That is the Alaskan Way Viaduct you're looking at in the picture, looking south to the Seahawk's football stadium and the Mariner's ballpark, both of which were built without booting anyone out of their home.
I have blogged about the Alaskan Way Viaduct previously while comparing the way things are done in Seattle with how stuff happens in Fort Worth.
When I make a comparison between Seattle and Fort Worth I invariably get a comment from the ubiquitous "Anonymous," a very thin-skinned Anonymous, saying "we get it, Seattle good, Fort Worth bad," not getting that what I'm actually doing is comparing 2 large cities with which I am very familiar, but which have very stark differences.
Both towns have large projects in the works. One absolutely needed, the other not. The needed one being the Alaskan Way Viaduct which needs to be replaced before it is torn down by an earthquake. The not needed project being Fort Worth's Trinity River Vision. That vision being destroying the confluence of the West and Clear Forks of the Trinity River to build a very little lake, an unneeded flood diversion channel and some wetlands restoration.
If I remember right the canals have been dropped from the Trinity River Vision along with the signature bridges, as the price tag nears $1 billion.
In Fort Worth this public works project was foisted on the public with very little input from the public.
Contrast that with what the Governor of Washington, Christine Gregoire said at the recent document signing ceremony that started the Viaduct replacement project, "We've had nearly 10 years of public meetings, town halls, interest group briefings, thousands of public comments. We have ended the debate, we have made the decision, we have selected the option that will forever change the face of downtown Seattle. This will make a huge difference in the face of the city. It is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. In six years we will able to stand on or near this spot and look across and be able to see the waters of Elliott Bay, you'll be reconnecting Pioneer Square with the water, downtown with the water, we'll have a great place for our public to come."
I've been following the debate about Viaduct solutions since shortly after I moved to Texas. I've always found the way issues get debated, in Washington, interesting to follow. The lack of any real debate, here in Fort Worth, with the public pretty much used to things being done the Fort Worth way, as in run like a Company Town, has been real interesting to me.
In the end, Seattle, Washington and King County decided on the $4.2 billion tunnel option. When the viaduct was built, 56 years ago, Seattle was not the tourist mecca it is now, no cruise ships docked in town, the waterfront was a working waterfront, not a tourist attraction. The Alaskan Way Viaduct has long been an eyesore, a real noisy eyesore. I'm thinking when this project is completed in 2015, or thereabouts, it is going to cause some major good things to happen on Seattle's waterfront.
So, that's how a Seattle public works project happens, it being a much more ambitious and expensive project than Fort Worth's little lake and flood diversion channel, that won't be finished, if it does get finished, til sometime a decade or more in the future.
In Seattle there is a lot of debate, a lot of arguing, a lot of input, and in the end, something good happens.
In Fort Worth the public is pretty much left out of it, there is no real debate.
And there really is no actual problem that is being solved, as in Fort Worth is already protected from bad flooding by huge levees that were built after a bad flood in the 1950s. Did Federal dollars help build those levees? Are Federal dollars being used to build the unneeded flood diversion channel that will, supposedly, replace the levees which are already doing their job, which were likely built with the help of taxpayer money?
If the Fort Worth and Tarrant County public got to have input there would likely be a consensus that no money should be spent on the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle until money is spent to fix the deadly flash flooding creeks of Haltom City.