The Voice for Industry
January 7, 2009
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Seattle First - Helping Seattle Industry

Better Bang for Bigger Buck?
More time to study the Alaskan Way Viaduct? More research to see if the viaduct should be replaced by what may be the most expensive alternative, a deep bore tunnel?

If you'd posed such questions a couple of months ago, you would have been laughed right out of the Seattle Industry ebulletin. But while the region experienced the blizzards and bliss of the 2008 holiday season, the deep bore tunnel emerged to receive new consideration from Governor Gregoire and the other powers-that-be.

Further study of the deep bore option is a wise choice. Here are four reasons why.

First, there is potential a deep bore tunnel could be built while the existing viaduct remains operational, with the viaduct coming down as the tunnel opens for traffic. If this bears out, it could spare us a half decade of traffic snarls in the SR 99 and Interstate 5 corridor that would result from disrupting the existing viaduct while a new one is built. This is a key difference between a deep bore tunnel and the cut-and-cover tunnel proposed a while back. During construction, the cut-and-cover would have been one of the most disruptive viaduct options for traffic congestion while the deep bore tunnel might prove to be the least disruptive.

Second, the deep bore tunnel may be able to finally end the argument over whether the viaduct is about urban beautification or transportation. If the tunnel works, it might be able to handle enough through traffic to meet regional economic needs while clearing the central waterfront for the kind of urban amenities desired by those who want to tear down the old viaduct.

Third, the deep bore tunnel might actually get built.

City officials say they'll never issue permits to replace the viaduct with another elevated structure. We believe them. Anti-elevated sentiment is more deeply rooted in city government than the blue-eyed grass and tufted saxifrage that are growing in the green roof at City Hall. The state might be able to someday force the city's hand, but it may take years for the legal drama to play out while we would shovel public resources to lawyers that could have gone for boring machines.

This brings us to the fourth reason cost. The tunnel may well prove to be the most expensive option, but it may provide the greatest value for the reasons already described and the final price tag should be considered within the following context.

According to state and city tax records, in 2006 commercial aircraft production in this region and the industrial base of Seattle generated combined sales revenues of about $65 billion. That was more than half the $122 billion produced by the state's entire manufacturing output for 2006 and the export-laced regional revenue was generated almost entirely by workers and companies that depend every day on the transportation through capacity provided by the SR 99 and I5 corridor.

The visionaries say the viaduct requires a decision based on 50-year or even 100-year time frames. We agree. Multiply $65 billion by 50 or 100 times and it might justify the cost of a deep bore tunnel pretty darned fast.

Zoning Issues
Please Join the SODO Business Association at a special luncheon meeting:

When: Thursday, January 8 - tomorrow - Noon
Where: Mezza Cafe meeting room, third floor, Starbucks Center.
Why: We've heard about this matter for quite some time. Now, get the details from those who wrote the new zoning resolution which the City hopes to finalize early 2009. It will be presented by Tom Hauger of the Department of Planning & Development (DPD). Deputy Mayor Tim Ceis has also been invited to participate and answer questions. Don't miss this.

Seattle - 2009 Priorities and 2008 Progress Report
Please Join the Seattle City Council When they present their 2009 Priorities and 2008 Progress Report for the City of Seattle.

When: Monday, January 12, 2009, 2:00 p.m.
Where: Seattle City Hall, 600 4th Ave, Council Chambers, 2nd Floor
Why: The Council is announcing its priorities early to give citizens an opportunity to hear and provide comment on the Council's legislative direction.

For more information contact Kimberly Reason, Council Communications
206.684.8159 or

Mercer Corridor Project Hearing
A Public Hearing and Open House will be held January 13, 2009 from 4-7 PM at the South Lake Union Armory, 860 Terry Ave N, Seattle.
Please join us to review and comment on the Mercer Corridor Project Environmental Assessment.

For more information go to:

Navigating Turbulent Times
Join enterprise Seattle for the leading economic forecast conference in the Northwest. Gain insight into future trends with forecasts from a field of nationally recognized experts from The Conference Board and Puget Sound Economic Forecaster. The conference will also feature an interactive discussion with a panel of executives addressing the prospects, challenges, and opportunities for key industries in the region including software, aerospace, life science and clean technology.

What: 37th Annual Economic Forecast Conference
When: Thursday, January 15, 2009 ~ 7:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Where: Seattle Sheraton Hotel

This is a great opportunity to connect with leaders from throughout the region. Whether you are a business person or policy-maker the information you receive will be invaluable. Space is very limited -- Register your group today!

Carbon Footprinting: Cutting Costs in Hard Times
The Seattle Climate Partnership together with the Seattle Chamber of Commerce presents a workshop, "Carbon Footprinting: Cutting Costs In Hard Times". -Case Study featuring HomeStreet Bank-

Date: Wednesday, January 21
Time: 8 - 9:30 a.m.
Place: Rainier Square Conference Center, 1333 5th Avenue, Seattle 98101
Cost: FREE (Pre-registration requested)
Parking: area parking structures

To register online use this link.

See PDF for more details or contact Charlie Cunniff , Director, Seattle Climate Partnership, or 206-386-9748

Link Light Rail SODO Open House January 22
Sound Transit's Link light rail trains are on the way! SDOT needs your input on proposed Link light rail neighborhood parking plans.

To ensure that on-street parking spaces used by businesses and residents are not filled by commuters, SDOT and Sound Transit started working with neighborhoods in April 2008 to design parking regulations, such as time limits, restricted parking zones, and load zones around each station. Join SDOT and Sound Transit at an upcoming Open House to review and comment on these station area proposals. Light refreshments will be available.

Attend the SODO Open House on Thursday, January 22nd - Mezza Cafe, Starbucks Corporate Building, Floor 3, 2401 S Utah St/S Lander St from 10 am - 12 pm

More information can be found at:

Thank you for your participation and your interest in making your community a better place to live, work, and visit.

WSDOT Freight Travel Alert, January 7, 2009 11:25 A.M.
Forecasts indicate that portions of Interstate 5 in Lewis County could be underwater as early as this afternoon. WSDOT crews are monitoring the entire corridor and will immediately take the necessary measures to close the road if it becomes unsafe for vehicles.

All three major east-west mountain pass highways through the Cascade Mountains are closed at this hour due to avalanche danger and mudslides. Motorists should anticipate additional travel delays and road closures.

Route information is available at the WSDOT web site, and drivers are encouraged to check conditions along their entire route. WSDOT has established a county-by-county list of road closures at:

Next up in Tacoma: New SR 16 Nalley Valley viaduct
Work was to begin Monday, Jan. 5 on a replacement for the Interstate 5/State Route 16 interchange, one of Pierce County's worst bottlenecks.

Over the course of the three-year construction project, there will be disruptions to traffic including long-term closures of the Sprague Avenue on- and off-ramps, lane closures on I-5, SR 16 and city streets, and traffic revisions that put eastbound and westbound SR 16 traffic on temporary bridges.

This project eliminates the weave of traffic where vehicles from I-5 change lanes in order to merge onto SR 16 or exit at Sprague Avenue. The westbound project is scheduled for completion in fall 2011, after which crews turn their attention to building the eastbound viaduct.

An average of 131,000 vehicles use the viaduct each day, compared to the 40,000 that traveled it daily in the early 1970s when it opened to traffic.

For more project information, visit:

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