Tear Down the Viaduct Now

Comments

2
I seriously don't understand why they can't do a study to have the viaduct closed during a couple of workdays. Arrange it ahead of time for the metro lines that run on it today to take an alternative route down Alaskan. Lets see what really happens if people KNOW it's going to be closed.
3
Mr. Council President, TEAR DOWN THIS WALL!

I agree with Baconcat.
4
@myself at 2. Anyone complaining that SOV traffic will take too long "is the answer" fails. The point of the exercise is without SR99 elevated access, there would be a coinciding increase in commuter transit lines for NW and SW commuters. So, we'd know that the solo rides into downtown from Ballard would be longer, and in from West Seattle, but that would be negated by people using adding commuter lines that come express from Ballard & North and the South and Southwest.
5
@2,

This already occurs when they do semi-annual inspections, which happen on weekends because that's when traffic is lighter - and it makes getting to and from West Seattle a whole lot harder whenever they do it. After the Nisqually Quake the AWV was closed for several days and it made downtown and I-5 an absolute clusterfuck.

I'll be driving on the AWV later today, and have no worries about continuing to use it for as long as it's standing.

The WSDOT propaganda video depicts a scenario in which the seawall is not rebuilt - you might notice that a good deal of the waterfront also goes into the drink, as well. Should we condemn all of the property along Alaskan Way, also?
6
Oh, and Dominic is incorrect - what WSDOT has really been pushing since 1994 is a tunnel, their support for an elevated rebuild is more recent (ie - after Seattle voters rejected the tunnel and rebuild in a bogus "advisory" ballot that was deliberately designed to obfuscate the issue)
7
@6) But then in 2008, WSDOT concluded that a twin bore tunnel was too expensive. I'm still waiting for a proposal to replace all roads with Oompa-Loompa-style rivers of hot chocolate.
8
@5 What makes it so much harder to get out of West Seattle, exactly? Put the buses on the roads. Yes, the run up to the viaduct today on 99 is a dead end if the Viaduct is closed, but that wouldn't be the case if the viaduct were gone. Just make the West Seattle buses, once they clear the bridge, a non-stop into downtown. People on the streets along the way will still have all the existing bus lines that already run.

For the SOV people, again, you add a regular commuter line into each area that will stop at all the 'major' points. The junction, Market & 15th, downtown Fremont, the Stadiums, places like that. For the people that insist on SOVing it still, the reduced number will be fine on the street then.

All the bus lines out of West Seattle get their own dedicated lane like we see today on Elliot in Interbay south of the Ballard Bridge. Whoosh.

The goal isn't to cater to people that refuse to get out of their cars, it's the overall benefit to the widest possible number of people. If it means an extra 5 minutes on the commute time for bus commuters from the SW, it's not the end of the world. At all.
9
Where's the collapsing-pavement-dodging cyclist?

Oh, wait. You mean this ISN'T a clip from "10.5"?
10
Totally agree. It's driven me mad for years to hear city leaders use the imminent danger of the current Viaduct as an rationale for an expensive replacement; yet, they're completely comfortable with people using it until they've made their pitch.

11
@5 I'll one-up it even further: dump all the local and commuter bus traffic from West Seattle into the bus tunnel.

It's a short hop from the West Seattle bridge approximately.
12
The video needs more screaming and flaming bodies falling from the sky.
13
@11,

Do you actually take the bus? I ask because, if you did, you would surely know where the bus tunnel lets out and that that location is a shitty spot for any number of West Seattle bus routes that continue past downtown.
14
Even before tearing the viaduct down, doesn't it make sense to first implement the surface alternative? We know we will eventually need the surface alternative along with whatever else we do. It's just a foreseeable fact due to urban growth. Frankly, I think the surface option is needed today.

If the surface option is implemented first, then when the AWV is torn down, the downtown streets will have a greater capacity to cope with the diverted traffic.
15
This is the only sensible thing to do, because it will resolve once and for all the competing contentions about how much traffic on the Viaduct corridor is actually necessary, and how much of it is induced by the presence of the Viaduct itself.

It will also produce real data about where the problems are, so that any future replacement or non-replacement can be focused on those problems rather than maintaining a uniform level of capacity for the whole corridor. We'll have real data to answer whether this route is needed for city bypass purposes, mostly in-city use, freight, or whatever.

