Coalition plan and the WSDOT construction-period transportation plan have enormous overlap as they both assume moving a vast amount of traffic will have to move through the Seattle CBD without having a Viaduct. In fact the WSDOT plan will probably be more demanding of the street system. So let's see if WSDOT has a plan before we get committed to a 4-6 year closure.
Another note: If you are not willing to try this experiment then you cannot be for the Tunnel or the Rebuild as both require far-longer closures.