Campaign Filed to Challenge Tunnel in 2011

Comments

1
I propose we make Comrade Conlin be personally liable for the cost overruns.

It's only fair.
2
I can only beg that it's not any pointless advisory language, but legally binding instead to hog tie the City Council that sold out the city and all that.
3
@1 I love your zeal on this but how about saying something new?
4
It's hilarious that the mainstream Taxers present an "anti-tunnel" initiative as addressing cost overruns.

"Cost overruns" is synonymous with "taxing Washington State for Seattle's boondoggles".

It's not anti-tunnel at all -- its just a way for the Urbist Scam Artists to bilk the public for even more money!

5
I forget--does Western Washington get more or fewer tax dollars worth of services than tax dollars they pay in.

Ditto on Seattle. Who's supporting who in this scenario?
6
Um, how exactly is this "Seattle's boondoggle" again @4?

Because, I sure as hell don't recall being asked MY opinion (i.e. vote) on whether or not to build this monetary sink-hole.
7
Its kinda hard to force transparency on cost overruns, typically its a result of unforseen events that cannot be transparent.

At least this isnt a vote to just eliminate the tunnel option, which is not a good idea since all the money for planning deal with a tunnel. To drop it and switch gears to re-building the viaduct, would require planning that would put the ground breaking well past 2012, which is when the State has said they'll tear it down, even if we dont have a plan in place to repair it. All the money dedicated for a tunnel will get recalled and if it gets torn down and lingers for a while, State may just re-classify the road as a normal road and put the full costs of replacing it on the city.

All the parking fee hikes that are about to take effect, wouldnt help offset much as all the parking under the viaduct would disappear. State would pay to tear it down, but the city would pay to pave a road while waiting for studies that ultimately would pave the way for a new viaduct. Mind you, it wont be as simple as taking the old plans on record and just remaking it, the old viaduct was not earthquake proof.

Also, the funds to repair the seawall, are tied into funds to replace the viaduct?
8
My enemy's enemy is my friend. I'll sign the petition even though I think the cost overruns talk is mostly stupid and many of the people involved are crazy. The tunnel must be stopped. It's a terrible idea even if it comes in under budget.
9
Damn, even Fnarf thinks this tunnel ain't great.

Must suck to be the Governator.
10
@8

So if the tunnel is a bad idea, whats the alternative? Its going to cost a few billion no matter what, not much time left before the viaduct is torn down.
11
@10, if you can come up with a plan that doesn't involve wiping out half of the periphery of downtown, let me know. Seriously: look at some of the pictures. sixteen lanes of impassible concrete across at the south portal. It's a death knell to downtown.

What, you say, what about the cars that use the viaduct now? That's the whole point, those cars won't be using the tunnel; they can't afford the tolls -- $6? $10? All of the traffic currently on the viaduct is going to move to the surface even if they build the fucking thing.
12
The only surprise is that nobody did this 6-9 months ago.
13
@10, there are lots of alternatives.

0: Tear down, build nothing.
1: Repair to extend the viaduct's lifespan so that we can put off Option 0 a few years.
2: Replace with another viaduct.
3: Dig a tunnel with different technology (i.e. cut and cover).

There are benefits and drawbacks to all of these options.

My main problems with the tunnel are the missed opportunity to use that money for something better, and the total fixation on road capacity over the effect any replacement will have on the surface.

A no-replace option puts the focus on fixing the streets and redeveloping the area, and can hopefully forestall the linear park idea. But it will mean really bad traffic congestion.

A repair and wait option is just delaying the inevitable, but at least it's not prone to massive cost overruns and buys time.

A new viaduct will be even more of a gaping wound across the urban fabric of the city than the current viaduct, but it will improve traffic in the short run and will prevent the stupid linear park idea from being implemented.

A better tunnel would probably mitigate the problems with massive tunnel portals in the current design, but mean greater surface disruptions during the process.

A DBT is in many ways the worst of all options, because you end up with a huge expense, untested technology, a massive reinvestment in driving infrastructure, two gaping holes in the city at each portal, a huge surface highway, and an unplanned expanse of open space that will attract beggars and drug addicts.

