The continually outside-of-the-box hugeasscity blog posits an interesting thought: After all the hard work to ensure the remove of the heinous waterfront Alaskan Way Viaduct, perhaps a piece of it should linger. For history. For a park. For a big, beautiful sculpture. For a multi-story illustration of the welcome change to our waterfront:
[…] Buster Simpson, a public artist, and Jack Mackie, an architect, have proposed saving some columns and partial beams as an “urban ruin”. I would take this further and suggest preserving a section large enough to function as an elevated open space and viewing platform (think the NYC High Line, see below). Certainly tearing down the Viaduct has the potential to create an amazing waterfront public space, but the opportunities for increasing open views of the Sound and the mountains beyond are limited by the numerous privately held properties lining the waterfront. Having more elevated viewing opportunities may help address this fact. Victor Steinbrueck Park, and a couple spots in the Market, are among the few elevated public areas where people can take in views of the Sound.
It goes to a core question: Should a city reinvent its existence as the arc of time progresses? I say no, hold on to the history we have. When the World’s Fair ended, we kept our Space Needle and our Monorail. As our city expanded, we kept our Discovery Park and our Arboretum. Many fought to keep the essence of Pike-Pine alive. A nod to the past is perhaps the most pleasurable part of living in a real city, and one that the new generation urban enthusiasts hasn’t began to fully appreciate. We may learn that newness becomes devoid of impact without the old.
Is some part of this decrepit highway worth preserving and fashioning into our urban framework? Absolutely.