A proposal to upend the official city waterfront plan and preserve a chunk of the Alaskan Way Viaduct as an elevated park isn’t sitting well with former Seattle Mayor Charlie Royer.
“These are being treated like competing proposals in the media, and they are in no way competing proposals,” Royer told KUOW’s Ross Reynolds of the Park My Viaduct initiative.
The proposal is being described by the initiative’s leader, Kate Martin, as a "Green Lake Park on the waterfront."
“It would be one-mile long. You could go up there and take a perfectly level stroll with your friends and family, make a two-mile loop, get your exercise in and be totally inspired by that 360-degree view,” she said.
“Putting this elevated park there lets us have a car-free open space, creates six acres of land worth over $200 million right there that we create out of thin air for the future of Seattle.”
The problem is that there’s already a city plan for that area when the viaduct is torn down as part of the tunnel project. And the upstart viaduct park plan grates on Royer, who thinks it's "a little bit late to the party.
"We’ve talked about these ideas for five to eight years with hundreds of meetings and hundreds of people, Royer said. "Ours has been a very transparent, public involvement process.”
Royer complained about developer Martin Selig's role in paying for the initiative. The Puget Sound Business Journal has reported that Selig has since decided to end that funding.
Already, however, 20,000 people have signed the initiative petition.
“My big concern is that it will confuse people,” Royer said.
“It just seems to me that this is a scam.”
On Monday, the City Council was expected to start discussing when Seattle residents would vote on the Park My Viaduct initative. It could happen as early February 2016.