Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Most Important Part

The City and State are going to 'fix' the Spokane Street Viaduct.

The Spokane Street Viaduct has 80,000 cars, trucks and buses on it every day. In Technical Traffic Expert Talk that is 'a lot'. The elevated four lane roadway goes about a long mile (that is more TTET for 'a little bit more than a mile') and connects the West Seattle Bridge and the Interstate 5. There are several on-and-off ramps including an important connection to northbound Highway 99 (but sadly, no connection by ramp to southbound Highway 99). It is one busy highway that gets clogged at both ends as the Viaduct approaches Interstate 5.

And here is where it goes right off the rails into la-la land. While the City and State are going to 'fix the viaduct', they are planning to do nothing about the ramps at either end. The ramps are the problem! But because that would both cost more and be very difficult, the City and State are going to do nothing about that part of the problem.

In point of fact, the ramps are the problem. The Viaduct works OK; traffic gets through but it jams up at the ramps. (The Viaduct used to be the "Most Dangerous Mile in the State". Cars and trucks crossed the center line and collided with appalling regularity. There was no room for the usual concrete Jersey barrier. The State went out and found new better-designed concrete barriers that would fit and-- voila!--no more fatal accidents.)

This has the odor of 'doing something just to say that we are doing something'. Which would not be so bad if the cost wasn't over $150 million+.

What you need is someone with the guts to stand up and say, 'we'll do something when we have a plan that is going to actually solve the problem and then only when we have the money to do the job completely'. And voters that will respect that.

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