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Background

The Battery Street Tunnel was completed in 1952 and has serviced the City of Seattle for over 65 years as the primary connector between the iconic Alaskan Way Viaduct and Aurora Avenue North.  But, after years of debate (following the Nisqually quake), regarding the replacement of the Viaduct and years of wondering if Bertha would ever make it to the finish line, the Viaduct Replacement Tunnel is complete and the current plans are calling for the Battery Street Tunnel to be closed and filled with material from the demolished Alaskan Way Viaduct, beginning in 2019.

Which led us to ask one very simple yet critical and strangely overlooked question:

Why were we not working together to consider alternative solutions for the Battery Street Tunnel to better serve the City of Seattle for the next 65 years?

The fact remains that the future of the Battery Street Tunnel may still be open to consideration and with the support of local Seattle residents, Recharge the Battery will continue to demonstrate persuasive public interest and unified community support to explore alternative solutions for the Battery Street Tunnel to better serve the public interests of Seattle residents and the surrounding Belltown community.

 
 

Past

The Battery Street Tunnel was the City of Seattle Engineering Department's first venture into tunnel design. 

Completed in 1952, it was designed and built to minimize traffic disruption, reduce risk to neighboring buildings, and (at the time), it featured innovative health and safety features. 

Present

The Battery Street Tunnel serves as the primary connector between the Viaduct and Aurora Avenue to over 120,000 commuters a day and will remain operational until 2019.

The Tunnel is occasionally used for permitted running events and special Recharge the Battery events. 

 

future

The Battery Street Tunnel can become a defining urban icon for the City of Seattle and valuable public asset for the Belltown neighborhood and surrounding communities.

Advocacy and outreach efforts have inspired dozens of community inspired solutions, including The Ravine an award winning concept submitted by the Miller Hull Partnership.

 
 
 
 

Precedents

 

SEOUL:  CHEONGGYECHEON RIVER RESTORATION

The 6.8 mi stretch of modern public recreation space in downtown Seoul, South Korea is a massive urban renewal project. The site, once a river before the rapid post-war economic development, was covered by transportation infrastructure. By uncovering this ancient river, it has provided both environmental and economic benefits to the city. 

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DC: THE DUPONT UNDERGROUND

Abandoned tunnels below DC are being repurposed as art spaces.

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NEW YORK: MTA TRANSIT MUSEUM

Housed underground in an decommissioned 1936 subway station in Downtown Brooklyn, the Transit Museum’s working platform level spans a full city block, and is home to a rotating selection of twenty vintage subway and elevated cars dating back to 1907.

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SEATTLE UNDERGROUND

A portion of Seattle's streets were originally one story below where they are located today. Fragments of building facades, signs, and tunnels below the city remain and can be toured today. 

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NEW YORK: LOWLINE LAB

The Lowline is a plan to use innovative solar technology to illuminate an historic trolley terminal on the Lower East Side of New York City. The vision is a stunning underground park, providing a beautiful respite and a cultural attraction in one of the world’s most dense, exciting urban environments.

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PHILADELPHIA RAIL PARK

The Rail Park is a vision for a greenway that will revitalize three miles of unused rail lines into a usable, beautiful, public space for all. This park has been growing for years. And it’s about to burst into life.

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DEQUINDRE CUT

A portion of Seattle's streets were originally one story below where they are located today. Fragments of building facades, signs, and tunnels below the city remain and can be toured today. 

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NEW YORK: FREEDOM TUNNEL

A 3 mile train tunnel under Riverside Park commonly referred to as the "Freedom Tunnel" as a result of the graffiti artist Chris Pape's extensive work. The largely unenforced tunnel was a canvas for artists. 

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PARIS CATACOMBS

The ancient ossuary is one of the most well-traveled underground spaces in the world.

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Ready to help?

 
 
 
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