Sightline’s Clark Williams-Derry has a terrific post on the astounding decline in traffic on the Alaskan Way Viaduct since Seattle’s Big Dig II began. Trip volumes are down 40% in just 3 years! Clark analyzes the remarkable trend and concludes:
At this point, nobody knows if [tunnel-boring machine] Bertha will ever get moving again, let alone complete her job. But given these figures, maybe it doesn’t matter. Seattle has seamlessly adapted to losing the first 48,000 trips on the Viaduct. No one even noticed. No one even noticed that 40 percent of the Viaduct’s traffic just disappeared! Could accommodating the loss of another 62,000 be that hard if we, I don’t know, tried even a little?
Every day it seems clearer: if we can stop the momentum of expanding-fossil-fuel-infrastructure-as-usual, we can figure out better ways to make energy and better ways to get our butts from point A to point B (and maybe make point A so awesome that our butts will be happier there.)
Of course, none of this is painless or automatic. Car trips on the viaduct are down in part because of long-term investment in transit and increased congestion in spots. Some... Read more