The Transportation Department says last weekend's inspection of the Alaskan Way Viaduct in Seattle found no new settlement.
The repair of the two piers, estimated to cost $5 million, is one part of several improvements recently announced by Gov. Christine Gregoire on the south end of the viaduct. Work will begin in the fall and will involve drilling a series of steel tubes filled with concrete with a steel rod in the middle. They will support the existing column footings near Columbia Street and Yesler Way.
The tubes will reach through unstable fill dirt and into the stable glacial till soil, making a stronger column foundation and preventing further foundation settling, according to the DOT.
The work is expected to take five to six months to complete and will not require lane closures, but there may be some parking restrictions under the viaduct.
"Of course, we have to replace the Viaduct. Everyone agrees on that."
"It has to be taken down before it collapses."
"It can't be repaired."
I'd rather read somewhere else. I didn't write that, though I agree.
Three years after the Seattle Central Library opened to starbursts of praise, including mine, I am trying to understand why, when I need to spend a working day at a library, I retreat to the Bellevue Regional instead of Seattle's downtown flagship.
It's called "comfort."
His next story should be about why so many people went group-think when the new library was opened. And why the Library Board slept.
You think Seattleites are all nice? And polite? Think again. The "civic conversation" about the future of the Viaduct has a mean streak running through it.
One local "advocacy journalist" snarks about Stefan Sharkansky vs. Reality. The issue is "What did the recent Viaduct vote mean?" No one knows for sure because the advisory vote was devised by the Seattle City Council and then tabulated by King County Elections in a manner to simultaneously clarify and then confuse.
One wag suggests we have yet another election and then realizes ...duh...we already are! One of the leading proponents for "The Rebuild" --David Della -- is running for reelection.
Peter Sherwin comments:
Should we have another advisory vote? Maybe the Bay Bridge and Surface Transit? We could do this like the NCAA. The best finisher in each round would advance. Probably no bay bridge (not that's it's not a good idea, Jensen) vs no 6 lane tunnel in the final.
OK that won't happen so why doesn't someone like Erica Barnett or Cary Moon or Josh Feit run against Councilmember Della with the slogan "Vote for me if you want a surface option for the viaduct" - he's the weakest candidate and he was pro rebuild.
Cary or Josh or ECB should run for Council against Della and make the race an explicit referendum on Surface-Transit. Their overwhelming victory will conclusively prove that S/T is The Choice of the People.
Where do I send my campaign contribution?
(Click to enlarge the photos. Find really big images at the source links.)
Second Avenue in 1928
Big picture here.
Alaskan Way Viadsuct, ca. 1925
Big picture here.
Yes it is kind of a joke. But it's what downtown would probabvly look like if there is no Viaduct and we don't improve our transit system enormously i.e. if we "just tear it down."
But excellent transit as groundwork is a prerequisite to even thinking about tearing down the Viaduct. The City's track record in this area should not give great confidence that the Viaduct could be torn down (at least as part of a Surface/Transit Sustainable Hybrid, if we want to use all of the cool buzz words) in the next twenty years.
I didn't know then that he designed that house. I didn't know that he traded one of his clients legal work for that Steinway, at a loss, and that this was common for him -- that too often he took care of clients who couldn't take care of him. And I didn't know that he loved sweeping architectural forms and the way highways plot the progress of man so much that when the Alaskan Way Viaduct went up he took his young family, along with my small father, out for a day of driving -- back and forth and back and forth along the elevated roadway.
He said nothing about my observation, but I remember the moment clearly because I knew I had said something right when I gushed over that beautiful highway, by the smile and look of recognition that flashed across his face.
The way he looked at me then, like you look at an old friend.
The Stranger has an Unpaid Intern on its staff.
So, UNPAID INTERN, why are you "Unpaid?"
Is the Stranger a nonprofit organization? Is it on its last-legs financially? And you feel the need to volunteer to help spread whatever word you think they are spreading?
