I’ve had a number of people asking me “who are you voting for in the mayor’s race” (in Seattle). For me (and many others), the biggest thing has been the tunnel and where the candidates fall on that issue.
Then – the other day, while at Starbucks, I ran into Tim Burgess – one of the Seattle City Council members and asked him about the tunnel and the mayoral candidates. He helped me understand two key things that will help allay concerns about the tunnel and decouple the decision about candidates from one’s thought/concern about the tunnel. Here’s why:
- The tunnel – I’ve been hearing competing commentaries on it from – “it’s great” to “it’s a mess” and that, between the tunnel and the change in traffic flow along Mercer and the other streets down in South Lake Union – that we’re going to be in a world of hurt. What I learned is that, in every vote on the tunnel, the council has been 8:1 in favor of the plans, that the plan is sound, that various concerns about variances, where it lets out, and carbon emissions build up are not an issue. These sites have more info that can help. One of the valid critiques, though, is that it’s going to be obsolete in terms of capacity by the time it goes live. Rather than 2 lanes, it should be planned for 4 lanes.
- Commentary from Seattle City Councilman, Tim Burgess, on the viaduct
- Video simulations of the tunnel
2. The candidates & the tunnel: Tim shared with me that, in the next couple of weeks, they are going to be passing legislation with the governor that will make it virtually impossible for the Mayor to reneg on the tunnel plan. Thus – they could say what they want – and that will provide an indicator of their prowess, but they don’t have input into the actual result. In other words, their positions on the tunnel don’t matter much – other than their ability to manage the process well.