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March 12, 2007

A Last Pre-Vote Viaduct Post

If you haven't yet voted and haven't quite decided how you want to vote, I suggest you read this article and poke around on this site.  Add in, as I do, the idea of retrofitting the existing Viaduct to give us time to plan properly and you will be amazed how it starts to make sense to vote No/No. 

The article is written by the amazing Cary Moon, who co-founded the People's Waterfront Coalition, the organization that has been working for a surface/transit option for years.  She has written a wonderful piece in Grist Magazine on the Viaduct issue and how we got here.  Here's a teaser:

The politics seem to result from a weird mix of several factors. First, a reverence for highway engineers; they have data, they must be right, right? Second, some unproductive balkanization of transportation authority and funding divided across separate agencies; the highway department does highways, period. Third, a reluctance to admit we're really a city, and future Seattleites might actually like to live densely, use parks, walk and take transit. Fourth, an unconscious wild wild west obsession that makes otherwise reasonable people equate highways with freedom.

So these factors, assisted by some particularly stubborn elected officials, brought this Hobson's Choice upon us.

The one satisfying thing about this absurd battle coming to a head is how effectively a vote sharpens the focus. It has brought out the fact that both options perpetuate the status quo of car-dependence and drive us further toward the cliff of climate change. It revealed exactly how remarkable and precious this one opportunity is to create a civic heart on our downtown shore. It exposed "congestion relief" as a false promise; if you try to build your way out of congestion, you'll ruin your city or go broke trying. It got people to confront our responsibility to invest in a different future now, not just wring our hands while we continue business as usual. It got regular citizens quoting stats from success stories of highway removal -- Seoul, San Francisco, Portland, Milwaukee -- and realize our state highway department might be exactly wrong on this one.

Posted by Lynn Allen on March 12, 2007 at 10:49 AM in Policy | Permalink

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