Thursday, February 22, 2007

The Viaduct, the Sonics, NASCAR

Please indulge me as I rant about three hot local topics, bearing in mind that none of this is based on economics or politics so much as simple aesthetics...

The Alaskan Way Viaduct. I’m gonna miss that killer elevated view you get when driving northbound through downtown on the viaduct, but the thing's gotta go. The question is how to replace it -- with a tunnel? Or with a new, bigger viaduct? As The Stranger so succinctly says, No and Hell No. Instead, I strongly prefer a street-level, tree-lined boulevard, like San Francisco's Embarcadero. Above is an artist's rendering of what we most definitely should have.

The Sonics. It appears they'll soon be leaving Seattle for a bigger, better arena elsewhere, but it remains to be seen whether it’ll be in suburban Renton or faraway Oklahoma City. Same diff, I say. I love having the three major pro sports teams playing in the heart of the city, but since the 40-year-old Sonics -- our oldest and still our only big-league championship-winners (unless you count the 1917 Seattle Mets) -- couldn't get an arena built in the downtown area, then it doesn't much matter where they go. (I always thought that waste-of-space parking lot north of Qwest Field would make a great place for a new arena -- one that might also lure an NHL team -- but that's neither here nor there.) I guess I'd prefer the Sonics to at least stay in the area than move to another state altogether. Like, it'd still be sorta cool that my, uh, region could boast of having an NBA team, then again, I can recall just one Sonics game I attended in the 20 years since Xavier McDaniel killed a guy.

A NASCAR track. I can't believe there's even a debate as to whether we want such a big, loud, stupid monstrosity celebrating that gas-guzzling, flag-waving, Ricky Bobby-style culture that NASCAR represents, be it in Bremerton or anywhere else in the Northwest. Call me a snob, but let's leave that crap in the Bible Belt. If we’re gonna throw a kajillion dollars at any sort of entertainment, let’s use it to keep Ichiro in Seattle.



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