In this episode of “How You Can Help Get Us Transit,” we look at a couple of examples that help demonstrate why removing highways is not only not a big deal, but also good for transit.

I’m going to use two real viaduct commutes as examples. Both originate in West Seattle. One drives to work at Google. The other drives to First Hill – this is actually the commute of a doctor I know, so we’ve talked about it quite a bit. He usually takes the bus – he’s an occasional driver.

Today, both commutes are highly congested on the West Seattle Bridge, but not very congested on the viaduct itself. Neither spend very much time on surface streets in the city today, most is spent on highways. Google lady gets off 99 near Fremont, and doctor dude takes the Seneca exit.

If the tunnel were built, Google lady’s trip time would be faster – the deep bore tunnel is designed for this commute. It would be more expensive for her, but it would be faster. Her time on the West Seattle bridge would remain similar, but her time on 99 would decrease. At the same time, some of the traffic that was using today’s viaduct goes to downtown streets. So instead of the bus looking like a more attractive option than the toll, because she would have to take two buses *and* the buses are now a little slower, she keeps driving.

Doctor dude switches to I-5. His commute time increases overall for bus or car, and he’s very angry, because this tunnel thing was supposed to help. He votes for a Republican to replace Governor Inslee in 2016 because he remembers this is Gregoire’s fault. The Republican scuttles Sound Transit 3…

If a surface option were built, Google lady’s time on 99 would be a little slower than it is today – by as much as a couple of minutes. However, because the fast bypass through downtown isn’t there, a lot of trips aren’t taken, so the West Seattle bridge is less congested – making up time. Her total trip is still slower, but not nearly as slow as tunnel proponents suggest. Because the surface option also included transit improvements, there’s also a significantly better chance that she’ll take RapidRide and a local bus (or Dexter bike lane) the rest of the way to work. There’s another good discussion here about Central Streetcar and a future Fremont extension, but that’s for another post.

Doctor dude uses the new surface boulevard when he drives – it’s faster than sitting in traffic on I-5. He wasn’t spending that much time on 99 anyway, and the West Seattle bridge is now slightly faster, so his commute time improves. Transit improvements more than made up for that travel time decrease, though, so he continues to bus.

For both users, the surface option makes transit more attractive by encouraging trips to match corridors easily served by transit. In the longer run, this means surface gives us more potential ridership for serious mass transit to West Seattle. And it’s cheaper, so we lose a little pressure on the state’s backlog of highway maintenance and repairs – meaning it’s easier to fight for transit funding.

Transit advocates – this fight won’t stop with the referendum, but you know we’ll keep fighting. Please help: donate to the campaign, and email me to volunteer!

108 Replies to “How Surface Works”

  1. When I read the title of this post I thought it would be a line item proposal of what the surface option actually looks like. X dollars here, Y there, etc. Is there a post where such a list appears so the surface option is a legitamite plan and not the anti-tunnel?

    1. I’ve asked for this before and haven’t received it. Seems to me that this would be a stickied post detailing EXACTLY what the surface/transit plan is.

      What it sounds like to me is a plan to intentionally ruin the downtown waterfront by putting a highway on it, cause GP traffic to be miserable and then hope that people become so miserable that they won’t move out of Seattle but will instead vote for whatever undefined transit investments are put on the table.

      I’m all for transit too, but that seems the stupidest possible way to get it. Rather that work with Olympia and the City Council to find ways for transit investments to be included in the tunnel, or to rethink the 18th amendment, your strategy is to ruin that relationship today and then piss off car drivers in the future, after having spent $3.3 billion.


      1. Might you have a quick reference to what happens to the other 70-80,000 trips from the viaduct that won’t use the tunnel? I don’t really feel those of us critical of the tunnel have an obligation to defend someone else’s surface/transit proposal when we are already pushing projects that replace in excess of the 110,000 trips. I feel those pushing the tunnel have an obligation to explain what will happen to the 70-80,000 trips.

        Look, $4 billion can install a lot of light rail, speed up the bus system in substantial ways, and perhaps even build a second DSTT for a western Link line.

        The surface/transit plan is not the list of the best ideas for downtown traffic. It’s just one list of many. But it deals with three times as many displaced trips as the tunnel does, and at a cost of several hundred million dollars less.

        And no, I’m not pushing the surface/transit plan. I’m just pointing out that, unlike the tunnel plan, it actually deals with the trips. There are probably better ideas out there that deal with the trips even better. But the point is, the tunnel plan fails to deal with the displaced trips.

      2. Selma, why haven’t you looked at WSDOT’s site? We didn’t just make up surface/transit, it’s one of the WSDOT options.

      3. Replying to my own comment hoping it pegs below Ben’s…

        I’m pretty disappointed in your response. If this is the option you think will solve Seattle’s downtown transportation issues and if this is the ultimate goal you want people to donate their time and money for, I think it’s incumbent on you to own it.

        It’s weird that I often ask for what exactly the surface transit option is, and I mostly get links to other sites, be they old WSDOT PDFs, Stranger articles, or Publicola pages. It’s kind of lame that the surface/transit position has become attack the tunnel and obfuscate your true goal. It’s lame tactics that you wouldn’t like from other political campaigns.

      4. Should we reveal to Selma our top secret plan to solve downtown congestion by maximizing the number of people who can get through downtown quickly … by choosing transit?

        It’s not our fault that only so many cars can fit through downtown. But we are certainly trying to increase the number of *people* who can travel through downtown, by giving preference to the vehicles carrying the most people. Is that logic tough to grasp?

        Most of what we are working for is about increasing people throughput. My personal opposition to the tunnel is that it spends $4 billion on a freeway that is of no use to bus riders or freight, and that could have done a lot more good if it had been spent building transit infrastructure (transit lanes, more modern buses, light rail, etc.)

      5. Selma,

        I’ve been around with you on this before, and I just don’t get it. The “old WSDOT pdf” you describe is the final output of WSDOT’s surface/transit planning process. In my view it’s a better option than the other two that got that far.

        What is it you want to see?

      6. And I’d be on your side if I saw that “transit” investment as any of those things — certainly light rail.

        I’ve long said on this and other blogs that one potential option for McGinn and his supporters is to pursue west side light rail — or at least the planning thereof — as construction mitigation. Barring that, cut a deal with the legislature that says that McGinn will play ball with the tunnel so long as the legislature revisits the 18th amendment. Basically, any kind of the usual “you scratch my back I scratch yours” kind of politics that actually get things done.

