Nickels' era one of major changes
Seattle's population has grown by only about 5.5 percent — to an estimated 602,000 — during Greg Nickels' eight years as mayor. But the city has seen some significant changes.
Seattle's population has grown by only about 5.5 percent — to an estimated 602,000 — during Greg Nickels' eight years as mayor. But the city has seen some significant changes:
Nickels, the Sound Transit board chair, fought for the Seattle-to-Tukwila light-rail line that opened last month and will soon reach Sea-Tac Airport. He also helped persuade voters to approve $18 billion to extend the service to the suburbs.
With Nickels' urging, more than 900 U.S. mayors pledged to curb global-warming emissions. Seattle residents, under new waste-disposal rules, recycled more than ever. But voters rejected a Nickels backed 20-cent fee on grocery bags.
VIADUCT TUNNEL AGREEMENT
Against long odds, Nickels pushed for a deal with the state to replace the aging Alaskan Way Viaduct with a $4.2 billion tunnel project. One of his potential successors, Mike McGinn, vows to oppose it.
The unthinkable happened last year when the city's oldest pro-sports team left for Oklahoma City. Nickels extracted a hefty check from the new owners, but fans thought he should have done more to keep the team.
SOUTH LAKE UNION
Nickels helped clear the way for a makeover of the once-forgotten neighborhood, which now includes high-rise housing, commercial development and a streetcar. Critics say the changes gave away too much to developers and created a trolley no one needed.
In 2006, Nickels promoted a $365 million levy — the largest property-tax levy city voters ever approved — for transportation work including bridge repair, traffic lights, bike lanes, sidewalks, traffic circles and maintenance.
After last winter's snowfall ground much of Seattle to a halt, Nickels' defensiveness — he gave the city a "B" grade for its response — irked many residents and highlighted troubles in the city transportation department.
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