Some comments on a blog here.
@1: David, we've heard you say many times that you believe the viaduct will be retrofitted. But what do you believe OUGHT to be done with the viaduct?
Posted by Henry Miller Lite | April 30, 2008 9:57 PM
#12, Henry Miller Lite.
Ideally, I too would like to see the Viaduct disappear. But I think we are stuck with it. There is no practical alternative. And that's not such a bad thing.
— Repair the damn thing, save the money and use imagination to make it a plus for the downtown rather than a negative. (Yes it is possible and people who can't see it should reconsider. There are many ideas of what one could do. I've written about some of them on my blog. My favorite one is to copy what they did in Paris to an old viaduct. What's tragic about the media -- I am looking at you, _Stranger_ — is that it has played along with WSDOT's basic assumptions and not challenged the government "experts" -- sound familiar? think Iraq.)
— A surface boulevard is a fetching idea, except that I think it would create far more of a barrier than does the current Viaduct.
— A high bridge along the lines of the Millau in France would be great but there is neither the imagination nor the governmental skill/vision.
What is going to happen is just what Mr. X says is happening: REPAIR. Government plays along with the surface/transit fantasy and then when it is obvious that there is NO regional consensus, it throws up its hands and says "Well we have to do something! So let's just repair!"
But yours is a very good question, and I am glad that you see the difference between what I (or anyone) would personally prefer and what the political dynamics will give us. You ask a very layered question. Some of my response:
First of all, I put the issue of the Viaduct in the context of all the possible "good things" which we could do with $3 billion in the city of Seattle. (And remember that the initial budget for this "emergency" were up in the $10-12 billion range, so the issue was even more extreme 5-6 years ago.) Putting it in the context of city-wide possibilities, improving 1.5 miles in one neighborhood just doesn't make sense. Is tearing down the Viaduct a "good idea?" In the best of all possible worlds, of course it is. But when consider the costs versus the benefits to the daily lives of 600 thousand people, it's not even on the table.
There is no way that state/local government is capable of the enormous transformation required by the liberal herd fantasy (i.e. the "surface/transit" option). In order to replace the Viaduct you'd need to re-route traffic which bring on its own law-suits. Then you have to increase the size of the bus fleet. Etc Etc Etc. Taking out an artery like the Viaduct and expecting the traffic to just filter away is not an experiment which local politicians will take when they realize that they are betting there own careers on the opinions of traffic engineers and Stranger reporters. It's a huge disruption and we are not capable of doing a project of such scale with grace. This is not Dubai and we have SEPA. To give you an idea of the fantasy world in which tear-it-down people live, they rejected what was their only chance: "Repair & Prepare."
Truth in government
We have been lied to. There is no emergency. The Viaduct needs repairs but those repairs have been blown up as an excuse for an expensive project which would not pay for itself under norla cost/benefit criteria. The Viaduct is our local Iraq war. A bad situation -- a dictator in Iraq and a road needing repair -- is used as an excuse for a wild-ass, poorly-conceived and pointless adventure. So that's probably more background than anything else but the context of this project is governmental dishonesty.
Posted by David Sucher | April 30, 2008 11:10 PM