        Being dogmatic, and I can’t believe that the surface/transit plan is anything but dogma, means you can’t compromise, you make enemies when you don’t have to, and you ultimately make your final outcome worse for everyone.

        I still think the tunnel is it — and I like the tunnel because it hides the highway and opens the waterfront — but I think we’re going to take the longest, costliest, and acrimoniest way to get there. And one of the biggest losers will be transit because its champions don’t know how to get out of their own way.

      7. @Martin —

        I’d really like to see a detailed description on your website of the surface transit option, what the surface improvements are, what the transit benefits are, and how specifically you plan on making it happen.

        It’s far easier to trash an option you don’t like than to build up something you do. I know what you’re against, but I don’t know exactly what you’re for. And to me, linking to a fact sheet from 2008 (which I just found on my own, I think) is a cop out.

      8. Selma,

        What do you favor doing with the 70-80,000 trips that are using the viaduct but won’t be using the tunnel?

      9. Selma,

        We wrote that up here
        but it’s basically a rehash of the fact sheet.

        I would absolutely support the Surface/Transit/I-5 hybrid as a reasonable compromise. If I were dictator, I’d build as much west side light rail as possible and not replace the highway at all, but I think it’s more fruitful to discuss options that were recently politically plausible.

        I’d take the 18th amendment trade in a second, but I don’t think that’s in the cards. As long as 8 City Council members are on side there’s no reason for the State to cut a deal.

    2. The surface option has less planning than the tunnel now because WSDOT picked tunnel and stopped working on surface, but it’s all there in the list of options on WSDOT’s 99 replacement website. We don’t have to provide that, the agency already does…

  2. Is the surface/tunnel “option” really a legitimate comprehensive list of all things transit being done to add trip capacity into and out of downtown? e.g. RapidRide, Link, more runs on Sounder and Cascade, transit lane dedication in neighborhoods leading to downtown, as well as actually in downtown, bike lanes, etc.? Or is it just ideas drawn up by the stakeholders’ committee (that recommended it over the tunnel)? The “option” had to come up with ways to replace a total of 110,000 daily trips, which is how it came out to #3.3 billion.

    We’ve never really seen a fair comparison between the tunnel/no-transit-improvements plan and the “surface”[sic]/transit plan. The tunnel plan seems to have been given a pass in figuring out how to replace capacity for 110,000 trips. Instead, because it uses largely the same path, sans connection to Interbay and intra-downtown exits, it seems to have been accepted automatically as one-for-one replacement, with no need to figure out what to do with the 70-80,000 trips that currently use the viaduct and will not use the tunnel.

    Am I missing something?

    1. I’m one of those estimated 70-80,000 who currently use the Viaduct, but won’t likely switch to the tunnel. My morning commute starts on Beacon Hill, usually involves a stop in Georgetown and then onto 99 to Ballard. Because I’m not heading to downtown, most of my time on 99 is an uncongested drive at 60 mph south of Battery St, 50 mph north of Battery. The cars that have to exit into downtown Seattle have to endure a long backup to exit off of 99, but those of us who are bypassing downtown have an uncongested drive at “speed limit plus 10”. Once the Viaduct comes down, the question becomes: how will I and the others get to work? I’m estimating that my new commute will be about 10 minutes longer. Currently, the 2nd option is usually signal-synchronized 4th Avenue, but I doubt that will continue to be viable, post Viaduct. So I’m left wondering, what I and the other commuters will do once the Viaduct comes down.

      1. ideally, you’d catch a bus to downtown and switch to light rail/monorail to Ballard.

        But that would require forethought and planning, something that isn’t happening at WSDot now.

        But all of this discussion somehow assumes that because something is true now, it must continue to be true in the future. ie. that the company in Ballard will still be in business by the time the Viaduct comes down. That the guy in Beacon Hill stays there, doesn’t divorce/move for the schools etc/

        Only when we look at the big picture, how can we make the connectivity of most residents in the city better can we make a rational choice. Spending 3B+ to enable West Seattle and Beacon Hill auto drivers fast Access to Ballard, may not be the best use of those funds. 3B+ would buy a lot of elevated rapid transit which would improve connectivity for more people.

    2. You’re not missing anything. The vast majority of people simply aren’t thinking it through – their minds are made up before they start.

      1. In other words, Guy on Beacon Hill is one of the many who would be much worse off with the “surface option” than he is now. All surface streets through downtown will have a lot more traffic, and be much slower than they are now, with the surface option.

      2. So GuyOnBeaconHill would be one of those people who’d switch to transit in a surface/transit option? That seems unlikely, given that he’s going from Beacon Hill, to Georgetown, then up to Ballard. There really isn’t a good transit option that will compete with the car on that commute pattern, no matter what option ultimately ends up on the waterfront.

        I’m surprised that easing SOV commutes has been one of the arguments pushed forward by surface/transit proponents. In that regard, they’re making common cause with road warriors who prefer a bigger Viaduct. That’s unfortunate, because at the end of the day, killing the tunnel won’t result in more transit, it’ll result in more capacity for SOVs, and a greater blight on the waterfront.

        It’s also unfortunate that you keep writing that people who disagree with you “haven’t thought it through.” Way to belittle those who disagree with you on this issue and who have, for the most part, engaged you respectfully on this site.

      3. Actually, Norman, GuyOnBeaconoHill was explaining why he’s one of the 70,000-80,000 commuters for whom the tunnel plan will provide no useful option.

        He never even mentioned the surface option, though he implied it won’t be any worse than what happens for him with the tunnel.

      4. GuyonBeaconHill did not imply the surface option would be no worse for him than the tunnel. How would an additional 40,000 vehicles on surface streets not make his commute worse?

        At any rate, the surface option would make trips through downtown much worse for everyone than they are today.

      5. Quoting GuyOnBeaconHill:

        “I’m one of those estimated 70-80,000 who currently use the Viaduct but won’t likely switch to the tunnel

        “Once the Viaduct comes down… I’m estimating that my new commute will be about 10 minutes longer [whether or not the tunnel exists].”

        Seriously Norman, go read the piece in The Stranger. The fact that you think they’re auto-hating pinkos doesn’t change that they uncovered findings in the DOT reports themselves to suggest that most routes to and within downtown — especially those anywhere near the portals — get worse with the tunnel than the no-replacement option.

        In the meantime, stop misconstruing GuyOnBeaconHill’s words.

  3. Short form:
    * Lack of a highway will be so inconvenient that some traffic will evaporate, preventing congestion from getting Very, Very Bad.
    * Transit Improvements will make everything better.

