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Tunnel worries

There's a new mayor, yes, but so far no new clarity about the plan to replace Seattle's waterfront viaduct. The deep-bore tunnel, already a giant underground question mark, is leaching signs of trouble.
Seattle waterfront

Seattle waterfront Dean Forbes

The latest alignment of the proposed Seattle deep-bore tunnel to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct follows the waterfront.

The latest alignment of the proposed Seattle deep-bore tunnel to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct follows the waterfront. WSDOT

As Mayor-elect Mike McGinn prepares to move into City Hall, it's a good time to check in on the region’s most contentious mega-project. Whatever you thought of last January's decision to pursue a bored tunnel through downtown to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct, you should be paying attention again now. Some rather serious problems are emerging for Seattle, and decision points are looming.

Planning for the tunnel project has been underway for about a year. While much of the data about its engineering, risks, and impacts are still under wraps, there has been no shortage of public discussion on the politics. Most recently, the talk has focused on how McGinn will engage Olympia and the City Council once he’s in charge (which begins next week). Whether or not his election was a referendum against the tunnel, McGinn is quick to point out that the Seattle public continues to voice strong opposition to this project. For now, all he’s saying is that it’s his job as mayor to ask the hard questions.

My involvement in this project primarily is via my role as director of the People’s Waterfront Coalition. Our organization, along with many allies and partner organizations, has advocated for a highway-free waterfront and a transportation solution that fits where Seattle is headed. I served on the project's 2008 stakeholder committee, and I also was one of McGinn's informal outreach "ambassadors" during his recent transiiton.

As we move into the next phase of consideration and negotiations on the viaduct replacement, here are the trouble spots I see on the horizon.

Risks to Pioneer Square and the waterfront. Assuming the project goes forward, the south portal tunnel mouth is shaping up to be, in a word, dreadful. Just south of King Street, State Route 99 would transition from elevated to surface to tunnel, creating a spaghetti bowl of highway lanes, on- and off-ramps, and a frontage road. The freight underpass long planned for Atlantic Street is no longer envisioned being underground; new plans shown at recent public meetings depict it as a block-long elevated structure. When you see drawings of the highway-scaled infrastructure and hear the expected traffic volumes going to and from the tunnel portal via city streets (perhaps 59,000 cars a day, according to WSDOT’s Ron Paananen), it’s hard to see how the pedestrian party around Pioneer Square and the stadium area on game day wouldn't be crushed.

About a month ago, WSDOT determined the engineering and structural risks from boring under Pioneer Square and First Avenue were hopeless, or at least too expensive to mitigate. The risks to historic buildings and utilities from vibrations and ground settlement were serious enough that WSDOT went back to the drawing board with a new (old) proposed tunnel alignment: the waterfront. From about King Street to Yesler Way, the tunnel would follow the waterfront and then veer inland under downtown.

While the proposed change alleviates risks to the historic structures on First Avenue, there are likely significant problems for Seattle on the waterfront too, but engineers haven’t fully assessed them. The soils near the water are as bad as the Square's, if not worse. This routing could further concentrate the portal-bound traffic on the waterfront street and create conflicts with ferry loading and offloading. A different set of Pioneer Square buildings may be put at risk due to vibration and ground settlement. Tunneling at the water's edge likely jeopardizes the opportunity for a softer-edge shoreline and big waterfront park at the current site of Pier 48 and the Washington Street Boat Landing.

For now, the new tunnel alignment is not much more than a line on a map. Many questions remain to be answered about its viability, including Homeland Security and the Federal Highway Administration’s opinions on tunneling directly under the Federal Building.

The tunnel itself doesn’t help — and may worsen — access to downtown. The viaduct is primarily used for in-city trips; 85 percent of SR-99 trips start and end within city limits, and about half of viaduct users are accessing downtown. Because there would be no ramps to or from the tunnel, it isn’t useful for anyone coming downtown to work or shop or play; users of the Elliott, Western, Seneca or Columbia ramps would need to find a new route.


