Remember Those People Who Wanted to Turn the Viaduct into an Elevated Park?

They're Still Trying to Do That

Comments

1
Idiots.
2
Anyone who has walked the Highline in NYC knows how wonderful it would be to have a public park that also preserves part of Seattle's history.
3
HI. I'm Kate Martin and I'm directing a campaign to preserve the view from the viaduct with an elevated park. The Engineering + Costs chapter of our feasibility study is now nearing completion. BuroHappold Engineers were the main consultants. We're going to recommend saving a 400' section that is really interesting looking by Pike Market and then taking off from there all the way to Century Link with a brand new single column single deck garden bridge up at the 55' level. Our Alternative Waterfront Vision seamlessly harmonizes the elevated park into the Alaskan Way corridor. It's exciting. And Feasible. Please contact us for more information or to book an informative presentation comparing our Alternative Waterfront Vision to the City of Seattle Central Waterfront Plan. Thank you. http://www.parkmyviaduct.org and Park My Viaduct on facebook and twitter.
4
I think it'd be cool.
5
Reuse of the the viaduct makes sense for Seattle, it's a spectacular use of an existing structure that would make the High Line jealous. Let's be smart and save the viaduct.
6
In the hundreds of times I have driven the viaduct, I have never taken my eyes off the road (and the traffic) to take in the view.

I guess the proponents must be very unsafe drivers indeed!
7
I can't think of a faster way to significantly decrease Seattle's hipster and moneyed douche population than the combination of an elevated viaduct park and a 7.0 earthquake.
8
seriously, everyone needs to get over it. The viaduct needs to come down - it's dangerous, unsightly and an unwanted relic of the automobile mad fifties. the tunnel is built - I see it every day, just waiting for the mechanical engineers to finish their warranty work on the boring machine. this is pathetic, really - or bathetic. we don't need cement on the waterfront, or surface highways or trees artificially maintained sixty feet in the air. It's an eyesore and good riddance.
9
no.
10
How is it that none-other than The Speaker of the House (Frank Chopp)'s infamous elevated mall/office-park viaduct plans were missing from this otherwise fine posting? Chopp unveils ambitious Viaduct plan
11
I couldn't disagree more - Heidi is flat-out wrong, and needs to apologize. Phinneywood is totally a thing.
12
Good. It's a VERY good idea. The reason it wont happen is because the High Line only barely obstructs views of New Jersey (and actually provides views of Brooklyn). In Seattle all those buildings previously blocked by the viaduct will now have billion dollar views of Elliot Bay. I'm betting those have been purchased and interests are being protected. Any glance at the success of the High Line (or walk along it with actual New Yorkers like I have) would show any designer/planner/engineer that safety is not that much of an issue and access is very feasible (since you can put an elevator/stairs on any corner once it's a park, duh).
13
I would love an elevated park, but the viaduct is a complete death trap that could fall at any moment -- that's the entire point of replacing it.

14
The reason the High Line works is that it provides interesting views of the rest of the city. (It also provides views of people have sex at The Standard hotel.) It doesn't block a BILLION dollar view of the Olympics. It is also relatively hidden from the rest of the city. The railroad structure upon which the High Line is built sat there, unused and unnoticed, for decades. The Park on the Viaduct would provide a view for the people who take time out of their day to walk on it. It would block the view for many, many more who happen to work and walk in downtown Seattle.

If people want a good view of the Olympics then how about we tear down the goddamn highway that is blocking it. (Sorry about that last sentence. Other people's stupidity enrages me.)
15
@12: "let's keep this eyesore/deathtrap so rich people don't get richer" is a VERY bad argument.

have you looked at what James Corner has proposed to connect Stienbreuck Park to the waterfront? I think you might want to. it's 8 zillion times better than this lesser-Seattle nostalgic crap.

http://waterfrontseattle.org/overview
16
Have we really become so crassly commercial that we honestly intend to tear down transportation infrastructure just to increase the property values in the city by improving an ocean view? Nobody should give two pubic hairs about property values. Arguments about the Viaduct's ugliness are so subjective as to be detrimental to the discussion.

There should be only one consideration. Does the old or a new Viaduct provide as much or more transportation throughput than a tunnel, as safely or more? If that answer is yes, it is our responsibility to our community, region, and city, to have a Viaduct there.

It isn't brain science or rocket surgery. The fat cats who want Elliot Bay view condos can go cry in their champagne or move somewhere else. If this city is a city for people of this city, we should care more about moving people than looking pretty.
17
I'd like to know what street Ms. Martin lives on, just to get a sense of what she means by South Greenwood. I have to agree that PhinneyWood is wrong - Phinney and Greenwood are distinct neighborhoods. But it sounds like she lives in Phinney but doesn't want to admit it (or something).
18
Re, "It would block the view for many, many more who happen to work and walk in downtown Seattle."

The only view from public areas the viaduct blocks is of West Seattle from Harbor Steps. The viaduct *provides* way more views than it blocks.