    I am deeply cynical about both of these claims. Yes, some trips do get dropped when they are not supported by fast bypasses, but do we actually have any studies indicating how many would be dropped under this proposal? Do we even have a single, well-defined proposal to study?

    I also have my doubts about the value of the Transit Improvements. Even if the budget for these improvements is bundled into the “proposal” and isn’t violated in the next fiscal crisis or change in leadership, multi-transfer commutes are extremely unappealing, and this is what we see for most commuters who do not work within downtown.

    For the “surface option” to be an overall win for Seattle, there would have to be a dramatic, qualitative improvement to our transit infrastructure – and I have’t seen any detailed proposals to do that.

    1. But doesn’t this same analysis also apply to the 70-80,000 trips that currently use the viaduct and won’t use the tunnel? Can you answer the above questions for those trips?

      1. For enviro analysis, you have to take the worst case. So, 70-80,000 diversion is the worst case scenario. Build the tunnel, see how downtown traffic works, and you’ll likely see a little bit less. Who knows though, right?

        Even still, I thought the surface/transit crowd *wanted* to see more traffic on downtown streets. I thought increased downtown traffic was an expressed goal of yours.

        Yes the tunnel is $1 billion more, but you get the added benefits of 1.) a world-class downtown waterfront and 2.) no surface highway on the waterfront.

        That a progressive movement would actively seek to build a highway on the central waterfront to prove some kind of anti-car theory is mind-boggling to me. All sides of the tunnel debate are guilty of demonizing the opposition (and just wait until Elizabeth Campbell turns on you guys), but the willingness to build a new highway where we should least want it — and hoping no one uses it — doesn’t make any sense to me.

      2. Brent,
        you repeat the 70,000-80,000 trips that won’t use the tunnel as if it were fact. But many of us know that is the worst case scenario based on hypothetical tolling estimates. In reality the number of vehicles that won’t use the tunnel will be much less. Perhaps down to 40,000-50,000. But that does still leave open your question about what will happen when those vehicles spill into the city.
        Of course the surface/transit solution will leave 110,000 trips screwed. But based on what I am reading on here people will magically stop driving and take transit. I am a huge transit fan and I would pay more taxes to fund good rapid transit within the city, but I am also a realist and know that most people will continue to drive. Our road infrastructure needs to support more cars…..even electric and fuel cell, and other future technologies.

      3. Um… FYI, Someone is “impersonating” me. :-) My position on this is a bit different. I agree that density without a real, in place robust transportation system, breeds gridlock or the perception of gridlock.

        While we can encourage more urban dense living, our built infrastructure is simply not designed as such and is not going to transform to such overnight. Further, people vote with their feet based on a variety of factors. You create gridlock in this downtown and those businesses may decide to move to an office in an suburban city with its own “downtown” that is closer to their own homes and is more “friendly” to their car (personal freedom) lifestyles. That’s how Bellevue became what it is.

        There is nothing particularly magical about having to have your office in downtown Seattle. Indeed, while downtown Seattle has a very impressive collection of jobs, by far the bulk of jobs and people are located outside the city of Seattle. So, unless land use policies are leveled between Seattle and its suburbs, all of the things that Seattle is doing to encourage density without commensurate policies elsewhere will likely lead to continued flight (or growth) out of the city.

        As much as I hate to say this, I agree with Norman’s contention that people might make the choice to travel to a point farther if it is “less hassle.” In fact, I’ve often done that. While living in Chicago and wishing to visit a Costco, my choices were to travel about 30 minutes (to go 6 miles) by car each way (or 1.3 hours by public transit) over surface streets (often clogged) to a Costco in the city, only to have to endure a cramped parking lot, packed aisles, and long lines at check out; or I could hop on a series of freeways (to go about 26 miles each way) and be at a suburban Costco in about 40 minutes with no or little stop and go traffic, more parking, less crowded stores and cheaper gas to buy. I could be there and back home in about the same amount of time. What put the kabosh on those trips was the dramatic rise in fuel cost so that the extra 40 miles to make that trip became costly e.g. more than the difference in the savings on filling up the tank.

        Which brings me to the last aspect, it will be sheer economics that shapes our future. The cost to fuel our personal transportation will affect our choices on where we live, work and play. $7/gal gas is going to affect everything. Our policy discussions about planning both urban and region wide should acknowledge that fact.

    2. Like Brent says.

      You seem to be applying different levels of scrutiny to the different options. Requiring more justfication for something your gut says doesn’t work – when the whole point of talking about it is to say hey, our gut has been making congestion worse for decades.

    3. Who is going to stop making trips? What are they going to do? Just stay home? Or take a trip in a different direction, e.g. from Queen Anne go to the Costco north of downtown instead of south of downtown, which will mean a longer trip, and more congetsion on Aurora Ave. N., to avoid the congestion on downtown streets caused by the surface option.

      In this example, a trip did not “disappear”, it just changed direction to avoid downtown, which made for a longer trip, and more miles driven.

      1. Trust me Norman, a trip through downtown would still be faster than driving all the way up to Lynnwood, or where ever that costco is. It’s not like our downtown is the size of Manhattan. My goodness, you people freak out about a 2-3 mile drive. Even during rush hour in the afternoon I can get through downtown without a headache. I can’t say the same for all of those who commute from the far off suburbs. (sitting on I5) I’ll take sitting in traffic downtown over I5 any day.

      2. I think Norman has got one here. Once the viaduct comes down the – decision point as to whether SEATAC or Snohomish County Int’l is the closest airport, moves south of ship canal during high traffic.

        Anyone consulted Mukilteo on this issue yet?

      3. Everyone does realize this tunnel is only 1.7 miles long? We’re not digging through the Alps like the Swiss. If 10 extra minutes is really going to kill you, then you may need to seek help.

      4. johnny, you obviously don’t get it. With the viaduct down, there will be 10’s of thousands more trips on surface streets through downtown every day. You don’t think that will make trips through downtown a lot slower?

        The Costco up north is in Shoreline. That Costco is about 11.5 miles from the top of Queen Anne hill, while the south costco on 4th Ave. S. is about 6.5 miles. Right now, the north Costco takes about 10 minutes longer to get to than taking the viaduct to the south Costco. But, even now, driving on a surface street through downtown can easily add 10 minutes to the trip to Costco south. With the viaduct down, and no replacement, driving through downtown could take 20 minutes or more longer than taking the viaduct today.

