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Traffic is shown on Aurora Avenue North on Monday, Feb. 26, 2018, in Seattle. State Route 99 is an iconic roadway — a relic from Seattle’s early days when the city dreamed that free and easy travel by car would attract people to its center, and later, help them bypass congestion downtown.But what sped by was time. The road is better known today for its seedier side — prostitution, homelessness, discount stores and car dealerships.Seattle’s growth is bringing changes and tensions to the throughway some call Seattle’s “Mother Road.” We look at what it tells us about where we came from and where we’re going.

VIDEO: 'Aurora could be better than this'

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Aurora, formerly the Seattle Speedway, is a relic from the early days when the city dreamed that free and easy travel by car would open its boundaries and attract people to its center.

https://youtu.be/ulRxUNLVTRE

Motels and restaurants (remember Twin Teepees?) sprouted along either side, first to capitalize on the rise of cars in the late 30s, then again later to attract visitors from the World’s Fair. Its Viaduct helped drivers continue their speedy passage through – and past – downtown Seattle – by raising them above the city’s chronically congested working waterfront. But what sped by was time.

Aurora is better known today for its seedier side, its prostitution and homelessness, discount stores and car dealerships. Most people who drive it today give it little thought. Seattle’s growth is bringing changes and tensions to the throughway some call Seattle’s “Mother Road.”

KUOW’s Region of Boom team looks at what it tells us about where we came from and where we’re going.

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Year started with KUOW: 2017