I predicted a few months ago that the new sculpture park on the Seattle waterfront may be the next best urban space on the west coast. Maybe.
Olympic Sculpture Park
It’s due to open on January 20th – but the hype is underway. Here’s the latest from the New York Times, along with the picture above. Or this, in The Oregonian from Portland. And here’s Trevor Boddy’s review in the Seattle Times.
Hopefully the success of the park will persuade people that rebuilding the Alaskan way Viaduct, just to the south, would be a very bad idea if it foreclosed other opportunities like this. Seattle is worthy of so much better.
The Seattle Times picks up that point in its article:

… as civic leaders emphasize the importance of urban density to save the splendor of the surrounding countryside, they also recognize the need for parks and civic spaces downtown. As the Alaskan Way Viaduct debate heats up, some are hoping a walk in the Olympic Sculpture Park will open people’s minds to new possibilities for downtown.

“I think it will give people a sense of what we can accomplish on the rest of the waterfront if we take care,” said Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels. “I think people will see [the park] and they will want more … this will give them a flavor of what’s possible.”

Comments

  1. “Hopefully the success of the park will persuade people that rebuilding the Alaskan way Viaduct, just to the south, would be a very bad idea if it foreclosed other opportunities like this.”
    Gord,
    1. It’s unclear to me how the Viaduct forecloses (or would foreclose) improvements such as the Sculpture Park. In fact, I’d assert that it doesn’t. Consider the Sculpture Park itself. Moreover, NO efforts have ever been made to ‘civilize’ the current Viaduct.
    2. The Tunnel is a dead duck if only because there is no money for it as well as for the larger reason that there should not be enough money for a capital improvemenet which pours so much money into such a small area. If we have an extra $3-4 bilolion to spend on improvingh Seattle, there are many other more productive ways to spend it.
    3. Seattle is far far too split to make a decision; I personally will not tax myself for the Tunnel. The vast majority of middle-aged progressives who pay the taxes here will also demur and vote against a Tunnel. Period. The only practical and politically-palatable path is and will be a sideways piece-meal subrosa effort to _repair_ the current Viaduct and leave it to the next generation a few decades hence to reconsider that decision.

  2. Unsafe at any speed, the Viaduct is a crumbling remnant of bad city planning. What other city treats its waterfront as a drive-by feature to be enjoyed only by those habitating communities far removed from it??? Destined to be the first structure to topple in a major quake we must divest ourselves of sentiment and welcome a necessary application of modern seismic upgrading. If it was a building it would have been down already. And yes, bury it. Funnel bedroom community traffic the heck out of down town and connect Seattle proper to its greatest asset – the Sound.

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