It's Official: Downtown Traffic After the Multibillion-Dollar Tunnel Would Be Nearly Identical to Shutting Down the Viaduct and Doing Nothing

The Surprising News Inside the Gazillion-Page Environmental Impact Statement

Comments

1
i say we take off and nuke the entire site from orbit. it's the only way to be sure.
2
A 'vent' if you will:

As someone who grew up with the 'big dig' in Boston - I'll tell you flat out, based on Seattle's history, nothing this city has engineered has been impressive or a cure-all. In fact, the very reason we have traffic is a result of poor city planning. On the east coast, we don't have 3 or 4 merges happening at the same time into one lane used by thousands of cars for example. Or off-ramps that turn into on-ramps in a matter of 30 feet. We also never put exits on the left side of the high way, I'm getting homesick thinking about it....oh and the simple signs that tell you what lane to be in miles before you need to.... bliss. (Hence, why our rush hours on the east coast with the exception of the DC Beltway, are exactly that... an hour)

What needs to happen is the city needs to say 'fuck the tunnel AND the viaduct') and build just a normal 4-6 lane highway in it's place, ground level - and have plenty of pedestrian bridges over said highway to the water front. Hell, it could actually look rather nice if done tastefully...a fishbone design by the waterfront anybody? Er...

Metro sucks - we drive our cars to avoid it because it's nice to get to work in a space where you can play your music loudly, not have to sit next to smelly homeless people lugging their shopping carts full of garbage or being late because you have to stop for every wheel-chaired resident in town and listen to that time-consuming chair-lift thing beeping away while you dream up excuses to tell your boss why you're late that won't make you seem "insensitive" to those less fortunate.

I have a right as a tax payer to ride my car with it's locked doors anywhere I want in this goddamn town - with the OPTION of saving the environment (that they'll just tear up to build expensive tunnels with anyway). To extort drivers already like they do here is ridiculous - no place to park, 5 dollar tolls, god forbid we actually be allowed to drive on the roads because we have to make way for all the stupid bikers who pick and choose when they're gonna obey the laws...not to mention bitch about 'sharing the road' yet not sharing the taxes in tabs and fees and plates.... - just so they can get their boney asses to their apparently far-more-important job at 9am.

Point is - Seattle residents are laid back enough that you can rape them in the night, donkey punch them and force them to pay you for it.

So let's all welcome this tunnel project by bending over and spreading our cheeks as usual.

Until some Fremont Hippy proves that it could harm an obscure sea-creature and bring it to a grinding halt.

....I feel better.
3
The tunnel is a very stupid half-baked idea that is being shoved down our throats by rich waterfront property owners and politicians that will most likely retire on the kickbacks they get from the construction companies.

It's simple, people will avoid a tunnel with no downtown exits and a toll.

I will be saying I told you so when road-ragers are fighting it out on our over-congested surface streets and Seattle taxpayers are paying for billion dollar cost overruns.
4
Dom hits the nail on the head, AGAIN. This tunnel is a pure waste of money, and now the state admits it.

Why do you think all the politicians are so desperate to approve this thing? It doesn't stand up on its merits!
5
I don't see how this tunnel would do anything but invite more cars downtown. People would use public transportation a LOT more if it wasn't as harsh as it is now. Vancouver is walkable because planners kept the freeways out of the city center.

The best way to improve traffic flow in Seattle is to create alternatives: get people out of their cars and into buses and subways. San Francisco has demonstrated that you can remove freeways without creating gridlock. In fact, the opposite happens, particularly if you invest in public transportation.

This tunnel appears to be driven by bureaucratic inertia and political spinelessness. A few people (and their companies) just earned 100 million dollars for writing an unreadable report, ratifying a foregone conclusion even as it undermines the reasoning behind the project.

Or perhaps it's about kickbacks. Otherwise, it makes no sense at all.
6
I say put 99 back in it's original location and be done with it. (that's 4th avenue folks)
7
Sometimes "moving forward" is a mistake when you're already on the wrong path.

Let's reject referendum 1 and become innovators and leaders. Following the Scott Walker and Rick Scott model of freeways before all else is not a great goal. Let's not be lemmings, moving forward to an everyone for themselves future.
8
Picking your own statistics to support your own pre-determined outcome is hypocritical when railing against the other side for doing the same thing...
9
You shut your filthy mouth JFLJOE!

