And when they fuck up badly at the state level, we elect them Mayor!
How difficult would it be to turn it into part of a new subway or other mass transit system?
Time for Plan B Surface Plus Transit.

Oh, quit your whining. As if U.S. P.I.R.G. was some kind of an authority and not a YAAG (yet another advocacy group). We're committed now, there will be no cancellation of this project. The project is a hell of a lot better than a rebuild or retrofit of the viaduct, which was the only other likely outcome from the state. We will likely eventually get the surface improvements of your dreams, but for now this is it. Buck up!
This is what corruption looks like.
Blah blah, the tunnel will never get done, it's a waste of money, etc, etc, etc. I'm tired of hearing it. The project will get done whether The Stranger wants it to or not. It may take a decade, but it's going to happen, so move on.

This document doesn't say highways are bad -- it says, bad or unnecessary highways are bad!

On that we actually have common ground.

While Puget Sound has spent billions on transit and transportation it has built no new main highway over the last two decades while suburban population has nearly doubled!

Instead it has dumped billions into the downtown that has become increasingly overpopulated, expensive and acting as a traffic constrictor for everyone else.

I imagine the never-ending supply of "You Were Right" sandwiches is cold comfort to Hizzoner Mike McGinn. At this point, I assume he's using them to build a life-size replical of his former office.
"In the Seattle region, daily traffic has dropped 23 percent on average while transit ridership is up 42 percent." And yet traffic moves slower than ever with the congestion reaches farther than ever. How does that add up?
99 now backs up to the Zoo pretty regularly, and is fully jammed through Fremont. Ten years ago 99 could slow a little in these areas, but you'd still be doing the speed limit unless there was a baseball game and a fender bender.
Hate to say it...but McGinn was right.

During the time that I-90 was closed entirely for repairs, I monitored the traffic on I-5 and I-405 using the WSDOT maps.

The southern segments of both -- Renton to Bellevue and Renton to Seattle -- were both backed up. Even without the traffic issues of the interchanges. Moreover the traffic slowness was after the Renton interchange and before the I-90 interchange.

That is -- these highways are badly designed even when there is no impact from major entering or exiting traffic! We have a system of highways built to fail no matter what.
My loathing for the viaduct is such that I still like the tunnel. For all its faults the Big Dig transformed Boston in a way that is almost indescribable. The elimination of the Viaduct will do the same for Seattle's waterfront.
@10 Dominic was right.
So- the city will back out and forego the billions in increased property taxes from a vastly improved waterfront? No? You folks want it both ways? I'm shocked!

Peotip- Holden. A real journalist would find multiple sources before writing. And despite your and the idiot mayors dreams cars are and will be the main form of personal transport for most Americans. Not mass transit. Certainly not children's toy bicycles. Cars.

....about nothing. Ever.

For the help, you needn't thank me. Daily acts of kindness are important.
@2 since it is a double-decker tunnel, one of the levels could conceivably be turned into bus/rail. However, it wouldn't be of much value to transit since it bypasses downtown without any accommodation for stops and there will never be enough demand for transit to simply bypass downtown to warrant the cost of conversion.

Had we gone with the cut and cover tunnel that included the seawall rebuilding then transit could easily have been incorporated from the outset
@ 16, it's cute that you think you're in a position (intellectual or moral) that allows you to condescend.
It's pathetic that you think anything The Stranger writes has any faintest faint hint of moral or ethical value. Or any pretense whatever to journalism.
@ 19, it's pathetic that the sum total of your expression is ad hominem attacks and responses to straw men you place in others's mouths. A single fact-based, rationally argued post has never been posted by you. Will it distress you that that's the reason your attacks roll off me faster than water off a duck's back?

Distress me? Nah. Amuse me? Oh yes. Coming from a guy who typifies what you decry in me? Hilarious!
the tunnel sits squarely on Olympia, WSDOT's and the Port of Seattle's shoulders. they're the ones that insisted on maintaining current 99's capacity numbers, for "freight mobility".

but no one at the state ever explained to me how the trucks are "mobile" once they hit the stop lights at Green Lake.
@ 21, you're letting a lot of your insecurities show. I'm sorry that being the "smart one" in your family doesn't make you the "smart one" everywhere, but the real world doesn't encourage pretense the way mom did.
All of Aurora should've been turned into light rail. Would've made more sense than it's current path.
And Seattle's boondoggle trophy is the result of....... democrats!
@23 LOL Subhumanblues the smart one in its family LOL. It is far more likely the family laughs and rolls their eyes behind its back. Except perhaps the gay/lesbian kid.
Could the decrease in miles driven correspond at all to the collapse of the U.S. economy at virtually the exact same time?

