Sunday, March 4, 2007

Viaduct

Well, as the date is quickly approaching, I thought it might be appropriate for me to post my thoughts on the options currently available for replacing the Viaduct. It seems to me that we are being presented with two unacceptable choices on this ballot.

On one hand Measure #1 would select an overly expensive and questionably feasible tunnel to replace the viaduct. This initially seemed the ideal solution because it was able to magically meet all of our transportation needs while restoring the city's waterfront to its former glory. Alas though, even as Mayor Nickels has switched from a six lane option to a scaled back four lane version, the price has continued to rise. In fact, Governor Gregoire has declared that should the city choose to go with this option the state government will not contribute any funds.

On the other hand, Measure #2 would replace the current viaduct with a bigger and badder viaduct. This is a much cheaper option and the state, led by Governor Gregoire has given it her support. However there is so much more at risk here than just money. We have to take into account what this will do to our city. Not only will the new viaduct keep us from truly opening up our waterfront, but it will expand the footprint and shadow of the structure while increasing noise. All too often the Puget Sound region has let money dictate its decisions and that is why, the progressive city that we are, we still do not have an effective alternative to transport via car.

Now here is what I think, both Mayor Nickels and Governor Gregoire have been so caught up in bickering over how to best meet our transportation needs, it seems to me they have missed a possible flaw in their assumptions. Specifically, my question is do we really need a second freeway through our downtown? Consider our neighbor Vancouver, BC. This beautiful town was built without a single freeway going through its core and the result is that many of us consider it to be a beautiful destination and desirable place to live. We already have an interstate dividing our city half, is it really in our interest to keep a second one as well?

Vote no on Measure #1 and Measure #2. Tell our politicians that we expect them to propose real solutions to our real problems. Vote for a surface/transit alternative that will meet the long-term needs of our city.

Don't forget, ballots must be postmarked by March 13th!

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