I am so long out of college that I no longer even use the expression "When I was in college." But I notice that The Stranger seems to have a lot of "Unpaid Interns." (Or is there is only one unpaid intern?) And the rest of the interns get some salary? Is this some new trend in the work-force? You work hard but they don't pay you because you are supposedly so incompetent? But you don't seem incompetent at all.
Just curious: why do you do it? Is it common these days? You seem pretty adept and if you are the ONLY Unpaid Intern right now, you have done some pretty good stuff. What does the union think? I assume that The Stranger -- an a bastion of enlightenment -- is unionized. Or at least adheres to union standards for its workforce. (I can understand an employer's desire not to have a union -- hey! no one wants to share power -- but at least it should provide the same basic benefits as does a union shop.)
But what really puzzles me is that they keep you wrapped in a blanket of annonymity. Why? We don't even know your name or anything about you; you don't even get the benefit of a byline -- pretty cheezy of Management, I think; the least they could give you is the chance to collect some clippings with your name on them. Now all you can do is go yo some future employer and claim that you were UNPAID INTERN.
Anyway, it would be nice to hear -- once you are out of their grip and they can't bully you with a bad recommendation -- your thoughts on the identity and reality of being "Unpaid Intern." I guess what I find most weird and even a bit disturbing is that they deny you individuality and identity and spreading your name around, which of course has got to be one of the big, few (and real) benefits of being an intern.
But it sure seems like a great deal for the employer. Sure they have to supervise you more than they would if you had five years experience. But I doubt if a smart college kid needs a whole lot of supervision to do a good "The Morning News." Do all businesses do the "Unpaid Intern" things? Sounds like a George Bush kind of program. Is it widespread in Seattle? Among what industries?
Btw, here's one opinion from one of your compatriots: Take This Internship and Shove It.
UPDATE: In all seriousness, (and this post is meant seriously) I am NOT saying that The Stranger is doiing anything unusual, unethical much less illegal. A lot of companies and organization seems to be getting free work from "interns" these days.
What I am saying is that I am surprised that the job market is so tight that young people starting out seem to need to work for free. Honest, I am shocked.
And I am definitley saying that the lack of a name and dignity given to UNPAID INTERN is weird and makes me think of live women covered in fabric, though I don't want to push the analogy too far. A little teasing in the office for "the baby" is understandable and maybe even internally bonding but in public he or she is part of the team and should have an individual identity such as a NAME.
Officials said the bomber, Abdelfettah Raydi, and his suspected accomplice, Youssef Khoudri, had not targeted the internet cafe but were provoked during an argument with its owner.
The cafe's owner reportedly refused to allow the man to access to jihadist sites.
There's a story there.
Governor Gregoire definitely took a "Repair & Prepare" approach in her news conference of March 14, 2007. However an acquaintance pointed out something which I had overlooked: a specific date.
The Seattle Times writes that Gregoire
said the state would start dismantling the structure by 2012.
"I'm determined to take it down before it falls down," Gregoire said. "I will not go sleepless at night worried that we're going to have an earthquake and lives will be lost."
Ok. What's the implication of that date, 2012? Among several things, it implies that the Surface/Transit goal has been eliminated. Even assuming a general consensus that we should go with S/T, (which we do not have), there is no way in the world that we will be able to establish the infrastructure to allow us take down the Viaduct in 2012. You cannot implement S/T in five years.
The only way Gregoire could be contemplating taking it down in 2012 is if the Tunnel or Rebuild is still alive in her mind. (That's assuming that she and her advisers actually thought through the implications of that date.)
Practicality and politics are going to require that we do not tear down the Viaduct until certain goals — quantifiable performance standards — are met. We will want to have some specific criteria to know when we have achieved "replacement capacity." I suspect it will take our transport political process a year or so at least to get to any sort of agreement on those performance standards. That brings us to mid 2008.
You need to agree on those performance standards before you can even design any "viaduct capacity replacement system." Add two years for design of the system. Now we are at 2010, (at which point Gregoire would like to have been appointed to a nice cushy Cabinet post in DC with no voters to badger her.)