At this point it's all about jobs, which is why I propose that it be dug by hand with teaspoons (left hands only, unless you're left-handed). And when the digging is done, backfill it -sans tunnel- one shoe-full at a time. Let's put some people to work!
10
@8: Dominic explains himself pretty well, curb your poutrage WashDOTtie.

Hypocrisy, by the way, is spending tons of money convincing Seattle to build a freeway while pandering to enviros. We're green, tunnel fans claim, but then try to sell us a plan that bumps up GHG emissions. We need honesty, tunnelistas claim, while fudging numbers to force a counterintuitive 50s-era "freeway freedom" plan through a confused climate you helped obscure. WSDOT and Olympia say this plan will cut traffic volumes somehow, but why spend so much to discourage driving? They aren't. They want more drivers, hence optimistic travel projections that overestimate car use. All for gas tax revenue and to abuse the four-wheel freedom fallacy, perhaps?

You can't see the USA in your Chevrolet when you're in a smog-filled traffic-choked multibillion dollar tunnel. We can do far more and far better for far less.
11
This is not my father's Seattle. It also isn't mine. Not any more. I am so outta here.
12
@9 the tunnel provides the fewest direct jobs, perhaps we should hire folks to give backrubs to the spoon operators
13
TL:DR ______________________________Just kidding! Fascinating! I don't live in Seattle, but if I did I'd REJECT REFERENDUM 1 ON AUGUST 16TH!
14
Thank you for the detailed analysis. This is crazy?! Aren't any other local news outlets going to pickup on this?
15
Brilliantly argued, and in commemoration of such a spirited defense, Mr. Holden will be encased in amber and mounted above the tunnel entrance.
16
Back rubs ftw!
17
Oh say, does that star-spangled bann~ner yet wave...
O'er the land of the freeee--way...
And the parking spot of the wage-slave...

18
Since Seattle is putting the cart before the horse -- or rather the toll before the car -- here's a thought. Just charge a fucking toll to drive in the downtown area!!!

You work downtown? Fine, you get a pass for your daily commute (assuming you can't bus). You don't have to pay. You have an appointment with your neurosurgeon for out-patient brain surgery, fine you don't pay a toll either.

But EVERYBODY else (and I'm looking at YOU asshats from the 'burbs who feel it's your fucking divine right to cruise endlessly up and down Denny and 1st Ave on your ridiculous Harleys and in obnoxious hot-rod SUVs) PAYS. Wanna "cruise" Belltown on 2nd Ave to look for drug dealers to buy from? Fine, that'll be 9 bucks per cruise.

Oh and let's just take all the Fowl Tours fucks out of their military assault "land/sea" vehicles and just shoot them.
19
Seems like this is cherry picked to make it look as bad as possible for the tunnel. I'm no fan of the current tunnel plan, but come on, seems like everything is based on traffic while the toll is one, what happens when it goes off? This tunnel will be here for a long time and to assume that things will remain just as they are is, well, someone is an ass......
20
I have to give you guys credit for one thing: NOT comparing this to the removal of the Embarcadaro in San Francisco....that is the lamest thing: The Embarcadaro was essentially a loooong off ramp, NOT a through highway as SR99 is. So, kudos for leaving one red herring out of the equation....
21
The blurb in the article about the three female assistants is really out of context and unprofessional. What the hell does this implied sexism have to do with anything? Really? Really? The rest of the article is good. I shake my fist at that kind of bullshit remark.
22
"It is my job at these state-sponsored briefings to ask difficult questions—like "Is it worth the $4.2 billion price tag?"—and it's the job of Ron Paananen, director of the state's Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Project, to pretend he doesn't know what I'm talking about."

Yeah, you don't know what you're talking about. I'll trust Ron Paananen over you on infrastructure matters any day. Go roast a bowl.
23
"I don't know how to disagree with this article, so eff you Dominic Holden for using their own numbers against them! That was rude and they're totally superawesome."
24
Push the Seawall out another hundred yards (We have to rebuild it anyways, remember?), and then build a lidded 6 lane road.

