Monday, August 10, 2009

New simulations showcase proposed Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement

Trying to convey the changes that will result from a large transportation project is a challenge. For smaller projects – repaving a road, adding a roundabout – it’s easy for people to picture what the end result will be. For a project like the SR 99 bored tunnel that will replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct, it’s a little more complicated.

Not only does the proposed replacement include an almost two-mile-long bored tunnel beneath downtown, we also plan to rebuild the surface street along the waterfront. People ask – What will the tunnel look like? How will I be able to access it? How will the new waterfront street be different than what exists today? Well, we now have some new tools to help provide answers.

The program team has posted two simulations to YouTube. The first video shows the current design concept for the proposed SR 99 bored tunnel. The drive-through starts at the tunnel’s south portal, which is near the stadium district and the Port of Seattle’s terminals, and takes you to the exit in the north, onto Aurora Avenue N. Along the way, you can see the ramps at either end of the tunnel that will allow drivers to access the downtown street grid from SR 99, as well as the new street connections that will be built over the tunnel’s portals.

Once the tunnel is built and the viaduct is removed from the waterfront, what will go in its place? The answer is in the second video. We plan to build a new Alaskan Way boulevard in the footprint of the current viaduct. The new road will connect to Elliott and Western avenues, which is important for those traveling to the northwest section of the city, and will provide access to downtown and SR 99. Removal of the viaduct will allow creation of new public open space on the waterfront.

You can visit the Alaskan Way Viaduct program Web site at to learn more about these and other improvements that are part of the viaduct’s replacement.

Bored Tunnel



L. Smith said...

My opinion of the waterfront video:
1. The pedestrian amenities seem acceptable, but the bike situation looks horrible. This is a great opportunity to make bike lanes/trails that are separated from motor vehicle traffic. It is inexcusable to squeeze bikers into the small space between parked cars and moving ones.
2. There could be much more green in this. The occasional tree poking up from the orange pavement is not enough. those entire median strips (where it doesn't impede the view of left-turners) should be completely green, like some other medians we have in Seattle.

Anonymous said...

Metro Traffic Report, August 10, 2019:

On Northbound 99 you'll find a back up of over 2 miles from the tunnel entrance all the way back to the 1st Avenue bridge, suggest an alternate route if at all possible.

Brian Bundridge said...

It really just does not seem right not to have the Waterfront Streetcar as part of the plan, especially when we have all of the equipment already.

Poor planning by the State and the City as usual when it comes to transportation, even if it was merely a "people" mover, it did a great job and looks much better than that "Waterfront Streetcar bus"

Take a lesson from San Francisco WSDOT and what they did before you go simply throw more history away like normal.

talldavid said...

Although design issues are still to be determined, these simulations, although very expensive and professionally rendered, seem extremely automobile heavy.

Not a knock on WSDOT,(builders of freeways), I think the animations would be more effective if they included some of the non-car features that have been talked about. The current bike-ped path along the waterfront isn't even shown. Does it go away?

Seattle citizens have made it very clear that they don't want wall-to-wall cement along the waterfront.

Anonymous said...

Lovely. Now when a breakdown happens it goes from 2.5 lanes to 1 lane. Did the politicians learn anything from I-5 downtown under the Convention Center? Reducing the lanes through downtown is the opposite of what you want to do! Plus the view is gone for us little people. How much is this going to cost us? $12 billion?! And just who will it benefit? Not the average Seattlite! Vote for a new mayor and new County Executive! This is ridiculous! At least with the replacement viaduct there were three lanes and a view. Why are we supporting these politicians?

David said...

I know you're the DOT and more concerned about traffic and I hope the brick paving shown is a place-holder until plans develop, but Alaskan Way should be a predominantly green boulevard. Please indicate a lot more of that in the simulation.

Evan Wallace said...

1) I have to echo Mr. Bundridge' comment about the waterfront street car: It seems inconceivable that the current plan does not include the waterfront street car, especially now that it wouldn't have to compete with auto traffic at the intersections. This was a wonderful amenity that would make even more sense in the proposed plan.

2) This plan represents a colossal lack of vision with regards to the space bound by the two Pike Market garages, and between the viaduct and the Joe Desimone bridge. There was an opportunity, with the removal of the viaduct, to create a true link between the market and the waterfront with creative use of this space. As it is, this space remains a surface lot; the Desimone bridge still connects to nowhere; and the Market is still cut off from the waterfront by the Elliot Street ramp (the southernmost Waterfront Landing development may have created an insuperable impediment here--another failure of vision, by the way).