Experimental closures won't work because as short-term measures they will encourage people to play ahead for short-term alternatives. That's going to actually make the traffic needs seem less than they are. Tear it down, see what the consequences are, then plan and build a solution that deals with those consequences.
16
Just make the West Seattle buses, once they clear the bridge, a non-stop into downtown.


Oh I see. You don't know what the fuck you're talking about. The 21/22/15/18 run between West Seattle and Ballard regularly. What are people in Pioneer Square who need to get to Ballard supposed to do, exactly? And an extra five minutes? You're on crazy pills. Driving to West Seattle in an SOV takes maybe 20 minutes. The bus currently takes closer to 40. Is it really that hard to figure out why people choose to drive?
17
@13 yes, I do. How is it shitty if 99 (which would no longer dump onto the viaduct itself, which wouldn't be there) had a dedicated bus-only ramp that led down to the bus tunnel? Or are you saying pushing the inbound West Seattle commuter buses into the tunnel would be bad? I arbitrarily put down "Safeco" as a target because I couldn't recall the exact cross street that the south surface entrance to the tunnel was on.
18
If the surface option is implemented first, then when the AWV is torn down, the downtown streets will have a greater capacity to cope with the diverted traffic.


How exactly does the city do that with the viaduct there?

This gets to the crux of the problem: you are all fucking insane. Here are the two options we have: a new larger viaduct or a tunnel. No one in any position of authority currently takes the surface "option" seriously, and no one in authority ever will take it seriously. So, pick your poison. An uglier, bigger viaduct or a tunnel.
19
@16 Did you not see where I said "dedicated commuter bus lines"? The Eastside has them all the over the damn place, that shoot right from downtown over to points East. Let's add the same for the SW. If the Bridge had a dedicated HOV/Bus lane it with the extra bus routes, it could offset.
20
@14, we have no idea what surface alternative is needed until we know how many people actually need to use this corridor and where the problems with congestion are. It's possible that the street grid itself can absorb a lot of the trips that don't disappear because they were induced by the presence of the Viaduct. One of my biggest problems with the plans for the Viaduct corridor are the multi-lane, open-space aspect of the surface part of the project whether or not a tunnel or surface+transit solution were chosen. I think there are too many lanes, too much open space, and not enough transit. But the only way to resolve this difference in expectation is to take the Viaduct down and see what happens.

I would prefer keeping Alaskan Way the size it is now, possibly with added access lanes for delivery trucks and street parking for local businesses, a median between both directions of traffic, and a bike track . Basically, you'd put in a multi-lane boulevard like Octavia Boulevard in San Francisco. And instead of open space you'd put in broad sidewalks fronting ground-level development. But before you do any of that, you need to know how much traffic is really at issue, and what kind of traffic.
21
@2, 4, 8, 11, etc: You are an idiot and need to move back to wherever you came from immediately. Leave Seattle planning to the Seattlites.

@18 ftw!
22
Would need an estimate on how much it would cost to offset the loss in tax revenue due to the loss of parking on the water front.

If tourists cant park, they cant buy cheap crap or tour the Puget Sound on a day trip via the ferry.
23
Oh all of you shut the fuck up already!!! It doesn't matter; NOTHING will happen until we get hit with a strong enough earthquake to collapse the viaduct and kill a few hundred people. And you all are worried about the busses!! LOL, you just are so cute when you get worked up about the busses when we should focus on CORPSE REMOVAL FROM BIG CHUNCKS OF CONCRETE!!!!!!!

We still have several more months (years, hell maybe decades) of obstructionism, denial, and political and civil gamesmanship while our elected officials bicker, whine and generally do nothing. But we sure are going to have some more press conferences and townhall meetings!! YIPPEE!!!

My advise STAY THE FUCK AWAY FROM WESTERN AVE AND THE VIADUCT!!!
24
The best solution, and a perfectly practical one, is to shore up the existing viaduct so that it's safe.

The viaduct is currently used as part of a busy state highway that serves a MULTIPLICITY OF PURPOSES. It's not just getting West Seattleites to Ballard, though that is certainly part of the issue.

