Interbay schemes

Here is a quick summation of last week's Queen Anne News front page: There are big cost increases for "solving" or rescuing the crumbling Magnolia Bridge; a citizen activist, John Kane, plans to run for a Port Commission slot being vacated by Paige Miller, who will run for the Seattle City Council; and the Port of Seattle spends a huge chunk of taxpayers' dollars to buy the 3.4-acre South Tsubota Steel site on 15th Avenue West, with no firm plans for its development.

It seems to me that Queen Anne and Magnolia will need to come together as concerned and thoughtful communities deeply involved in future Interbay development. They did this very successfully years ago when they blocked the Port's plan to make terminals 90 and 91 into huge container-ship terminals. Do we have the will and the leadership now?

During the process of deciding the alignment of a new Magnolia Bridge, were there any discussions of or studies for a route that could follow the east-facing Magnolia Bluff contours? I understand that the soils on the bluff have their own liquefaction issues. However, a switchback approach, using some of the now-vacant Port land, would create much lower elevated structures that would require much less engineering and therefore less $$$$$$$. Will the Port only let SDOT go over "their" land rather than through it? After all, the Port of Seattle relies on our tax dollars to support their operations, so is it "their" land?

The Port has submitted to the Seattle City Council an amendment to the city's adopted Comprehensive Plan. This amendment would allow residential and retail development in an area that the plan identified as only maritime and light industrial development. During the long and arduous processes of making the final and accepted plan, it was determined that manufacturing and other light industrial uses were an important part of the fabric of a viable and dynamic city. It has been shown that when that complex fabric begins to significantly lose its inherent complexity, more expensive and riskier solutions have to be developed. When all the affordable housing was removed from Seattle's downtown core, new programs had to be developed to draw people to use downtown. Today, the streets look quite empty on weekends and during weekday evening hours. The art projects with pigs and carousel ornaments, and the taxpayers' dollars for a parking garage, have not brought back the vibrancy that was there when the downtown core had affordable housing.

Can - should - Magnolia and Queen Anne learn from these lessons?

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