3) I realize that this is a simulation, and there are limits to the amount of detail that can be included, but the new waterfront looks utterly sterile and uninteresting, especially at the foot of the existing Hillclimb. Removing the viaduct and "reconnecting" the waterfont with downtown will do little good if there is nothing for people to see or do on the waterfront. The only pier on the waterfront that provides any real interest is the Bay Pavillion; the others are dominated by commercial office space (!), parking for those offices (!), logistics space for the Argosy Cruises--in general, save for a few restaurants, places not open to the public. Any meaningful development of the waterfront will have to include opening up these precious public spaces to the public, and creating a critical mass of small, local retailers, and--perhaps too much to ask for?--some real commercial/light industrial activity. Think of San Francisco's waterfront, which has some of the elements that we could aspire to.

I am convinced that this city does not have vision to pull this off. We, as residents, need to be extremely vigilant to make sure that this plan gets executed in a way that actually betters the waterfront and improves the livability of our city.

Anonymous said...

Very nice simulation, except that it shows cars actually moving through the tunnel. Get ready for gridlock. The decision to have only two lanes in the tunnel will go down as one of the worst in transportation design history. We need larger north-south corridors, not smaller ones.

Jeff Webb said...

This is ridiculous. 99 carries three lanes of traffic each direction and this plan takes it down to two lanes with on-ramps as you enter the tunnels. Looks exactly like Mt. Baker tunnel on I-90 East. Expect huge backups.

There is no improvement in street-level and no improvement for bicycle traffic. In fact with the "shared bike lane" (which is a recipe for car-cycling rage) you would actually slow traffic more than today on Alaska.

As has always been a concern there looks to be no solution to the port/semi traffic which creates constant surface-level jams today as freight enters/leaves the port.

I would definitely urge a re-thinking of this plan.

m 2 nailz said...

How many tons of Concrete will be used to construct the bored tunnel, seawall,and the new Alaskan way surface street?

How many tons of Steel?

Annette said...

I prefer the surface street option. I also agree with earlier comments about more vegetation, better bike facilities, and including the waterfront streetcar. However, traffic flow (and pedestrian safety) could be improved by reducing the number of traffic lights / crosswalks and including more pedestrian over- or underpasses, particularly in area where pedestrian traffic is already quite heavy, such as the Pike Place Market to Seattle Aquarium route.

Anonymous said...

I appreciate these simulations - many "visual" learners such as myself will find these very helpful. Thanks much for making these available to the public.

Anonymous said...

This is a very good and easy way to relate what the proposed route is for the Viaduct replacement. The amenities provided in the tunnel are very practical and have great value.

Brian K said...

This video is great, but it's like a birthday party with candles but no cake!

The visualization is a great start to help understand what's possible. However, it is quite dangerous to produce something so realistic-looking, yet have so many "placeholders" when it comes to the non-road-related features. Acres of paving and nothing else is not what us anti-elevated types have been pushing for. The waterfront is primed to be a stunning destination for visitors AND, finally, locals too!

We are advocating numerous uses and designs that will make the central waterfront the amazing and beautiful place it can be. Seattlites know what great waterfronts are, we have them at Alki, Greenlake, and more. Those places play meaningful roles in our lives and the central waterfront can as well. With so many people moving here over the next few decades we will need more breathing room.

WSDOT's role is to design the road, yes, but it must work with the City and citizens to fill in the many blanks that road designers inherently leave out. I hope the next video can be more comprehensive.

Anonymous said...

This plan increases the capacity of surface streets while providing a through connection that bypasses downtown. The number of vehicles using the tunnel will decrease some, because there are no exits within the downtown area. The scheme shown lacks any design development for the waterfront greenscapes, but the animation is obviously schematic.
What a great improvement!

Bill S. said...

Where is the streetcar and bike path? Especially now that the (currently dormant) streetcar line connects beautifully to Link Lightrail at Union Station.

On the bright side, it actually appears waterfront mobility might be reasonable, assuming the streetlights are timed and reasonable arterial speeds (35-40mph) permitted.

Anonymous said...

I aree with other people that the tunnel with only 2 lanes each way will be a traffic stopper not a traffic mover as we already have 3 lanes each way. It would be hard or impossible to get emergency vehicles to an accident in the tunnel and environmentally the fumes would be bad.Has anyone suggested that he dirt that built the waterfront is basically fill dirt and would a tunnel be safe? If an earthquake hit it might fill up with water as the retaining wall crumbled. My main objection to the tunnel is that it doen't move enought cars. We are already known as a city with one of worst traffic problems in the U.S. and this is going to make it worse.

Don said...

Wow... I've never hit so many green lights in a row! How wonderful the new waterfront will be with 'everyone' hitting 'every' light when it's green! (just like the 'objective' video shows...)

Anonymous said...

These videos are super cool and give a great automobile-centric view of the new tunnel and waterfront! It would be so cool to also see this from a bicyclist's or pedestrian's perspective once the waterfront promenade is designed!

