Urban planning community

+ Reply to thread
Results 1 to 23 of 23

Thread: Seattle proposal raises Big Dig fears

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Plus
    Registered
    Jun 2003
    Location
    De Noc
    Posts
    17,843

    Seattle proposal raises Big Dig fears

    Headline and Article from the AP Wire:
    http://www.newsday.com/news/nationwo...orld-headlines

    Highlights:

    Their proposal to replace the viaduct with a major tunnel has critics pointing to Boston, where another ambitious highway project stampeded past deadlines and cost estimates.

    Tunnel supporters dismiss such dire predictions, and believe they could gain a crucial stamp of public approval if the City Council agrees to hold a citywide vote on the tunnel this fall.

    Seattle and Boston have the same yearning: to reclaim the views and property values scarred by Cold War-era elevated highways. Boston built a series of tunnels at a cost of $14.6 billion, the most expensive highway project in U.S. history.

    "The Big Dig now has become almost a mythical thing in the American public works landscape, for good and for ill," MacDonald said.

    The viaduct definitely is a liability. Built in the 1950s, it was damaged in a 6.8-magnitude earthquake in 2001, and engineers warn it could collapse in another temblor.

    On the Net:

    State DOT: http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/Projects/Viaduct

    Nickels' viaduct plans: http://www.seattle.gov/mayor/issues/viaduct/
    If this proposal makes on to the November ? ballot, this vote will be worth following.

    Being twin decked remember what happened on Oakland, CA twin decked highway in the World Series Earthquake
    (1989), reasonable to replace it but according to the article the controlling factor is the volume of traffic.


    This also fits the thread on urban waterfronts.

    The Alaskan Way Viaduct shuttles more than 100,000 automobiles each day on twin concrete decks that soar above the sparkling waterfront. The highway is also drab, rickety and outdated, and Mayor Greg Nickels and his allies want to bury it.

    Nickels' more modest plan in Seattle would consist of a single tunnel topped by an urban park and commercial zone.
    Last edited by JNA; 19 Aug 2006 at 7:42 AM.
    Oddball
    Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves?
    Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here?
    Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?
    From Kelly's Heroes (1970)


    Are you sure you're not hurt ?
    No. Just some parts wake up faster than others.
    Broke parts take a little longer, though.
    From Electric Horseman (1979)

  2. #2
    NIMBY asshatterer Plus Richmond Jake's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2001
    Location
    Jukin' City
    Posts
    16,525
    San Francisco demolished the elevated double-decked Embarcadero Freeway after the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake and traffic circulation seems to function.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Embarcadero_Freeway

    Why shouldn’t Seattle’s Alaskan Viaduct meet the same fate? The beast is an eyesore.

    Seattle is no stranger to urban open space over freeways. A Lawrence Halprin-designed park is located over the I-5.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian abrowne's avatar
    Registered
    Jan 2005
    Location
    BC
    Posts
    1,584
    Why can't cars drive on the ground? *sheesh*

  4. #4
    Cyburbian AubieTurtle's avatar
    Registered
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Downtown Atlanta
    Posts
    894
    David Sucher talks about this project quite a bit on his City Comforts Blog.
    As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron. - H.L. Mencken

  5. #5
    Cyburbian mgk920's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Appleton, Wisconsin
    Posts
    4,167
    Quote Originally posted by abrowne
    Why can't cars drive on the ground? *sheesh*
    A 100K+ AADT surface boulevard would take a LOT of space and more effecively cut the waterfront from the city than does the existing viaduct. Chicago is about the only place that I know of that was able to make something like that work.

    Mike

  6. #6
    Cyburbian njm's avatar
    Registered
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Highlight of the lowland
    Posts
    322
    I can't seem to find any full-length descriptions in English, but this project seems to be a bit more similar in scale to the Götatunnel in Gothenburg, Sweden. A tunnel a mile long in the city center (along the Göta River.) Came in on time (6 years, 2000-2006) and on budget at about 400 millin US$ (3.2 billion SEK.)

    Granted, construction management may be different from one country to the other... however, it seems to show that uben tunneling projects have a prayer of working the the US.
    What luck! A random assemblage of words never sounded less intelligent.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian abrowne's avatar
    Registered
    Jan 2005
    Location
    BC
    Posts
    1,584
    Quote Originally posted by mgk920
    A 100K+ AADT surface boulevard would take a LOT of space and more effecively cut the waterfront from the city than does the existing viaduct. Chicago is about the only place that I know of that was able to make something like that work.

    Mike
    I disagree. Practically, you cannot build over a highway tunnel so this offers just as much disruption to the flow of the city. Similarily, a viaduct deadens land use. You can only have so many markets under the viaduct...

