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!