What do we do with the waterfront after the viaduct is gone?
The closure of the viaduct starts tomorrow and we’re all been bracing for a traffic nightmare.
There’s very little we can do about that, except practice our escape routes for one more day. Funny thing, I haven’t heard much talk about what happens next. It’s pretty exciting if you ask me.
Have you heard anything about LID? That’s the government acronym for Local Improvement District. I know, they could use a little help in the marketing department, but I digress.
Once we all get used to driving our cars underground, paying the new tolls, and the demolition has concluded upstairs, we will be left with a giant opportunity. That’s where LID comes in.
It’s the new open spaces between the stadium district all the way up to where the new Bertha tunnel exits by Mercer.
It asks, what should be done with the waterfront of Seattle?
Hand it over to big business? Turn it into a homeless camp? Sell the land to the highest bidder?
Thankfully: No, no, and no. If we play our cards right, we can do much better.
Therein lies the rub. Because politicians and special interests are about to shift things into high gear.
I for one, think the Seattle waterfront is one of the most beautiful ones in the world. Just hop on a ferry boat from Bainbridge Island at night and marvel at this jewel of city as you approach.
It really is something special.
And as a community, we have a chance to make it even better. No offense to all the folks waxing poetic about the viaduct, but it’s a really ugly structure.
Right now, the first hurdle comes in the form of taxes: Who pays and how much. That’s going to be somewhat of a protracted battle.
If the tax burden situation can be figured out, the plans are to build a new waterfront park and promenade. There will also be a new walking path to Pike Place Market.
Yes, we’re all going to feel some temporary pain this next month, but keep your eyes on the prize. In the coming years, a new waterfront will emerge that has the potential to be a giant game changer for the city.
After Viadoom, get ready for lots of LID talk.