Dori and friends attempt a rescue in the Seattle snow
Snow blanketed the roads across the Puget Sound, but it didn’t stop the two biggest events of the day — the opening of the Seattle Tunnel and the airing of the Dori Monson Show on KIRO Radio.
In fact, Dori was very nearly a hero just before showtime, as he and his colleagues offered their services to save a King County Metro bus that was stranded on icy Eastlake Avenue, just outside the KIRO studios.
“Minutes before I went on the air today, we attempted a heroic rescue,” Dori said. “The four of us — [KIRO Radio’s] Chris Sullivan, [KIRO Radio’s] Todd Herman, [710 ESPN’s] Brock Huard, and I — were determined to go push a King County Metro bus that had been stuck outside the radio station for about four hours.”
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For legal reasons, the fearless four were stopped in their quest to get the bus moving again — perhaps for the best, they noted, since it could have been dangerous. Dori remarked how ironic it would have been if he had lost his life trying to help his nemesis, the local public transit system.
“That would be a fitting epitaph if there ever was one — ‘Dori Monson, on-time, on-budget, killed by mass transit,'” Sullivan laughed.
Tunnel grand opening
As a traffic reporter, Sullivan was out in the thick of it braving the dicey conditions to drive through the new State Route 99 Tunnel on the first day it was open for drivers. He joked that the cruise through the Seattle Tunnel was the “driest part of [his] drive.”
Sullivan complimented the tunnel, noting that it is well-marked, well-lit, has a good shoulder, provides on-foot exits for people in case of an emergency, and overall gives a driver a feeling of safety.
Once you get over the fact that it’s three years late and $100 million over budget, it’s a really nice facility,” Sullivan said.
Despite the fact that the three weeks between the closure of the Alaskan Way Viaduct and the new Seattle Tunnel — the period known as #Viadoom — displaced 90,000 commuters, roads remained relatively clear. Many people switched to public transit, rode bikes, carpooled, worked from home, or adjusted their schedules to work off-hours.
“If you found something that worked … pat yourself on the back if you did something different, and if you can keep doing it, do it,” Sullivan said, joking that he wants to know “where those 90,000 drivers went.”
Dori and Sullivan agreed that they wished every day could bring as smooth of sailing along King County streets as the three weeks of #Viadoom.
For Dori, it was validation of what he has long said — you don’t need the expensive projects proposed by politicians and Sound Transit to make a difference in the famous Puget Sound congestion.
“There are so many things we could have done for a fraction of the cost in terms of getting cars off the road, reducing gridlock,” Dori said.
As for those drivers who are on the road today, Sullivan said not to get too daring and go 45 miles per hour — but also not to be the person going 20. If you don’t feel safe going more than 20, then Sullivan urges you to stay home, as people going too slow can also be a danger on the road.