Could it be that millennials aren't buying cars because they don't have fucking jobs?

No, not possible.

What's your obsession with the sexual choices my kids haven't made, given their ages?

You of all people, since you think raising a kid to value morality and integrity and family to be child abuse, should be grateful to know that a 97% or better chance exists my children aren't afflicted with the disorder if homosexual inclinations. You of all people should wish my children to have healthy heterosexual desires since you think raising them to believe in reality is bad for kids.

But as it happens I'd say I was average in my family, with a sister and brother possessing more raw intelligence. So light up a joint or whatever drugs have made you what you are, and celebrate! For once you've gotten something half right!
This isn't a list from most-worst to less-worst, it's listing ebprojects from west to east.
It reminds me so much of all the people who bet all their creditability that there were WMDs in Iraq. Remember the housing bubble's cheerleaders? Remember what happened to them?

Nothing. It didn't matter how wrong they were. They just pretended they never said it and carried on making pronouncements on how things ought to be.

So now you can promise the completed tunnel will be greeted with flowers and everything will be fine. Why not say it? Talk is cheap. And if you're wrong, there will always be a hundred reasons why "nobody could have predicted" it.
Suspension bridge was the answer, maybe still is??
@ 29, if your kids are gay, they didn't choose it.
@29: "Sexual choices my kids haven't made... a 97% or better chance exists my children aren't [gay or lesbian]."

So which is it? Is it a choice to be gay and lesbian, as you suggest by referring to the "choices [your] kids haven't made," or is it something people are born with, as you suggest by referring to "a 97% or better chance"?

Which one? Choice, or inborn?
One way to tell you should ignore someone is if they confidently assert the tunnel will be finished. It very well might be! But the tremendous uncertainty about what, exactly, is wrong with Bertha means we absolutely have no idea if finishing this thing is viable or not. It's not like there's no history of mega-projects being abandoned. If things are still going poorly in early 2016, I wouldn't be at all surprised to see Jay Inslee pull the plug in an effort to ensure his re-election.
@16 - Jesus, you're a fucking sociopath. Get help before you hurt somebody.

@26 - You're right, which makes it worse. They should've known better.

I am beginning to suspect that seattleblues and matt from denver are the same person.
@ 37, how can you say such a thing, you... you... you meanie, you.
@29, huh?
@26, it was also most vehemently opposed by Democrats.
#12, there is nothing wrong with Seattle's waterfront as it is. With nothing to transform, why not save all that money?
@35, start ignoring. When the tunnel is finished and NW Seattle residents praise it as an option to bypass downtown to go to the airport, it'll have been worth it at thrice the cost of the dig.
#42, nobody uses the viaduct to go to the airport now. Why would they use the tunnel to go there later? I-5 is the superior route, even in rush hour from the north end of the viaduct. The tunnel is going to dump you into a bottleneck with I-5 and the West Seattle Bridge. The traffic snarl there will eat up any time you might have saved.

