Louisville Isn’t The Only City With Transit Woes

Tell me if this sounds familiar:

SEATTLE — Here in the capital of the Pacific Northwest, where commercial jets were born but now the mayor brags about biking to work, questions over commerce, climate change and community are converging on a couple of fateful miles of asphalt.

Is the Alaskan Way Viaduct overlooking Elliott Bay on the western edge of downtown just an elevated relic, another old road that needs to be replaced? Or is it something more, a symbol whose fate will help shape not only this city but the rest of urban — and New Urbanist — America?

“It’s not just a highway anymore,” Mayor Mike McGinn said. “It’s about the type of city we are and what are our priorities.”


Mr. McGinn, a former state chairman of the Sierra Club, centered his campaign on opposition to the tunnel. (At a time when greenhouse gas emissions threaten our very existence, he asked, why build something that encourages driving?) Never mind that the tunnel had, at long last, appeared to be a done deal. Mr. McGinn said that instead of a tunnel he wanted to replace the viaduct with a surface boulevard and new public transit options.

With polls tight in the final weeks before the general election, Mr. McGinn hedged, saying he would not necessarily stand in the tunnel’s way. Now that he is in office, he is back to fighting it.

What’s that? It sounds remarkably similar to what’s going on in Louisville these days?

Then click here to read the rest in the New York Times.

2 thoughts on “Louisville Isn’t The Only City With Transit Woes

  1. The difference is that Seattle never seriously considered rebuilding or expanding the elevated expressway. Unlike Louisville, Seattle’s leadership understands that the city cannot compete with infrastructure that is 50 years out of date.

  2. Those of of us fighting the economically suicidal downtown ORBP would not be fighting this epic boondoggle if Louisville’s downtown ORBP was a choice between a tunnel and a boulevard. Hell, we would be content with either a context sensitive at-grade I-64 or the status quo for the next 25 years. What we cannot accept is Louisville building a $250 million tunnel under a dozen wealthy families’ estates while the city’s image defining gateway is locked into being the only expanded elevated waterfront expressway for the next 100 years. This is truly the biggest urban planning mistake of the 21st century and it will lead to over 100 years of economic stagnation.

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