        So, you honestly believe traveling north-south through downtown if the viaduct is closed and not replaced would take only “10 extra minutes”? How long does that take on a day with a Mariners game? An M’s game probably adds only a few thousand extra cars through downtown. Closing the viaduct will add 10’s of thousands of extra vehicles through downtown during each peak period, and thousands of extra vehicles during the middle of the day and evening.

        Are you really saying that closing the viaduct will have zero effect on travel times through downtown Seattle on surface streets?

      5. We are Comparing:

        1.7 miles through downtown Seattle on the surface streets through a dozen or more controlled intersections (with cross traffic and left turning traffic) and taxis, busses and horsedrawn carriages.

        with 1 Minute on Viaduct from Elliott to Qwest at any time day or night

        Now add construction, a Seafair parade and/or a Sounders Gameday and parade (or all of the above).

      6. So go to the Costco in Shoreline or schedule your trip to the SODO Costco outside of rush hour. Or better yet, buy your TP at the grocery store by your house. See, I just fixed your problem without spending $4 billion.

      7. I usually avoid roads during rush hour, of course except driving to and from work. Saturday and Sunday make great days to visit Costco. I usually take local streets through downtown anyway.

      8. Zed, have you ever driven on the viaduct outside of rush hour?

        Have you ever driven on surface streets through downtown outside of rush hour?

        There are lots of vehicles both on the viaduct, and on surface streets downtown outside of rush hour. If you think eliminating the viaduct would impact traffic downtwon only during peak hours, you are wrong.

        Do Mariners day games starting well before the afternoon peak traffic hour have no impact on downtown traffic?

      9. I take the viaduct to and from work during rush hour about half the time during the work week and I can say the traffic has only been bad a hand full of times in the past 3 months. I actually take local streets through downtown the other half of trips. Lets try and not make things up.

      10. “Zed, have you ever driven on the viaduct outside of rush hour?”


        “If you think eliminating the viaduct would impact traffic downtwon only during peak hours, you are wrong.”

        I didn’t say that, but thanks for pointing out that I’m wrong about something I didn’t say.

        “Do Mariners day games starting well before the afternoon peak traffic hour have no impact on downtown traffic?”

        Not as much as at peak hours.

  4. My neighborhood is getting a new $96 million bridge, which will enable restoration of the 60, 131, and 134 route paths. Once the bridge is open, these bus routes will be ca. ten minutes faster. The increasingly popular #60 might become a trunk route (please, please, please, Transit Advisory Board), enabling a quick ride to Beacon Hill Station (5-10 minutes faster still, if the VA and Metro agree on a way to allow the buses to stop on 15th Ave S instead of pulling into the hospital parking lot), and creating a faster way to get into and out of downtown than taking a one-seat ride on the 132. This helps replace trips not just by shifting bus trips onto a route that doesn’t have to go through downtown, but also by making it so easy for South Parkers to get downtown by transit that almost nobody will drive between South Park and downtown (or at least, that is my wishful thinking).

    The bridge investment and costs of improving service on the routes serving downtown and the various Link stations (designed to create 2-seat, 1-bus rides to downtown using Link) ought to have been included in the surface/transit laundry list, but I bet they weren’t.

    Heck, the entire cost of the Link project ought to be included, but I bet none of it was. If the projections say Link will carry over 110,000 passengers a day, then there we go!

  5. I can’t help feeling that there’s a certain amount of having it both ways here. You can’t argue that people will abandon transit due to the expediting of cross-town traffic and also claim that those people won’t be discouraged by sitting in gridlock on the West Seattle Bridge. Similarly, I remember some author in the Stranger (not Ben) who complained that the $4 tolls in the tunnel would push a large minority of potential tunnel users onto surface streets… as opposed to not having a tunnel, which by my reckoning would force 100% of the traffic onto surface streets.

    Really, the only thing I find genuinely infuriating about this is that the Central Line Streetcar funding was taken out. If we took GP lanes on 1st for that streetcar and extended the 3rd Ave busway restriction further north we’d have the transit-exclusive ROW that we really need for downtown transit to stop sucking. That’s ultimately far more important from a transit and land-use perspective than the fact that a few more people in West Seattle will drive rather than transfer.

    1. Not having a tunnel reduces the total amount of traffic, so it’s not complete to say it’s pushed onto surface streets. There’s less of it.

      1. What happens to those trips that “disappear”? You forcing people to just stay home? Or, what?

      2. Some will shift to transit or bicycle. Some will form carpools and vanpools (e.g. two people who both live a qtr mile from each other in West Seattle and work in the same office in Ballard might finally be inspired by a $4 toll to talk to each other about carpooling and splitting costs). Long-term, some people will move closer to work, some workplaces will move closer to their employees. Parents might decide to send their kids to schools/daycares on their side of downtown. Couples will hasten their decision to move closer together. Stores might move closer to their customers or decentralize into multiple smaller stores. People make thousands of transportation decisions every day and adding a cost on one side of the equation affects all of them.

      3. York, That is not true. The study already assumes a certain number of trips will shift to transit. The trips that “disappear” are in addition to those which shift to transit. The study shows that the number of trips will be reduced. A trip on transit, or in a car pool or on a bicycle still is counted as a trip. But, even counting as those trips shifted to different modes, the total number of trips is expected to fall. What happens to those trips that just aren’t taken? People are just going to be forced to stay home?

      4. York, each of those items you listed is a diminution of quality of life if people are forced by policy decisions to move, share a car with someone or, gasp! take a bus. At least, with the prospect of expensive gas, we can blame economics and people will make those choices rationally.

  6. Ben:

    I feel that much of your case is just activism run amok and basically just reverse Kemper Freemanism for the most part. He hates transit, you hate cars and neither perspective – following either to their logical conclusions – will bring us nearer to what most of us want here – namely sane transportation choices in a highly liveable part of the United States.

    I have never been much interested in cars – it was hard to get attached to any of my Dad’s cars when he changed them every six months – but they are nevertheless in our future here for probably a long while yet. Similarly, I love mass transit options, but again, we are some way off from seeing trains and buses (which will need roads by the way) and streetcars taking over most of the transportation options throughout the city. Even if we were, we would still need to find means of moving freight effectively through the city to parts beyond. Yet to make transit viable in Seattle, we need to give as well as take and right now, all you are doing is taking from one side which will just lead to rancor and mistrust.

    As Selma says above, a better strategy would be to work with Olympia and with the other tunnel stakeholders to include some transit options with the tunnel plan. I have little doubt that Metro will run its buses through it and then voila, we have a transit use for the tunnel.

