In their Op-Ed, (“Greenlight the convention-center expansion project,” Opinion, April 17) Jeff Brotman, founder and executive chairman of Costco Wholesale, and Brad Smith, Microsoft’s president and chief legal officer, write the project “would help lay the foundation for continued economic health” in the region. But thinking more broadly about “foundations” raises another regional question other than project timing.
How might the design of the Washington State Convention Center expansion and its concrete and rebar foundation avoid backing Seattle and Sound Transit into a corner? After closure of the Convention Place Station (CPS) in 2021 can Seattle really handle on its surface streets all of those present and future buses scheduled to be displaced from current tunnel use?
Should the Washington State Convention Center expansion design — atop the CPS site bus access/egress lanes — feature an imaginative and compatible lower-level footprint? Might the foundation pilings be located to retain status quo flexibility toward possible future use by some Bus Rapid Transit, together with expanded Light Rail Transit? In a similar situation, any future widening of the bottlenecked I-5 lanes below ground was already foreclosed back in 1989 when the confining foundation pilings of the current Convention Center were poured in place.
The region needs a more fully integrated system of bus rapid transit, major north-south surface streets, and light rail transit operations through the two voter-approved tunnels in downtown Seattle. Timely design-level solutions to the Convention Center expansion at the current CPS site need not foreclose — again — possible regional transportation options.
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– Peter D. Beaulieu, Shoreline