This post originally appeared on Orphan Road.
Ok, so I’m a little late in noticing it, but this is a really big deal:
Last week, the state’s project manager for the Alaskan Way Viaduct, David Dye, told a surprised city council that the state department of transportation was “looking forward to… working with the city and the county to really fully develop the surface/transit option” for replacing the Alaskan Way Viaduct. What the state learned from last year’s election, Dye said, is that “if we continue to define the problem in the way we’ve defined it”—as the need to move cars, not people—”the solutions likely won’t change. We need to take a fresh look at the whole arterial network and how all those pieces fit together with substantially enhanced transit and freight mobility.”
What changed? Besides the election, in which voters rejected both waterfront highway options, the law itself was literally rewritten. Last session, the state legislature quietly adopted a bill that could have huge implications for road projects across the state. The legislation redefines roadway “capacity” to mean a road’s ability to move people and goods—not cars.
A while back I lamented the fact that the state DOT was so car-centric. This is a huge big shift in the opposite direction. Props where due.