The Secret Worldwide Transit Cabal

Informed but opinionated commentary and analysis on urban transportation topics from the Secret Worldwide Transit Cabal. Names have been omitted to protect the guilty.

Our Mission: Monkeywrench the Anti-Transit Forces

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?
Friday, December 13, 2002


"It is the unfortunate destiny of the ridiculous to be subject to ridicule."
James Howard Kunstler

"Truth passes through three phases: 1) It is ridiculed. 2) It is violently opposed. 3) It is accepted as self-evident." Albert Schopenhouer

From the Cabalmaster:


The Secret Worldwide Transti Cabal is pleased to bring you the following list of motorhead dreams and schemes -- er, "freeway plans and proposals." These have been file with the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) since the early 1950s. These plans, summarized by an FOC from WSDOT documents, cover nearly 150 miles of freeways beyond what has actually been built in Seattle, Tacoma, Bellevue and the surrounding suburbs.

Seattle / North King County:

--The Empire, aka R. H. Thomson, Expressway, extending north from the I-405/SR-167 interchange in Renton. This would follow Martin Luther King Jr. Way (formerly Empire Way) S through Seattle's Rainier Valley, Mt Baker and Madrona, then slice through Lake Washington Park to connect with SR-520 at the "ramps to nowhere." It was planned to continue north in a tunnel under Union Bay, skirt the University of Washington campus to the east, and continue north along 25th Ave NE to an interchange with the proposed Bothell Freeway (1.)

--a downtown connector for the above, extending along E Madison St to I-5.

--The Bay Freeway, extending from I-5 via Seattle Center to the Alaskan Way viauct, generally along Mercer and Broad streets. (2.)

--The Connecticut Street Viaduct, skirting downtown Seattle to the south between the Alaskan Way Viaduct and I-5. (3.)

--The Northwest Expressway, extending north from SR-99 at the north end of the Alaskan Way viauct. This would follow the Burlington Northern railroad alignment along Elliott Bay and through Interbay to the Ship Canal, swing northeast to 8th Ave NW, continue north to about NW 100th St, then continue east to Aurora Ave N.

--A new Lake Washington bridge from I-405 in Kirkland to Sand Point. It would join a northeast loop freeway, extending from Aurora Ave N along NW 100th St to Northgate, and continue along Victory Creek and Thornton Creek to Sand Point, where it would turn southeast along Sand Point Way and Union Bay to join the Thomson Expressway. Part of the route through Sand Point was proposed for construction on what is now the Burke-Gilman Trail. (4.)

--A Bothell (SR-522) freeway, extending from I-5 along Lake City Way and Bothell Way to Kenmore, and then through Bothell to the SR-522/I-405 interchange. Part of this route was proposed for construction on what is now the Burke-Gilman Trail; it was later revised to extend north through Lake Forest Park to Brier, then turning southeast to Kenmore and Bothell. (5.)

--The 50th Street Expressway, extending between the Thomson Expressway and Aurora Ave N along a depressed (open-cut) alignment parallel to N 50th St. (6.)

--The East Side Freeway, aka I-605, extending east from the Burien Freeway near Redondo, turning north near Berrydale to parallel SR-167 and I-405 to the east, through Bellevue, Redmond and Woodinville to SR-522. A later revision would have routed the freeway along the east shore of Lake Sammamish. (7.)

--The Petrovitsky Freeway, extending east and west, mideway between Renton and Kent, connecting I-5 and the East Side Freeway.

--A freeway from the SR-509/SR-99 interchange north of Highland Park, extending northwest to Seattle South Community College, then turning southwest to reach Fauntleroy and connect with a new Cross-Sound bridge. (8.)

Tacoma / South King County:

--Extension of I-705 out N 6th St in Tacoma to connect with SR-18.

--A new freeway in Tacoma, extending from I-5 north and west, along an alignment near Yakima Ave, turning north again near Union Ave to reach the shore.

--Completion of the SR-509 freeway between Sea-Tac and Tacoma, following the shore through Des Moines, Redondo, and Dash Point, then along Marine View Dr and E 11th St to downtown Tacoma. (9.)

--An SR-7 freeway from Tacoma south to Spanaway along Pacific Ave.

--Completion of the SR-167 freeway from Puyallup into Tacoma.

--An SR-161 freeway between South Federal Way and Puyallup. --A bypass east of Tacoma, between I-5/SR-167 and SR-512. --A west bypass, between SR-512/I-5 and SR-16 via Lakewood Center and Fircrest.

--A bypass south of downtown Tacoma following S 38th St westward from SR-7, swinging northwest to join SR-16 near Fircrest.

1--A bond issue was approved by Seattle voters in 1960 to finance the Thomson Expressway. But after a long and heated battle, the Seattle city council refused to approved any more money for studies in 1969. It was then dropped from Seattle's comprehensive plan, and voters rescinded the bond issue in 1972.

2--A tax increase for the Bay Freeway was approved by voters in 1960. But opposition mounted, eventually resulting in a court order requiring a second vote before the project could proceed. Voters decided against the project in 1972.

3--Although approved by the city council in 1963, the Connecticut Street Viaduct was not built due to lack of funds, and was deleted in the early 1970s.

4--The north Lake Washington bridge was studied from the mid-60s, but cancelled as the result of public outcries against "paving the lake" during the late 1960s.

5--The Bothell Freeway attracted strong opposition during the late 1960s, and had been deleted from long-range plans by 1973.

6--Cancelled due to strong opposition from community groups.

7--Recommended in a 1968 study, but opposed by community groups in Federal Way, Bellevue and east of Lake Sammamish, and eventually cancelled.

8--Cross sound bridges have been considered between Kingston and Edmonds, between West Point and Rolling Bay on Bainbridge Island, between Fauntleroy and Southworth via Vashon Island, and at other locations. The idea was seriously studied from the late 1940s, but did not proceed due to cost. Opposition on grounds of environmental and development impact by communities west of the sound did not develop until the late 1960s.

9--Plans for extension were strongly opposed by community groups in Federal Way and Des Moines. Plans to build through Federal Way were canceled in the late 1960s. Funds for the extension through Des Moines were budgeted in 1973, but the project was cancelled due to community opposition there.

Comments: Post a Comment