Looking at the plans it looks like the new 7 lane AK Way is west of the viaduct-park. That means no room for the "grand promenade" planned. Could the new AK Way straddle the viaduct columns? I believe that new AK Way will be routed up to where the Battery Street tunnel is now. Will there be interference?

I could see at least a block or two of a viaduct park at the Seneca exit. That is where the City plans to build a multi story parking garage. You could walk right out of an upper level of the garage to the viaduct park.

I like the illustrations with the viaduct gaining arches and greenery.
19
@15 I have seen that. It's cool too. LOL if you think Steinbruck park isn't already connected though (actually the only differnce would be you'd walk off the viaduct exactly one block down. It's all already there. Casting side eyes at people who obviously don't walk down there much.
20
The tunnel is a fail for transportation. Currently much of downtown uses the viaduct to exit downtown north or south, but the tunnel has no downtown exits. Much of the traffic from Sodo and the port is hazardous and won't be allowed into the tunnel. And whose idea was it to go to this expense with nothing devoted to mass transit? The tunnel is a boondoggle for downtown real estate and the construction industry.
My favored solution would be to re-fit the current viaduct structure. But there's not enough money to be made doing that. Profit wins over usefulness, again.
21
Extremely misguided.
22
The High Line is great... but one of the main impetusii (?) for replacing the Alaskan Way Viaduct is

1) it's going to fall down of it's own accord anyhow
2) it severs downtown Seattle from it's waterfront.

An elevated west-coast highline would preempt both of those above issues.

There are other opportunities, and certainly outright copying NYC won't really turn me on.
23
@11 is wrong
24
Ask any Bainbridge Islander if the Viaduct severs downtown Seattle from the waterfront. The idea is ridiculous.
25
Do you know how much booze, ice cream, and dim sum I could get with $150K? Like, a LOT.
@BerthaDeBlues
26
@19: au contraire. i know the area intimately, having worked there nigh on 20 years. i know every nook and cranny, every stair, every alternate route B. mere mortals cannot aspire to the level of viaduct/market/west edge knowledge that i retain.

when that eyesore is gone, it will be a revelation. it should never have existed.

27
Speaking of the tunnel....

"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2gbZWHvU…"
28
The shame about the turnover in The Stranger’s newsroom is that these new-to-these-parts news reporters don’t have the context themselves to know what a crank and a piece of work Kate Martin is. Kate brings that special blend of self-righteous nastiness and lesser-Seattle nimbyism/oimbyism all wrapped in the false flag of new urbanism and the special Seattle democratic ideal.

These latest shenanigans, though, have me thinking Kate may have finally outdone herself. And I’m not sure what’s worse: this harebrained “High Line the viaduct” idea or not being able to give a straight answer about what neighborhood you live in.

This is the first time I have heard anyone refer to their neighborhood as “south Greenwood.” And the only place I’ve ever heard the term “Phinneywood” is with the name of that newsblog phinneywood.com which I see hasn’t been posted to since Jan. 15. If I hear someone saying they live in “south Greenwood” or trying to blur whether they live in Phinney Ridge or Greenwood, the first thing I think is, “This person must be ashamed to admit they live in Greenwood.” Considering the gentrification that has been happening in Greenwood lately, despite Kate’s best efforts to hold it back, you would think that trying to downplay you live in Greenwood would be an outdated notion by now.

But you know what, Kate Martin is a whole compendium of outdated notions. The day we no longer have Kate and her pal Martin Selig contributing to our public debate will perhaps be the day this city can finally put the urban mistakes of the 20th century to rest.
29
Follow-up to my comment @28 where I was set off by Kate Martin's precious answer about what neighborhood she lives in.

In fairness, I realize just saying "Greenwood" doesn't do justice to where some people live. And they'll proceed to give a more precise answer. I'm kinda murky myself about where Phinney and Greenwood end and where Ballard begins and what you ought to call that stretch of 65th where The Dray is.

Ms. Martin's mealymouthed recitation of multiple choices is something different, and especially sorry coming from someone who's in the public eye.
30
We're talking about a new structure after the current viaduct is removed, right?

I think it is an idea worth looking at. Number one, if it is a single deck, it will be less intrusive than the current double deck. Number two, if it is painted white and designed like the space needle or like a Calatrava structure, it could be revered as a piece of art. Three, it doesn;t have to be boring and straight, it could snake like the Smoky Mtn Prkwy or Glenwood canyon viaducts.

The main benefit of an elevated structure is that beneath it can be parking lots and traffic passing under it.

The Corner plan is jagged and ugly, the flat waterfront plan is boring. More levels give more public square footage and with any creativity, can be more interesting. Look at the sculpture garden and the grading of the topography, the ramps, the bridge. Incorporating roads, bike and walking paths, parking, parks, and possibly a trolley on multiple levels along the waterfront would be better.

If you're walking, you can move between the hill and buildings without having to lose elevation and walk back up, or wait at intersections, which is always nice. Minneapolis and Bellevue WA have overpasses between buildings. The second floor sidewalk is a great idea.