Get's rid of the viaduct, and Seattle can finally relax.
25
This sucks. What sucks more is how people keep talking about pulling an extra I5 lane out of their ass by magically not tunneling and/or eating a 1/2 block of First Hill... as if it were an alternative.

Surface options are much cheaper, but they also turn the waterfront into MORE of a pedestrian hostile clusterfuck-at-Broad-Street mess than it is today. I think we're supposed to think that the savings will "more than make up for any problems" without getting specific about what those problems will be and how exactly they will be fixed. Which means they probably WON'T make up for the problems we create there. Oh, and the surface street savings also will pay for more magic I5 lanes. Because once you save an amount of money that sounds big, the number of things you can pay for with the imaginary savings are infinite.

I think we have a choice of several shitty options:
1. Faith-based surface street plus magical I-5 lanes that don't require costly road building and debilitating construction delays of their own... or something... plus hovercrafts.
2. Fuck off expensive tunnel with no room for growth in volumes and surface street impacts.
3. Rebuild the giant concrete pile of shit the 1950s took on our waterfront, which would still be crazy expensive... just not batshit crazy expensive.

Oh, and @24... you have no idea how deep Elliot Bay is, do you?
26
Washingtonians may have more than its share of halfwits, but the state sure has some clever bastards into PR thought control directing the department of highway robbery.
27
Washington may have more than its share of halfwits, but the state sure has some clever bastards into PR mind control directing the department of highway robbery.
Clever misanthropic bastards.
29
Thank you for helping me understand this. I've always felt that this tunnel was not needed.
This pet project is what we get because on one has changed the state constitution to allow using gas/auto dollars to create 21st Century transit networks.

And the Mariners should hold on their money and buy some hits and wins *on the field*.
30
I don't like the tunnel idea and I hate the ugly viaduct, and I don't want my state budget wasted on an boondoggle, but, living in Bellingham, I now do everything I can to avoid driving to or thru Seattle because I-5 is such a mess. That's not always possible. Other than going to Canada or thru Eastern WA, I can't get anywhere by car without going thru the fucking mess you've made down there. That includes the major regional airport, my state capitol, Oregon, etc. Now you talk about letting more cars bunch up at the edge of the city like the only thing that counts is Seattle city traffic and fuck everybody else.

Ever wonder why everybody else in the state hates you self centered, arrogant assholes? You're not the only ones in the fucking state who have and interest in this project and how it affects I5 traffic. Any plan does need to alleviate I5 traffic, not make it worse. Think beyond the end of your own short dicks!
31
I think we should squander our dwindling capital resources on a highway project with no future. With some luck, it will be ready to drive on shortly before fuel shortages and riots in the street put a bullseye on every non-stationary vehicle.
32
The measure asks voters if the pro-tunnel city council—and the council alone—can give the state authority to begin digging. If voters reject Referendum 1, the tunnel is no longer a done deal.

Guess what? The state's "authority to begin digging" isn't based on the outcome of the vote. It's based on the state's absolute sovereignty over every government inside of the state (first nations excepted). The city's vote can impose no limitation whatsoever upon the state's powers, and a rejection will have nothing more than amusement value. Opponents of the tunnel project should themselves stop lying to the voters on this point, especially if they want to accuse anyone else of lying.

(It's also great to see "the council alone" described as some kind of anti-democratic monster, forgetting that the same electorate which elected said council will vote on Ref. 1. Meanwhile, Mayor McGinn's flip-flopping and lying on this very topic is not mentioned, because he had to lie about his opposition to the tunnel in order to get elected!)

Ever wonder why everybody else in the state hates you self centered, arrogant assholes?

Because we keep sending you money? Seriously, if you have to drive to Sea-Tac, and you hate Seattle, take I-405. It's the preferred alternative for self-proclaimed Biggus Dickuses from Everett to the northern border.
33
Bill@30, the ST5 plan adds a northbound lane to I-5. I believe it is possible to similarly add a southbound lane. Both would significantly improve I-5 and be worth the investment.

Access to downtown Seattle to/from I-5 AND the AWV are poorly designed because the hazards of motorists navigating the steep sidestreets was ignored.

The AWV ramps to 1st Ave at Seneca & Columbia introduce too much traffic onto that 'main' transit and pedestrian-oriented street AND onto steep sidestreets leading to those ramps. Eliminating access ramps to I-5 to/from the steep side streets is necessary.

