This isn’t really transit related, but when thinking of a replacement to the viaduct, it’s important to think back the the Embarcadero Waterfront Freeway in San Francisco that was destroyed and not replaced, and also to think about the Big Dig in Boston that replaced the elevated I-93 with a tunnel with an astounding final cost of $14.8 billion.
The contrasts are pretty big. Both had the side effect of freeing their waterfronts from separation with the city and from shadows and noise. But San Francisco’s Embarcadero Freeway carried up to 110,000 cars daily the same high-end as the viaduct and without it, supply shortage shifted demand to alternate routes and means of transportation along their waterfront.
Boston, on the other hand, has wasted $14.8 billion digging a tremendous tunnel. Granted, I-93 is more important to Boston than the Viaduct is to Seattle or the Embarcadero Freeway ever was to San Francisco, but it’s worth noting how huge projects like this can balloon out of control and cost a fortune, when they may not even be necessary in the first place, as the Embarcadero Freeway shows.
These things always get me thinking, how much transit can you buy with $14.8 billion? About 36% more than all that was in Prop. 1.