    As motorized vehicles change to hybrid and then eventually all electric technology, then much of the current debate as to the prevalence of gas guzzling vehicles will just wither on the vine.

    A better use of our time, Ben, I think would be to push Sound Transit towards fulfilling ST2 projects in a faster timeframe. We voted in 2008 for a whole bevy of projects, few of which have currently done much and none could be said to have hit the ground running – more like stalling really.

    Readers of my posts know how frustrated I get at the slow pace of projects in Seattle because like you and most of us here, I know how needed they are to our community. With this in mind, I think our time would be better spent keeping Sound Transit on track with everything we voted for. We may not know where the alignment for East Link is going to go, but why not for example start construction on the less controversial parts of the line. Like how we link up the line at the Seattle end and building along the Bel-Red corridor. Couldn’t we start construction here and then link up with Bellevue when they have gotten over their funk over all this?

    I am not a transit planner but I am a heavy transit user and I’d like to see these projects moving forward.

    1. ST is engineering North Link and the Airport Link extension as fast as the money comes in. If you read the post about S 200th St, they’re ready to bid out that project, but they’re $40 million short.

      As for East Link, the EIS isn’t even done yet so they can’t legally break ground on any of that until they get the all-clear from the FTA. Moreover the details of Bel-Red are still under active (non-acrimonious) discussion with Bellevue, and there’s the pending I-90 lawsuit that must also be resolved before construction can begin on segment B (and really there’s no point building anything if we can’t go across the lake.)

      Finally, as I noted in an open thread recently, ST is planning to introduce off-board payment and other “rail-like features” on the 550 to prepare people for East Link. AFAICT they are being as proactive as their legal and financial situation permits. Whatever the problem is round here, it’s not ST.

    2. The problem is that the tunnel is an especially stupid use of money.

      Originally, there were several proposals. A deep-bore car tunnel was rejected early because it was very expensive, had lots of construction risk (recipe for a Big Dig-like cost escalation), and didn’t serve the purpose very well. After a vote of whether to build a new viaduct or a shallow tunnel (which was a reasonable option because it leveraged the cost of the new seawall), the deep bore tunnel was chosen in an irrational backroom deal.

      It still isn’t fit for purpose. What buses are gonna go in it — buses which bypass Downtown?!?

      I think the hostility to it is due to its utter, utter stupidity — it’s a recipe for failure. If voters had supported the shallow tunnel, I suspect STB would have ended up shrugging its shoulders; that option at least seemed fit for purpose.

    3. I agree with the sentiment. If there was _one_ downtown exit northbound from the tunnel at James, Madison, or Union how do the commute examples change? I’d like to see our city government work to adapt the tunnel rather than get rid of it altogether.

    4. A state which is short on funds and making cuts every six months has money to add transit to the DBT plan?

      No bus travels nonstop from SODO to Mercer and no bus ever will, because it would be bypassing what’s by far the largest transfer point in the region. Transit systems are designed around downtowns for a reason, and that’s because it’s simultaneously a destination, a transfer point, and a place to do something while you’re waiting.

    5. @Tim, thanks for bringing the Eastside and Kemper Freeman into this discussion. I agree that Kemper is the bogeyman, but I didn’t know he had an opinion on Seattle’s silliness.

  7. Ben,

    There are many more trips to consider – trips with no or bad answers:

    West Queen Anne to Boeing field, or Ballard or Magnolia or Pier 91 (cruise terminal)to SEATAC. Or Salmon Bay to Duwamish.

    Routing: Market to 45th to 99; Leary Way through Fremont to Westlake; W Nickerson to Westlake; or W. Mercer Place (2 lanes and unstable land) to Mercer; to the new tunnel. All are not relistic answers to support this re-routing.

    Transit is not more attractive – as in your options – it’s non-existant.

    Commuting or travelling to airport through the downtown core on surface streets would be insane (see Vancouver and SFO for examples). (And no one ever seems to consider the current downtown delivery and support traffic that will re-route to the waterfront surface streets for local accesses and arterials.)

    For Northwest Seattle, Pier 91 and the industrial ship canal – it is lose lose lose, without a viaduct replacement. And no realistic options have been presented for these folks, except wait and see or MOVE.

    It creates an interesting dilemma on what to support when there isn’t an acceptable option left on the table.

    1. Cruise terminal to sea-tac is taking pedestrians, not cars. You can set up a connector to Link, eh?

      Part of the problem here is that these discussions always turn into “that would be insane!!!!111oneoneone” instead of going “it would take five minutes longer”.

      1. Ben,

        I can’t see a surface option north to south or south to north only adding 5 minutes to a trip, even in the best case. Maybe for the person going to downtown. But if you are going downtown from North -you don’t take the viaduct.

        I can see a surface option adding numerous “risk factors” to a commute or airport trip or M’s game – that don’t exist today on the Elliot/99 Expressway.

        99 Works, the Viaduct works

      2. Cruise terminal to SEATAC is busses and taxis, not pedestrians.

        I would not invest in a link connector to Pier 91 based soley on the Cruise ships staying there (it was an expensive but somewhat temporary and seasonal terminal). But the traffic they create has to go somewhere – and it shouldn’t be West Mercer Pl or the waterfront.

        The viaduct was there when they picked the current cruise ship location. But the port wasn’t considering the additional traffic created. The goal was getting them out of the way of the Port’s working waterfront.

      3. Most of the cruise ship passengers heading to or from Sea-Tac airport are aboard buses chartered by whomever sold them the tour package. Although i wonder how feasable it would be for the Port of Seattle to broker the transportation inbetween its two facilities. Instead of a indivdual cruise operator making the arrangment, the Port of Seattle would guarantee transport, than have an online system to bid out the work to qualified companys. Might have an overall reduction in the number of vehicles by a few since you could maximise the coaches. Of course private operators, vs, otherwise idle public assets would have to be used for this service to stay on the right side of the FTA.

  8. I just don’t see the problem that the tunnel is solving. It doesn’t replace the current viaduct, because it lacks the same exits. It doesn’t have the capacity to handle all of the current traffic. It frees up some space on the surface but at the cost of covering other areas with 14 highway lanes. It’s not an attractive bus route. It includes no rail transit. It costs the people who use it more than a ride on Link would. It is poorly situated to handle the freight trips in the area (which are a small portion of total trips anyway.) It takes away money that could be used to make better surface improvements and transit alternatives. I feel like we’d be better off just setting billions of dollars on fire.

