Sunday, October 23, 2011

Goodbye Viaduct

This last Saturday, WSDOT opened up the viaduct for one last hurrah before shutting it down for the first part of demolition. Between the hours of 9:30 and 12:30, anyone could come down and walk up and on the viaduct and being a bit of a transit nut, I decided to go down and look at the structure from a new perspective (as well as claim my chunk of the viaduct). It was an appropriately wet Seattle day, but even with that over 3,000 people turned out to say goodbye.

The viaduct may be an ugly, 1950 concrete wall on the Seattle waterfront, but what everyone came out for is this: The view. On a nice day, driving on the viaduct is the best introduction you can give a person to Seattle. On the right, a close up of the city and on the left the ferries, Olympic mountains, and the Sound. In terms of a comprehensive, easy to access, and beautiful scenic drive this is about is good as you can get in the city itself.

After the break, more photos from the event, including the people, their goodbye notes, and the structure itself.

One thing that was clear about this event is that people were actually having fun. There was the first game of Frisbee on the viaduct, cartwheels, and lots of kids, dogs, and photographers. It would be great to be able to do stuff like this more often. Overall, the feel from the crowd here was acceptance that the viaduct was coming down, but there wasn't much love for the deep bore tunnel solution that is proposed to replace it.

Being up close was also a great opportunity to see the details of the structure and the concrete itself. There's a certain beauty in the aggregate they used, which looks like it would be more at home as a decorative patio.   The fifth photo here is actually my new background.

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