Do you remember how noisy the waterfront was before the Viaduct was shut down? Wondering how much quieter it is now?
I made a recording standing outside the Aquarium around noon on Thursday, January 3. There is moderate traffic on the viaduct, and little surface traffic. I’ve actually stood on the waterfront when the Viaduct traffic was deafening (as I am sure have many of you); it wasn’t that bad on this day, but it was still loud enough that you would need to raise your voice to have a conversation with someone standing next to you.
And here is another recording, standing in approximately the same location, mid-afternoon today. The Viaduct is shut down, and again there is little surface traffic.
There’s still background noise from the city, but it’s definitely quieter. You can hear yourself think, as well as lots of other nearby noises: the crosswalk signal, and a car driving by. Carrying on a conversation would be easy.
A happy thought while you’re sitting in traffic.
(apologies for the background hiss on the recordings)
This morning, Mayor Durkan and key representatives from SDOT, Metro, and WSDOT delivered a press briefing on the preparations for closing the Alaskan Way Viaduct and moving traffic over to the new SR99 tunnel — and what is being done to ease the expected hellish commutes for the three weeks in between.
As expected, this morning the Council voted out of committee a bill that would make a major change to the 2015 ordinance authorizing Uber and Lyft drivers to organize for the purposes of collective bargaining.
In an attempt to get better transparency over the city’s large capital projects and provide early warning on those running behind schedule or over budget, the City Council worked with the executive branch to define a quarterly report that lists all the projects and provides additional detail on a handful that have been added to a “watch list.”
The second-quarter report is in; here’s what it says.
A lot more happened this week that I didn’t get around to writing about. And on Monday the Mayor will release her proposed 2019-2020 budget. So before everything else fades into obscurity, here’s some quick takes on all the other stuff.
In May, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals dealt the City of Seattle a setback in its defense of its ordinance granting Uber and Lyft drivers the right to collective bargaining. In June, the city petitioned the appeals court for an en banc rehearing of the case in front of the entire court.
This morning, the Select Committee on Civic Arenas made some minor technical amendments to the agreement with Oak View Group for the renovation, lease and operation of Key Arena, then passed it out of committee. Barring unforeseen circumstances, it will be approved by the full Council on September 24th.
This afternoon, the Mayor’s Office released a summary report by KPMG on its analysis of the Center City Streetcar project. While it is still working on an analysis of the impact of buying longer, heavier streetcars, there’s plenty of other bad news, and no timeline for a decision on whether to continue forward with the project.
This year the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has heard two challenges to the City of Seattle’s ordinance authorizing collective bargaining for Uber and Lyft drivers. One was filed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the other by a group of Uber and Lyft drivers. After back-to-back oral arguments in February, the appeals court ruled on the Chamber of Commerce case in May; it found that the ordinance was not exempt from the Sherman Antitrust Act. Today it handed down its ruling in the second case, affirming the district court’s dismissal of the case — a win for the city.