For the last couple of months, I’ve been putting my time and money where my mouth is, and volunteering for Protect Seattle Now, the campaign to stop the tunnel and build the I-5/Transit option that stakeholders and government agreed was the best solution for replacing the Viaduct.
As I’ve engaged with this group, I keep learning more that amazes me. Basically, through a stakeholder process and actual study, everyone had already come out in support of the I-5 improvements, street grid improvements, and transit investment option. The Downtown Seattle Association, the Governor, WSDOT, all have strong quotes on record supporting this option.
Then something changed. It’s hard to know what really happened. A backroom deal was made to switch to a tunnel – with lip service to transit, but of course no funding. There’s no transparency at all, no reasoning that holds up under any scrutiny.
This isn’t how we do things. The public process was flipped on its head. There’s no evidence for a tunnel – every new study (a new one from UW today) says it offers little benefit, and shows that the I-5/Transit option that was already the consensus is still best. Even the Port commissioners know this is a waste now.
Seattle has fought highways before, and won. We joke about the Seattle process, but it’s resulted in an incredibly livable city – one where we build transit, parks, schools, and libraries, not huge freeways. These are our values – talking things through and understanding them, then making an informed decision. The state is telling us it knows best – but we’re learning they’re wrong. So we fight, and they’re telling us they don’t want democracy, they don’t want us to have a say. That in itself is worth fighting.
We collected nearly 29,000 signatures in only a month. That is unprecedented for any city campaign. And we’d like to have a celebration to kick off the real campaign.
Please join me tomorrow night and toast the fact that we’re smart, we’re involved, and more than ever, we’re right to fight this – dare I say it? – boondoggle. Come learn about our legal fight, meet the campaign, even sign up to help out!
When: Wednesday, May 11, 7:00 to 10:00 pm
Where: Havana, at 1010 E Pike Street on Capitol Hill
I look forward to seeing you there!