You may want to post a disclaimer in the introduction to these videos that they only show the design for the roadway, NOT the design of the new open space along the waterfront or any separated bike/ped facilities that may be a part of that design. Otherwise you will continue to get confused comments about the acres of plain boring red brick promenade.

Anonymous said...

I like some of what I see on the videos. Inside the tunnel looks fine and has hopefully been engineered to handle adequate traffic. When we decided to build this tunnel, much of what I thought the purpose was for was to take advantage of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to creat something beautiful, memorable and welcoming on the waterfront for pedestrians/ordinary citizens. This should include true bike lanes and TRULY landscaped Alaskan Way area (to showcase our city and who we are). Much of the surface road looks like it could be in Phoenix (sorry Phoenix)! C'mon, y'all!!

swingophelia said...

Waterfront video comments:

1) I agree with other criticisms regarding the bike situation. It is horribly planned.

2) What is WSDOT's infatuation with stoplights? Here's a tip: use roundabouts in place of some of them. They are proven WAY more effective at moving traffic. And according to video, there is ample meridian space to allow for them. Pedestrians can cross at intersections having stoplights - there is no need to allow pedestrian crossings at every intersection. For that matter, there is no need to allow cross-traffic at every single (bloody) intersecting street. Why? This just disrupts the flow of traffic along the main corridor.

3) An alternative to improve traffic flow would be to build very short tunnels that carry south-bound traffic from the right lane to a few of the intersecting streets heading east. This avoids left-turn cross-traffic (as would roundabouts).

4) I concur that a streetcar is called for here.

Anonymous said...

Oh, sorry, I thought this was a rendering of the surface street area as well. Now I see that it would make sense that this was not an Alaskan Way pedestrian area rendering....yeah, you should let folks know or you'll waste lots of time (and good will) explaining.
Mostly, it looks just fine. Bike lane?!

swingophelia said...

Bored tunnel video:

What is the point of spending $4 or $5B to put in a tunnel under downtown that has NO DOWNTOWN EXITS? Are we really going to spend all this money so that traffic can more easily get from West Seattle and the industrial area to the Seattle Center, Queen Anne, and Ballard? Because for any other destinations, it makes as much or more sense to use I-5. To me, this is an immense help to Queen Anne fans of the Seahawks and Mariners, and hardly anyone else.

Let's instead spend some of that money to replace the I-5 Seneca exit, improving I-5 under the Trade Ctr while still enabling sufficient downtown access, enhancement of surface streets (that are better thought out than those simulated here), and devote the rest to light rail.

Anonymous said...

This is creating another choke point for those who simply want to get through Seattle (look at what has happened with the convention center). The tunnel should be at least 3 lanes each way.

Anonymous said...

This entire thing is completely unAmerican. We voted AGAINST this solution and they are building it anyway. We are being lied to, robbed and utterly ignored. The land that will be opened up is being proposed to the public as public waterfront property, but in time, it will be sold to private investors.

Its time for a change in Washington State and Seattle. We need new politicians who will properly represent the public and what we the public vote on.

what a joke.

Anonymous said...

quit your whining people! anything will be better than what we have. Let the WSDOT do what we are paying them to do.

joolz in DM said...

Mostly echoing what others have said;

-bike lanes: should be separate and divided. There's plenty of space for this.

-bring back the streetcar.

-do we really need all these street lights? Could we survive with half?

-to make the waterfront more pedestrian-friendly, how about some ped. overpasses/bridges? Further justification for reducing stop lights and speeding up traffic.

-I know it's just a road sim, but I thought the point of NOT rebuilding the viaduct was to open up the waterfront (for parks, etc). This visualization shows no such design; it's just more road (or less, with regards to the tunnel). Has anyone suggested the idea of a raised park built over the waterfront?

To the fellow writing above me (Swingophelia), there are plenty of people in need of a north-south solution that skips Seattle and avoids I5. I live in Des Moines and have friends and business in Ballard- taking I5 is much more distance and far more traffic headache. Currently 99 is the way to go. This includes Des Moines, Burien, West Seattle, Alki, Queene Anne, and Ballard. To believe that I5 is a fine alternative for these communities is ludicrous.

That said, for (x) billion dollars I hope WSDOT has ample research showing that a two-lane tunnel will be sufficient for this amount of traffic, but on the face of it this seems preposterous. I can't believe our 'leaders' have chosen this wildly expensive tunnel option over the other possibilities. Seems like a big cave-in to wealthy waterfront developers. Good luck.

Anonymous said...

