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World's 50 Fair

Pages from the April 8, 1962 edition of the Seattle Times, a Seattle World's Fair Souvenir Edition.

February 5, 2012 at 5:42 PM

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A cross-Sound bridge? A highway around Lake Washington?

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Published April 8, 1962:
Sound's Potential Dwarfs Even World's Fair

By the 21st Century, 4,320,000 people will be living in the Puget Sound country!

That is the prediction of W.W. Straley, president of the Pacific Northwest Bell Telephone Co., which needs to peek into the future as far as possible to plan its operations effectively.

This population will be packet into nine counties - King, Pierce, Snohomish, Skagit, Whatcom, Island, Jefferson, Kitsap and Thurston.

These counties in the 1960 census had a combined 1,718,900 population.

OTHER STRALEY predictions are:


  • Four bridges across Lake Washington.

  • One bridge across Puget Sound.

  • U.S. 99 to remain the main north-south highway, with U.S. 10 - the Sunset Highway - the main east-west highway.

  • An additional major north-south highway.

  • A major highway encircling Lake Washington.

  • A possible monorail between Tacoma and Everett, looping around Lake Washington.

  • Other highways, like spokes, radiating from the major Lake Washington peripheral highway.

"OUR PRESENT TOWNS, as we know them," Straley said, "will become a continuous metropolitan area.

"People will not know when they leave one town and enter another.

"The present high-density urban areas will be replaced with even higher density uses - apartment houses. A lot of what is now high-density urban area will be rendered unusable by transportation requirements."

Straley said that, with good planning, the communities will contain from 30,000 to 40,000, with uncrowded schools, representative government, light industry, well-placed commercial areas, parks, churches and clinics.

"The 'City of Puget Sound' will, of course, be many cities and many communities," Straley said.

STRALEY, USING FIGURES prepared by Puget Planners, Inc., explained that the 21st Century population forecast reflected an annual increase of about 2.3 percent for the next 38 years.

This assumes a continued growth at the same rate as that experienced between 1950 and 1960 - and ignores any large-scale migration.

In the year 2000 this "city" would have an industrial work force of 464,000, compared with the 182,000 today. Straley warned that such an increase, if improperly controlled, could lead to trouble.

"Present trends of concentrating industry in urban centers can, in 38 years, lead to manufacturing and industrial jungles almost filling what is now our urban areas," he said.

"Dispersion of industry is an answer - building industry out in the countryside near where people want to live."

STRALEY FORECAST that 52,000 acres of new industrial land will be needed.

"There are only 12,000 acres of land earmarked for industry now in the nine Puget Sound counties," he pointed out.

"The year 2000 will still see some industrial concentration where we have it now," Straley said, "but it can be primarily distributing and wholesale operations requiring access to shipping routes.

An estimated 656,000 new families, requiring 492 square miles of new residential districts, will fill in the present open spaces.

Seattle, Tacoma and Everett, the three largest Puget Sound cities, together have only 151 square miles today.

"It is believed the present tendency for the family to live on larger residential lots outside the main urban centers will continue," Straley said.

"It is further assumed that present central-city residential areas will be largely multiple-dwelling housing."


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