The Seattle Waterfront Project

Last month the New York Times (August 21, 2011, By JOHN HARWOOD) summarized the views of business economists about how to stimulate the stalled economy:

While waiting for education investments to pay off, however, Mr. Gross says the government should finance immediate job creation to shore up the third structural weakness: America’s fraying infrastructure. Updating roads, bridges and airports would provide an engine for reducing unemployment faster.

“You’ve got to create a demand for labor,” Mr. Gross said. “The private sector is not going to do it.” Even if the government must do it directly, he said, “Putting a shovel in the hands of somebody can be productive.”

The idea of using the Great Recession as a catalyst, a seed that can give us long term productivity seems to me to be a great cause progressives and TRUE fiscal conservatives can share.  Short term?  Yes!  BUT, there are short term investments that build opportunities for future growth. Here is a LOCAL issue.

The Seattle Waterfront Project

Now that all the hand wringing is over, Seattle IS going to get a tunnel, Seattle has an amazing opportunity to create a city that could be a great center for the Pacific Rim Century.

The finally-to-be  tunnel will accomplish three things:

1. jobs now.
2. support for N-S commercial traffic through Seattle that does not disrupt the surface travel.
(too bad we are nbot also burying the train!).
Great BUT  Seattle STILL has no real plans on how to fix traffic in and out of the city.  The best route?  I believe we need to develop Elliot Ave as an esplanade from Ballard to SODO!  This would be a great cause for progressives and real fiscal conservatives to get behind!

First, we need to address the issues left unsolved by Mayor McGinn’s Quixotic campaign:

1. Where is the money?  This is going to costs a lot!
2. How much of this is to be public transit (and if so where is the money?)
3. Who makes the profit .. all of a sudden a LOT of property is going to zoom in value.
4. How do we protect the waterfront from becoming as ugly as Paul Allen’s SLU?

My proposal:
1. Make a cause out of creating a great, new city along the waterfront, dedicate it to the memory  of Chiefs Seattle and Leschi.
2. Build real mass transit along 15th and Elliot … connecting to buss tunnel, light rail and SODO.
3. FINALLY create a Chief Seattle Park worthy of this amazing man and honoring him, chief Leschi, and the Europeans who founded this amazing city.  The Waterfront should have places for coastal people to mingle with not only the rest of America but to represent this great heritage to the world. Perhaps the Burke Museum could move to the waterfront?
4. Use strict zoning laws to prevent SWP from turning into Miami or SLU.  Create a LID so that real estate property values pay their own way!
5. Work with the port to make the Seattle Waterfront a great terminus for cruise ships … not just an overnight way point on the way to Alaska.
6. Link the Waterfront to Mercer, I5, and I99 south of Seattle.
7. Make the Waterfront (which is FLAT) bike friendly).
8. Seek partnerships with industry that can create magent businbesses of the sort that we want on the waterfront,m perhaps a world trade center?  Microsoft?,  a megayacht marina?

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