Archive for December, 2008

New Fire Surpression Systems to Make Tunnels Safe for Flamable Trucks

Wednesday, December 31st, 2008

One of the issues concerning proponents for replacing the Alaskan Way Viaduct with another elevated structure is the ability to move flammable cargos to Ballard. Some fear that tunnel options will cut off Ballard from critical fuel supplies and pose public safety threats if fuel trucks are forced to use surface streets through downtown. Many assume that new tunnel options would restrict flammable cargo from being transited through them. (more…)

SoDo Expressway to Ease Bellevue-West Seattle-Burien Commute on I-5 Along Tube Route

Wednesday, December 31st, 2008

The Sodo Expressway, part of a bold new through-city traffic revision proposal envisioned by Citizens for Seattle Tube, is an elevated roadway over 6th Avenue South through the SoDo district that connects the south entrance of the “Tube” to 1st Avenue South. This new 4-lane expressway would have interchanges at I-90 and Spokane Street to allow easier traffic flow to and from Bellevue for West Seattle and Burien commuters. Aside from carrying traffic bound for the north side of town, the key advantage of the Sodo Expressway is that East-side commuters could avoid the I-5 morning bottle neck coming into town and the I-90 to I-5 ramp congestion on the return. (more…)

Gregoire Puts Off Finnal Decision for More Input

Tuesday, December 30th, 2008

It seems that in the waning hours of the Governor’s promised decision deadline, alternative viaduct replacement proponents have won a reprieve according to a Seattle Times article published today. The viaduct replacement decison dealine is now set at January 12th prior to the next legislative session to give transportation advisors time to study alternative options.

Governor to Make Viaduct Decision on Thursday

Monday, December 29th, 2008

A Seattle Times article today reported that Governor Chris Gregoire is expected to make a final decision on the Alaskan Way Viaduct issue by this Thursday. Will she cave into special interest groups who want to build the replacement viaduct the voters rejected in March of 2007? or will she play it safe and go with the surface street option knowing that a bored tunnel solution is bound to emerge? As we all know, nothing in Seattle is ever final until the concrete dries. Either way, Seattle Tube plans to develop public awareness and foster support for the only sensible solution that will ensure Seattle’s vitality and intrinsic value for decades to come.

Tunnel Boring Experts Aid Seattle Tube

Monday, December 29th, 2008

The Robbins Company located here in Kent Washington is the worlds leading suppliers of TBM’s (Tunnel Borring Machines). Their equipment has been used on hundreds of tunnel boring projects around the globe including the famed “Chunnel“, a 50 kilometer long train tunnel under the English Channel. As the first company to successfully commercialize tunnel boring equipment in the 1950’s, the engineers at The Robbins Company are very familiar with what it takes to cost efficiently build tunnels. Their experience with Seattle’s downtown transit tunnel gives them in-depth knowledge of the substrates along the proposed Seattle Tube route under 6th and 7th avenues. (more…)

Grace Architects Joins Seattle Tube

Monday, December 29th, 2008

Grace Architects of Seattle is conducting research and site surveys for a conceptual uptown bored tunnel route under 6th and 7th Avenues as well as identifying city right of way issues down 6th Ave South for an elevated express way spanning the east edge of the SoDo district.

Principal Ralph Allen became enthused about Seattle Tube after hearing about it on KIRO’s Dori Monson Radio Show on Dec 16th. Grace Architects PLLC is a multi-specialty design firm focused on commercial mixed-use buildings, office planning, envelope remediation, and residential architecture. They are located at Pike Place Market in the heart of Seattle’s West Edge neighborhood–seated front and center to the upcoming changes along the waterfront. (more…)

SEATTLE TUBE PROPOSES UPTOWN TUNNEL OPTION TO REPLACE THE VIADUCT

Monday, December 29th, 2008

Seattle Tube Plan
(Click Image to Download and print a PDF)

Citizens for Seattle Tube is a grass roots organization promoting an innovative traffic strategy to maintain critical commerce links and improve Seattle’s vitality through the construction of an uptown tunnel.  For the last decade, City of Seattle and Washington State Department of Transportation officials have struggled with creating a viable strategy for replacing the aging Alaska Way Viaduct spanning nearly two miles of the city’s waterfront.  The six lane structure built in the 1950’s carries up to 110,000 cars, trucks and busses on a daily basis.  Carrying one quarter of the traffic through the Seattle corridor, the viaduct is a critical link between neighborhoods and business districts north and south of downtown.  Without this non-stop expressway, many argue that transportation engineers could produce the traffic jam equivalent of the perfect storm–ultimately leading to a “Berlin Wall effect”. (more…)

Waterfront Bored Tunnel Option Presented to WSDOT

Saturday, December 27th, 2008

A Stakeholder Advisory Committee meeting held at WSDOT on December 16th presented detailed information on a bored tunnel option. The briefing outlines details of a bored tunnel concept to be routed under the waterfront–connecting the north end of the Battery Street Tunnel to somewhere in the south region of the existing viaduct. (See pdf:Bored Tunnel Briefing – December 16, 2008)

Tunnel advocates will applaud the efforts of the Stakeholder Advisory Committee to bring a bored tunnel option to the table. However, some grave concerns about the viability and functionality are bound to exist due to the location, variable substrates along the waterfront and steep elevation gradients of the proposed bore. Enough so, that it may cloud the efforts to push for a more sensible uptown location of a bored tunnel. (more…)

Conflicting Studies on Economic Impact of Viaduct Closure

Saturday, December 27th, 2008

A Seattle Times article on Dec 5th indicates discrepancies in study results to determine economic impact due to changes in the SR99 route. A recent study by Eco Northwest indicated minimal impact on the region, while a two year old study by Herbert Research concluded by noting severe job and commerce losses if an effective SR99 corridor ceased to exist. The Seattle Times article also illustrates that non of the options studied by WSDOT achieve goals to make Seattle a better city for pedestrians–especially along the waterfront. It is a short, but interesting read.

Tunnel Talk

Friday, December 26th, 2008

Things are looking up for a bored tunnel option for the Alaska Way Viaduct replacement. Although Washington State Department of Transportation says it is down to two options (elevated waterfront expressway or new surface streets) there seems to be a lot of discussion occurring in recent weeks about a bored tunnel alternative. At least how to fund it anyway. In an article published by the West Seattle Herald today, a twin bored tunnel option is mentioned. The article is an interesting read for tunnel proponents. However, I made the following comments on the article: (more…)