I'm for tearing it down, putting in a regular city street (or even something smaller) on Alaskan Way, and redevelopment to fix the damage done by the construction of the original viaduct.
14
Gosh, I sure can't wait to plunge to my death when the viaduct collapses in a big earthquake while all this dithering is going on. I'm opposed to the tunnel, but jesus I wish they'd hurry up and do SOMETHING. I'd even settle for a basic retrofit of the viaduct while until the tunnel question goes through the seventeen more initiatives we know it's going through.

15
@13 is correct.

Although cut and cover tunnels still have ventilation aspects that put them in violation of EPA regs for carbon and particulate emissions standards, so pretty much we're forced to choose between Surface Plus Transit (option 0) or Rebuilt Viaduct (option 2).

Congestion is an aspect of design. If you have a five to six lane arterial with signal turns every 5 blocks, you cut congestion quite a bit, by removing all the traffic that turns left across traffic. Using dedicated bus/freight lanes on the outer lanes moves both parking (congestion) and speeds bus/freight by allowing signals that respond to transponders in authorized vehicles - e.g. any freight that meets low emission levels gets a transponder to force a green light, as does any bus, and early left for transit only options.
16
It's not dithering, though. Individual people know exactly what they want. It's just that there's not a majority for any particular outcome, and a majority is willing to play "enemy of my enemy" to stop each possible option.

And politicians will never say this, but a collapse isn't the worst thing that could happen. Building what amounts to TWO freeways through downtown and destroying a mile of the city while doing it would be worse, on balance.

The best outcome would be for an inspection to show that the viaduct is unsafe to use, mandating an immediate teardown. No one dies, the damn thing comes down, and then we're left with repairing the city that's left over. That would also force the worst of the traffic impacts to come immediately, meaning that we'd have a clear test of whether a replacement in highway capacity is needed. If so, THEN we can build a cut-and-cover tunnel. Maybe even with some federal dollars.
17
The deep bore tunnel was chosen BECAUSE it's the most expensive option and the most people stand to profit off of the construction. I guess it's time to stop being nice.
18
Damn.

@17 for the insightful win. Short and sweet.
19
@16 - except that we already KNOW what would happen if the viaduct became unavailable.

After the NIsqually earthquake, the viaduct was closed on a weekday for inspection. What was previously a 15 minute trip from the south end took 1.5 hours. Every conceivable route - Marginal Way, 1st, 4th, I-5 - was at a standstill. From the north end, the same: 15th, Dexter, Eastlake - all stopped.

The surface improvements that come along with the tunnel won't help if the tunnel is tolled, as the people who the tunnel is meant to serve - those who want to bypass downtown - will clog up the surface option for those who do want to get downtown.

It's striking that there have been no computer simulations (aside from boostery fly-throughs) of traffic patterns with the new configuration. Don't they have any traffic planners associated with this project?
20
Move Seattle smarter? Sounds like a laxitive ad.
21
@16 -- "Building what amounts to TWO freeways through downtown and destroying a mile of the city while doing it would be worse, on balance."

Yeah, that's easy to say when you're not buried under eight feet of rubble. I think the potential lives lost when that fucker collapses are a little more of a concern than how many routes there are through downtown.

Of course, knowing this freaking city, that's what it's gonna take to get something done. Human sacrifice, anyone?
22
State highways are stopped all the time by initiatives at the local level, right?

This thing will rise or fall in January/February based on the content of the bids, legislation for mass transit funding, and responses to the SDEIS.

There isn't a single alternative that could redly take its place. SCAT want an elevated replacement, the mayor does not. The state will keep doing what they are doing absent a singular alternative proposal.
23
Any time you see "smart" in a title, beware.
24
1. The City, State and the us are out of Tax and Savings for Schools, Roads, Police, and Bridges.
2. Have you seen the total tunnel Cost? Design, Seawall, Utilities, Contract, Overrun, Debt, Interest, Consultants, Insurance, Electricity, Maintenance, Lost travel time. No one else has seen it either.
3. Where will tunnel money come from? The Federal, State, County, Port, Tolls. Where do all of them get their money? From taxes. Every penny.
4. Does it matter who you pay the taxes too? Which politician is more efficient?
5. The tunnel borer will be the largest ever built. In the world.
6. The contract says if the borer gets stuck the State must pay to fix it. Remember Brightwater? It took a year to free the borer and the contractor defaulted.
25
The organizer that filed for this has a very compelling website. http://scotbrannon.net/