Seattle Votes "No" on Tunnel, New Viaduct: Streets and Transit Only Option Left Standing

Learn More at CNU XV

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Seattle has been grappling with what to do with the Alaskan Way Viaduct ever since the 2001 Nisqually Earthquake left this elevated freeway severely damaged. Expensive proposals for a tunnel or replacement viaduct have dominated the discussion, but voters this month rejected both options in a non-binding ballot measure. A streets and transit alternative has been emerging as the most sustainable option, and the recent vote has politicians more seriously considering it.

As part of its Highways to Boulevards Initiative, CNU has been partnering with the Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT) to examine the value of freeway teardowns in reviving urban economies and repairing urban neighborhoods decimated by highway construction. In Seattle, CNU and CNT have supported the efforts of the People's Waterfront Coalition and funded a traffic study for the streets and transit option.

CNU XV attendees can learn more about the Highways to Boulevards debate at the following concurrent session on Friday, May 18:

Mr. DOT Secretary, Tear Down This Wall
While the economic benefits of removing urban freeways are well documented, the transportation benefits are still debated. Questions about what happens to the traffic can be an obstacle to revitalization. Experiences from San Francisco and Seoul, South Korea show that traffic is effectively distributed within the street grid. This session will review how Trenton, New Jersey was able to explain what happens with the traffic and dive deep into the current debate over what to do with the Alaskan Way Viaduct running between Seattle's downtown and Elliot Bay.

Visit for more information about CNU XV in Philadelphia, May 17-20.