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Tag: Evergreen Point bridge

May
6th

Five highways endangered by one Seattle mayor

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

Every so often you read about a 2- or 3-year-old who crawls behind the wheel while the engine’s running, drives off in Mom’s car and soon winds up in the ditch.

That’s looking like a painfully apt metaphor for Mike McGinn, the new mayor at the wheel of the City of Seattle.

When elected, McGinn – an environmental activist – had neither the experience nor the expertise needed to run a large city. Now it’s becoming clear he also lacks the temperament and political savvy.

That might not be such a big deal to most Washingtonians if the damage could be contained inside the 206 area code. But five major state and federal highways run through or around Seattle, and the mayor is displaying a petulant obstructionist streak that could threaten every one of them.

Since taking office in January, McGinn has been working to undo a settled multi-city agreement for replacing the Evergreen Point floating bridge, which carries state Route 520 across Lake Washington. Time is of the essence in getting that project moving. If the decaying bridge collapsed in a storm or earthquake, as engineers say it might, Interstates 90 and 405 would wind up paralyzed with traffic.

McGinn also opposes the hard-won deal to replace the earthquake-damaged Alaskan Way viaduct with a tunnel.

He has championed a surface boulevard that would cut the route’s existing capacity by perhaps 50,000 cars a day. In his utopian world, Earth-friendly mass transit would make up the difference. In the real world, that stretch of state Route 99 would become hell, and desperate commuters would jam downtown Seattle and Interstate 5.
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