A downtown transit system to accommodate east/west travel is also necessary but still ignored by Metro, SDOT and Sound Transit. Motorists should enter downtown at north or south end to the nearest parking garage and finish trips with conveniently frequent transit service. THAT is what Seattle needs, NOT this disastrous bored tunnel.

ST5 starts with an Alaskan Way boulevard (Post-seawall + Pre-AWV era is best model) and does not rule out an eventual Cut/cover tunnel or a more elegant viaduct replacement if necessary. The DBT must NOT be built. It's insanely risky.

34
It's about time we take back our waterfront. Any of you that have been to the Sculpture Park and beyond knows how huge of a asset our waterfront is. Imagine extending that through downtown. The tunnel is the best of both worlds - bury the cars and make parks. Get off your high horses, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to get this done. Read up on the master planning for the area once the viaduct is gone. Pretty cool stuff.
35
This article is non-sense. If the traffic using the Alaska Way Viaduct don't get to use it anymore, what do these cars do, disappear?

Of course traffic will increase along the other streets.
36
So what? Is downtown the ONLY part of Seattle? What about the REST of Puget Sound who just wants to get PAST downtown and doesn't want to have a single bottleneck route on I-5.

You win the prize for missing the point entirely. A tunnel is NOT to get into downtown (hence the lack of exits) its to get past downtown.

But transportation in the greater Seattle area seems to only be interpreted by people as being important in the blocks that they themselves can see.
37
We have an ONCE in a LIFETIME opportunity here. We could FREE OURSELVES from the Texas Oil Cartels and the bad parts of "That Other Washington" by doing the following:

1) Investigate the emails, phone calls and meetings of the Gregoire administration, downtown business association and local media.
Re-call elected officials if possible.

2a) Tear down the Viaduct and do not build the Special Interest Tunnel.

2b) Create legislation to allow municipalities to use gas tax for road ***AND*** non-road transportation improvement.

3) Bring BC and Oregon to the table and build a Cascadia High-Speed Train connecting the airports and downtowns of the BIG 3.
Each city's regional transit feeds into their downtown for city-2-city connection.
38
We have an ONCE in a LIFETIME opportunity here. We could FREE OURSELVES from the Texas Oil Cartels and the bad parts of "That Other Washington" by doing the following:

1) Investigate the emails, phone calls and meetings of the Gregoire administration, downtown business association and local media.
Re-call elected officials if possible.

2a) Tear down the Viaduct and do not build the Special Interest Tunnel.

2b) Create legislation to allow municipalities to use gas tax for road ***AND*** non-road transportation improvement.

3) Bring BC and Oregon to the table and build a Cascadia High-Speed Train connecting the airports and downtowns of the BIG 3.
Each city's regional transit feeds into their downtown for city-2-city connection.
39
On second thought, the BIG3 HS Rail could be #4.

Make #3 - bringing ST, KC Metro and the Seattle Center Monorail to the table and make them become partners to:

a) Return the Westlake "Pinch" to the original wide design.

b) Build a modern Westlake platform.

c) Extend monorail north and south through city limits.

d) Make Metro bus adjustments for direct/faster Urban Village (UV) connections.
40
@36
because so many people who want to bypass downtown are doing it by driving long distances on Aurora Ave N.

If you don't like traffic, don't drive at rush hour. A UW civil engineering professor once showed that if you want 50 mph cruising speeds at rush hour on i-5, we'd need 20 additional lanes. And of course, those lanes would then induce more people to drive, and once again we'd be stuck.
41
Does anyone else remember the history of the Metro tunnel? Metro wanted to build a bus barn in the north end of Seattle and the city council refused to issue a building permit The tunnel was Metro's revenge.

For maybe three months Metro sent every empty bus they owned N/B through the city in the morning and s/b in the afternoon. In the afternoon the traffic N/B on 4th ave backed up to So Dearborn and several blocks east on Dearborn. This "proved" they needed a tunnel.

A month after the tunnel deal was singed the traffic mess disappeared.

When the digging started, 3rd Ave. was closed to all traffic during the day except for busses and taxis. There was a cop on every 3rd Avenue corner to direct traffic. Traffic ran smoother than it had in previous 10 years. There was NO traffic problem in downtown Seattle.