1. Doesn't seem like the problem of traffic backing out of the Ferry Terminal and blocking waterfront Alaskan Way surface traffic was addressed (it's a real mess right now and totally prohibits the use of Alaskan Way to get to downtown, and, with the new design, this will be the only alternative for those going to Belltown, unless you go through the tunnel and then make a U-turn back into town, which would take more time). The Ferry Terminal wasn't even labeled on the video. Also, what are the speed limits? It should be at least 45 MPH. Also, there needs to be provisions for pedestrians to cross over the street so there are fewer stop lights slowing traffic. We need to learn from the problems at the current Western Offramp from the viaduct. We could build a pedestrian overpass there so that traffic wouldn't slow and back up onto the existing viaduct as well.

2. I also agree that the Waterfront street car should be brought back. It could take people that come from the airport via the light rail to King St. Station, to either the P66 or T91 Cruise Terminals (it should be extended at least to T91, if not all the way to Fishermen's Terminal, along the Ship Canal and down along the West shoreline of Lake Union back to King St. Station....Think big!!).

Anonymous said...

I'm tired of insisting on increasing capacity. I agree that it needs to have at least the 3 lanes that now exist, and that 2 exits to downtown should be preserved. The lack of an increase in capacity and no exits to downtown are the reasons that all the alternatives were voted down by the public. Yet, instead of providing an alternative with increased capacity and downtown exits, an alternative is selected that does neither (it makes no sense). I also see no attempt to stream-line the surface traffic through downtown (still alot of intersections with stop lights, and surface-level pedestrian crossings). When the economy turns around, I'll be looking for another job, away from downtown, as it appears the commutes will get significantly worse. Maybe it will encourage more development in surrounding cities, as people avoid the commutes to downtown.

Steven Bradford said...

Excellent simulation! Really helped me to visualize the plans. Good job. Also looks like it helps spark conversation! ;-)

Jaruluck said...

I agree with several. Put the streetcar back in the mix!!! And, increase the tunnel to three lanes.

Jo Evans said...

A waste of billions of dollars and a traffic nightmare for years while construction happens. Remember Seattle area traffic just after the 2001 earthquake when the viaduct was closed to traffic? Will the below sea-level tunnel be safer in an earthquake than the viaduct? This boondoggle appears to benefit tourists and office workers whose view of the Olympics is marred by the viaduct. This is not worth billions of dollars and years of traffic snarls. Thousands of residents currently enjoy the views of Olympics/Sound while driving on the viaduct. A retired city engineer who was a featured speaker at the West Seattle Women's Democratic club in the past two years has examined the viaduct said it could be repaired. Let's use common sense.

Robert Milnor said...

The video of the bored tunnel is dramatic, but it suggests a problem. There is apparently an entry ramp in the middle of the northbound tube. This would seem to create a choke point, that could back up traffic in the tunnel. I don't see how you can tolerate such a situation. Alternatives: Eliminate entry ramp; add a third lane to the tunnel from the entry ramp to the tunnel exit.

Roger Ledbetter said...

People, honestly, its a video. The red brick is honestly a placeholder since adding more foliage is a complex programming task.

As it stands, the Viaduct is technically a bypass through Seattle, okay. It never needed exits to downtown, if one needs to get to downtown, it's provided at each end of the tunnel. Honestly, it's a two mile tunnel, time difference will be negligible.

Also, the bored tunnel is being drilled through bedrock. Obviously, engineers wouldn't be that stupid to drill through anything but rock. Hitting bedrock makes the tunnel, I believe at least a 100 feet below downtown. Plus it's bored below sewer, gas, and water lines, so no exits are possible. Just to note, the old waterfront was technically started on First Street, from old historic photos of Seattle I've seen. Hence, "bored" tunnel.

The streetcar is junk, if they should should keep it, it should be a branch of Link light rail... but I suppose buses suffice, unfortunately.

Honestly, one only needs a few exits to serve the city.

Anonymous said...

I always bring out of towners coming in at Sea-Tac up 99 so they can see our beautiful city and waterfront. With this plan the only option left is to drive southbound along Alaskan Way which has no design or style or history, just concrete and a lot of it. No bike lanes no trolley... It seems that the southbound on ramp just north of the market has also been eliminated; is that the case? I would much rather see the viaduct restored and Alaskan Way improved to keep the trolley and add a good bike lane not a shared bike lane.

Anonymous said...

From a West Seattlite that commutes to Everett there needs to be at LEAST three lanes... Not two each way.. If you are going to build a 50 year highway think what the traffic is going to look like in the future.. I also want a seperate bike and ped lane on the new waterfront.. No excuses..Seperate from traffic. I also bike commute to the city.

Anonymous said...

The WSDOT needs to take a look at the new High Line in NYC, and take a page out of that book. This waterfront looks absolutly awful. Why do we even have a road there? We do not really need it, don't put roads in as a reflex, think about it first.

Ronda Miller said...