The Surface/Transit improvements — to replace Viaduct capacity — themselves will take at least 4-5 years to implement at best. And that's after the court challenges which should take a year or two. (You'll have to do an EIS to tear it down — that should be an interesting document. indeed.) Now we are at 2015.
Then you'll need a few years -- 2 or 3 at least? -- to make sure your new S/T improvements actually work. It's now 2017, at best.
No, tearing down the Viaduct is a GREAT goal. But right now it is and can only be a goal because there is no specific plan; and any such plan cannot be achieved by 2012. I'd say ten years from now would be optimistic, (unless one is taking The Stranger's approach to "just tear it down and see what happens.")
So if Gregoire is serious about that 2012 date, she cannot be even considering the Surface/Transit option.
Call it an "upgrade" if you like. Call it a potted plant, if you prefer. But the Governor has done the sensible thing and ordered that the Viaduct be Repaired and made safe while we improve Seattle's transit and surface street configuration in the area.
What happens down the road in five, ten years?, No one knows. My bet is nothing. But maybe the surface and transit improvements will work so well that we will have empty streets and won't need the Viaduct, though I wouldn't bet on that.
As outdoor enthusiasts, we mostly drive trucks that serve the basic purpose to carry/haul stuff, whatever that stuff may be. With practical modifications that we can see real benefit from, trucks turn from box-stock to outdoor machines.
According to Metroblogging Seattle:
According to Editor & Publisher's traditional annual leak, the Seattle Times is rumored to fill two of the three nominee slots for the Pulitzer Prize for investigative journalism.
It's safe to say that any Pulitzer which the Seattle Times might receive will not be for reporting on the Viaduct. It's pretty funny, really. The biggest local and statewide story in many years and the Seattle dailies haven't done anything of even remote significance. Of course that's the key reason we have such a problem anyway: a press which colluded in promoting the convenient lie that the Viaduct must be repplaced and therefore helped artificially limit the range of options which have been considered.
Snicker away, Stefan, but there is undeniably climate change going on. (What we should do about it is not entirely clear, of course.)
But something is happening. For example, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) is supposed to issue a "Hardiness Zone Map" every fifteen years. This animated graphic (from a private organization, The National Arbor Day Foundation) shows the changes over the past sixteen years which effect what you can plant etc etc.
You wonder why I specifically mention a "private organization?" Well apparently the USDA has NOT issued a revised map, even though one was due in 2005. According to Raintree Nursery (whose on-line catalog I was browsing in search of a citrus which might grow in Seattle — yes I have very recently developed an interest in my back yard)
Every fifteen years the USDA puts out a new Hardiness Zone Map. In 2005 a new map was due out however it has not yet been published... (italics added)
Is this failure to issue a revision a political decision by the Bush administration? Or is this delay just one of those bureaucratic Snafus? Or is there something deeper? Honestly, I have no idea. But nothing would surprise me. It strikes me as curious.The USDA has been issuing these maps for many decades; I would assume it has the system to issue revisions down pat.
Any gardeners out there? Are any readers informed about such matters? Why the delay? One part of me hopes that it has nothing to do with politics and manipulation of information by the Bush administration. Another part of me recognizes that I am sometimes overly-trusting.
Violent crime rose by double-digit percentages in cities across the country over the last two years...
Yup, that's what you get when you have Republicans controlling the White House, Congress and the Supreme Court.
"It" is the Athens Biennial.