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Comments:

Posted Mon, Dec 28, 6:55 a.m. Inappropriate

I guess we should go ahead and cap off the tunnel that's been there for 100 years.

http://www.historylink.org/index.cfm?DisplayPage=output.cfm&file;_id=4029

I have no idea why Crosscut bothered to give the green light to speculation from Cary Moon, a McGinn advisor, to write such drivel. The sky is falling, or might fall, or could fall, well, there is sky, and the state highway is going to look like a highway, and that would be "dreadful".
Uh, thanks for Cary-ing McGinn's water for him.

Mr Baker

Posted Mon, Dec 28, 7:06 a.m. Inappropriate

"why again is it worth building?"

BTW, it is a pass-through tunnel, that is the function of the tunnel, so, feel free to edit out the paragraphs that completely miss this point.

Mr Baker

Posted Mon, Dec 28, 7:10 a.m. Inappropriate

"January 2011: The final EIS will be released, which may spark more lawsuits from parties concerned about the lack of alternatives being considered or about shortcomings in the analysis."

Facts will not support somebody's anti-tunnel opinion?

Mr Baker

Posted Mon, Dec 28, 7:23 a.m. Inappropriate

Yes, Mr. Baker, a pass-through tunnel; for maybe half of the SR-99 corridor traffic. And the other half will travel on surface city streets.

A multi-billion-dollar tunnel to carry half the traffic for a distance of two miles? Sorry but more conversation is necessary on this one, and Admin Account has made an admirable contribution.

Posted Mon, Dec 28, 7:23 a.m. Inappropriate

"Cost escalations are typical for projects of this size and ambition, despite everyone’s best intentions. Expensive isn’t necessarily bad — if the benefits are worth it."

And here is the WSDOT estimate page (note: the construction portion of the 1.9 billion dollar tunnel is 900 million, Escalation (per Global Insight) $166; then there is 400 million more from tolling, then 400 million more from more tolling if the original tolling is not enough - that is 166+400+400=966 million in fluff).
http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/Projects/Viaduct/TunnelCostEstimate.htm

Mr Baker

Posted Mon, Dec 28, 7:31 a.m. Inappropriate

Well, R, the admin does state that King County did not get state authority for more Metro, but failed to mention the city's ability to use its existing mvet.

Admin did not bring anything to discuss but speculation and opinion about speculation.

I will be happy to have a meaningful conversation when there are actual facts to discuss.

Here, Admin, tell us how McGinn's billion dollar (Seattle only) light rail he is trying to get pushed through in 2010 will enhance the "shoreline".

Mr Baker

Posted Mon, Dec 28, 9 a.m. Inappropriate

All of this seems to be a pretty good argument for rebuilding a viaduct.

I do wonder if the surface street supporters have found a way to stop business flight from Seattle?
What’s to stop Seattle from becoming a bedroom community of Bellevue?

Posted Mon, Dec 28, 9 a.m. Inappropriate

Silly Cary. Her opposition to the one solution that works undermines the efforts of the community to turn the waterfront into the kind of place she claims she wants it to be.

unter

Posted Mon, Dec 28, 9:08 a.m. Inappropriate

Here's my take on how it will go:

Seattle won't agree to pay cost overruns.

Legislature drops the Tunnel

WSDOT brings back their senerio to build a NEW Viaduct on the waterfront. which is wider and uglier than the existing Viaduct.

Seattle balks and digs in to stop it.

City proposes a no-replacement scheme with Transit.

WSDOT and Legislature won't buy it and threated to abandon the project by just tearing the Viaduct down and turn the waterfront over to the City. SR 99 would then end south of Downtown and start again north of downtown.
Citizens and businesses object to the loss of the current route and file suit to keep the State at the table.

Speaker Chopp and Mayor McGinn then focus on Retrofitting the Viaduct, maintaining the same trafic volumes (110,000/day, start Retrofitting immediately, cause little disturbance to traffic flow and corridor businesses during the 2 years of construction. Urban design elements are included such as , making the Viaduct quieter with new paving and baffels. Relocate parking from under the Viaduct and replace with structured parking just East of the Viaduct, re-establish the Waterfront Trolly and extend to Pier 90-91 for Tour Boat traffic connections, turning the cleared under-the-viaduct-space into a covered pedestrian promanade from the Pike Place Market to the Stadiums, thus increasing the amount of openspace on the waterfront and lastly replace the seawall.