Buses? Buses are, frankly, stupid. Commuting anywhere in the Seattle area by bus takes two to four times as long as driving, and possibly even longer if your destination is downtown. I myself can WALK much faster than the bus will take me; and I have south Seattle friends who work in north Seattle who are looking at differentials of 20 minutes versus an hour and forty-five minutes -- a differential that's gotten significantly worse since light rail, since a number of bus routes were canceled when light rail went in.

The speed of buses is going to go down drastically if the viaduct traffic is dumped onto the streets.

The traffic problem is not simply one of putting X number of new cars on surface streets, but in CONNECTING THEM to the places they need to be, namely, the two cut-off ends of 99. If you tear down the viaduct, these cars will be confronted with the stupidity of Pioneer Square's 1920s-era traffic patterns, which don't connect properly to the downtown grid, which don't connect properly to the Belltown grid. It's not just how many cars, it's where they're going.

The only realistic surface option is a wide surface boulevard with three lanes each way, which will be slower than the viaduct it replaces but still tolerable. The problem with this alignment is that such a boulevard would isolate, cut off, and destroy the waterfront ten times more effectively than the viaduct does. The waterfront and the downtown will be separate entities never in communication with each other.

This separation would be even worse with a goddamn park. Don't believe me? Look at the Rose Kennedy Greenway in Boston: http://www.boston.com/ae/theater_arts/ar…

That's exactly what Cary Moon wants to put there. Six or seven skateboarders will love it; the rest of us won't.
25
Maybe we need an initiative to shut down the viaduct.
26
@24

The problem with that is, you tear down the viaduct in order to repair the seawall, which the viaduct runs along side it. Tear it down, repair the wall .... THEN re-build the viaduct.

You cant keep the viaduct as is, no amount of repairs will be able to keep is safe and sound for future generations as it HAS to be taken down to repair the seawall. If its not repaired, the entire water risks sliding into the water in a major earthquake.
27
Seattle is a city that couldn't possibly build a 14 mile monorail for any less than 11 Billion $. I seriously doubt this town is capable of doing ANYTHING with the viaduct until massive destruction and many deaths have occurred.
28
I agree with the premise; you have to tear it down no matter what. Try it (with some planning backing it) and see what happens. Try it a couple of days a week. It's the cheapest way to see what happens and it's coming down anyway.
29
I had an animated video of the Billionaires Tunnel collapse, but you can see a quicker version just by watching Watchmen - it's the scene at the end when NYC goes bye bye.
30
@30 alternate version of tunnel collapse in the starting takeoff in 2012 as well.

God those people scream as they drown ... how do they record such sounds of misery and human suffering?
31
@26,

Absolutely not true - the seawall can be done as a stand-alone project (and should be).
32
Tear it down.

Run northbound lanes where the parking under the viaduct is now. Fix the sea wall. Put in a stoplight or two, a pedestrian crossing or two.

Somehow it's OK to have stop lights on 99/1st Ave S. between the First Ave Bridge and Spokane. But downtown, NO! THAT'S SACRED AUTO CAPACITY!

Save a billion. So the commute is 10 minutes longer... big whoop. There'd be money for transit investment for tens of thousands of commuters.

Please. Stop the insanity.
33
Fnarf, the current width of the present viaduct alignment, including storefront parking, the viaduct, the waterfront streetcar tracks all the way to the western curb fronting the waterfront businesses (essentially, all the space dedicated to roads) is 56 yards. Aurora north of 85th, with 7 lanes, is currently 28 yards wide. Tukwila International Boulevard, considerably better put together in 6 lanes, is currently 26 yards wide.

You could put Aurora and Tukwila International side-by-side on the waterfront and still have 6 feet more space.

Of course, your traffic flow predictions are way-off, according to this*: http://www.cityofseattle.net/transportat…

91,000 people head in daily from West Seattle. Heading north toward town and all the employment opportunities, the viaduct only picks up 19,000 vehicles, daily from the West Seattle traffic. The rest head on over to I-5 or other routes. That's 62,000 West Seattle drivers using alternate routes that aren't the viaduct. Score one against the viaduct.

Boren carries thousands more cars a day than the number of West Seattle-originating or -bound cars that hop on the viaduct, period. Managing West Seattle's traffic need would only require connectivity to 2 or 3 roads or a high capacity transit solution.

