COUNCIL OFFERS PRACTICAL PLAN ON VIADUCT
State Legislative Leaders Respond Positively to the Initiative
Councilmember Richard Conlin, Council President Nick Licata, and Council Transportation Chair Jan Drago today offered the state a concrete, practical roadmap for starting work on the Alaskan Way Viaduct. In a letter to Governor Christine Gregoire and state legislative leaders, the City proposed breaking the political gridlock on the viaduct by implementing the proposals in a resolution unanimously approved last week by the Council with the Mayor concurring.
First, the City and the State should start work as soon as possible on the “thousand little steps” necessary to improve mobility during any construction period. Councilmember Conlin said, “We can proceed to rapidly improve the movement of people and freight throughout the corridor. This will prepare us for the construction phase of the project, and generate mobility improvements.”
Councilmember Conlin noted that whether the Central Waterfront ultimately has a tunnel, a new elevated structure, or a surface street option, there will be significant disruption due to construction. The State and the City agree that extensive mitigation, including boosting alternative transportation modes will be necessary during construction. The City’s list of “steps” includes expanding transit service and the West Seattle Water Taxi; renovating the Spokane Street Viaduct and adding a new connection from the Spokane Street Viaduct to Fourth Avenue South to better connect with downtown; improving the Spokane, Lander, and Mercer corridors; and better coordinating traffic signals to improve traffic in downtown and to the north.
Second, the governments should break ground on the part of the project south of King Street. There is agreement between all parties on the design, engineering, and funding plan for much of the section of the project south of King Street. Councilmember Conlin said, “We suggest that the City and State proceed immediately with construction on that part of the project.”
Finally, the resolution proposes that the governor, state legislators, city elected officials, and key stakeholders convene in a meeting to seek agreement on how to proceed with the Central Waterfront aspect of the project. Councilmember Conlin said, “Such a meeting will save invaluable time that will otherwise be expended in various forms of conflict. That is another thing we all agree on: We must replace the viaduct as soon as possible.”
State Legislative leaders responded positively to the City’s initiative. State Senator Erik Poulsen, D-West Seattle, said, “The future of our city is at stake-we must start working with each other, not against each other, on a common vision.” State Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles, D-Queen Anne, said, “I fully support these actions. We have to find a way to secure a positive outcome for the future of Seattle and the region.”
A copy of the letter to the governor and the Council resolution are available below:
Letter to Governor Gregoire