I currently commute on my bike between Queen Anne Hill and Pioneer Square.
When I reach the waterfront I ride in the street as the pedestrian path is full of walkers/strollers/joggers who do not often move for bikes and the cars turning off the waterfront to side streets do not watch for bikes. Plain and simple it is safer to ride in the street.
*The city has an opportunity to support bike traffic with a safe path along the waterfront away from cars and pedestrians.
*I encourage you to separate bike traffic from car traffic and pedestrians in your plan.

Anonymous said...

Again, why do we have to have a tunnel when Seattle voted it down.
We are loosing the best free waterfront view- most of us can not afford to live in the high rises which also block views.
We are loosing parking - many people can't walk up and down the hills.
We are loosing the trolley, an alternative transportation.
And it seems that the south end of the tunnel is about where the Seattle Fault crosses the downtown.
And my taxes are going to go up to pay for this mess which our government idiots have chosen for the City of Seattle.

Anonymous said...

Can't you people understand a simulation is just a simulation. They cannot show every plant, shrub or tree or do you want to be picky enough to complain there are not any trash cans? I work near the viaduct now and can put up with the construction knowing the end result. It is currently a loud filthy area that tourists try to rush through instead of having a delightful time enjoying the waterfront, especially the aquarium. Keep the speed on the waterfront down to 30 mph, if your in a hurry then use the tunnel!! Plenty of greenspace and a return of the streetcar would be great for visitors and workers alike to enjoy our beautiful city.

Anonymous said...

A picture of a bicycle painted on the pavement every few blocks does not a bike lane make. Seriously. Perhaps some of our city council members/mayor need to be plowed down by a car while they are on their bike to finally get serious about bike lanes in this city. It's pathetic that a city of this size cannot come up with actual bike lanes for their citizens. More people would bike if they felt safer. Currently, riding a bike in this city is discouraged. That needs to change!!!!! And you wonder why there's so much traffic congestion here. It's not that difficult. Now give me $1 billion dollars and forget about your precious creating a bicycle commuting community would solve your traffic issues ten-fold.

m 2 nailz said...

If they can send a man to the moon, they can fix/brace/repair the good old Alaskan way viaduct. I have lived in Seattle for 35 years and I like the viaduct just the way it is.
The only benefit of removing it is to improve the view and profits of a relatively few condo owners and greedy real estate developers.

Anonymous said... Seattle people just love to complain, don't ya?

Anonymous said...

Looks like the concrete lobbyists win again. Yes, it takes concrete to build roads, but this is extreme. I'd like to know what the ultimate goal is for WSDOT and City of Seattle. The in-access and out-access to/from the city to local neighborhoods is not clear to me through these videos.

Anonymous said...

I agree with comments about keeping the streetcar and making sure there are sufficient bike lanes. We need to be way more bike friendly like Portland, which is way ahead of us in the transportation realm. Yes, absolutely make the tunnel three lanes in both directions. Think about the traffic tie ups from events at the stadiums or if there is an accident. My proposal is to tax the developers, owners and residents that will get a better view and an increased value in their properties (from the tearing down the viaduct and building the "bored" tunnel option). Take that money and use it to help pay for the new tunnel versus using taxpayers money who may not see the benefit. Charge the people that benefit the most! Also, make sure the connection between Pike's Place Market and waterfront is easy and pedestrian friendly. Maybe an expanded art park, a water feature/fountain and/or gathering place for small outdoor music venues. Maybe hold small art festivals there. Make the waterfront a really great destination for both residents and tourists like Vancouver, Canada has done. Let's learn from our neighbors and show them how we can do it better. This is our chance to really shine plus provide better traffic flow through downtown.

Anonymous said...

I think WSDOT forgot about the West Seattle traffic. Going down the waterfront at what....25 - 30mph with a ton of stop lights and the same going back. I can envision LOTS of backups/accidents in the future. Keep the Viaduct!

Anonymous said...

Suckers.WSDOT will read these and laugh! Again they have come up with a stupid plan, a way to ensure job security for themselves in 20 years when they have to rebuild, enlarge,add light rail lines, add exits,etc.,etc. Can't they ever do anything right the first time?

Anonymous said...

I take and pick up my wife from downtown every day. While I understand why the Seneca St. off ramp may have to go, it will be sorely missed.
I think that many of the people posting here have forgotten is that with this choice the burden will be lightened as we sill still be able to get around while the thing is being built. Can you imagine the mess that would be if we had to live through tearing down the viaduct and then rebuilding it?
I also am also for fewer stoplights. The congestion on the waterfront lanes, with the ferries and the loss of the Seneca St. off ramp, will be gridlocked enough as it is without making it worse with all those stop lights. I'm for Ped bridges.
A third lane would also be a great idea. Do it now and save$'ll cost a lot more to do later.
Thanks for the good work, you have an impossible job trying to please everyone, but the tunnel choice was the right one.

