News Apr 22, 2010 at 4:00 am

Fresh Blood Brings New Life to a Decadelong Debate on What to Do with the Waterfront

Photo Courtesy of the People’s Waterfront Coalition


Or, they could just put in a nice boulevard and spend the tunnel billions on what Seattle really needs and wants - I-5 widening though downtown.
The design above doesn't plan for the inevitable sea rise.
Condo's-lots of em.
The current plan has bastardized both NEPA and SEPA, our flagship environmental laws that we in Seattle cherish. There is still a lot of information that needs to be put together and evaluated before an informed and educated project can go forward. Those are things that do not characterize the plan as it stands currently.
Or now that we have mayor McGridLock in charge we can talk about it for another 20 years. Yipee.
Beaches I want beaches. I'm so jealous when I visit Vancouver.
How about an inviting place for people to come hang out. Public activities, events and the like will draw the people.
Shooting ranges. Walmart. Maybe a NASCAR track.
brainstorm idea -
take the 24hour trucks hauling fill dirt/rock from the capitol hill station / link tunnel and build (and fill) a new seawall 30 feet further offshore.
Result: Acreage for some condos (to generate tax money to help justify expense); an acre maybe even for public housing (my god!); a wider right of way/roadway (to shut the Port up); and more parks and beach space (for the sensible crowd). It's been done before, in NYC: (battery park city).
Didn't they build La Guardia airport on fill?
I love the beach.

Remember, only you can prevent $1 to $3 BILLION cost overruns that we can't afford for a Billionaires Tunnel that serves no need, carries HALF the freight of the existing or replacement viaduct (or surface plus transit) and has ZERO downtown exits and DOUBLE the global warming emissions impact just from running exhaust fans 24/7/365.

Fight the Power!
@5 - If Chihulhy builds one we can grind it up for use in creating the beach, especially after the Seattle Center Junior Hardball team finishes with batting practice.

Sand is just glass in a different form, with a bit of local rocks from breaking up all the pedestals.
Oh, Jesus, not this boulevard-beach-trees shit again. Is there no one involved in the process who has laid eyes on a city before? This is hippie bullshit.

My recommendation, if they do have to tear the fucking thing down, is a rabbit's warren of three or four-story buildings as close together as the fire code will allow, preferably as wide as a current alley. With a dozen T or Y intersections. Include the blank blocks and parking garages for more room. Make it interesting and cool, not vapid and blank. Otherwise that lovely boulevard (i.e., surface highway) is going to be a killer.

And for chrissake, any plan that comes with vivid green artwork like that should be dismissed out of hand. Force everyone to show it in February.

Hold a competition.
Man, that is an ugly fucking park! The existing viaduct is more visually interesting than that rendering.
@6 - Exactly. It's the problem with the "Seattle Way" - people around here are too damned interested in *talking* to actually get anything worthwhile accomplished. And they get uppity (as Seattlites love to do) when you point out that they're doing it, too.
And tell me again why I want to go swimming in Elliott Bay? Gross.
Someone the WSDOT snuck in not one, but two new highways on our waterfront (one surface and one tunnel). Complete bullshit. No doubt we'll have three more elevated highways on top of the surface highway when this is done.

Oh yeah - remember Seattle's goal to become the world's first carbon neutral city? I think the city meant their goal is to turn the city into 100% carbon.
Guys, go visit Vancouver. No, the one in BC you narrow minded idiots. Head on down to Denman & Georgia a 4 lane blvd with bike lanes. Pretty nice eh? There's a beach on Denman & Davie. No one's swimming in False Creek but it sure is nice for watching fireworks etc.
What #15 said. Do we really need a "beach"?
@12; Yup, and no sense of history either. This has nothing to do with what a city is. The proposal shows a vacated city.
How about one big P-patch garden?
What is this obsession with putting grassy fields at the waterfront? And why does Seattle always want to choke off the capacity of it's main highways, thereby creating more and more traffic gridlock?

When it comes to pretty parks for single moms vs. getting home from work in less than 2 hours, I vote for the highway.
Community center? What about a youth center so out of towners can witness a CD/Rainier Valley shooting?
I love it. yay beach!
@17 - actually, Kitsilano Beach is fine for swimming, it's English Bay that freezes your balls off.
@8 ilmao foc
Only over the dead body of all the Capitol Hill and Belltown hipsters
The only thing I see missing is the change in buildings along the parkway... These would quickly change to high-end (read: expensive) places to live, offices, etc.

So, make sure to add a big black box pointing out "Expensive living spaces".

I'm curious also, with the considerable cuts in human services, where the displaced folks currently living in that area would go. Hmm...

I'd normally agree with Fnarf @12 on this, and I was originally skeptical of… for that very reason.

Yet in spite of its aesthetically lackluster results, it has been HUGELY successful in its main goal of connecting parts of the city that previously felt detached from one another. The North and South Station areas feel twice as close (and thrice as walkable) as they ever have before.
Addendum: while my example @27 might be relevant to the Waterfront, I don't understand why Seattleites continue to clamor for "more open space" in EVERY public or private land-use proposal. What are all those parking lots, setbacks, landscaped courtyards nobody uses, endless front lawns in our "high-density areas," and other assorted interruptions to street frontage and urban cohesion if not open space?
Bring back concerts on the Pier!! No indoor concert venues - we want to feel the wind and hear the boats!

