Viadoom Impacts Student Commutes

Milo Pepper, Staff Writer

For many, driving is simply a way to get from one place to another, so people in a hurry do not usually take the time to appreciate the scenery or the convenience of their route.

However, over fifty thousand Seattle residents and dozens of Seattle Prep students were forced to drastically alter their routine due to the closure of the Alaskan Way Viaduct on January 11th. This caused major traffic congestion along interstate 5 and highway 99, requiring Prep students to get extra creative and their drastically alter their routes to school.

“They did West Seattle people dirty!”, said Meredith Lamb 20’. “The closure impacted my commute significantly, because my carpool had to leave thirty-five minutes earlier than normal.” Not only did many have to leave earlier than usual to get to school, students had to find alternate routes as well. “With the major setback, my carpool had to get crafty and find different shortcuts to school that I would never have thought to look for in the first place.”

Many other students were affected by the closure outside of school- those commuting to sports practice and recitals to even driving to a friend’s house. “I used the Viaduct to get to frisbee practice”, said Jordan Friedland 20’. “It was much more convenient for me, because I now have to exit the new tunnel at early and turn onto the side roads which are also clogged with traffic.”

The new tunnel that has replaced the viaduct not only has one less lane, but also has no direct exits to Downtown Seattle. “I’m mainly frustrated that the new tunnel requires a toll”, complained Grear Boyd 20’. “Seeing as how much I drove on the Viaduct before, I will have to spend a lot of extra money to keep driving the way I used to.”

The Viaduct was not just an easy way to get around town, but also, an icon to the residents and city of Seattle. “I was really sad about the Viaduct coming down because I felt like it was a symbol of Seattle”, said Lamb. “It held the quintessential Seattle view of the waterfront. Each trip across the Viaduct was memorable.”

Seattleites had a special connection with the Viaduct, and on the night of the official road closure, hundreds of people flocked to the symbolic landmark to get one last view from the top. “I drove on the Viaduct the night it closed and also walked around to take in that special view one last time” recalled Lamb. “My friends and I even saw people with hammers trying to take pieces of the actual structure home”, recalled Lamb.

People do not realize what they have until it is finally gone; with the demolition of the viaduct, many feel the same way. “I never knew how much I would miss a road”, said Boyd. “I just hope people can enjoy the new park on the waterfront as much as I appreciated the Viaduct.”