    If the problem is commute-time accessibility from West Seattle and Ballard to downtown, then add transit service from those neighborhoods. If the problem is the Viaduct is ugly and you want its footprint for a park or new development, then tear it down and use the money saved from not building the tunnel to make a nicer park or provide incentives for new development. If the problem is people want to drive through downtown without stopping, is that really a problem worth spending billions to solve?

    I want a transit tunnel, extending from Westlake through Belltown and Lower Queen Anne. That tunnel can either continue under Queen Anne Hill and the Ship Canal, or surface at either 15th or Aurora on either side of the hill to cross the water. Continue the tunnel southward parallel to the existing DSTT through downtown, then surface where the DBT tunnel is supposed to surface to complete an aerial route to West Seattle. You could even skip building the downtown section of the new transit tunnel and use the existing DSTT until transit ridership requires two tunnels. If the existing tunnel can handle 2 1/2 minute headways you could have 5-minute headways along each branch of the tunnel even if you had to share the DSTT.

    Currently the viaduct maxes out at 4000 cars per hour around 3pm. 4-car Link trains running every 5 minutes can match that capacity. Not everyone can take Link, that’s true, but those that don’t can drive. If we’re worried about surface congestion until people adapt to the new reliance on transit, then institute a congestion charge on downtown streets during commute hours. We could probably build the entire transit tunnel for the same cost as the DBT (using U Link’s tunnel as a model, since the distance is about the same).

    Once the transit tunnel is in place, you can turn Aurora into a normal city street. In any case, Alaskan Way can become a normal city street. And then we can switch our regional agonizing to how to develop the space opened up after the Viaduct is gone.

      1. [ot]

        I don’t see why we should be spending billions to subsidize trips that specifically avoid major population and employment centers. People who need to do that can drive through traffic either via I-5 or on surface streets. If we do a good job of serving the neighborhood to downtown trips with a transit tunnel, those people will still have a manageable car commute. And the thing is, if we had a transit tunnel from Ballard or Fremont to the south end of downtown, people could still use it to get through downtown all the way to West Seattle, and back.

      2. “If the problem is people want to drive through downtown without stopping, is that really a problem worth spending billions to solve?”

        Of course it is. Because the viaduct not only helps the people who use it, but it makes trips on surface streets and I-5 through downtown much easier by taking about 110,000 vehicles per day off those roads.

        So, everyone who uses I-5 or city streets through downtown — including all those on buses — benefits from the viaduct. We are probably talking about something like 1 million people per day who have better, faster trips through or past downtown because of the viaduct.

      3. The DBT tunnel is only projected to have 30,000-40,000 trips/day, so there are 80,000 trips not being served – after spending $4 billion

      4. I’m not in favor of the tunnel. The only intelligent transportation option is a new or rebuilt viaduct.

  9. Wonderful piece of fiction you wrote here. You should stick with short stories like this instead of “journalism”.

    1. Exactly. However the point of the surface option is to make driving worse. Surface option supporters are the people who hate cars, remember.

      1. No, the point of the surface option is to provide at least as much capacity as the tunnel option, without digging a freaking budget-busting tunnel, as well as providing additional transit to absorb additional car trips.

        By your logic, Norman, the point of the tunnel is to make driving worse.

      2. The point of the tunnel is to make driving better than it would be with the surface option.

        But, the tunnel would make traffic worse than it is now, that is true. The point of the tunnel is to “open up the waterfront.” lol The tunnel is not the best transportation option — a new viaduct is.

        The tunnel and the surface option are not about transportation. They are about putting a park on the waterfront.

      3. Norman: saying people simply hate cars is kind of disguising the argument as some sort of irrational and emotional hissy-fit. When designing a city/transportation system, it’s important to look at the whole picture and all the costs and benefits involved.
        The fact is that driving carries lots of negative externalities that are not currently built into people’s decision to drive. If things like air and water pollution, car crashes, and public health impacts were factored directly into the cost of driving, and pushed it up from ~$0.50/mile to ~$1-3/mile… then there would be a massive public uproar to provide viable alternatives. Instead, many of these costs are borne by something other than the driver: the environment (i.e. to be collected later when its time to clean up the air, water, and ground), healthcare (e.g. collision injuries, treatment for athsma, heart disease, obesity-related health problems), and other sources (value of free parking provided by businesses, property/sales tax subsidies for car infrastructure, etc.).
        Since so many costs of driving are already hidden, surface/transit option proponents are trying at least to not make the situation worse by continuing to subsidize driving or even worse, forcing people to drive by squashing alternatives.

      4. Yorik, that is just typical nonsense. There are externalities to everything.

        If people had to pay what it actually costs to provide their trips on transit, how many people would take transit? In this area, transit fares typically pay only about 25% of the operating costs of their trips, and zero of the capital costs. The only reason anyone takes transit in our area at all, is because transit is so heavily subsidized.

  10. I think there are some good points raised in the hypothetical. A tunnel isn’t a panacea for the region’s mobility issues, and there are negative trade-offs that’ll be had if a tunnel is built in place of either a larger viaduct or the surface/increased transit option. It shouldn’t be “sold” as a magic bullet for commuters. However, I can think of a few rebuttals to Ben’s scenerio:

    1) Predicting voter sentiment and the political environment 6+ years in the future is very precarious. I understand why it’s done, and it’s a necessary exercise, but the fact is that many, many factors between now and then will influence voting preferences. What will the job market look like? Who will head the national tickets?, etc. 2016 could be a bad year for Sound Transit, or it could be a great year. The important thing from my perspective is that the 2008 vote approving ST 2 puts the agency in a much more secure position to provide the dominant voice in regional mass transit for decades to come. Sound Transit can outlast any bad electoral cycle, or any bad governor or legislature. The hypothetical also ignores the possibility that the other two waterfront options can provoke backlashes of their own, possibly harmful to transit, from different constituencies.

    2) The commutes cited in the examples above are not ones that lend themselves to easy transit commutes, no matter which option finally takes shape. West Seattle has good commuter bus service to downtown, but that apparently isn’t enough to entice the commuter to Fremont out of her car. The question then becomes, exactly how convenient does transit have to be to get her out of her SOV? I’m very skeptical that this person will be enticed into hi-frequency bus service just because her commute is, per the hypothetical, a little slower than today. A person who’s chosen West Seattle as home and who works in Fremont has, by default, decided that easy access to transit is not a high priority. The bar for these people is very high, so high that I think it would take circumstances outside our control (i.e. much higher gas prices) to get her to think about current Metro service, or even Rapid Ride.