The remainder we see is traffic from Magnolia, Queen Anne and Lower Ballard, short hops to and from Fremont and Wallingford and so on, trips that have numerous tunnel/viaduct-less options, far more than those in the South End. Through all this, the only place where the viaduct exceeds 100,000 daily trips is in the middle of the waterfront, so it's easy to spot that it's not really massive trips that keep the Viaduct humming, it's the short haul ones or folks looking for a way to hop into downtown for one of the 250,000 jobs currently there.

As far as the scope of the importance of the AWV, north of 85th, SR 99, which blossoms to 7 lanes, is only at 35,000 ADT. In South Seattle, SR 99 is little more than a connector, swelling to 85,000 ADT before the Michigan connector, losing tens of thousands to I-5.

People are grossly overstating the importance of the AWV and SR99 when in reality it's I-5 that does the bulk of work. SR 99, like an escalator, only gets used because it's perceived as faster. Stairs still get you there just as efficiently and those who simply cannot will take an elevator. In fact, on stairs, smart people can get to their destination faster and with less hassle than those on escalators, something that bears out in a hypothetical trip from Georgetown to Easy Street on Queen Anne, if you know how to hook up through less-used roads and then curve around, avoiding merging, connecting and ramp traffic (In fact, only in hypothetically perfect conditions is that trip faster via the AWV, 15 minutes versus 18 minutes; this through google maps' ability to compensate for traffic lights but not general traffic conditions).

So far as parks are concerned, Tom McCall Waterfront Park in Portland, which replaced the 20,000 ADT per lane Harbor Drive, is a heavily used and very popular focal point for the city of Portland. But I'm certain Seattle will break up the green stripe idea with a few mixed-use buildings.

*This is only 5-day 24-hour averages, minus weekend and holiday traffic.
34
@Rootology

Joe, even if what you are saying about West Seattle bound buses was workable, you are still only account for 1/3rd of viaduct traffic that wants to go downtown. The other 2/3rds of viaduct uses the viaduct as a throughway past Downtown. All these other options keep being proclaimed about how they can accommodate people to get to downtown when that isn't where they want to go.

Greenwood --> Aurora --> 99 (viaduct) --> 509 --> airport is 30-45 minutes by car. It is two hours by bus and lightrail - or maybe three on a weekend or if the transfer timing doesn't work. It ain't happening.
35
Fnarf @24,

There's enough space to have 6 lanes in a multi-way boulevard configuration. That's four through lanes with a side-lane on each side for street parking. You have islands between the side-lanes and the central boulevard and in the center of the boulevard. See the picture at http://rrcoplanning.ppaponline.org/Multi… to get the idea. There's enough room for broad sidewalks, and the road would be easier and friendlier to cross for pedestrians than it is now. And that doesn't use all the space. The big problem would be how to reconfigure that space with buildings and active uses rather than useless open space.

Note that this is the configuration of Octavia Boulevard which replaced a highway with previous volume around 90,000 vehicles per day and which now accommodates about half that. But it's in the ballpark for what the Viaduct replacement needs to accommodate.
36
@31 and @32 are correct.

Mr. Council President, TEAR DOWN THIS WALL!
37
@24, I was using West Seattle originating trips as only one example. I was not suggesting that West Seattle provides the only or even the greater part of viaduct trips. But it's funny to watch you wiggle your way past those 100,000 trips as if they don't really exist, since you can break them down into many different purposes -- which is what I said in the first place.

We use 99 as a way to get to I-5 at Michigan ourselves -- it's vastly easier than trying to use any of the impossible east-west routes in the rest of the city. But those trips don't count for you. Nor do trips that end before 85th -- i.e., the swathe of Wallingford, Fremont, Ballard, Greenwood, Green Lake -- those people don't need to be accommodated according to you. Likewise, south city neighborhoods -- doesn't matter.

As long as that 100,000 can be broken down into smaller chunks, it can be ignored.

As for the width of the space occupied by the viaduct, that's a fantastic argument AGAINST Cary Moon's park plan. It's WAY TOO WIDE for a boulevard, and a park is just a horrible idea, but there's no chance the city will allow anything interesting to go there. So we get a vast anti-urban, anti-commerce, anti-city wasteland. Neato.