    The problem is about the same no matter how you slice it.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Where the weak are killed and eaten.
    Posts
    6,217
    Why does 100k blvds seem like no big deal to me? I'm going to have to check my model and traffic counts here (I work in transportation, but am no modeler). I assume you're speaking of lakeshore; lakeshore is not a typical surface blvd, there are many places in North and by the Field Museum where it acts as a surface level freeway.
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  9. #9
    Cyburbian mgk920's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Appleton, Wisconsin
    Posts
    4,167
    Quote Originally posted by DetroitPlanner View post
    Why does 100k blvds seem like no big deal to me? I'm going to have to check my model and traffic counts here (I work in transportation, but am no modeler). I assume you're speaking of lakeshore; lakeshore is not a typical surface blvd, there are many places in North and by the Field Museum where it acts as a surface level freeway.
    LSD is a lot like a surface freeway, well, because over most of its length, it is. OTOH, it and the parkland around it were designed so that it isn't the impediment to the lake that it could have been. The Chicago lakefront is far more inaccessable north of Hollywood Av (the north end of LSD) than it is along LSD, this due to all of the private development that goes right up to the beachfront.

    OTOH, recall that the powers-that-be in Toronto, ON decided to not remove the elevated part of the Gardiner Expressway because the surface boulevard that would have replaced it would have had to have been at least five lanes of street in each direction, creating a truly formidable barrier between the city's downtown area and its lakefront.

    To replace the current Alaska Way viaduct in Seattle, WA with a surface boulevard would require a street of at least four lanes in each direction, cutting the waterfront off far worse than the current structure, and there really isn't all that much room along it.

    Also, don't forget that BNSF's ex GN mainline runs along Alaska Way over part of its length, forming another barrier. However, in the early 20th Century, GN did bypass much of the waterfront there with a tunnel under the southern part of downtown Seattle.

    BTW, Detroit has some preeeeetty wide boulevards, doesn't it?

    Mike

  10. #10
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Where the weak are killed and eaten.
    Posts
    6,217
    Quote Originally posted by mgk920 View post
    BTW, Detroit has some preeeeetty wide boulevards, doesn't it?

    Mike
    Yeah I guess thats why 100k does not seem like such a big deal roads such as Telegraph, 8 Mile, Gratiot, Woodward, and Grand River are all at least 8 lanes wide. Add to that Fort, Gratiot, Ford, Big Beaver (no jokes please) and Michigan havinig at least six lanes and we have a heck of a non-freeway network.

    I am unfamiliar with this roadway, would signalization be needed? how about pedestrian underpasses or overpasses?
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  11. #11
    Cyburbian jmello's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Clayobyrne, CB
    Posts
    2,581
    The boulevard would not need to be designed for 100k ADT. There is a plan to reduce trips through bolstered transit and to reconfigure some on the other north-south streets downtown to handle much of the displaced traffic.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
    Registered
    May 2003
    Location
    City of Low Low Wages!
    Posts
    3,236
    Montreal has also sucessfully caped over existing trench-cut freeways.

    The Big Dig was such a boondoggle for a variety of reasons. One was the requirement that nearly the entire central artery stay open during construction. Another was the channel where they couldn't sink a pre-built tube so they had to build an entire drydock in place. Lots of roads have been tunneled and while it is expensive it rarely approaches the obscene extremes of the Big Dig. If they'd let them shut the thing down (even half at a time) and drop it into a trench then it'll be fairly inexpensive.

    PS: LSD is a big problem. Chicago still has a nice lakefront in spite of LSD on account of the continuous park (although that's a bit of a joke in parts where the "park" is nothing more than a concrete platform/breakwater sandwiched between LSD and the lake). Lakefront access is not hard north of Hollywood because all the roads terminate directly at the lake. It's actually pretty neat:



    ^-- I'm standing in a public ROW here.
    Last edited by jordanb; 21 Aug 2006 at 1:27 PM.
    Reality does not conform to your ideology.
    http://neighborhoods.chicago.il.us Photographs of Life in the Neighborhoods of Chicago
    http://hafd.org/~jordanb/ Pretentious Weblog.

  13. #13
    Cyburbian Greenescapist's avatar
    Registered
    Apr 2002
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    1,169
    I was in Seattle last week and saw what a noisy eyesore the viaduct is. I hope they get the money to bury it. It would be a tremendous improvement for Seattle and might make their waterfront more usable. Right now, it feels cold and industrial.

    Transportation-wise, though, I think Seattle would benefit even more from light rail or a subway, but I know those would cost billions are never going to happen. That city is pretty traffic clogged.

  14. #14
    Cyburbian jmello's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Clayobyrne, CB
    Posts
    2,581
    Quote Originally posted by Greenescapist View post
    Transportation-wise, though, I think Seattle would benefit even more from light rail or a subway, but I know those would cost billions are never going to happen.
    They are building a light rail system with a subway portion right now. There is also a streetcar line that parallels the viaduct.

  15. #15
    Cyburbian imaplanner's avatar
    Registered
    May 2004
    Location
    Snarkville
    Posts
    6,588
    Click image for larger version

Name:	Viaduct1.jpg
Views:	344
Size:	37.6 KB
ID:	3591

    The thing needs to go. It is amazing how effective it is at seperating the city from its waterfront.

