As if telling the "complete lie" that the tunnel project would also magically fund buses was not enough, pro-tunnel campaign Let's Move Forward is now harping that a surface/transit/I-5 replacement of the Alaskan Way Viaduct would cause "surface-street gridlock."

Using pro-tunnel messages crafted by spokesman Alex Fryer, the group says surface/transit/I-5 would "transform the waterfront into a choked boulevard and lock downtown in traffic." Fryer is trying to link surface/transit/I-5 to the unpopular mayor by running ads all over websites that say, "McGinn's surface-gridlock option is not an option."

What is an option? The tunnel, of course. Gridlock woes be gone!

There's one problem: Alex Fryer's campaign is lying to you—again.

Dan Bertolet at CityTank has built on past reporting on the tunnel (here, here, and here) that compares congestion of various construction proposals using the state's data. He begins, "If we assume for the moment that the only thing that matters in the world is traffic congestion, then the key metric is vehicle hours of delay (VHD). The table below shows the FEIS’s projected VHD in 2030 for the tolled tunnel, the tolled elevated, the I5-surface-transit option (ST5), and closing the viaduct." Here's Bertolet's graphic:

Vehicle hours of delay (VHD) in 2030 for various options; source: WSDOT
  • CityTank
  • Vehicle hours of delay (VHD) in 2030 for various options; source: WSDOT

A few things pop out. First, ST5 is the clear winner when it comes to mitigating congestion in Seattle’s city center. Note that ST5 is the very plan that the pro-tunnel “Let’s Move Forward” campaign has disparaged as “McGinn’s surface gridlock.” Also, given the numbers showing that ST5 is a better performing solution for downtown Seattle than the State’s preferred tunnel option, it’s ironic that the Downtown Seattle Association is the largest single contributor so far to Let’s Move Forward.

Read the whole Alex-Fryer-debunking thing.