    Finally, just a point about the waterfront itself. There’s no mention of it in the hypothetical, other than as a transportation corridor. I understand that with any of the three options, the Central Waterfront will still be impacted. The tunnel won’t open up nearly as much space for residential development or public amenities that most tunnel supporters imagine. But it will be much, much better than a rebuilt, larger viaduct, and marginally better than a surface/transit alternative. There’s no question in my mind that opening up the waterfront will provide incentives for residential development in the blocks immediately adjacent to the east, and will be a city-wide draw, especially for those of us who already choose to make the densest neighborhood surrounding downtown our home.

  11. Here’s a question. How does the tunnel compare with say the state just taking their money and walking home? They tear it down, connect 99 to Alaskan Way and call it quits, would we still be better off?

    1. I hate this argument point… Why would the state just take their money and give it somewhere else?

      We still have to tear down the Viaduct. We still need to build a waterfront boulevard. And a surface alternative would require other roadway improvements in Downtown and on I-5, which could all be funded with gas tax money.

      Besides, the 520 project is currently short funding, and I-5 needs to be rebuilt in several places through Downtown. It’s not like there’s a lack of roads needing state dollars in the city limits.

      1. I think your third paragraph gives one reason. B/c the State is over extended as is. It doesn’t have the money for the tunnel possibly not for the other alternatives. Not to mention even before this all happened the rest of state had conspired to ‘stick it to Seattle’ with the cost overruns provision. As this has heated up, it’s only gotten more acrimonious.

        Look, I’m not against the tunnel referendum, I am honestly just trying to get a picture of a worst case scenario.

  12. Here’s my personal commute and reasons for questioning this:

    1) Today, I leave my home in the morning and walk a couple blocks to the bus stop, which then crosses the Bridge and switches to the Viaduct, where it exits onto Seneca. I alight at the first stop and walk southward through Downtown to Cherry. Trip time = 5 min. walk + 15-25 min. bus ride + 10 min. walk

    2) With the tunnel, my bus switches to 99 and exits onto new roadway by the Stadiums before turning northward through Downtown, dropping off right next to my office building. Trip time = 5 min. walk + 12-22 min. bus ride

    3) With a surface alternative, my bus still exits onto new roadway by the Stadiums before turning northward through Downtown. Trip time is the SAME as #2?

    But, wait, with the surface alternative I would be expected to see more transit service in the corridor. And everyone doesn’t have to access Downtown at the exact same spot.

    And that’s the problem. 1/3 of the Viaduct traffic today is going from West Seattle to Downtown. And under the tunnel proposal we all STILL exit at one major choke point, but now it’s further south. And you still have to build a four-lane waterfront boulevard.

    So, without discussing potential cost overruns, or financing, or tolling implementation, why would I support spending extra money for a tunnel in order to provide the exact same service to 1/3 of the corridor’s users?

  13. I saw “How Surface Works” and “Ben Schiendelman” and was thinking it’d be a post on one of these. Huge letdown Ben, huge letdown.

    1. Agreed, most Microsoft-branded hardware has been a total let-down.

      Stick to the code Balmer!

  14. Question: For the Surface/Transit option, what exactly is the route 99 would follow through downtown? I’m generally not in favor of the tunnel, primarily for cost reasons, but I would like to see some continuity for 99 through downtown (e.g., connecting the end of the battery street tunnel down to the waterfront), but I vaguely recall that NOT being part of Surface/Transit.

    1. This is very typical, in that almost nobody knows what the surface/transit option would even be, but a lot of people support it anyway, just sort of on faith.

      I’m not saying NealH supports surface/transit — he does not say — but the vast majority of the public knows no more about what surface/transit actually is than NealH does.

      1. The WSDOT pdf originally indicated that 99 would be a one-way couplet of Alaskan and Western Ave from the Battery Street tunnel to the Stadiums. How they would work Western in with the Market is beyond me, along with the waterfront becoming a downtown version of Int’l Blvd traffic-wise.

      2. To a large extent, that’s basically my point. I think I would tend toward a surface/transit option, but not at the cost of continuity. Fact is that there ARE a lot of through trips that will be affected and will not simply disappear. Throwing them into Denny Triangle/Downtown without providing that continuity is a non-starter to me. And it’s not going to affect just those through trips. I ride the 358 everyday, if continuity isn’t really provided (JW indicates the battery street tunnel being used, but I swear I have seen versions without it), you will see backups at the point where 99 hits downtown and it will affect my everyday commute negatively. And for those through trips from places like NW Seattle, I-5 isn’t a good option because it’s a pain to get to and no amount of downtown improvements will help, because it’s the ship canal that is the bottleneck and not downtown, at least in the SB direction.

        Until anybody can really clearly identify what the surface option is, I don’t think I can support it and, grudgingly, may prefer a tunnel. At the very least, I am not prepared to actively argue (or vote) against a tunnel.

  15. I hate to say it Ben, but you’re ten years too late. I realize you may have only been fifteen or whatever when the earthquake happened, but now that something is happening finally with the project, let’s get it done and over with. Having been around the whole time, and watching the process stall and stop and restart in the stupid quagmire that is the public process around here I for one am glad to see something getting done. I realize this is a blog, and all sorts of good and bad come from it. However, I also think that the ‘blog loses some credibility amongst transit professionals when articles like this are posted. There are valid concerns with the project yes; however trying to reignite a dead debate is poor form. There comes a time when we have to accept the way things are, make the best of it, work as hard as we can to improve it, and move on.

    1. As someone who truly has been around the whole time, watching the two segments of the Viaduct being built in the 1950s, then watching the I-5 “Free”way being built in the 1960s, let me tell you that “There comes a time when we have to accept the way things are, make the best of it, work as hard as we can to improve it, and move on” is simply unacceptable.
      We can no longer accept two limited access, pollution spewing highways through the narrow throat of our city.
      We can no longer wait for “better transit” some time 2 or 3 decades from now whilst continuing to build highways.
      We can no longer make critical and essential transport decisions based on whether somebody driving in an SOV in peak hours in the peak direction might have a commute that is 5 minutes longer than it is now and ten minutes longer than it was 25 years ago.
      And finally, we can no longer pretend that the viaduct will last more than another couple of years, if that. It HAS been 311 years since the last “Big One” here, and there have been serious ‘quakes in the other 3 “corners” of the Pacific (Chile, NZ and now Japan) just in the last half year.
      Will designing and implementing a surface option be simple? Perhaps not, but the other alternatives (tunnel or viaduct re-build) simply do not merit the expense.
      One limited access highway through Seattle is more than enough.