What's especially sad about your Portland example is that creating the park you describe will in fact produce a park like you describe -- which means killing off the ACTUAL waterfront. You know, all those old piers, which Portland doesn't have. Tourist businesses, sure, but at least they're businesses, that draw people in. The park's going to drive people away (especially in winter).

The real reason the Waterfront Streetcar was removed was because the Waterfront Streetcar was a travesty, a mile-long passengerless trip to nowhere. It was less valuable to the life of the city than the goddamn Ducks. Bringing it back isn't going to accomplish anything either. It will look pretty in the watercolors, like those Eugene, Oregon ones. Do we want to turn our downtown into downtown Eugene?

Immensely wide boulevards, long strip parks, bogus "restored" shoreline -- this is a recipe for a former city, not a living one. You want the Champs Élysées? The Champs Élysées is the least interesting street in Paris. It has "continental Europe's largest Gap" -- tres fantastique!

So what you're accomplishing with your 56-yard wide street is killing off the only thing that attracts people TO the place you're supposedly "revitalizing". You want to revitalize the waterfront? Put in twenty foot-ferry lines. Short of that, the least you can do is not throw a Tukwila-International-Boulevard-shaped blanket over the entire edge of the city.

Seriously, International Boulevard, "better put together"? Better put together than what, for chrissakes? That road is an unmitigated SHITHOLE, which the gigantic light rail spaceship just serves to highlight even more. You want to duplicate THAT on our waterfront?

What I want is hustle and bustle, the kind that's been virtually driven out of Seattle by the types of planners who are in charge. Octavia Boulevard in SF? Octavia Boulevard is LAME. Yes, they've reduced the amount of cars, but they haven't done ANYTHING to encourage life. You want life in SF? You go someplace where the streets are narrower and the blocks are shorter. Just a few blocks from Octavia is Polk Street -- terrific in every way. Zero input from urban planners. Or the terrific energy of downtown on a weekday -- blows Seattle's CBD to shit. It doesn't have anything to do with the waterfront, of course, because the water hasn't been important to SF for a hundred years.

These are of course irrelevant to the Alaskan Way corridor; San Francisco is a perfect grid, with no bottlenecks -- there's always another route a block or three away in any direction. That's never true in Seattle, where there's ever only ONE way to get between any two points, because we wound our streets around our hills instead.

What bugs me about all the plans is, none of them appear to have been designed by anyone with even the dimmest glimmer of understanding what makes cities pop. International Boulevard is EXACTLY what I expect to get down there.
38
I've been in a lot of port cities around the world, and there are many different ways to do it.

Most of them have grand boulevards. Most of them have truck/freight traffic along the waterfront. Most of them have surface or above ground transit.

It's only holiday spots that have other configurations, for the most part.
39
@31

Are you sure? The Sea-Wall and Viaduct are so close together, Im not sure if you can do both at the same time.

http://www.seattle.gov/Transportation/do…

40
@11

One of the projects listed on the "Roads and Transit Initiative" was to build a direct bus only ramp from the West Seattle Viaduct to the E3 busway which connects to the DSTT.

As you may recall the Sierra Club was opposed to that initiative and it did go down to defeat.
41
@38, where's your grand boulevard along the waterfront in New York? Where's your grand boulevard in London? Chicago has a grand boulevard (though it's not particularly grand), but their working waterfront is in a completely different place, up the Chicago River -- no boulevard there. SF isn't a port city; the port's Oakland, which has no grand waterfront boulevard (but does have a mess of waterfront freeways). Grand waterfront boulevard in LA or Long Beach? Sydney has a...waterfront viaduct. Singapore has a big ol' honking waterfront viaduct. Rotterdam? Nothing you could really call a grand boulevard along the water, though there are roads. And on and on.

You are wrong as ever.
42
Fnarf, SF isn't a perfect grid and there are plenty of bottlenecks. Lots and lots, in fact. Every neighborhood is at a different angle from the others. Thanks to this, travel times in SF and Seattle are fairly comparable, in fact. Even if you avoid major state roads and highways. What helps them is the Market Street Subway and a robust transit system.

And you're comparing Seattle to cities that are far older and more established. Stronger and more established cities have been rapidly replacing these large bypasses with smaller and more intelligently managed solutions. Even so, the busiest cities are almost always beset by traffic. Traffic happens when you're where people want to be, even if the busiest portion is something a good subset of traffic wants to avoid but can't.

