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Sketched Aug. 29, 2018

Waterfront pedicabber Tristan Johnson was taking a phone call before tourists came by and requested a ride to Pike Place Market. His pedicab is electric, so he returned to this spot near Pier 56 in no time, giving me another chance to to add detail to my drawing.

This scene of summer along the downtown waterfront is never going to look the same again.

Come next year, there won’t be a big elevated freeway in the background. The Alaskan Way Viaduct is really supposed to be gone. Its demolition is scheduled to begin as early as January.

Once the dust settles, the memory of the viaduct will start to fade, too. That’s why I came down earlier this week to start drawing the many viewpoints I’d like to remember.


Seattle Times news artist Gabriel Campanario has been capturing Seattle's places and people in hand-drawn sketches for more than a decade. To see past columns, visit the Seattle Sketcher home page. Prints, notecards and a book of Campanario’s sketches are available for sale through The Seattle Times store. You may also fill out an illustration request to order a specific image.

Johnson said the viaduct’s traffic noise makes for a loud and obnoxious soundtrack. But he likes it from an aesthetic point of view. He said “everything in Seattle now is soft and pretty” while the viaduct is “hard core.”

I’ve long considered the viaduct a major obstruction in what has the potential to be a fantastic public space. But I have to agree about the aesthetic. Sketching along the waterfront may never be as interesting as it is now.