The McGinn Factor

19 01 2010

Seattle mayor Mike McGinn is asking the city council to put a $241 million property tax measure on the May 18 ballot to replace the Seattle seawall faster than currently planned.

At a press conference Thursday morning, McGinn says the current plan to replace the seawall in six-to-nine years isn’t good enough, because an earthquake could compromise the wall and destroy the Alaskan Way Viaduct. He wants it done in four years.

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“The new seawall/ shoreline system is the spine of the new waterfront. Its design determines how people will access the water, or not, and represent Seattle’s stewardship commitment to Puget Sound. We have a brilliant, 100 year opportunity to do this right, setting a new standard for all the urbanized (-ing) areas along Puget Sound, and showing what an ecologically functional, people and fish friendly water’s edge could be. To design such an innovative solution takes time, the integration of technical intelligence from several fields, and considerable creativity. To shortcut this, and stick with the prior design that pours millions of tons of concrete in the intertidal zone because we don’t have time to identify a smarter solution — where is the logic in that?
The new seawall should be designed as part of the larger vision for the 25 acres of waterfront public land. We have the chance to do lower impact edge, functional beaches in three areas that integrate with new upland public spaces, and create a continuous salmon migration corridor. Committing to a 1950’s solution — a vertical, hard-armored concrete wall — may be exactly the opposite of what future Seattle needs.” – Cary Moon, People’s Waterfront Coalition

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