  16. #16
    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
    Registered
    May 2003
    Location
    City of Low Low Wages!
    Posts
    3,236
    Seriously it's incredible how these things got approved in the first place. It goes to show how wedded everyone was to the idea of the automobile utopia in those days. Mumford mocked the idea that elevated expressways were going up at the same time as elevated railways were being torn down as public nuisences .
    Reality does not conform to your ideology.
    http://neighborhoods.chicago.il.us Photographs of Life in the Neighborhoods of Chicago
    http://hafd.org/~jordanb/ Pretentious Weblog.

  17. #17
    Cyburbian hilldweller's avatar
    Registered
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Land of Confusion
    Posts
    3,740
    I don't see the justification in spending billions if the main objective is to spruce up the waterfront area. This would be the same situation with Boston. I really don't think the Big Dig was really that neccessary in the first place. The central artery was ugly but improvements could have been made to make it more functional and attractive. Burying it underground made it a financial sinkhole. There won't even be that much land opened to development when it is all said and done.

  18. #18
    Cyburbian Greenescapist's avatar
    Registered
    Apr 2002
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    1,169
    Quote Originally posted by jmello View post
    They are building a light rail system with a subway portion right now. There is also a streetcar line that parallels the viaduct.
    Thanks. I acutally knew about the light rail, but forgot. I know it's way behind schedule and has not met it's ridership goals. I did not think Seattle had a streetcar. Are you talking about the monorail (1 mile tourist train)?

  19. #19
    Cyburbian jmello's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Clayobyrne, CB
    Posts
    2,581
    Quote Originally posted by Greenescapist
    I actually knew about the light rail, but forgot. I know it's way behind schedule and has not met it's ridership goals.
    It's not opened yet. Construction just began. The Takoma LRT is exceeding ridership estimates.

    Quote Originally posted by Greenescapist
    Are you talking about the monorail (1 mile tourist train)?
    No, I am talking about the George Benson Waterfront Streetcar Line, which actually runs next to and under the Alaskan Way Viaduct. Here are some extensions under study: http://www.seattle.gov/transportatio...tcarreport.htm

  20. #20
    Member
    Registered
    Sep 2006
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    1

    Big Dig Is Great!!!!

    I spent the last 5 years living outside Boston and I think the Big Dig was worth all the problems. Cars have done nothing but destroy american cities and people. Urban environments that are designed for people first, cars second, are long over due in this country. Critics forget that the highway cut the city in half and destroy much of its urban fabric. I can only hope that other cities will follow the example of the Big Dig and learn from it.

  21. #21
    Cyburbian mgk920's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Appleton, Wisconsin
    Posts
    4,167
    Quote Originally posted by Greenescapist View post
    Thanks. I acutally knew about the light rail, but forgot. I know it's way behind schedule and has not met it's ridership goals. I did not think Seattle had a streetcar. Are you talking about the monorail (1 mile tourist train)?
    How close do the trackless trolley bus routes go to it and how useful are they?

    Mike

  22. #22
    Cyburbian permaplanjuneau's avatar
    Registered
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Juneau, AK
    Posts
    151
    Quote Originally posted by mgk920 View post
    How close do the trackless trolley bus routes go to it and how useful are they?

    Mike
    By "trackless trolleys" do you mean the hybrid bus system that switches from internal power outside the downtown area to elecric busses powered by overhead cables downtown? That system is amazing--everyone always complains about traffic in Seattle, but my experience there is that traffic is only bad if you're unluckly enough to be in a car. If you're biking, walking, riding the bus, or otherwise avioding I-5 (and the Alaskan Way) at rush hour, there are no traffic problems in Seattle.

    If the hybrid busses are what you mean, they are VERY close to the Alaskan Way--in several places, no more than a five minute walk from major stops. Of course, in order to cross under the AK Way as a pedestrian, I generally bring my gaurdian angel, a bodygaurd, and a flashlight. OK, it isn't that bad, but it is certainly a far cry from what you'll find just a block uphill on Pike Street.

  23. #23
    Cyburbian jmello's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Clayobyrne, CB
    Posts
    2,581
    Quote Originally posted by permaplanjuneau View post
    By "trackless trolleys" do you mean the hybrid bus system that switches from internal power outside the downtown area to elecric busses powered by overhead cables downtown?
    Well, those are one form of trackless trolley in use in Seattle. They used to run through the downtown bus tunnel under Third Street, which is now closed and being converted to dual trackless trolley/light rail use.

    There is a also a vast nework of traditional trackless trolleys in use in central Seattle. These run on several lines to the east and south of the downtown area. They use surface streets through downtown.

    Check out: http://transit.metrokc.gov/tops/bus/...droutes905.pdf

+ Reply to thread

More at Cyburbia

  1. Replies: 6
    Last post: 25 Oct 2013, 12:59 AM
  2. No merit or longevity raises: anyone else?
    Career Development and Advice
    Replies: 20
    Last post: 30 Jan 2008, 7:42 AM
  3. Replies: 27
    Last post: 19 Apr 2005, 2:38 AM
  4. GIS fears
    Student Commons
    Replies: 5
    Last post: 17 Sep 2004, 1:31 PM
  5. Replies: 10
    Last post: 13 May 2004, 12:17 PM