The traditional rush hour mess returned AFTER the tunnel was opened. If anyone remembers differently, please correct me.

bill wald
billwald@juno.com
42
@32: So the tunnel will be built regardless of the vote?

Ok, people in Seattle: print 1000 copies of this article out. Deliver them door to door. Send copies along with a short summary to your city counsel and your state representatives. Repeat. many times.

If there's any way to stop this thing, that's what you gotta do.
43
@2: "On the east coast, we don't have 3 or 4 merges happening at the same time into one lane used by thousands of cars for example."

OTOH, Miami. Perhaps you were thinking "Northeast" :D
44
My important questions:

WHAT ARE YOU GUYS GOING TO DO?

If one thing is clear, it's that there are a group of people who are going to force this tunnel, with or without reason. How do you citizens stop them? Didn't the same thing happen with your sports domes?
45
First of all, I wish that the tunnel naysayers would stop attempting to compare the tunnel to Boston's Big Dig. There is almost no comparison to the many "cut and cover" tunnels that's been part of that project. This project on the other had will dig a tunnel so deep that the present viaduct will still operate during the tunnel's construction and the battery street tunnel itself will need to be re-excavated. However, since WSDOT is going to dig so deep, there's no possibility of any exits downtown, thus the observations of this article are probably true.
46
But ...

If we don't use Seattle tax dollars and tolls to subsidize foreign jobs and destroy our own environment and roadways, how will City Council succeed in their goal to enslave all Seattle Citizens?
47
But why this very expensive boutique tunnel in 2011? I can understand it for the 1940s, but not for the 2010s and beyond.
48
The new waterfront is going to be spectacular.
49
I know. Can't wait for the *un-built tunnel* new waterfront!
50
@48 Well said and I'm shocked that it took that long for someone to mention it.
51
To answer Dumb Baby Dumb questions about surface street and transit improvements for Seattle:

How about some nice new concrete sidewalks and curb extensions? Sorry, most of the pure riverbed sand turned into concrete is poured an underground highway.

How about PAYING for transit, pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure? Sorry, the State department of Transportation plans only highways and spends gas tax money only on roads somehow inconsequentially bordering sidewalks where walkers, transit users and bicyclists risk their lives trying to cross or ride alongside automobiles and trucks.

The bored tunnel reroutes more than 20,000+ cars and heavy trucks through residential Queen Anne on Mercer Street from Elliott to its north portal and adds more traffic from there to I-5. Mercer West will make the current Mercer Mess worse. The 'spillover' secondary route for this much more traffic is Denny Way, but because the Battery Street Tunnel is closed, the 5,000 vehicles that now use it daily between Lake Union and Lower Belltown increase traffic congestion on Denny Way and Broad, major thoroughfares currently overwhelmed with traffic.

The design for Alaskan Way can't handle the traffic predicted with the bored tunnel, nor make crossing it nor bicycling alongside the traffic safer. State and City DOTs responsible for their halfass design won't admit it.

The bored tunnel increases air & water pollution, noise, gridlock, traffic accidents, fatalities, injury and pollution sickness. Why is it so hard for bored tunnel stooges to comprehend or admit how the bored tunnel and its inextricably related street reconfigurations create extremely severe impediments for walkers, transit users and bicyclists?

And let's not shut the F up about the nightmarish potential catastrophe of a major earthquake or carbomb detonating in WARshdot's DBT.

52
Hutch. The design for Alaskan Way can't handle the traffic predicted with the bored tunnel, nor make crossing it nor bicycling alongside the traffic safer. State and City DOTs responsible for their halfass design won't admit it. The waterfront without the AWV could be great, but in typical Seattle fashion, idiots in charge have no idea how to make it happen. Look closely at that stupid James Corner Fields proposal. It's entirely based on the dismal Sculpture Park model and probably ordered by Seattle's elite who prefer public parks that look like a golf course.

53
Since you're good with the numbers, I'd like to know what a 50% overrun (which is typical on big projects) turns into as a tax on per thousand dollars of Seattle home assessment.
People who complain that Seattle people are only interested in the effect on Seattle seem to forget that we're the ones who are left holding the bag to pay for it.
54
I think everyone should have to ride bicycles, and that the referedumb should be about whether or not they are fixies.
55
Ever wonder why everybody else in the state hates you self centered, arrogant assholes?

