Burn Down, Start
City of Seattle
plans for two-way Mercer, a new Spokane Street Viaduct and a deep bore tunnel
to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct hit an unexpected barrier Tuesday when key
leaders of the Washington State Legislature announced the list of road
projects that will be funded from the state's share of the federal stimulus
The Mercer and Spokane
projects weren't included. Governor Chris Gregoire said she will work with
the city to find other funding sources, but the legislators' proposal could
be a major blow to city efforts to raise money for the projects and the
Mercer and Spokane Street
improvements are necessary to support the deep bore tunnel plan. A public
hearing on the legislative proposal will be held in Olympia Thursday.
The dust up appears to reveal yet one more example of how goofed up our
state, region and city are when it comes to governance in the field of
The state legislators reportedly want to focus the stimulus funds on
"state" road needs and left off the Seattle projects because Mercer and the
Spokane Street Viaduct are "local" streets owned and operated by
the city. Which they are.
But they also rank among the busiest thoroughfares in the state. As such,
they are logical candidates for regional, state and even federal support.
Then again, that assumes we have a logical governing system. And we don't.
Take the Alaskan Way
Viaduct. The state owns the structure. The city owns the land beneath it. One
strike against efforts to replace the viaduct with a new elevated structure
is the city's threat to withhold building permits. The city also isn't
bashful about exerting its local government power to install curb bulbs and
other urban amenities on local streets, even when the local street is a truck
route with regional or even state wide significance.
One notorious curb bulb protrudes into the Elliott Avenue on ramp to the south
bound lanes of the Alaskan Way Viaduct near the Pike Place Market. The city
installed the curb bulb for the safety and convenience of pedestrians who
want to walk cross the entrance to the on ramp. The curb bulb was considered
necessary even though the city provides a signalized cross walk about one
The city insists curb bulbs do not impede traffic, but during the afternoon
peak, cars and trucks back up as far as the eye can see along Elliott as
every two or three vehicles are brought to a stop by pedestrians ambling
across the opening to the on ramp.
A slew of blue ribbon commissions have advocated major reforms over the years
to create better ways to plan, fund and manage transportation, but
generations of elected leaders have opted for the status quo. It might seem
like a good time to burn down the system and start over again, but we
probably couldn't get the necessary permits from the fire department.
Rotary Club of SODO invites you to their OPEN HOUSE
Rotary International is a service
organization of business people with 33,000 clubs world-wide
(www.rotary.org). Best known throughout the world for their campaign to
eradicate polio everywhere on earth, your local Rotary Club of SODO is looking
for good folks and good projects much closer to home.
The Rotary Club of SODO is a young club, chartered just 5 years ago, which
has been busy doing good work in the neighborhood. Their projects have
included; fundraising for the River City Skate Park in partnership with the
South Park Neighborhood Association, providing dictionaries for every 3rd
grade student at Concord Elementary in South Park, awarding the first
scholarships for Aviation High School graduating seniors, participating in
the SODO Business Association "clean sweep days," and in the YWCA
Adopt-A-Family project each December.
By growing Club membership the Rotary Club of SODO can increase the number
and impact of service projects in this community and world-wide. You are
invited to learn more about Rotary and about another SODO-area jewel, the
Sister Schools organization matching Western WA
and Ugandan schools/orphanages. Please attend an Open House meeting on
Friday, March 6, noon, in the Mezza Conference Room, 3rd floor, Starbucks Center. Lunch Provided.
Around Port Terminals
may encounter traffic backups on arterial streets near entries to several
waterfront terminals at the beginning of the work week, on March 2 and 3.
Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) traffic managers anticipate the
terminal sites with the greatest potential for traffic impacts are:
* Terminal 5 (in West Seattle off of SW Spokane Street),
* Terminal 18 (Harbor Island off of SW Spokane Street), and
* Terminal 46 (off of Alaskan Way S at S Atlantic Street).
traffic disruptions will affect bus service.
The city of Seattle
is beginning road improvement projects in the SODO area that will result in some
reroutes, relocated bus stops, and delays for King County Metro Transit and
Sound Transit express bus service for several months.
Work starts this week on First
Avenue South between South Horton Street and South Stacy Street.
During this project, the Seattle Department of Transportation will be
restricting traffic while rebuilding a section of First Avenue. The buses will remain on
their regular routing, but there could be significant delays and bus stops
could be temporarily closed at times.
Starting Monday, March 2, construction associated with the Spokane Street
Viaduct/Fourth Avenue Ramp Project will result in reroutes for approximately
17 Metro and Sound Transit bus routes at South Spokane Street and the SODO Busway. The transit disruptions are expected to last
through mid May.
Potential Service Cuts by Metro
The magnitude of potential cuts to bus service by King County Metro to its
riders could be of a kind never seen before in this state said King County
Executive Ron Sims. Metro may have to cut 20 percent of its service after
word last week that sales tax projections continue to be undermined by the
recession while rider demand for service soars.
King County Metro currently provides 3.5 million hours of service, which
equals about half of all scheduled bus service provided by all public
agencies statewide combined. The $100 million projected shortfall means Metro
faces cuts of 800,000 to 1 million hours of service. If Metro has to cut
service by the lesser amount, 800,000 hours, those cuts would equal a full
year of bus service in Pierce County, a full year of service by Community Transit
in Snohomish County,
twice the service offered per year in Spokane
and equal to all rail and bus service provided by Sound Transit.
Visit our Website
Fall 2008 issue
Climate Got You Down? Port of Seattle Report
Bang for Bigger Buck
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