This will be decided by the 2011 legislative session. The project will cost less than $1.5 billion.

It is a solution that should have been undertaken just after the Earthquake by then Governor Locke as an emergency solution.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Art

Posted Mon, Dec 28, 9:15 a.m. Inappropriate

Cary brings up some great points - the tunnel could be a disaster for Pioneer Square, does nothing for people heading downtown, has major engineering uncertainties, and tolls means fewer people will use it. A much better and less expensive solution is the surface/transit/I-5 proposal.

What's disappointing is that Seattle City Councilmembers seem to be afraid to look critically at the project and safeguard the city's interests. I hope they will find some courage now.

Melanie

Posted Mon, Dec 28, 9:42 a.m. Inappropriate

I think the essential dishonesty here is Moon's refusal to admit that the AWV is part of a state highway. Cutting out two or three miles on the waterfront means you either have no state highway, or you have a state highway running through the waterfront. Moon may sincerely believe that the way to heaven is paved with doubletalk, but the reality of what Moon is advocating is the worst of both worlds, with the flow of traffic on 99 feeding into the city from north and south, and the most strong-willed of that traffic forcing its way through on the surface.

A few months ago I looked up that $1.9 billion price, and found that almost a quarter of the price was a reserve fund for construction cost overruns. If the tunnel could be built quickly to take advantage of the current downturn it might well cost less.

Happily, I live in a rural county that will be happy to take some of that $1.9 billion and let Seattle solve its own problems. Although McGinn and his supporters have repeatedly insinuated that the $1.9 billion could be spent on parks and lollipops, that is simply untrue. As for the idea of McGinn gaining any influence in Olympia, that ship has sailed. His fast and loose approach to the facts makes him an unreliable political ally.

Somehow or other, Seattle has to deal with the traffic on 99. The tunnel proposal put the through traffic underground, leaving the city able, if they have the will, to deal with the traffic to the city core while still not building a highway on the waterfront. Nickels was well down the path of building a streetcar and rebuilding surface streets- if McGinn has any sense, he'll keep that effort going and the viaduct may yet come down on schedule.

Posted Mon, Dec 28, 10:21 a.m. Inappropriate

Scary Cary, Way too much information! There is only one 21st century and beyond option. It's the tunnel! Seattle desperately needs a major open space that will make living in the downtown desireable. People need to get there and need to get through the city. Cars and other vehicles will remain the prefered transportation for decades and they will become eco-freindly and smaller and easier to accomodate. This process is so Seattle and destined to end up in a compromise like the current viaduct or if anyone remembers the King Dome...I've taken a few years off to teach in Arizona, still have an office in Seattle, andI will remain glued to how this debate unfolds. Seattle don't be scared or you get scarred with a new wider and earthquake proof viaduct...

chuck

Posted Mon, Dec 28, 10:21 a.m. Inappropriate

Yes, AWV is part of a state highway, a highway that is punctuated by intersections and stoplights north of Mercer St. and south of Spokane Street. Only this short section through downtown Seattle is limited-access freeway. Nobody has made a solid case why this is necessary, why the configuration north of Mercer and south of Spokane is so danged awful that we have to spend billions on a freeway solution.

Posted Mon, Dec 28, 10:28 a.m. Inappropriate

Sorry, Art, but no matter how many times you tout the retrofit of the existing structure, it only postpones the inevitable. It's not a permanent (i.e. 75+ years) solution. We will just be leaving the problem to our children, or if we get lucky, our grandchildren. I'd rather we not do that.

Posted Mon, Dec 28, 11:16 a.m. Inappropriate

Art is absolutely right. And if people were given an honest voting procedure they would still choose a refurbished viaduct. Technology has advanced for elevated road construction with seismic protection and there are examples all over the world.

I can't believe that responsible transportation professionals will actually destroy an arterial that daily moves 110,000 cars, the current mode of travel for over 90% of us, and replace it with a decorative promenade.

If you think people laugh at Seattle now...

jmrolls

Posted Mon, Dec 28, 11:35 a.m. Inappropriate

Art has nailed it.

