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The Viaduct


Erik Loomis makes a stalwart defense of Seattle’s Alaska Way Viaduct, recently named the Worst Freeway in America:

The road sucks in a lot of ways. A big earthquake would remind us all of the Bay Bridge in 1989. It is pretty unattractive. It reminds us of a time when the United States made an awful lot of mistakes in its cities, leading to the urban crisis of the 1960s-1980s. We all want to save historic structures. Shouldn’t we save some of our poor decisions too, especially when they define a city as much as the Viaduct? Despite its many problems, the road is a democratic structure and a monument to the role of the car in reshaping Seattle. For that alone, it should be saved.

Meh. It’s ugly, dangerous, and not terribly convenient. To the extent that we’re going to preserve structures for historical and aesthetic purposes, I’d prefer they not be ugly and dangerous. Not every city, after all, can be Detroit…

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