Dean....West Seattle

Anonymous said...

The Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement needs to be 3 lanes each way. It is going to be a traffic nighmare for years to come. We need wider north and south corridors not a 2 lane one.

Nick said...

It’s nice to see a simulation, that aerial night seen was cool. I am sure more bike lanes, trees, and trolley will come as demanded. My only question is what happens to the train tracks that connect the port to Magnolia and northbound cargo routes? Does this mean those poor train engineers will finally have a route that separates them from us M's, Sounders, Seahawk fans (not to mention cars and semis)?

It seems that the cheapest and most practical solution is to get all of the great local talent that we have in the region and make the most beautiful elevated solution in world. In other words, fix the Viaduct and make it look pretty. Let’s even add some bike lanes-works for I-90. I would enjoy three lanes, one of the most scenic views in the nation, and saving billion$. But, that’s not going to happen without serious voter intervention.

Thus, unless we can ban earthquakes along with plastic bags, the tunnel is a solution to keep a Bay Area tragedy from occurring here. So, fellow SW King County-types, get ready move closer or to get down with Joe Metro, the RTA, or doing some serious side street commuting. Maybe we can juice up some hybrids and fly them from SeaTac to Boeing field in the future. The fun will really begin if the plans to connect I-5 to 509 at around S 188th go through (509 and 599 connects most non-I-5 commerce/commuters to downtown to the South-end). Unless, 99 gets connected north of downtown to an already crowded (PM) I-5, this plan seems to only address those going to the South-end from North of downtown and visa versa. This doesn’t seem to help anyone trying to get through downtown going North OF Seattle- sorry Everett to SW King County commuters.

Great, the current plans are only to get commuters out of cars and to build an alternative before the Viaduct falls down. Fair enough, let’s throw in more Bus lanes and bike paths while we’re at it. RTA expansion might be able to address the issue in a decade. What will take less time are better bus routes or just businesses moving out of Seattle.

Victoria Nelson said...

I commute to work on lower Queen Anne using the viaduct and Western Ave. After viewing the simulations, I have a number of concerns:
1. There is no off ramp to downtown or access to lower Queen Anne from the new "tunnel". The idea that if you need to go downtown you will need to go the surface streets is so short sighted, I can't even imagine how that got in the plans. The city wants commuters to compete with stadium traffic, ferry traffic, tourist traffic and all the trucks that can no longer use this roadway. What a diaster thats' going to be on most nights.
It may be expensive to add an off ramp to the plans now but it won't be any cheaper in the future.
And how are the businesses going to like the grid lock that will certainly ensue.
2. The land where the viaduct now stands should be reserved for green space for the citizens. Absolutley no development allowed in this cleared area. Only walkers and bicyclist allowed. Has this plan been secured with our government?
3. Where will container trucks and associated traffic travel around the waterfront?

Anonymous said...

I voted NO to a tunnel, but who cares what a Seattle Tax Payer thinks. SUre not the City or State Goverment.

This boondoggle is already costing the tax payers hundreds of thousands of dollars and solving nothing.

I will move out of the City of Seattle and King County if this total disregard of the Voters contuines. FIX the Existing, NO TUNNEL, and the video of the waterfront is the biggest joke of all. Never going to happen!!

Anonymous said...

The video didn't simulate a disabled vehicle in the tunnel. Will that ever be a traffic nightmare. I also saw, while traveling north in the tunnel, another lane dumping more cars on a two lane street. Real stupid. What happened to light rail in this tunnel. That's real stupid. Did the major succeed in getting the cars off the water front. Hardly, he has 4 lanes of stop and go traffic, where pedestrians and bikes should be. This is just a boondoggle to allow the property value to go up, for his rich friends. This boondoggle will do nothing to allow Seattle to become a first class city for the future. All tourist will talk about, is the traffic nightmare in Seattle.

Anonymous said...

Both videos are fantasies, not simulations, but the surface option video is fantasy to the 4th power--only one red light stopping flow for the whole, length? Only one car exiting the ferry? No Mariners or Sounders or Seahawks games stacking up traffic? No local trucks or cruise ship traffic? No container trucks stacked to enter the docks? And how does one enter the surface option from Aurora N traveling south? This concept is a loser! At least the tunnel allows for real waterfront access, if it isn't all sold to private interests.

Anonymous said...