The only hope for the tear-down would have been a plan of "Repair (the Viaduct) and Prepare (via street and transit improvements)" to tear down the Viaduct. Such an approach was urged by Peter Sherwin and others several years ago. But such a plan was apparently not appealing to surface/transit advocates because it left the Viaduct in place and in fact required some medium-term repairs.

Tear-down advocates would have been better off accepting Viaduct removal as a long-term City GOAL and work toward it slowly. Many could have supported that. But the politics and practicalities will not allow the tear-down to take place over the short term because it requires too many other transportation improvements and those cannot happen quickly, in Seattle.

Posted Mon, Dec 28, 11:39 a.m. Inappropriate

R in Beacon Hill - SR 99 is a 6-lane limited access mini-freeway all the way from the Battery Street Tunnel to north of Green Lake - without a single stop light or at-grade intersection (and the section south of Spokane Street has very few lights and/or intersections). I would be fine with a similar configuration along the waterfront, but I suspect Ms. Moon and waterfront fetishists wouldn't be so happy with that solution.

Art's scenario is not nearly as far-fetched as you make it out to be.

Posted Mon, Dec 28, 12:08 p.m. Inappropriate

Thanks to Cary for summing things up in plain english. Mayor McGinn has his work cut out for him and as candidate demonstrated excellent leadership skills. However, I must point out one shortcoming:

The public must receive more information about the severe impacts of the Deep-bore 'north portal' and 'Mercer West' (Paul Allen's domain) which looks to me worse than predicted at Pioneer Square District. Are Seattlers unaware that Mercer Street will be reconfigured as a major thru-corridor between Eliott and I-5? Constructing the Deep-bore north portal and "Mercer West" will be a major disruption where traffic is already chaotic, and once completed will likely make surface traffic there worse by increasing its daily traffic by thousands.

I oppose the Deep-bore on technical grounds, and believe it's obvious that it won't do the job near well enough to justify further study and speculation. My preference is for the 4-lane cut/cover 'Tunnelite', WSDOT Scenario 'G' or some form thereof to maintain Western/Elliott access, build the strongest seawall and most stable Alaskan Way, cut costs, create the most construction jobs, etc etc. I strongly believe construction disruption to Alaskan Way is manageable though the public was misled to believe otherwise in March 2007 and voted 'Tunnelite' down for that reason. As for a 'softer' waterfront edge, the seawall takes precidence overall and a cut/cover tunnel would not affect it. If sea rise is inevitable, the strongest seawall desirable is possible only with the cut/cover tunnel.

Wells

Posted Mon, Dec 28, 1:01 p.m. Inappropriate


I have been amazed during the years of debate how little understanding there seems to be regarding the two competing issues we have been trying to resolve. The first is a transportation problem and the other is a land
use issue. Both have should have been given separate and equal consideration, however we must decide which of the two is more important to the benefit and needs of the state and city in economic, social and environmental terms. I don't see where this was adequately carried out.
I think we were instead presented with a number of proposals which
really have failed or given short shrift to a balanced and constructive understanding of those needs. If you want an example of this,take a look at the Janary 2007 WSDOT Feasibility Study of Long Span Bridges. A number of the peer review comments are incredulous if not comical.

Bella

Posted Mon, Dec 28, 3:09 p.m. Inappropriate

Serial-Catowner has summed up what I have been saying for 6 months:
"Happily, I live in a rural county that will be happy to take some of that $1.9 billion and let Seattle solve its own problems. Although McGinn and his supporters have repeatedly insinuated that the $1.9 billion could be spent on parks and lollipops, that is simply untrue. As for the idea of McGinn gaining any influence in Olympia, that ship has sailed. His fast and loose approach to the facts makes him an unreliable political ally."

Unhappily I live in Seattle, and know that the gas tax money would go east in a hurry if there is a sniff of McGinn sandbagging this.

The problem with Cary's fantasy of just four lanes along the waterfront is that the number of lanes is not up to Seattle. If you really want a surface option then prepare for it the be 4 gp +2 hov. Go look at North Aurora in Shoreline, from 145 to 155th, 7 lanes and u-turns.

And still, the state is only obligated to replacing the state highway, nothing else. Not only is the construction portion padded, but the cost overruns are padded.

