Writes Seattle Times columnist Joni Balter:
"He [Mayor McGinn] favors the surface-transit option, a euphemism for gridlock from south of downtown to the north end of the city."
Yes, there it is again, the lie that won't die, the rampant, righteous belief among armchair transportation authorities like Balter that the I-5-Surface-Transit alternative to replace the Alaskan Way viaduct would gridlock the city.
Because you see, all those professional transportation planners and engineers who work for the city of Seattle and King County and the state of Washington must have been smoking crack when they unanimously chose the I-5-Surface-Transit alternative as one of the two preferred solutions.
And same goes for all those hippy-dippy transportation consultants at Nelson Nygaard who, though they may have written a comprehensive report documenting how a holistic, distributed, surface-only solution could work for Seattle, probably spent half of their $500,000 fee on San Francisco crack that no doubt came in handy for persuading Seattle officials.
No, all those crack-ravaged brains just couldn't see the obvious truth that Balter and so many others know instinctively, because, you know, all those "quiet, average citizens" that Balter exalts just have a sixth sense for this sort of thing, so-called "experts" be damned. It will be gridlock---my dad said so.
The truth is that the tunnel will have little impact either way on the long-term fate of traffic congestion in Seattle, due to a combination of induced demand and the City's projected population growth, as I discussed in this post. The one effect we do know it will have, however, is to enable more driving at the expense of other transportation modes.
Balter also derides McGinn for "doing everything possible to block" the tunnel. Really? The only significant action he's taken is to push back on the cost overrun provision. But wait, in the next paragraph Balter praises McGinn for that very position, writing, "McGinn does get credit for forcing the issue on cost overruns and he is right..."
There's so much more disjointed flab in Balter's piece I don't have the energy to address it all, except for her final point about how we should be the build the tunnel because "it stops the dithering." Um, exactly who is dithering? All the tunnel opponents I know have been totally consistent in their belief that the deep-bore tunnel is a massively irresponsible misallocation of resources given the dual threats of climate change and peak oil.
But by all means yes, let's stop thinking, let's stop applying open minds to the looming reality that the world is rapidly evolving in unprecedented ways that might require us to alter our paths from the status quo.
Yes, let's please stop all the dithering so we can get on with running this train over the cliff.