Look, a lot of Seattlites complain, complain and complain.

a) WSDOT is not responsible for the Route 99 Streetcar, King County Metro is. I have not seen it's car run on that rail for several years now, but replaced by buses. The 1980's infrastructure for it is in disarray. If you got beef, bring it to Metro, but not here.

b) Seattle Geology 101 for everyone that commented: you don't build tunnels that use a boring machine through loose glacial soil, which I remind folks that unstable soils inhibit the top 60 feet of Seattle.

c) Based on b), rest assured that WSDOT is, I quote, "It
will run 60 to 200 feet underground into stable soils." unquote. The deepest point of the tunnel will be 200 feet underneath Seattle, unless you want to add another billion for midtown access around skyscraper foundations punching into the same bedrock the tunnel is going into, not to mention other supporting infrastructure above the tunnel, there is no point to build downtown exits.

d) Yeah, most of us want three lanes of traffic... well, there should be three lanes period. WSDOT need to give the tunnel three lanes since this is the only shot to do it right... since I-5 is a max capacity in terms of expansion. (well they could, at a high price, thus not good spending of taxpayer money)

e) The tunnel replacement for the viaduct is needed, yeah, sure the elevated glory well be missed, but the we all know that greenery is replacing the concrete viaduct. The whiny "oh noez, not brick!" lacks people to see the simulations limitations.

f) make a bike path so the glorious bicyclists off the road, honestly. Looking out for other cars is bad enough.

e) Could the surface option use more ped bridges instead of crosswalks. Maybe at the aquarium (I see the ped bridge for the ferry.)

g) yeah, stadium and ferry traffic are reasonable concerns, but I think the simuation is leaving out something about ferry traffic, but stadium traffic I suspect one can only do so much.

h) if Metro can't bring back the streetcar, can Sound Transit or Lake Union streetcar make their way to waterfront? It is a cool option. Plus, I saw in the earlier plans for future mass transit options running from the waterfront to First Hill and such

i) One more thing, from the earlier options, City of Seattle needs to convert Third Street into a bus only street, I believe it was part of "surface option" plans, but it was a good idea regardless of the option

In conclusion, you have good ideas WSDOT, some people aren't engineers and only see part of the picture. But you and the other governmental agencies need to fuse the earlier options to make the best of it. In the end, Seattle will thank you. And no, as observer of engineering projects, this is no "Boston Big Dig".

Ryan Gabriel said...

Everything about this looks like a great solution, except for the surplus of pedestrian brick and concrete. How much red brick walking space do people really need? Surely the video doesn't reflect potential greenspace and landscaping opportunities from all the new real estate the tunnel will open up to pedestrians. And with all the surplus sidewalk space, why not create a designated bike lane? Otherwise, from a transportation angle, this would be a panacea for the waterfront. There's even an opportunity to generate some additional property taxes to cover the excessive cost if they zone it right and allow some new private real estate to be carved from all the new open spaces.

Anonymous said...

The Alaskan Way traffic simulation is inaccurate.

A better way to judge how much traffic should be depicted is at the end of the video. There, a large number vehicles enter/exit the south portal. However, Alaskan Way traffic appears to be maybe 5% of the total.

The number of vehicles on Alaskan Way should be closer to 40% or 8x the number depicted.

Furthermore, the 13 stoplights between Pike and King will bring this larger amount of of traffic on the new Alaskan Way to a halt and form typical 'clusters' while side traffic crosses and adds more traffic.

Of course, WsDOT department heads know this depiction of Alaskan Way traffic is totally inaccurate. Mustn't let the public see what the expected gridlock will actually look like. Happy happy.

No worry. In the future, our cars will be totally automated and have video displays built into their windows which display moving scenes of pastoral wonderlands while stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic. That will be like so totally environmentalistic, like ya know? Cool.

Anonymous said...

Clearly my days of easy express bus commuting on 99 to downtown are over. And ...

1. Bike lanes should be on the sidewalk between parking strip and pedestrian area.
2. Pedestrian over/underpasses instead of traffic lights - what a concept.
3. Extremely poor landscaping in this video - how about some run-off reduction landscaping?!!
4. Bus stop pull outs?

Anonymous said...

Nothing so showcases Seattle's beauty and moves traffic off of the streets better The Alaska Way Viaduct. Spending $10B to replace it with a flawed, traffic-constricting, 2 lane alternative will be a collosal mistake.
For those refering to what S.F. did, here are some facts.
The primary driver for tearing down the waterfront (Embarcadero)Freeway was the money and influence of the waterfront propery owners, who had the most to gain. The 1989 Earthqauke did little damage to the Embarcadero Freeway. The same is true here in Seattle.
If you ask those lucky and wealthy enough to actually live in S.F., they love the 'Surface Option' result. It works there because they have a world-class bus, train, and rapid transit system. That is not, and will not ever, be the case here. Costs too much for a much smaller population base.
Repairing the Viaduct provides the most benefit at the lowest cost.

Anonymous said...

As a West Seattlite, after watching this video and that of the proposed tunnel, I'm much happier with the proposals. Thank you for this demonstration.

Robert D. Morris said...