But that's them.

So far as capacity solutions for a tunnel-less Seattle, here you go:
1) 45,000 are traveling downtown. A 4-lane road should comfortably sustain 44,000 cars in either direction a day within an urban setting by generally accepted LOS standards. Current usage in the central core is about 10-15,000 per road on 1st, 2nd, 4th and 5th avenues. Spend a couple million improving access at the north and south end, problem solved.

2) 60,000 are bypassing downtown, but we can certainly bring that number down by diverting 15-20k to I-5. The remainder that prefer a westside drive can easily be directed onto a new 4-lane for bypass traffic and Western for close-in trips (like to LQA). The 4-lane can easily be limited access and include pedestrian enhancements like well-placed caps, well-marked crossings and so on.

The actual touristy waterfront is a mere 4-6 blocks long. And given the geography, there's obviously going to be a dead zone at the base of the bluff that makes up the area from Belltown to Pioneer Square. That's why Western is basically lofts and furniture stores and that's why a 4-5 lane limited access road wouldn't hurt anyone.

For people and bikes, it's no big feat to simply direct access from the much higher bluff down to the central core of the central waterfront.

And you'd still get to K-Mart and the zoo as quickly as you currently do.

That is, if our future generations are moving toward maintaining the status quo so far as car driving goes. Which they aren't, surprisingly.

Oh, and next time you latch onto something like my comparison to TIB, make sure you're interpreting it through common sense instead of a vapid reading like "OH MY GOD YOU WANT THAT DOWN THERE ON THE WATERFRONT?"
43
@39,

Do you have to tear down the whole waterfront to replace the seawall, too? No - they'd do it in phases with temporary shoring and whatnot....
44
@41 read what I said. Most.

God, you're a stupid tunnel flack.
45
this comments thread is a good illustration of why the tunnel is state law. it's easy to be unified against the tunnel, but if the tunnel were out of the picture, you'd have complete mayhem once again, and nothing but squabbling and nothing anywhere near a consensus. (just like before the tunnel was chosen. apparently memories are very short around here).
46
@baconcat
The actual touristy waterfront is a mere 4-6 blocks long.


From Ivars to the sculpture park is ~1 mile. If you count that along 1st Ave, it's 22 blocks. Tourists walk this distance all the time, even in winter.
47
@46,

And they do it with the Viaduct there (though the AWV does angle inland away from the waterfront for much of the stretch you are describing). In fact, lots of those tourists (and certainly a lot of locals) do much of that walking in winter UNDER the Viaduct.

Yup, even with the horrible, horrible Viaduct (which currently provides vastly greater mobility to more people than any of the alternatives proposed) the waterfront remains one of Seattle's top tourist destinations. You also won't be able to get one inch closer to the water than you can now if the AWV is torn down, either.

...and if you keep going after Myrtle Edwards there's about another mile (at least) of waterfront park for downtown residents and tourists to enjoy, too. I do wish they would restore public water access at the Washington Street Boat Landing, though.
48
What about the history of "doing it anyway?"
Through legal wrangling these huge projects get done anyway no matter what voters think.
The new bonus is, Tea Baggers cry for rights and don't realize they aren't the only ones wronged.
--"I'm goin in Mav"--
49
that video is awesome! all you need is, like, Matt Damon trying to reach his daughter in her terrorist-held collapsed school, and y'all got yourselves a blockbuster!
50
@33:
Through all this, the only place where the viaduct exceeds 100,000 daily trips is in the middle of the waterfront...

Yup! And so that's THE EXACT PART you think we can do fine without, huh? Why... yous a fuckin genius ain't ya?!?

Let's pick apart the numbers you're sighting for a second

According to http://www.cityofseattle.net/transportat… the present TOTAL of all the traffic traveling today on 1st through 6th Avenues, between Yesler and Olive COMBINED is 111,700 trips.

While the Viaduct, over that very same stretch, carries another108,200 trips.

Now let me get this right, you're proposal is to DOUBLE the amount of traffic on downtown streets -- from 110, 700 to 218,900 trips per day?!? Is that right? That's really your "low impact" plan, huh?!?

Stop for a moment and think about riding your bike from The Moore to Showbox Sodo at rush hour. Now think about doing the same thing with twice as many cars on those same streets with you.

