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Why would Seattle remove a perfectly good shortcut?

Battery Street in Seattle. (Feliks Banel)

I finally saw in The Seattle Times a great idea for what to do with Seattle’s old Battery Street Tunnel after it’s replaced by the Big Bertha Tunnel.

RELATED: Plenty of dopey ideas for Battery Street Tunnel

Keep it as a road!

After the Times again asked for ideas for Battery Street, Jeff Roberts wrote in saying, “I understand the tunnel is old and not up to current safety standards for a highway, but could the tunnel be used as a 30 mph city street with a single lane in each direction?”

Exactly right!

What we have here is that rarest of all transportation innovations: a shortcut. An old and dirty but perfectly good shortcut that connects two places that people want to go — the waterfront and Seattle Center.

Several people actually said it ought to be turned into the world’s largest underground homeless camp. Really? How can you seriously argue that the best thing for the homeless is to entomb them?

It was built as a street. Keep it as a street. There’s room for a nice, wide lane in each direction plus a protected bike lane which could connect to Dexter and on to South Lake Union and Seattle Center.

And then, contract with local artists to paint the world’s largest underground mural depicting Seattle’s history and representing the contributions of every race, ethnicity, class, and gender to Seattle’s history.

RELATED: Tunnel timeline adjusted again

But I guarantee you, if the Seattle Department of Transportation ignores this idea and fills it in, 20 years from now, I’ll be doing our Wednesday history feature with Feliks Banel and we’ll be here, with our wheel chairs and oxygen tubes, talking about the gridlock downtown and how difficult it is to cross the street outside our assisted living centers and shaking our walking sticks at City Hall screaming, “what moron thought it was a good idea back in 2018 to fill in a perfectly good shortcut”?

At which point the City Council will approve 2 billion Bitcoins to dig a new one, which will be three years late, and 1 billion Bitcoins over budget.

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