Seattle Viaducts, a set on Flickr.
The Seattle Post Intelligencer this morning released the first images of what the waterfront could look like once this monstrosity has been taken down.
The fact that most of the currently abandoned Waterfront Streetcar remains intact and useable is a sign of hope. In fact, if this track were doubled and modern streetcars or light rail were used, the number of people that it could move would be double that of each level of the viaduct.
LRT ≥ 20,000 people per hour per direction
4 lanes of expressway = 9,000 pphpd (2,000 vehicle per lane per hour at average 1.25 occupancy).
The proposal of course does not include that. Indeed, the current idea is to build a tunnel to replace the viaduct. If you take a look at the Google satellite view below, it is clear that there is in fact a great deal of available space – but most of it is taken up now by roadways and parking. Vehicles are great space wasters. In San Francisco, along the Embarcadero, removing the freeway actually increased vehicle capacity – and the new F line streetcar tracks added even more people moving ability.
I am relieved to see that the Seattle idea is mainly about Waterfront open space. Unfortunately, the current example of the Lake Union waterfront (which does incorporate a street car) does not fill me with hope.
Corner, whose most recent, high-profile project is lower Manhattan’s popular High Line elevated park, said ultimately a successful, post-viaduct waterfront would have to accommodate many disparate groups.
so perhaps my fears are ungrounded.