This post originally appeared on Orphan Road.
WSDOT just uploaded images that show how each of the 8 alternatives will look in real life. First off I want to say how amazing these images are. WSDOT is trying very hard to make sure that the public understands how these alternatives will look.
Second look at alternatives A through C. Just imagine it! These alternatives will completely change downtown seattle. This street will be lined by cafes and restaurants that spill out into the sidewalk. It will be filled with Seattlites strolling and just enjoying themselves. We will wonder why we even contemplated keeping the viaduct. And look at this disaster. I would not want to be one of those people. They make alternative E look okay but I think the ends of the “integrated” structure will look awkward not to mention cutting off the rest of the city from the water. Lets not forget this is a freeway.
From a vehicle movement perspective alternative C is probably the best acceptable solution. I could do a calculation using the HCM to figure out the difference in vehicle throughput but I can’t find my copy of the HCM right now.
From an urban planning perspective A and B are the best alternatives. A is a low capital option of B which is good to consider, but alternative B is a knock out! Read the description.
“Scenario B is similar to Scenario A, but it has more capital investments and more aggressive transit improvements.
Alaskan Way would be two-lanes in each direction north of Yesler Way, with bike lanes and parking. There would be signalized intersections along the waterfront. The east/west streets north of the Battery Street Tunnel would be reconnected with new signalized intersections on Aurora Avenue.
In this scenario the streetcar system would be extended, with lines to Fremont/Ballard, University District, central downtown, and Capitol Hill/First Hill. The bus rapid transit system would be extended with lines for Delridge and Lake City Way and from Ballard to the University District. This service would be in addition to planned new lines serving Ballard, West Seattle and Aurora Avenue.
There would also be more extensive I-5 improvements than with Scenario A. An additional northbound lane on I-5 would start near Cherry Street and go north to SR 520.
This scenario would offer open space of 76-86 feet along the waterfront.”
The one down side of this alternative is that the pedestrian promenade along the water will be narrower and in alternative C. Maybe a hybrid of B and C could be used to increase the size of the promenade while maintaing the same vehicle throughput.
Daily transit trips to, from and within the city center will dramatically increase, from 196,000 to as many as 305,000 by 2015 if one surface option replaces the viaduct.