Just take I-5 and use the Express Lanes and/or I-90 collector/distributor lanes, like everybody else does. Locals have been using this route since the 90's for a reason.
@42, If and when the tunnel is done, I don't think there are that many people who need to bypass the city via 99 vs the people who need to get in and out of the city via 99 daily.
Yeah, it might be an ok option to get to the airport from Ballard for those willing to pay the toll, but how many people are going to the airport from Ballard every day? How many people need to get downtown to their jobs? What WSDOT aren't admitting to is that their traffic models don't really take into account what's going to happen just before the tunnel. Every day people will get on 99 from Shoreline and south on their way to work. They will all bottleneck around Denny trying to get off and will inevitably block the tunnel access as 99 will be a daily parking lot from Denny to the Zoo.
You'd be better off going to the airport via I-5 where you can at least get in the carpool lane. Or who knows, maybe by the time they get the tunnel finished we'll have light rail to Ballard and you can take that to the airport.
@43, if you're westside and not using 509 & 599 to bypass the parking lot of I5... you're doing it wrong.
#45, not that many people are trying to get from Alki to Sea-Tac. If you're in downtown Seattle (remember, we're talking about the viaduct/tunnel area here, not Lincoln Park), you're not taking 509.
@29 I'm just saying God has a warped sense of humor so odds are really high you have a gay/lesbian kid. Ya might as well start accepting it now. If you don't eventually you'll find your family gone.
@12: I hope you're prepared for a multi-ton ceiling tile to crash into *you* as you make your merry way out of town on that no local access piece of property.
@ 46, I don't know if traffic patterns are significantly different today compared to 10 years ago, or what impact the opening of light rail lines to Seatac has had reducing car trips ,but I took 509/99 from downtown to Seatac and back all the time when I lived in Seattle. Much less likely to be jammed up than I-5, even if you have to slow down for a couple of traffic lights along the way.
@49 I always take 509/599 when possible heading into Seattle from the South. It is a better alternative for anywhere right downtown, the stadiums, Seattle Center, Green Lake, Ballard, etc. The tunnel is going to improve this route, except for the Spring St exit which will be lost. So, downtown won't be as convenient, depending on how the waterfront reconfiguration ends up, but it should be a more convenient route to everywhere else.

It's also worth noting the 509/167 Gateway project promises to make connections to 509 possible from South of the airport and to make a connection directly from 509 to 167 possible. The ultimate goal is to get some cars onto 509 which is currently chronically underutilized. Combined with the tunnel it creates a much more credible alternative to I-5 through King County for many drivers.…

Or, another $1.2 billion we could be spending on transit. Aiiiii!
#49 & 50, I've been bussing the I-5 corridor from Seattle to the airport from 1991 to today. In over 20 years, I-5 has always been the fastest route. Driving from Ballard or Green Lake to Seatac using Alaskan Way isn't just stupid, it makes arterial traffic for everyone in Seattle worse.
Suddenly I am beginning to see why our transportation system is so screwed up. People don't even know the fastest route to take.
I-5 is always, hands down, the best route from anything north of Marginal Way to the airport. If you live in Georgetown, go ahead and take 99. Otherwise, you're seriously doing it wrong.
The light rail lines didn't improve anything. Link takes 6 minutes longer than the old 194, and 2 minutes longer than the old 174 at a higher cost to the customer and the transit agency. They put so many stops on Link it makes the commute worse, not better. If they had cut out the Rainier Valley entirely (something that even The Stranger's own original transit plan had, moving it to the Auburn/Renton spur), then it would have been the rail line we needed to the airport.
Glad to see that public transportation rates are going up at roughly an inverse proportion to budget cuts for public transportation! Thank you, leaders of Seattle!!
@42, not responsive. I'm not saying it won't be finished. I have no idea! (Neither do you!) There are enough technical and political obstacles that could plausibly kill it, but might not, that confidence about completion isn't warranted.

I am confident, however, that if it is is eventually complete, a cost benefit-analysis will rather stongly show that if the main accomplishment of the tunnel is "helping North Seattle residents get to the airport slightly more quickly" it will look like an extraordinarily wasteful expenditure of 3-6 billion dollars of scarce money for transportation enhancements. If this is how the defenders of this boondoggle make the case for the project, that's as damning as any critique I could offer.
Those responsible for the recent PIRG article labeling the Seattle Tunnnel the number one transportation boondoggle in the country are apparently unaware of Sound Transit's East Link light rail program. Both will cost about $3 billion, buy East Link will gridlock I-90, devastate parts of Bellevue, require ST provide $285 million annually to cover the shortfall between operating costs and fare box revenue. All in the totally futile hope to increase cross-lake transit ridership from 40 to 50,000. Now that's a boondoggle. I urge you to visit my blog for details behind those conclusions.
Bill Hirt

>> How difficult would it be to turn it into part of a new subway or other mass transit system?

See: Thames Tunnel - The tunnel was originally designed for, but never used by, horse-drawn carriages. It now forms part of the London Overground railway network.

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