A brilliant plan! You're a fucking genius!!! So do me a favor:

Show me on the map EXACTLY where to put those 110,000 extra trips without increasing that current road's usage by at least a factor of FIVE?
51
@50: Well, I know that 45,000 aren't going further than the core of the city which holds over 250,000 jobs and is increasing every day. And I know that another 35,000 are headed to Interbay, LQA and SoDo, which are easily absorbed by through-streets.

I also know that the functional comfortable capacity of a primary urban road is about 11,000 per lane daily, including peak hours, and with 24 lanes N-S and another 40 W-E in the very core of the city, there's capacity. As far as speed goes, I've never been in a traffic jam downtown except on game days -- but what moron actually gauges traffic based on what happens on the day of a major sporting event aside from the actual stadium officials?

I live and work downtown. It's strange what actual day to day perspective offers you. To make a point, let's see -- 5th is currently dead. And not much activity on 2nd as far as I can tell. And on my morning walk at 7:30am, the only backup was buses lined up to pull into bus stops.

@46: Please identify all the major tourist venues in that space on the waterfront and how many people visit each day. According to actual pedestrian counts at http://www.downtownseattle.com/content/b… , 10x as many people are on the waterfront at Alaskan and Seneca compared to Wester and Broad in a summer period. It looks like the reach of all those tourists isn't as broad as you think. But that reality doesn't really matter to you, does it?

All this is because people perceive the viaduct to be a luxury item, and like anyone, having a luxury item taken away is seen as a slap to the face. Cue the tears and irrational belief that no life without that luxury is worth living. All the world will end!
52
@33:
To make a point, let's see -- 5th is currently dead. And not much activity on 2nd as far as I can tell.

Sweet! At 10:40 AM there's really not that much traffic downtown. (Time sigs are a bitch, aren't they?) Now all we have to do is everyone to start work at 11:30 and we're all set! Problem solved!!!

Did I mention that you're a fuckin genius, Baconcat?!?

And I'm still waiting for that "genius" solution to where you actually put the actual trips of the actual cars that actually -- by the very numbers you sighted -- travel through downtown.

(I know: MATH IS HARD. But you are a fucking genius, after all...)
53
Oh, and:
And on my morning walk at 7:30am, the only backup was buses lined up to pull into bus stops.

I'll let you in on a little secret: that's cuz fully half of them were on this magical thingy called a Through Route (aka: the Viaduct) that kept them from bottling up on the very streets you walk.

Too bad we couldn't have a magical Through Route in our future that could keep those cars off the streets once the Viaduct is finally gone!

Who knows... maybe it could go underground or something... huh?
54
Seeing cars exiting into downtown from highway 99 or taking I-5 as an alternative with the viaduct torn down will actually be the reality with a tunnel too because many people will do just that to avoid the tolls.
55
WSDOT is so pessimistic. "Half the city is now without electricity or communication". But the other half of the city DOES have electricity and communication. Look on the bright side.
56
Here are all the numbers you need, timrrr: http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/NR/rdonlyres/3FB…

Scroll down to Exhibit 31 for your answers (and more!). 54,000 on a couplet? That's 27,000 each day on two separate roads, far less than the 44,000 daily trips that would constitute a "busy" road.
57
I have a plan!

Let's turn City Hall into a Giant 40 story tall PARKING BUILDING and use it to keep all those 50,000 cars dumped into downtown Seattle streets after the Billionaires Tunnel displaces them!

And, we can have City Council clean our windshields when they're not doing anything.

Which is ... most of the time.
58
Why does The Stranger continue to promote this patently absurd SDOT propaganda flic? If the Viaduct ever did fall down in such a quake, so would all the buildings in downtown! Yet, in this anti-Viaduct/pro-tunnel propaganda hit piece, not a single window is broken and all the buildings remain perfectly intact!

Crock of shit.
59
@58 - exactly.

I used to work in an office literally adjacent to the SODO offramp from the Viaduct and, looking at the ground and stress alignments, could tell any serious earthquake would result in the exit ramp sheering through our building and right through my office.

At least they can rescue you if the Viaduct collapses. With a deep bore tunnel built in questionable soils below sea level and the water table, sealed in by Seven Gates ... omg.