The intention that lies in the heart of these thoughts, however, is not to orchestrate a one-dimensional critique on an existing situation, but to achieve the very questioning of our desire to have an impact on things. Therefore, the stages through which one goes when negotiating feelings of entrapment and impotence, when one, in their quest to discover a mode of articulation and a sense of participation, attempts to turn to a series of alternatives and is confronted by a series of dead-ends, will be explored. (italics added)
"...to achieve the very questioning of our desire to have an impact on things." Good grief. Are they so bored in Europe that they must make a virtue of not being able to cope? (Coping being shorthand for having an "impact on things.") It seems pretty obvious that our "desire to cope" is part of our desire for food, shelter, & pleasure. Why would one want to question such a desire? Unless one somehow thought it fashionable to question life itself. I can see questioning the quality and environmental impact of our manifesting, our coping, our civilization; I do it all the time. A good question in that vein might be How can people tune out the ugly, the foul, the inhumane? Is that yet another survival skill? Albeit one with some negative impacts. But I am lost as to how one could write a sentence which calls on us to question our desire to "make a difference," to achieve some immortality, even though we know that at the very very best, we are Ozymandias.
I don't know how I got on their mailing list but boy, they sure got the wrong American. Of course maybe the text is just an inept translation and it makes sense in the original (modern) Greek. But I received the translation.
Only in Seattle.
As one artist put it, nobody wants to come out looking like the complainer, like the one who won't go along.
This post illustrates exactly what has been bothering me: the intelligent guy who votes for the absurdly asinine Rebuild because he is not aware or has given up hope that the authorities could simply Repair the viaduct.
I'm voting NO on the tunnel and YES on a new Viaduct. I'd prefer to repair the existing structure instead of building a new one, but the important thing is to preserve capacity for the most reasonable cost...
The reason I blame the Surface/Transit people (I take for granted the complete venality of Tunnel supporters) is that they have been willing to accept the convenient lie that the Viaduct must be Replaced. They have accepted that lie without hesitation because they wanted to use the supposed impossibility of Repairing the viaduct to further their own goals if tearing it down.
Thanks, Erica Barnett, Cary Moon and Horse's Ass. I believe that the Rebuild is a terrible, terrible idea — especially when the Viaduct can be Repaired for whatever combination of dollars, timeframe and safety you desire. So anything which helps the Rebuild (such as silence about other alternatives) is a huge error. If we get a strong vote for the Rebuild (because many people are just not aware that the Repair is possible) we'll know the villains: it's people who helped spread the lie that the Viaduct must be Replaced.
What puzzles me about the current British "cash-for-honours" scandal is why is it a scandal at all? Isn't purchase the way the vast majority of peers — either recently or way back oh-my-gosh generations ago — were elevated? i.e. they did a favour or service to the government, whether that government was king or prime minister? Oh every now and then you get a Churchill (Marlborough) who won a big battle and cashed-in that way. (And cash-in he did — the guy bargained hard for titles and estates as if he was a fish-monger.)
But clearly, except for the thugs who simply stole the land and the title with which it came (pun intended) in the days of William and his successors, hasn't every other "noble" simply bought his title? Titles have always been granted for doing "favors" in one way or another. I am dead serious. Go read your British history if you think that elevation to the peerage was ever due to anything besides tit-for-tat, except for those particularly skilled in killing and even then it was tit-for-tat, the sovereign saying "Go kill for me and you'll be a baronet; kill well, a baron; kill stupendously well and you'll be a Dook."
What's the fuss now?
UPDATE 3/10/07 Ah...I was wondering if this might be an element of the story: Anti-Semitism is blamed for furore over Lord Levy.
Government (at the behest of neighboring homeowners) is creating price supports under existing housing by limiting supply. Does it intend that impact? Probably not. But that's irrelevant; the impact is there. An example: Council votes to save Henry Whitney Treat House on Queen Anne.
SEATTLE -- A Queen Anne landmark will stand, the Seattle City Council decided Monday by an 8-1 vote...
...A Queen Anne community group had petitioned the city to keep the large mansion standing. Its zoning would allow up to 55 units of housing to be built on the half-acre lot with sweeping views of the city, waterfront and Olympic Mountains. (emphasis added)
Am I against historic preservation? No way. And I don't know the merits in this case. But the real impact of preservation in a case like this one — no matter the preservation values involved — is to ratchet down the supply of housing and thus increase its value. The "trickle-down" impact here is that the people who would have been buyers/renters in a top-notch location must now look elsewhere, this raising the demand down the whole supply-line. Personally, I benefit; I own a house. But it is bad public policy.
