Seattle Waterfront – The Players

22 10 2009

The development of the Seattle Waterfront is engrained in a deeply political process. There are a number of local organizations, government-run and otherwise, that have power in the decision-making process. I seek to define these ‘players’ and how their input will affect the development of the Alaskan Way Viaduct and Seawall Replacement.

SDOT – Seattle Department of Transportation

In May 2007, the Seattle City Council requested the Seattle Department of Transportation develop an Urban Mobility Plan as a solution for replacing the Alaskan Way Viaduct. The Urban Mobility Plan will use a systems approach, including enhanced transit service, surface street and highway improvements and other transportation programs and policies. It will focus on the movement of people and goods to and through Downtown, rather than maintaining vehicle capacity of the existing SR99 corridor. Mayor Greg Nickels, Governor Gregoire and King County Executive Sims announced their recommendation that a bored tunnel, along with improvements to transit, city surface streets and the city’s waterfront, replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct along the central waterfront.

The Alaskan Way Viaduct plays a major role in sustaining our economy and maintaining our citizens’ ability to travel to and through Seattle. However, the viaduct, along with the seawall, is at risk of failure from earthquakes (with unacceptable risk to lives as well as property) and irreversible loss of use from age and deterioration. The structure must be replaced. SDOT continues to monitor and inspect the viaduct as they move forward with its replacement.

SDOT Partners:
This program is led by the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) in partnership with the Federal Highway Administration, King County, and the City of Seattle.

Project Benefits:

  • Safety. SDOT will create safe, seismically sound replacement structures for the viaduct and seawall.
  • Traffic. Improvements to SR 99, city streets and transit would provide capacity in the transportation system for today and the future and improve access and mobility to and through downtown Seattle.

See WSDOT project info HERE


Seattle City Council

The Seattle City Council is expected to vote on a memorandum of agreement with the state that outlines the city’s commitment to just under $800 million in construction related to the Alaskan Way Viaduct tunnel replacement.

The agreement is seen as a step to show the $4.2 billion tunnel project is moving forward, no matter who is Seattle’s next mayor. Seattle’s contributions would include street improvements, utility work and replacement of the central seawall, and would be in addition to the $2.4 billion that the state has agreed to spend to build the tunnel. News Link


DPD – Department of Planning and Development

Seattle City Government has formed a Waterfront Ecology Team (WET), comprised of six city departments who have specific and collective interests in the evolution of Seattle’s waterfront as new infrastructure, civic, transportation and environmental needs are met. This group is coordinating research on ecologically functional and practical treatments for Seattle’s urban waterfront. One of the key studies the WET has begun is a partnering with the University of Washington’s School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences to study a series of panels on the existing Alaskan Way seawall. Jeff Cordell, Principal Research Scientist, has been biologically monitoring a series of troughs attached to the vertical concrete wall to test which slopes and textures produce the most plant growth.


Keep updated as I add more players!






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