The Reader's View
Which way to the bridge?
It has been with some interest (and some amusement) that I have been reading and hearing about the Alaskan Way Viaduct-vs.-tunnel controversy controversy. The Times...
Special to The Times
Today, a map to the future
It has been with some interest (and some amusement) that I have been reading and hearing about the Alaskan Way Viaduct-vs.-tunnel controversy. The Times recently published "Viaduct fight: Could streets be the answer?" [page one, Feb. 15], about "thinking outside the viaduct" box, which concerned various improvements in the downtown Seattle area.
One idea is a bridge over Elliott Bay, essentially parallel to the waterfront. This bridge could be a floating bridge, or a pier-and-span bridge. Either one would need a retractable section or a high-rise section, to allow waterborne traffic to pass through to and from the waterfront.
A high-rise section would allow bridge traffic to continue in spite of waterborne traffic. A floating bridge would probably be less expensive and construction would probably take less time.
Such a bridge would allow the viaduct to remain in use until the bridge were complete enough to carry automotive traffic. Once the bridge is usable, then, tear down the viaduct and reshape the waterfront as desired. It seems this approach would minimize traffic disruption during the entire process and would allow Seattle time to agree on the improvements to be made to the waterfront area.
The bridge could leave Highway 99 in the area of south Massachusetts Street or the west end of Atlantic Street and then reconnect to surface streets at the foot of Broad Street. Make Broad Street part of Highway 99 — the highway would then continue on Aurora Avenue, as at present.
With additional improvements, the interchange at Aurora Avenue could include access to Mercer Street, and Mercer could be modified to make access to Interstate 5 much better.
Australia has the Sydney Harbour bridge as a world-recognized landmark. Perhaps an Elliott Bay Bridge could become a Seattle landmark.
This project would take time, as will any effort to rebuild or replace the viaduct, and the cost would need to be estimated and compared with other alternatives. I think it is worthy of consideration and some serious thinking.
Glen Nickerson lives in Federal Way.
When vice president of Sub Pop Records Megan Jasper isn't running things at the office, she's working in her garden at her West Seattle home where she and her husband Brian spend time relaxing.