Saturday, October 3, 2009 What would Jane Jacobs do about the Viaduct?

Crosscut's Knute Berger has written an interesting essay that effectively states the urbanist conflict within the race for Mayor of Seattle, between Joe Mallahan and Mike McGinn.

Though I had not read Jane Jacobs, I think I understand her point of view. I will give her book, The Death and Life of Great American Cities (1961), a read. I will also read the book about her, Wrestling with Moses (2009), by Anthony Flint.

I have arrived at supporting the current tunnel solution as replacement for the viaduct in much the same way Seattle City Councilmember Tim Bergess did.
But Burgess worries that the surface option will be destructive at the street level, especially to the businesses that rely on Highway 99 and waterfront access. Both blue-collar industry and tourism would be heavily disrupted during the construction and street rewiring process. The fear of the damage that disruption could do is shared by many tunnel backers. That's partly how the deep-bore tunnel became the kind of have-our-cake-and-eat-it-too solution: We keep the cars and trucks rolling out of sight and underground, and still have a new, Viaductless waterfront to make pretty. Expensive, yes, but in the passing Greg Nickels era, it was often claimed that the money could be found. It's only a billion extra (if we're lucky).
Read the rest here, at, What would Jane Jacobs do about the Viaduct?

On another front, last Thursday the Seattle Times played host the mayoral candidates, Joe Mallahan and Mike McGinn.
There was, at one point, actual debate between the two opponents. That is a bit of a rarity, though both men appeared comfortable engaging in discussion that helped to contrast their views on solutions to the Alanan Way Viaduct.

When the questions turned to the political reality of McGinn's surface solution he did not really have a good argument. It appears that he is prepared to fight the Governor, the State Legislature, King County, and the majority of the Seattle City Council. If he could stop the tunnel project over the next couple years how would he get those people he just battled to support his surface solution. He said that leaders would do the "right" thing and get to work on the surface solution.
That just seams so unlikely, if he can stop the tunnel project there is no good reason for any of those other politicians to support his solution. We are talking about a State highway. The state will support a solution that supports its requirements.
It took eight years for a solution to be agreed to by all levels of government.
Here is a link to the video.
Joe Mallahan was successful at painting Mike McGinn as a fighter. Having a fighter as a mayor sounds great until you think about Greg Nickels reputation as a bully and his relationship with othe levels of Washington State government.
Fighting for and about everything is not leadership, according to Joe Mallahan. Mike McGinn did not effectively argue that was not his style or that fighting was the best method of leading change.
He accepted that he would be fighting and pretty much said that everybody else would just get over it. That is just stupid.
I support the active solution, and, I guess, Joe Mallahan.

Have a great day,
Mike Baker

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