New York's High Line project, at W. 26th Street. James Munger photo.
The only good argument that's been made for keeping the Alaskan Way Viaduct has been the waterfront and city skyline views that northbound motorists (used to) get from the top deck. Never mind that the damn thing was unsafe as hell, never mind that it cut off Pioneer Square from the actual water, never mind that it gave trucks from Harbor Island a quick route to Ballard and points north. No, the best part of the Viaduct was scenic.
An occasional voice might be raised calling for some sort of preservation, to spare a block or so of that old upper deck from demolition. You could reach the top by stairs or escalator or elevator from the street below, with perhaps some amenities when you got there: a hot dog cart, an espresso stand. We could turn the management over to the guy who built the ferris wheel.
Well, lo and behold, the Seattle Times this weekend shows us how it can be done. Or how it's being done in Noo Yawk at least. The High Line's "Viewing Spur."
The good news: James Corner Field Operations, the design team that's planning the new (post-Viaduct) Seattle waterfront, they're the same folks who did the High Line.