Having Jan Drago campaign for mayor as being about good ideas and better relationships is the opposite of what we have with Mayor McPipedream.

Since arties4453 is predicting a rebuild I will go ahead and make a prediction: we will need and get both the tunnel and the surface options over the lifetime of the tunnel (100 years) because that is how much capacity we will need for mass transit if anybody expects Seattle to absorb its share of density.
The tunnel will be over the original construction estimate, but under the 400+400 million in tolling. An attempt by McGinn to force an early vote on light rail will cause the council to look at that as sucking the air, and city bonding authority, out of the room. There is the battle, bonding authority to upzone the mass transit from existing metro busesto pretty light rail.

Mr Baker

Posted Mon, Dec 28, 3:19 p.m. Inappropriate

"Bonding authority" sb "bonding capacity"

Mr Baker

Posted Mon, Dec 28, 3:36 p.m. Inappropriate

For fun, substitute "AWV Tunnel" for "Sound Transit", and "West Side Light Rail" for "Monorail" here:
http://www.seattle.gov/council/licata/up/up89.htm

Good luck getting out in front, scruffy, we've seen this show before.

Mr Baker

Posted Mon, Dec 28, 4:14 p.m. Inappropriate

Ms. Moon has presented the People's Waterfront Coalition's position paper under the guise of journalism with this piece. Her doom and gloom article outlines what is essentially the agenda about how she and the McGinn Administration plan to torpedo the Tunnel Project.

There is no question that this project is fraught with challenges but instead of proposing possible solutions to these pitfalls this paper just greases the skids for abandoning the Tunnel before the studies are done. It is clear that the electorate is split pretty evenly among the three primary solutions - Tunnel, Viaduct, Surface. No matter which path is decided upon, the majority of Seattlites will be pissed off. Better he leave the blame to his predecessor and the state than to reopen this no-win can of worms.

I also see this as a first real test of how McGinn plans to lead as Mayor. Will he repay his base of support by killing the Tunnel project and pursue the Coalition's Surface scheme or will he make good on his eleventh-hour statement that he will act as the Council directs and execute the Tunnel agreement? Ms. Moon's position with the new Administration will be a telling sign.

fred117

Posted Mon, Dec 28, 6:52 p.m. Inappropriate

I agree with Art's analysis. A retrofit is--and always has been--the way to go. And if we keep at it over the years, Seattle's waterfront viaduct could last as long as the aquaducts that have stood since Roman times. And yes, I think transportation policy trumps land-use in this particular case.

Posted Mon, Dec 28, 8:32 p.m. Inappropriate

Has anybody explained how tolling would work in the real world? I have to chuckle at Mr. Baker's "...there is 400 million more from tolling, then 400 million more from more tolling if the original tolling is not enough." Hit-em again, hit-em again, harder, harder.

But the tolls don't apply to vehicles not using the tunnel itself -- all the SODO-to-Ballard traffic and the West Seattle-to-downtown traffic. Only the SODO to Aurora Ave traffic pays. And if motorists are cheap like I am (and I expect many of them are; those that pay their own way and not on the company dime), they will be exiting before the toll plaza and taking surface streets.

I hope they design in a LOT of capacity at both of the "last exit before toll".

Posted Mon, Dec 28, 10:24 p.m. Inappropriate

As long as we're talking about STATE dollars, I demand those of us out of The City be permitted to vote on where OUR dollars go!

It seems Ms. G picked the most costly solution that serves the fewest people and has the most technical problems. Please, don't let rational, intelligent reasoning interfere with politics.

Time for another tea party!

Jonah

Posted Mon, Dec 28, 11:59 p.m. Inappropriate

You raise some good points there, R. I think the official current toll estimates for the latest iteration of the tunnel were that it could be expected to bring in $400 million (but probably not double that, in my view)

In 2002 WSDOT did a toll study for the tunnel proposal that Seattle voters rejected which estimated that "application of the economically efficient or optimal per-mile toll rates using only electronic collection can be expected to generate gross annual revenue within the range of $4.7 million to 7.8 million in the opening year 2009."

Make of that what you will.

Posted Tue, Dec 29, 12:14 p.m. Inappropriate

I am at a loss. Having once believed that Crosscut was a site for JOURNALISM, it causes dismay that yet another online news source has become a megaphone for activists to beat down facts and put upon the rest of us their opinion in the guise of 'news'.

