New Study Shows That Lidding I-5 Is More Than Possible — It's a Good Idea



Dude should stick to comic books.


Minor point (is there any "minor point" when The Stranger goes on about automobiles?): the I in "I-5" stands for Interstate. It wasn't "transportation planners with the state of Washington" who came up with the idea.


Hey, here's an idea. Let's take all the energy and excitement around putting a lid over I-5, and let's redirect it toward ensuring that ST3 gets built on schedule and at the fully planned scope.

When it comes to making this city less automobile-dependent and more livable, building a second downtown transit tunnel--and making it actually go to places where people are living--provides far more value than putting a lid on I-5 through a stretch of downtown.

You know that expression, "A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush." This is more like five birds in the hand are worth maybe one in the bush."

Now, when it comes to generating page views on Slog, clearly putting a lid on I-5 takes the cake any day over the more mundane matter of fulfilling the will of the voters.

Now, for those who might say, "Hey, we can walk and chew gum at the same time"--my answer is, "All I see you doing is chewing gum. Maybe it's time to walk the walk."


"Economically, this is a winning proposition."

Matt, every scenario considered results in an annual funding gap of at least $55 million. See p. 99. The report clearly explains that "the direct revenue generation would likely not be sufficient to cover both capital and ongoing incremental operations and preservation costs." See p.119.

As a result, "financing would likely be a primary component of capital funding with future debt obligations paid back through ongoing tax and fee revenue." p. 121. The report further explains that "Each taxation measure comes with its own set of challenges including over-dependence by agencies, and legislative restrictions that include property tax increment restrictions, regressiveness of sales tax, and a recent voter backed restriction on vehicle fees through initiative I-976."

What led you to believe that a best-case scenario that anticipates a $50 million annual shortfall that can only be made up through regressive taxes was a "winning proposition?"


Lidding I-5 to Matt Baume is quickly becoming what horse sex is to Charles Mudede.


Meanwhile are the friends/followers of Matt and Charles screed continuing to throw rocks and concrete over the over passes . Or, is it someone else with another motive?
Matt it's fun to spend everyone's money on such an emergency as this, just realize that the taxes that this will cost everyone will go on for another half a Century ensuring the cost of living stays really high. Your goal right?

Seeing as how Sound Transit is currently, What?, 5 Billion over budget and will continue to Tax us well beyond the original promises claimed on their ballot measures (by decades) and keeping our cost of housing a guaranteed higher price even if there is a housing slump? Why not spend more on fantasies as a lid on I-5. Maybe Matt and Charles will be priced out of Seattle. Well, maybe not Charles, I'm sure his inheritance is clean of the paycheck cuts of his fellow countrymen were forced to endure. But will we?


History and info about all the local freeway lids:


Hey team, let's not be quite so hard on Matt here. He's understandably excited by the very new, very hip, oh-so-very-now idea of putting a lid over I-5 through downtown. Radical propositions like this simply did not exist previously.

Wait, what?

"Architect Paul Thiry (1904-1993) supported a lid over the freeway where businesses and apartments could be built."

("Seattle residents stage protest against Interstate 5 Freeway on June 1, 1961.",


Dumb as fucking dirt, and there's no money for it.


"But while we’re spending that [4.3 billion], the report points out, we could spend just a little bit more to completely transform what’s there."

Gay fantasy imagery and a bouquet of links don't hide the lazy slight-of-hand you're using to gloss over the fact that the cost to lid it would double the cost - and that's assuming the maintenance/upgrade work happens first. No public works project is ever cheaper when it's done below surface level. If there's anyone still left at the Stranger that worked there while the SR-99 tunnel was still being planned, they'll tell you how the paper was united against the idea because such projects always - ALWAYS - run over their budget, and they were right. (Fantastically right, in the case of the tunnel boondoggle.) Sure, it would boost economic output, but $3B per year? After how many years of upgrades, and years of building construction, and economic updrafts? 10? 20?


This is a good idea, and has always been a good idea. I-5 through Seattle was always a bad idea. The main obstacles are money and the shortsightedness of most people, as seen by the other comments here.


The best way to save money is just close I-5. No billions of dollars needed for repairs! No need to lid anything! We can have I-5 end abruptly like highway 99 ends in Vancouver, tear down the ship canal, fill in the freeway in Wallingford with parks.


It’s a federal interstate highway, dumbass.


No. Local "transportation planners" certainly did not have anything to do with i5 going through town. Read a book.


Why should we even consider spending megabillions to lid a freeway that our state can't even properly pave? I-5 between N 205th and Southcenter is a fucking MESS. It has some of the worst surface of any roadway in the state, despite being shaved several years ago in a massive waste of money.

Before we spend another dollar studying the pie in the sky idea of lidding I-5, we need to fix the I-5 that exists. That's way more extensive than just replacing the aging expansion joints as WSDOT is doing.

And anyone who's seriously talking about removing the main transportation artery through Seattle should be kicked out of the conversation. That means you, Matt. Think about all the extra space your abdominal organs would have if your stubborn aorta was removed. Gosh, what do you suppose would be the consequence of removing the vital main artery that serves the entire body?