    2. Z,

      Definitely–lets get going on this project! Its been ten years since the earthquake, and I know the various governments have been debating what to do about the viaduct since long before that. As someone else wrote earlier, we need to pick and choose our battles, and I would definitely prefer to focus on getting Sound Transit to build our light rail lines as fast as possible. The tunnel is going to be built, stop fighting it and focus on things that really do need our attention. Like making sure the ‘new’ waterfront is an exciting and viable place for people to visit and call home. Or, getting additional streetcar lines built within the city.

      1. If you want to get started on this project faster, particularly for safety’s sake, the correct solution is to tear down the viaduct now.

      2. I think the tunnel vs surface debate is one that needs to be let go, and our efforts more solidly focused on other pressing matters. First off, mitigation and immediate removal of the viaduct as a safety hazard. the investments made improving through traffic downtown helps both Transit and POVs, and will help even once the tunnel is complete and open. Secondly, pushing to quickly impment service on Rapid Ride “C”. Even if using existing buses, and without full build-out of the system, the line will be running, the rest can be added in later. Same goes for other transit investments in west seattle. Third of course support needs to be continued for LINK’s extensions, including the on to 200th st. Also and better intergration of transit with LINK, Compared to Portland we have a long way to come. For example, a Rapid Ride needs to be contructed linking the Airport/TIB/Southcenter/and Tukwilla Station. A freeway stop on I-5 over Southcenter Blvd in the HOV lanes would help that as well. Also some more tweaking and intergration of routes around LINK stations needs to be done (Like extending the 574, and even the “C” to TIB). Just stuff to think about. I think we are wasteing time, effort, and polticial capital on this ‘blog beating the dead horse that’s the viaduct. POVs are not going away, transit uses the roads too, so lets move on.

      3. While I certainly disagree with Z about letting go of opposition to the giga-money-wasting tunnel, as we are on the cusp of getting the legislature to figure out how to spend gas-tax money on transit infrastructure, I wholeheartedly agree that we can start implementing elements of BRT on the Lines C/D and E.

        I was riding the 358 a mere 30 blocks yesterday. Whoa! (as in, Whoa! for 5 minutes at every single stop! Mercy for the Devil!) The Line E can’t come soon enough. The most pressing need is for switching to POP and hiring some fare inspectors. I bet it would actually be a revenue-positive change, as the travel time reduction on the line would be more than enough to cover the cost of the fare inspection teams.

        How the ticketing will work on the C/D and E lines while the RFA is still in effect may get a little dicey. But Metro really needs to start looking at their most crush-loaded city routes and run the math on whether POP can be a revenue-positive alteration to those routes.

        Now, RapidRide isn’t part of the “Surface/Transit option” last I checked. But it is part of the transit plan for dealing with downtown congestion. I am tired of hearing tunnel boosters claim transit advocates have no plan for dealing with congestion, which is obviously not true at all.

      4. Now, RapidRide isn’t part of the “Surface/Transit option” last I checked.

        In fact, the S/T option included:
        * BAT lanes on Aurora from 85th to Aloha St.
        * Two new RapidRide line on Lake City Way and Delridge
        * A transit contra-flow lane on 1st Ave W for the D line
        * Increased service on B, C, and D

        and various non-RapidRide improvements, like the First Ave streetcar

    3. Ask the people of Boston whether “let’s get it done and over with” was the correct move with the Big Dig.

      Since it bankrupted the state government and the local transit system and left both unable to pursue major projects for 10-20 years, most people say “no”.

      The deep bore tunnel is an outrageously bad design which is ripe for Big Dig style cost inflation and problems. If this had been the shallow tunnel / seawall rebuild option, you might have a point. but it isn’t.

      1. Count me as one of those “no”s. From my perspective, the sole redeeming feature of the Big Dig was that it tore down the Central Artery that had isolated the North End from the rest of the city for decades. But that could have been done for a fraction of the cost of the Big Dig by simply tearing down the highway and replacing it with surface streets. In fact, the Central Artery has mostly been replaced by a spectacularly useless “linear park”, which separates and partitions the neighborhoods almost as effectively as the old highway did.

        Meanwhile, half of the transit “mitigation” projects were rejected (Arborway restoration, North-South Rail link), and half have been delayed (Red-Blue connector, Green Line extension). The only thing they finished was the Silver Line, half of which is barely better than RapidRide, and the other half of which is as good as BRT gets, but not much cheaper than rail would have been.

        Yeah. Not so good.

  16. tl;dr version of the comment thread:

    [citation needed] on a) how many trips through downtown won’t be taken with the surface option and b) how much slower the surface option will really be.

    Also, I know STB always endorses candidates based strictly on their transit positions, but you paint the surface option as a boon primarily for transit advocacy, not, you know, for the city itself.

    1. Where would they go?

      There’s no office space to speak of save for that thing by the steel mill.

      Alki is too valuable as housing, cafes and pizza parlors.

  17. Simplistic piece, Ben; light on the facts and disappointing. I’m still not quite sure why so many trips disappear with the surface option. This comes from a personal study you completed, or perhaps your imagination? And saying the Doctor is so angry about the tunnel he votes for a republican, give me a break!! This is on the same level as those Christians who say that same-sex marriage will lead to the break-up of heterosexual marriages. Was this written for 6th grade students?!

  18. Will this debate ever end? The only thing that’s certain in my mind is that I’ve heard varying stories about the committee’s findings. The fact is, however, a committee rigorously went over all of the possibilities, asked questions, weighed alternatives. They made their recommendation, it was approved, it’s now being carried out. Yet, the “Seattle way” is to prolong the debate and decision every time the political winds shift. No wonder the Link light rail is miles shorter, is regularly delayed on its slow surface option segment (and is slow and rocks back and forth like a boat) and horrendously more expensive as a result, instead of something like Vancouver’s Skytrain! Even so, some of the price tags in the viaduct options were missing key pieces. The deep-bored tunnel option allows for the viaduct to be open for all but a handful of months, and it lasts 100 years. The rebuild the viaduct option’s price tag, therefore, should have been doubled to account for it only lasting 50 years. That option, along with the surface option, should have had the added costs of 3-4 years without a viaduct on their price tags. For those who want to keep debating, run for office or sign up for the committees!

Comments are closed.