The only honesty in this piece is that Cary Moon outs herself as a member of the anti-Viaduct, anti-Tunnel organization 'People's Waterfront Coalition'. Most of the 4 pages are the same points she has fought for these past 5 years. And she lost those arguements. Now, she is seizing the moment to continue to repeat untruths, innuendo, and spread outright fabrications in the name of 'concern'.

Come on, Crosscut. We deserve better than this.

Posted Tue, Dec 29, 9:47 p.m. Inappropriate

Now that the choise has been made, how about getting it done faster?

The thing Cary is FOR does not have enough support to succeed. There are major worries about her preferred alternative as well. This story ended. Cary lost.

Most people are FOR removing the Viaduct, which is an ugly noisy blight on the City. But also useful because it is a way to speed into, and past, downtown. The tunnel will reconnect the city's streets, end the noisy blight, improve transit and reduce the amount of road lanes, along with tolling access to them - an environmental win.

I've looked in detail at the new plans for the South Portal to the deep bore tunnel near Pioneer Square. Compared to what's in the same space today, the design offers a dramatic improvement. You could actually get to Pioneer Square from the north or south far easier than you can today. The spaghetti bowl Cary describes in nonsense. The design is a vastly improved way to connect to the real street real people use. Transit connections are enhanced and far less round about.

My hunch is that it will enhance Pioneer Square, not make it worse. It will certainly improve access to the stadiums and everything around them, as well as downtown. As for parties at the the stadiums, anyone who goes knows there's plenty of room not impacted in any way, save for better movement in and out.

Best of all: it removes the current blight.

Rather than continuously second guessing the selected alternative (a tactic designed to extend this overworked conflict into our graves), we might consider the value in demanding that the state step up the schedule, say twice as fast.

Has anyone noticed that there aren't enough jobs around here right now? Bids for big transportation projects are coming in at all time lows due to a hungry market and excessive padding of estimates by state engineers.

The Governor and the legislature, along with City leadership, ought to be asking for a game plan to put people to work far faster, and end all this worry mongering now. We have the money we need to move. The state doesn't seem to have the will. US involvement in World War II was over and done with twice as fast as its taken to get agreement on a plan to fix the Viaduct risks. The slow timetable for getting it done is an embarrassment.

The same types of speedier construction ought to be demanded on other state projects - like the 520 - and Sound Transit's looming construction. Let's use the funding secured for these things to help lead us out of the economic dumps we're likely to witness for a couple more years.

I'm all for the oversight Cary wants. Bring it on. Just don't take eons and use it to delay things anymore. There are risks with everything. The risk associated with this project appear to be reasonable - far more reasonable than any alternative (Mike McGinn's vote getting hyperbole can be excused as words from a desperate politician focused only on winning an election). Cary overstates the risks on the Viaduct replacement and attempts to introduce drama where there is none.

The only reasonable course of action now is to pick up the pace. It will pain the process junkies at the state DOT. But they work for us. Maybe we need to hire more of them. The legislature can help be asking what laws can be streamlined to speed up and put people to work sooner.

City leadership should demand that the state take a hard look at what's necessary to cut the construction time in half and speed up the jobs.

Jan

Posted Wed, Dec 30, 10:18 p.m. Inappropriate

Let's hope Cary Moon is still around making waves long after Jan has found something else to do. Cary's perspective on reducing traffic is wise. Jan's perspective on transportation system planning is dangerously obsolete. You go, Cary.

Wells

Posted Thu, Dec 31, 2:50 p.m. Inappropriate

Wells, if you're from West Seattle (or, indeed anywhere west of SR 99), Ms. Moon's perspective on "reducing traffic" is a bunch of wishful thinking BS.

Posted Sat, Jan 2, 10:34 a.m. Inappropriate

The Boston "Big Dig" is finished, and Bostonians as well as visitors are enjoying the revived cityscape: "[Y]ou stroll the narrow, twisting streets of the North End, one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods, full of cafes and restaurants and boutiques, and newly vibrant in the post Big Dig era. No longer do you have to thread your way beneath the Central Artery, with traffic rumbling nerve-rackingly overhead, to get between the North End and downtown.