(Originally posted about January 28, 2007. But it's still timely so gotta bring this up to the top.)
Councilmember Peter Steinbrueck offers what should be the grand compromise to get us out of this absurd no-win Seattle viaduct debate.
Councilmember Steinbrueck writes:
"I'm not opposed to fixing up the viaduct in the short term, while we figure out a better long term sustainable solution to dealing with the traffic. I absolutely can't see spending a ton of money on a short term fix. Rather, just do the minimum, and invest heavily in surface and transit improvements (Ron Sims' 49 little things, and Danny Westneat's 1000) that would ease off the demand for using the viaduct."
I couldn't agree more.
I hope that Steinbrueck's practical, wise and timely suggestion will stimulate discussion and debate both here on this blog and of course throughout the community. Will there be questions? Of course. But I hope they are real questions and not disguised propaganda.
Btw, Steinbrueck's proposal is needed now more than ever. By my reading, the Tunnel balloon has been definitively popped:
The RTID executive board voted unanimously to increase its contribution to the replacement of the Evergreen Point Bridge, which carries state Route 520 between Seattle and the Eastside. The increase, from $800 million to $1.1 billion, ..... The decision to pony up more for the bridge came as RTID reshaped its initial list of proposed projects, drafted a year ago.....The biggest cut was eliminating an $800 million contribution to a six-lane, double-decked tunnel to replace part of the Alaskan Way Viaduct. ..... The $800 million has been "reprogrammed," RTID project manager Kjris Lund said...
"Reprogrammed" is governmentese for a knife between the ribs.
Unknown attackers have devastated a historic Jewish cemetery in Bavaria. The vandals overturned about 60 headstones, irreparably damaging half, police said Monday...
...However police said the damage may have been simple vandalism rather than being the work of far-right extremists because no Nazi symbols were found daubed on the headstones.
Is the police conjecture of "simple vandalism" even remotely credible? How many Christian, Moslem or non-sectarian cemetaries have been "vandalized" in the past few years? Can there really be vandalism of a Jewish cemetary in Germany which is not anti-Semitic? I ask in all seriousness, though obviously with extreme doubt in my mind.
"Collecting" sounds far too refined for the acquisitive madness which is described in this article about a social scene (of which I know nothing and never will know) where people have too much money to know what to do. Sort of like the potlatch tradition except one gives the resents to oneself. Did Tom Wolfe write this article? Did the poor woman (actually quite rich) understand the disguised contempt with which she would be treated by the reporter? Here are just a few examples:
“Look at all these people crowding in,” she said. “It’s like, ‘Attention, K-Mart shoppers!’ ” At Basel, the big art fair in Switzerland, “the people actually push to get in front of you — rich people!”
The fourth piece Ms. Hancock bought was a painting by a Chinese artist, Ya Pei-Ming, that a director of the Milanese gallery Massimo De Carlo was holding for her in a back room. It cost $60,000 and depicted a red skull.
“It just really moved me when I saw it,” Ms. Hancock said. “It’s hard to describe, but it fit my sensibility. It’s not political, it’s not outdoor sculpture. And the artist had a huge book published about him, and I’d looked up his auction prices.”
At 1 p.m., Ms. Hancock sat down for coffee with a couple of fellow collectors. She was $230,000 lighter but thrilled with the morning’s haul.
“Everything good will be gone by 2 p.m. anyway,” she said.
Just remember: no matter how charming, the journalist is not your friend but is hard at work making a reputation for himself and selling advertising.
