When a city has to choose between sustaining car culture and pursuing environmental goals, which wins?

That’s the question facing Seattle in the next several days as residents return ballots in an all-mail election over how to replace a dangerous waterfront viaduct freeway. The city enjoys a relatively green reputation (even local Toyota TV commercials tell us so). And the mayor has gained a national reputation talking about the need to curb climate change.

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Yet the ballot choice is between building a new, bigger viaduct freeway or a tunnel for up to six lanes of traffic. A cheaper package of improving transit and making city streets more efficient is a favorite of those who vote ‘no’ on both options.

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