"Now you can walk boldly across Hanover Street, through the public plaza and park — underneath it is the tunnel that replaced the old elevated highway — that is the new Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway. Or you can just stand on Hanover Street on either side — the North End, or over by Faneuil Hall, or the Haymarket — and enjoy the striking city views. The city that was divided more than half a century ago by the Central Artery has been knit back together....

"So you head out of the hotel, hang a right and make a quick stop at the Fairmont’s free, pocket maritime museum. You’re now on the HarborWalk, ... along the city’s historic waterfront, from East Boston to Charlestown to the North End and all the way to Fort Point Channel, South Boston and Dorchester. Anyone who builds along the waterfront has to provide a stretch for public access, as well as public restrooms, benches and attractive plantings.

"Thanks to Vivien Li, executive director of the Boston Harbor Association, a nonprofit group, and the creative force behind the HarborWalk, the promenade is stocked with amenities. Like free binoculars. And they work." Li has made sure that families on tight budgets will find lots to enjoy. (http://travel.nytimes.com/2010/01/01/travel/escapes/01boston.html)

Moon is like the Americans David Brooks describes who deplore any organization or system that isn't perfect ("The God That Fails" - http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/01/opinion/01brooks.html). NO project of any size or worth, including a deep-bore tunnel, is without its imperfections and unpredictables. We need to grow up and accept this truth.

Posted Sun, Jan 3, 5:13 p.m. Inappropriate

The Big Dig is a wonderful 20th century solution where a point in the system was fixed. In Boston, the cars and consequent highways are what screwed up the urban experience, yet the cars are still being provided for in that solution. What's the over/under on the year that $10 billion repair will be congested?

We Seattlites need a more system-wide solution that induces the future we want as opposed to one that facilitates more of the same. I want more than just a walkable waterfront. I want more transportation options to choose from that are safe, relaible and that support an enjoyable place to live. I want the roads for trucks, transit, contractors and emergency vehicles above most other uses.

Posted Wed, Jan 20, 3:38 p.m. Inappropriate

It's gotten quite tedious the disingenuous Cary Moon and her carping about her great concern about the environment of the City Waterfront, her jargon laden pontificating about “the best solution” for the waterfront.

People should take a look around and check out just how much Cary has not done towards fighting the tunnel project. She’s spent the better part of three years talking about her opposition, however when it comes time to do something – she’s done nothing.

She never shows up at a City Council hearing to oppose any part of the tunnel project or the legislation enabling it, she never shows up at any rally to oppose the same, she never supported any of the initiatives opposing the tunnel, a month ago she had an offer of an all legal expenses paid, free legal ride to join in on the litigation against the tunnel, she refused to take part, not once, but twice.

Consistently all one ever sees is Cary attending meetings with the WSDOT and SDOT people, assorted officials, hob nobbing with whomever the du jour political name of the moment is. In the end after observing her the impression one gets is that Cary likes to talk about opposing the tunnel as opposed to actually doing something about it. It's about the cult of personality, Cary working to be a personality.

In the end Cary is not so different from a lot of other people in these circles that she travels in that values more the opportunity to "be in the know", to socialize and associate with officials and politcos. She appears to cherish more the opportunity to attend “meetings”, and play the connected role. These sort of people mistakenly believe that their inclusion as an invitee or participant is evidence of their power. However the opposite is true. They have been coopted and their “anti-whatever” banter with media outlets is tolerated by the governments and people that organize these little soirees, a little indulgence the establishment allows them, b/c in the end, they know that official popularity and being part of the inner circle is what means more to this sort of person than does any meaningful/actual opposition or activity that would seek to effectively achieve their stated goals about their adopted anti-issue.

So spare us all the Cary Moon analysis, the Cary Moon “I’m against the tunnel” commentary, ’cause the girl is so thick with all the powers that be that want to make the tunnel a reality that there is no credible evidence that Cary Moon is anti-tunnel anything. If nothing else one only needs to visit that adoring epistle that Cary wrote about Grace Crunican SDOT’s now-disgraced head to see how entrenched Cary really is on the pro-tunnel side and with its operatives.

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