Gee, aside from the fact that a whole lot of us were't born here but rather made the tragic decision to move here, which I'm sure is even worse in your eyes, maybe there is some jealousy involved?

After all, once you leave the Puget Sound, this whole state pretty much becomes an extension of Alabama. Maybe the thing to do is for King County to go on strike and see how well Washington State does without our horrible money.

Poor cousins, you can start by paying for your own schools. Do the math, if you know how.
56
@Juno, were you the star of the movie, "Singles?" Will the Supertrain have good coffee?
57
@47: "But why this very expensive boutique tunnel in 2011? I can understand it for the 1940s, but not for the 2010s and beyond."

Because FUCK YOU YOU'RE GETTING A TUNNEL is why.
58
@30: "Ever wonder why everybody else in the state hates you self centered, arrogant assholes?"

I know the reason. It's because everyone else in the state is dazzled by the project but has no investment in and no concept of alternatives. They want it over with, but like the "fiscal conservatives" they are are VERY BAD at listening to grifting contractors and agreeing to waste countless billions on unnecessary projects.
59
The only people "dazzled" by the bored tunnel are its lying proponents and ignorant supporters who will NOT admit that it is riddled with extremely dangerous flaws in every aspect of its engineering, including Mercer West and this half ass design for Alaskan Way.
60
There are many, many examples of the sinkholes and structural damage from the tunneling around the Puget Sound area from the bus tunnel, light rail tunnels, and of course Brightwater. Good thing all of that was ignored, because it will never happen on this one.

On a good note for the anti-tunnel folks, this machine will encounter running sands, unconsolidated material, and a whole bunch of water. This coupled with imminent structural damage to older structures, will halt this project soon enough.

(it would have been cheaper to demo the convention center, widen I-5, and rebuild the convention center, and this concept would have long term benefit.)
61
That does it...now that the EIS is out, we can bring in Senator McCain.

Good luck.
62
I couldn't give a rat's ass for any point made about downtown traffic in this article. They are distractions. Why would you expect a tunnel with no downtown exits to do anything to change downtown traffic in the first place? What I DO care about is keeping a major North South corridor so I can get from my home to my job in a reasonable time frame. I-5 is a clusterfuck from Northgate to the Ship Canal bridge just about all day, every single day while 99 is a breeze.

Thanks Dominic for completely missing the point of a viaduct replacement.
63
62
I couldn't give a rat's ass for any point made about downtown traffic in this article. They are distractions. Why would you expect a tunnel with no downtown exits to do anything to change downtown traffic in the first place? What I DO care about is keeping a major North South corridor so I can get from my home to my job in a reasonable time frame. I-5 is a clusterfuck from Northgate to the Ship Canal bridge just about all day every single day, while 99 is a breeze.

Thanks Dominic for completely missing or at best burying the main point of a viaduct replacement.
..
64
Here's a thought:

We're not going to be zipping around in cars in the near-future. Our economic activity (which requires cheap energy) will largely grind to a halt.

How about we spend a little more time injecting that into "anti-tunnel" debates... really freak out the tunnel proponents, eh?

It wouldn't "work", of course, but it might be more enjoyable
65
Dominic, you're saying (or "reading" from the EIS) that removing the viaduct and replacing it with nothing is not going to have much of an impact on traffic.
Now, I'm not a rocket scientist but I can do simple math. There are tens of thousands (hundreds of thousands?) of vehicles using the viaduct daily. If we removed the viaduct, then either those vehicles HAVE to use other streets, increasing congestion, or those same vehicles have to be parked if there is to be no increase in congestion. Pretty simple really, the traffic doesn't dissipate when you remove a highway, it mostly finds the path of least resistance.
BTW, I understand some Brainiacks in California tried the same thing by shutting down a freeway to see if that would reduce traffic. It didn't work there and it won't work here.
I would be interested to know if you personally would be affected by the removal the the viaduct or if you might be insulated from the consequences.
66
Just as too many people who advocate for more transit want it so that it takes OTHER cars off the road to make it easier for them to drive...too many people want the tunnel, not so THEY can pay $4-$5 for the right drive it during rush hour, but so that other people will do so, making it easier for them to drive on I-5.