Join the "Bring back the Pier concerts in Seattle!" Facebook group.…

And yes, technically I don't care if they are on a pier, especially one that's rotting, I'd just like to see them outdoors right on the water.
Rebuild the viaduct, and do it right. Screw the surface options, the billionaires' tunnel, etc.
FNARF is consistently among the most interesting writers (staff included) at the Stranger.

He knocks it out of the park once again, though I think he's a bit harsh on the beach (the stretch by the sculpture park) is awfully nice and could be a practical way of armoring the shoreline.
Tear it down. Widen the surface street to three lanes in each direction. No cost overruns. Freight capacity is enhanced. Douchebag commuters get to keep commuting. Spend the savings on condemning & rebuilding the piers, or on a new seawall, or on Pike Street whores.
Wait until the next earthquake brings down the Viaduct. When Seattle finds out there aren't that many consequences from losing it, then, make a decision?
Fuck cars. All the people concerned with traffic and gridlock can drive around Seattle...or maybe go back to the suburban hells that you drive in from. Let's invest in people rather than more car infrastructure. While we're at it, let's close off the street through the Pike Place Market (except for deliveries/vendors) so that it's more walkable and less polluted. Cars are the past. Urban walk-ability, green spaces and P-Patches are the future.
"or maybe go back to the suburban hells that you drive in from"

You mean Ballard?

Some day you're going to grow up, have kids and a wife/husband; maybe you should realize that people like that pay all the bills in this town, not hipsters on fixies on Cap Hill. It's why the city listens to us.
"Moon and others argue that the waterfront can achieve the same outcome with the tunnel or by making transit, I-5, and downtown road improvements."

I love the people who think the tunnel is too expensive, and mention the widening of I-5 as an alternative. As if that is as simple as slapping another couple lanes in. First, widening I-5 would be massively expensive, require us to raze buildings on some of the most economically productive land in the entire state, and would be fraught with all the same expensive engineering problems as tunneling on the waterfront.

The reason people bring it up as an alternative is because it doesn't have a reliable price tag yet, so we can all pretend is won't cost as much or be as disruptive as the 99 tunnel. Get real.
Tear down the old viaduct and simply replace it with a new one. It serves a vital north south connection between Ballard and South Seattle's industrial maritime industry. Many union wage jobs depend on that arterial. Seattle is nice and scenic enough as it is. We don't want to take industry off the waterfront and turn Seattle into a service/tourist industry minimum wage city. The maritime industry in Seattle supports more jobs than Boeing does statewide. Just build a new viaduct and to hell with consensus and debate. It's time to move forward.
Let's just replace it with really really wide bike lanes.
I don't think we're being radical enough. Lets ban all private vehicles from Downtown, Lower Queen Anne, South Lake Union, Capitol Hill, and First Hill. While we're at it lets close I-5 for good through downtown and reclaim the land for something else.
When looking at the viaduct, it's good to look at what others did.

SF - surface/transit on the embarcadero. - it was and is a huge success

PDX - surface transit. - also a huge success

Boston - tunnel. - went 200% over budget

Rebuilt downtown viaduct - not a single dim witted idiot.

A few more figures to think about:
Tunnel cost: $4 billion

Rebuilt Viaduct cost: $3 billion

Light rail ine to West Seattle and Ballard: $1.6 to 2 billion
I say we leave Seattle to the hipsters.

OK, maybe that was uncalled for, but it's late.

I'd like for them to push the seawall out about 300 feet. Rebuild the wharves and add some public spaces for the people who'll return to Seattle once they ban panhandling.

They you can take down the viaduct, push the harbor traffic onto an extended Eeeeddddgggaaarrr Martinez Way, or move it all to Tacoma where they built roads for their port several years ago.

The you could add a roadway with bike lanes. Hey let's make the bicyclist register their bikes, and carry manditory insurance too. Maybe we'll get them to follow the rules of the road, and monkeys will fly out of my butt.

Ok I'm out of here.
I almost forgot to complain about Sound Transit. /whine /nowhine. Let's just let Trimet build their Max lines up here, they seem to get things down.
I could've figured the segment of waterfront in dispute was south of Coleman Dock. The old public landing structure is historic and should remain. However, the new seawall could be extended west 20' or 30' to widen the sidewalk there.

It's likely that Alaskan Way will be 6 lanes instead of 4 lanes. SDOT is flat out lying about that and about the route they propose to handle AWV displaced traffic ala Mercer West. Figure on a Harrison/Thomas couplet rather than 2-lane Mercer Street and steep Mercer Place hill.

Early in the AWV replacement studies, (pre-Crunican), a 2-lane frontage road was proposed with islands between it and a 4-lane Alaskan Way. This frontage road is necessary to divide thru-traffic from motorists looking to park. Without it, motorists will be forced into cruising for a parking spot back onto Alaskan Way with the proposed 13 stoplights between Pike and King Streets amidst 20,000 to 40,000 additional vehicles than ply the waterfront today.

It's just like this design commission BS that takes 5+ months to finalize a design, then give the public has a week to consider before breaking ground and distributing money. The basic design proposals are ready for public view now, not later. Putting it off 5 months is a sign the design commission punks don't want public input.

The Deep-bore Tunnel is a catastrophe in the making. WSDOT and SDOT have done their worst on this one and bamboozled Seattle half-wits and functional idiots into believing it's their best AWV replacement option. In fact, the best option is some version of Tunnelite, but fools are too proud to admit they've been had. Grace Crunican should be charged with criminal negligence and serve a prison sentence. She's on an insane vendetta to punish evil liberals.

Please wait...

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