What's interesting is that Ted Van Dyk's essay is not earthshaking or fabulously "brilliant." No disrespect at all to Van Dyk; he's done a good job. What's remarkable (besides that very nice turn of phrase of " the verdict should not precede the trial") is that most of his ideas are so commonsenical. Lacking from the last six years of discussion (this is Seattle) are some basic truths. For example, the popular belief is that "the Viaduct must be Replaced" and cannot be Repaired. I heard such a normally astute and even skeptical obeserver as Ross Reynolds (KUOW radio host) offer that convenient fiction without hesitation, blandly spreading misnformation which furthers a particular political agenda. (The local media refuses to admit any responsibility for the Viaduct fiasco. For example, has KUOW or any media outlet ever had a show in which it focussed on the threshold question of "Must we Replace the Viaduct?" For shame KUOW and others for your intellectual laziness.) Anyway what's great about Van Dyk's opinion piece is that it offers ordinary, basic, commonsense notions such as asking questions, the sort of thing any "responsible public- or private-sector leader would raise before proposing a solution" except if they were proposing a War in Iraq or a Tunnel in Seattle. Yes, folks I will keep beating that drum because the parallels are too striking to avoid. One of the most awful things to read in Bob Woodward's "fly-on-the-wall" account of the path to the Iraq war is that there is not one scene in which (even for show!) the President is briefed by his aides and walked through the problem ("Mr. President, we have a very bad and dangerous man in control of what we think are WMDs.") to the solution ("Mr. President, on the screen you'll see a range of six major options and I'll walk you through them in detail with their respective pros and cons.") Yes folks, there was no such discussion. The war started with Mr. Bush asking Mr. Rumsfeld something like "How long would it take you to get a plan of invading Iraq in place?" Yup, no trial. Just a verdict. So to here in Seattle with the Tunnel and what's great about Van Dyk's piece is that he asks us to go back to basic problem-solving methodology, (which methodology is actually required by law, btw.)
The present viaduct and Evergreen Point Bridge could come down with the next moderate quake. That fact has been known for six years. After all this time, questions still have not been asked, and answers received, regarding fundamental issues that any responsible public- or private-sector leader would raise before proposing a solution. Gregoire and Chopp, late in the day, are asking questions. Before they proceed further, they should get all the answers -- i.e., the verdict should not precede the trial.(italics added)
I have been alternately astonished, amused and annoyed at the silent treatment accorded "Repair & Prepare" by virtually all local pundits.
The standard-issue workaday professional journalist types like Postman or Ross Reynolds and Steve Scher at KUOW seem to have bought into the convenient fiction that "the Viaduct must be replaced" and that a Repair will only last a few years yet cost billions. So even now they refuse to discuss it. As with Iraq, one of the reasons we are in such a terrible mess is because of the very poor reporting by the media, and that includes our precious liberal KUOW.
The bloggers like Goldy or the crew at The Stranger's Blog — intellectually livelier but a whole lot less responsible — also refuse to even say the word "Repair." (As a clarification, I don't believe that most of the writers at The Stranger are journalists.)
Why do they ignore & fear Repair? Some, of course, have lost their critical faculties and believe everything which authority figures tell them.
Some remain silent out of fear.
Their silence is foolish but not irrational. From their perspective the danger (what they fear so much that they cannot even admit that a Repair is possible) is that the "Repair" will be done and the "Prepare"will be forgotten. No question, that is a real problem. It will take focus over many years to create the infrastructure of transit which will even come close to allowing dismantling the Viaduct. During that long interim period new issues can shift public focus and the "temporary" Repair can become practically permanent. Consider the "temporary" structures of WW2; many were still used into the 80s.
Like all great works, changing the transportation patterns of a major city will take time. Time is the enemy of the deal and in this context the Repair is a danger to those simple enthusiasts who wish to simply "tear down the Viaduct" and let the Devil take the hindmost.
But the danger cannot be avoided. It must be faced squarely. A Surface/Transit option without an interim period of Repair — which interim period may be a decade or more even with the most vigorous pro-transit policies — is a stillborn Surface/Transit option. "You can't get there from here" unless you admit a Repair and make it part of your program. Wake up, dreamers!