Is there ANYONE, ANYWHERE that is looking forward to paying to drive through the tunnel?

When there are other un-tolled options (I-5, city streets, etc.) I don't think anyone who knows better will (and since this tolled tunnel isn't the major/obvious N/S thoroughfare, it will be a decision made by people who know they have a choice.)

So, if you're for the tunnel because you think others will blunder into it and suddenly I-5 will open up for you...you're fooling yourself.
67
Now why ya gotta lie in the headline?? Com'on, that's some some FOXnews "advocacy journalism: shit there...

The Surface/Transit/I-5 option is many things (like "politically unviable & unfundable in the state legislature" for one), but "nothing" it most is certainly is not!
68
Let's face it, the supporters of the Deeply Tolled Tunnel have more in common with Norwegian extremists than with Jesus.
69
@65 I think you may have misread what Dominic is saying. The numbers he's quoting from the State study is that 'removing the viaduct and doing nothing' produces comparable traffic gridlock results to 'building the tunnel and commuters using alternative routes to avoid paying the required toll charges.'

@62 Your argument is actually the most legitimate argument for constructing the tunnel in my mind. There ARE trucks and commuters like you that do need to bypass all of downtown. However, you represent a relatively small percentage of the total traffic that currently uses 99. And potentially even fewer will pay the toll to use the tunnel as opposed to finding alternative routes. So, while the tunnel really could work out great for you, its cost-effectiveness for serving the entirety of the viaduct's traffic is rather dismal (AND ruins traffic downtown).
I'm not clear on the specific changes to I5 that are part of the ST5 plan (other than additional lane(s) to increase capacity; clearly there should be a lane that completely bypasses downtown. I know there was a story in the Seattle Times shortly after the final EIS came out signaling that there could be tolling on the express lanes in the future, perhaps that could include a designated 'bypass downtown' lane.

@30 Unfortunately, with all the traffic that decides to avoid the tunnel due to the high tolling and lack of exits, the tunnel ALSO makes I5 traffic worse. In fact, because the Surface/Transit/I5 plan actually includes changes to I5 to help offset additional traffic, traffic on I5 will likely be BETTER with ST5 than the deep bore tunnel (and would be cheaper).
70
@67 Like I said to 65: The numbers he's quoting from the State study is that 'removing the viaduct and doing nothing' produces comparable traffic gridlock results to 'building the tunnel and commuters using alternative routes to avoid paying the required toll charges.' He's not talking about ST5 in the headline.
I think everyone understands that getting the Surface/Transit/I5 plan implemented is a long shot, but I'll take a lesser-of-two-evils-but-something-must-be-done long shot like ST5 over the 'short-sighted, overly expensive, poorly-planned, unapproved by the public' plan for this deep bore tunnel.
71
You are smart people, you must all know that this is a state project designed to move freight past Seattle congestion as quickly as possible, and that is not a city project intended as a solution to Seattle's congestion problems. I don't understand why you pretend to believe that this project is aimed at helping Seattle commuters in some way, or that the money could be put into some other Seattle project. It seems extremely disingenous.
72
@71 You are absolutely correct about needing a plan that helps move freight through Seattle quickly. The issue is not that the tunnel doesn't solve Seattle's congestion problems, its that the tunnel exacerbates Seattle's congestion problems. The city and state are investing billions of dollars in a new infrastructural project, shouldn't we argue for the state to pursue a plan that improves regional transportation overall (not build for one element at the detriment to multiple others)?
73
@25,

You do realize what we no call Elliot bay was several times larger before it was filled in by the Denny regrade.

The tunnel will be 285 feet below grade, and yet they are doing that, Why are the going so deep? Because of the fill from the Denny regrade.

We need to fix the seawall because it is collapsing. Why? Because it was built on the Denny regrade fill.

We need to fix the Viaduct. Why? Because it was built on the Denny regrade fill.

Seeing a pattern here? Can you could you, would you please, open one eye just a little?

@60,

Wow, a new convention center. As much as I'd hate to spend more money, I'd rather have one new convention center than two sports stadiums.

75
There is no good answer. If you think you have it, you're wrong.
76
@32: So the tunnel will be built regardless of the vote?