Why do we need Alaska Way. 4 lanes of cars on the waterfront. We are missing a huge opportunity here. Seattle is one of the few cities I have ever seen with no significant downtown park. We could remedy this by replacing Alaska way with a park and pedestrian/bicycle mall. A waterfront park would dramatically reconfigure downtown Seattle.

Anonymous said...

Please keep the streetcar!

Anonymous said...

I'm amazed that people are complaining about the lack of visual detail regarding trees and greenspace, bike lanes, street cars, etc. My god - this is a rendering of the tunnel and waterfront street changes. I have this sneaking suspicion that those other details (sculptures, parks, trees, etc) have yet to be finalized; so why waste money rendering them?

Seattlites truly will bitch and complain about anything. ANYTHING!

Freddie said...

It's easy to imagine that 20 years from now, with the tunnel old and the boulevard choked with more buildings and more traffic, the cry will go up, "Let's open up the waterfront! Let's lift all this traffic into the air with a spectacular viaduct!" With new materials it will be feathery light in its design, beautiful or maybe funky or both in its ornamentation, and thrilling to drive over. It's supporting structures at each intersection will create gateways from the city to the waterfront and vice versa. It will restore the views of mountains, Sound and city that now enchant us.

Anonymous said...

1: The existing Battery Street tunnel has two lanes each direction and no shoulders. Some people apparently haven't driven on the Viaduct.
2: The waterfront Trolly should be returned to the Waterfront and extended all the way to Pier 91 to serve the Cruise Lines.
3: Bicycles should have a separated lane.

Anonymous said...

Did the simulator use a turn signal when it made the illegal lane change in the intersection a few streets before Jackson? :)

Anonymous said...

Southbound from Queen Anne, Ballard, Magnolia on to Alaskan Way? This puts one third of the viaduct traffic onto an existing two lane street. How does that work without complete gridlock. Elliot Avenue backs up to Denny Way from the existing Viaduct entrance now.

To use I-5 as an alternative suggests using Eastbound Mercer Street. Good luck with that one.

Kingsley Hall said...

Please Please look at revised 26page "Elliot Bay Floating Bridge" web site. Select "The text of this document...Secretary of State"
where in I made a mistake and endorsed this 2 m waterfront bored tunnel.Thought on & off I-5. 73% voted NO on AV relace W/no view from inadequate traffic capacity tunnel.
I still advocate 10(OR 2 5)Lane floating highway w/2 floating streets to get local off I-5 vehicular traffic(access to BeaconHill,HarborIsland,I90RoyalBrougham,Madison,Battery/Wall tunnels,Aurora,WesternAve.Acts as Breakwater for beach & Forms Marina. Could leave viaduct with parking top deck - glass in see thru lower deck for bicycles pedestrian & market.Note; on web Pontoons now under construction.

Also advocate (since 9/18/09)new Interstate I-205 Bored 18 mile tunnel under Lake Washington from SR167 Renton(BrynMaur)toSR104 Bothel(Sheridan Heights)I-405 no longer bypass. See web why impossible to widen I-5

Anonymous said...

The alternative Elliot Bay Floating Bridge would be a better alternative to the tunnel, offering more throughput, a fantastic offshore walkway view of Seattle (with commercial possibilities), better tsunami and earthquake protection, and lower cost. The WA DOT refused to consider it, most likely because it would not provide as much funding to the engineering firms.

Freddie said...

I'd like to know how this floating bridge over the bay would work. What about the shipping activity?

Kingsley Hall said...

Thanks Freddie for your interest. Please consider typing "Elliott Bay Floating Highway" with quotes in a search bar preferably in Google. Select the page that starts with. The text of this document...... and has the url that starts http://elmatheater.. .
Then take some no doze because I wrote 29 pages of technical & historical information

Kingsley Hall said...

Thanks Freddie for your specific question about effect of Floating Highway on shipping. I have skippered and been at helm of vessels a block and a half long. In most cases I prefer to bring such vessels w/ or w/o tugs to dock behind a breakwater. The 1 to 2 mi. out EB F Highway would have five of same openings thru as Hood Canal FB that handles boats with 30ft bow waves at slowest speed they can maintain steerage. Ferry terminal outside bridge Even now (future) too crowded where is anyway. EB FH forms a breakwater for pleasure craft marina in N lagoon. See web

Anonymous said...

Well done rendering. I am curious what the speed limit will be on the surface street. It looks like it's still a busy road where there will be lots of traffic noise - one of the main things that deters me from visiting the waterfront today. And what about the view? Will there be an elevated pedestrian walkway/bike path to observe the view?
I also echo the comments about so much pavement. Realize it's just a rendering but what's up with the use of red rock at all? This doesn't seem to fit with Seattle's design. Agree that the waterfront roadway and parks should contain lots of greenery.

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