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News and Views from the Superintendent
No. 53. September 21, 2004
Gregory J. Nickels, Mayor
Kenneth R. Bounds, Superintendent
A periodic electronic newsletter about Parks and Recreation news, programs, projects and events from Seattle Parks and Recreation Superintendent Ken Bounds
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This is an addendum to the last edition to let you know about two important transportation issues with parks and recreation implications.


  Alaska Way Viaduct
Aerial view of downtown Seattle and the Viaduct.

This Saturday, Sept. 25, at 8:45 a.m., you will have a great opportunity to learn about alternatives for replacing the Alaskan Way Viaduct and seawall and why the project is a top mayoral priority at an Open House and Tour at the Columbian St. onramp to the viaduct.

Tour reservations are a must. Please RSVP as soon as possible to Tom Deponty at 206-269-5041. Due to safety issues late arrivals cannot be accommodated on the viaduct.

The viaduct and seawall are vital to the city and region's economy and transportation system, and must be replaced. Both are deteriorating and were damaged in the 2001 earthquake, and cannot withstand another major quake. Patching the existing structure will not work.

The project also presents unprecedented open space and park opportunities and a chance to reconnect downtown and the waterfront. "One acre of park on the water is worth ten acres inland and surrounded by houses," said John C. Olmsted of the famed Olmsted Brothers firm that designed the city's park system on a 1903 visit to Seattle.

The City of Seattle is teaming with the Washington State Department of Transportation and the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration to develop alternatives for replacing the aging structures that will create a safer road and seawall, maintain a smooth flow of traffic and make pedestrian and other improvements to Seattle's waterfront.

For more information, please visit


Fairview Ave. at Valley St.

Anyone who has visited South Lake Union Park knows how difficult the access can be: by car, and especially, by foot or bicycle. The high speed and volume of traffic on Valley Street present a potentially hazardous situation.

We hope that will soon change. Mayor Nickels and the Seattle Department of Transportation have developed alternatives to fix the "Mercer Mess"-the vexing and long-standing problem of congestion along and near Mercer St.

The preliminary preferred alternative is an exciting possibility: a two-way Mercer boulevard, and a narrowing of Valley Street creating a pedestrian and bike-friendly street along the edge of South Lake Union Park. The Seattle Parks Foundation supports this choice and a smaller scale Valley Street is a critical element in the future of South Lake Union Park. The project would optimize access and circulation and calm development traffic without increasing overall delay.

City and State project partners will discuss the project at a joint forum hosted by the Seattle City Council in City Hall on Friday, Sept. 24, 8 a.m.

For more information, please see

I will be in touch soon.
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