Unknown. What is known is that the state has no obligation to listen to any city on the matter of routing a state highway through said city. Anyone who claims, explicity or implicitly, that Ref. 1 is in any way binding on the state is lying to you. For one example of the implicit claim:

The measure asks voters if the pro-tunnel city council—and the council alone—can give the state authority to begin digging. If voters reject Referendum 1, the tunnel is no longer a done deal.

For another:

Ok, people in Seattle: print 1000 copies of this article out. Deliver them door to door. Send copies along with a short summary to your city counsel and your state representatives. Repeat. many times.

If there's any way to stop this thing, that's what you gotta do.

It's a state highway. If you want to stop it, take that issue to the state government.

(Don't worry, though: if our Referendum vote goes pro-tunnel, Mr. Holden will quickly explain why it is irrelevant.)
77
Does the author really believe, or try to make us believe traffic will continue to decline in Seattle? Those that live close in and those that can take the bus already are. More routes may increase this a little. But as mall reduction in the last year or two will be about the most we will see before growth eats it up.

Secondly, a lot is based on the idea that if we just muck up traffic bad enough, everyone will stay home. Why not remove I-5 while we are at it? That will take thousands of cars off the road.

Frankly, I am not a tunnel supporter anymore as I think the toll is too high and also favors the wealthy. Plus, no on and off ramps downtown sucks.

I say, retrofit the viaduct. The waterfront is still nice and the drive along the viaduct is nice too. It works pretty well as far as i am concerned.
78
Thank you.

This article and several others Mr. Holden has written on the topic have moved me away from being a staunch supporter of the tunnel.

Let the will of the voters prevail.
79
#76 is exactly right. This is a done deal. The vote is a sham.
80
Holy SHIT, Batman! I really don't know Seattle anymore.
81
Think of it this way: destroy the viaduct, bore a tunnel. What does that leave on the waterfront? PRIME REAL ESTATE, sold to the highest bidder. Fact is, if that tunnel goes in, those of us living downtown will have to move around an entire row of high end condominiums to see West Seattle and the Olympics. There is PLENTY of room to create a 4-6 lane surface street and have parks and small business along the way, but that won't happen because there are too many people wanting to capitalize off the land. A surface street is cheaper and more business friendly (not developer friendly).
82
Tunnel proponents should guarantee that businesses planning to use the tunnel to move goods and services in a post-viaduct Seattle, should be responsible for paying Seattle's $900 million (+) share of the tunnel costs as well as any cost over-runs,. This could be done with license fees and tolls over time. No area commuter or out of town visitor should ever have to pay a toll.

83
I don't think you mentioned that now the city & state want to toll the OTHER roads - deliberately so that people CANNOT opt for the "affordable option". This is getting ridiculous.
I'm an East-Coast transplant who grew up with tolls on every road - roads where a "traffic jam" was always one when you turned off your engine and sat there. I was amazed at Seattle's wide-open roads - and lack of city transportation.
Put that money into an extensive HI-SPEED rail network already - and remember that New Yorkers are still paying for the privilege of turning off their engines on roads that were built fifty years ago.
84
Tear down the viaduct and put a park in its place, with lots of hiking and bike trails. Plant trees and make it a scenic area for people to stroll and enjoy the waterfront. No matter what you do the traffic in Seattle is going to s u c k so you might as well save a couple billion dollars and have something you can enjoy and be proud of. If people want to drive in the city they will find a way and if they don't they can take public transit.
85
seattle has its head so far up its ass nothing will ever happen
86
Here's a common sense solution; deport the tens of thousands of illegal aliens living in the Puget Sound area. Then stop paying welfare to any family with a felony conviction. Tens of thousands would leave the area. Traffic would decrease. Crime would drop 90%. The city would SAVE tens of millions in public assistance. This would make ST5 the obvious choice. The reduction in welfare payments and crime would almost pay for the project.
87
Here's a common sense solution; deport the illegal aliens living in the Puget Sound area. Then stop paying welfare to any family with a felony conviction. Tens of thousands would leave the area. Traffic would decrease. Crime would drop 90%. The city would SAVE tens of millions in public assistance. This would make ST5 the obvious choice. The reduction in welfare payments and crime would almost pay for the project.