The Seattle That Wasn't: Freeways Through Victory Heights

In 1960, city planners proposed three north-south freeways through Seattle, one of which would have crossed Victory Heights right over Thornton Creek!
Long-time residents might recall the proposed R.H. Thomson Freeway or at least seen the “off ramps to nowhere” on the west side of the Evergreen Point floating bridge that would have connected with it. It would have been the eastern of three parallel north-south freeways cutting through Seattle that appear on a 1966 planning map that is available from the Central Library.
The big map shows the entire city, the thickest black lines denote freeways. The Northwest Freeway followed Highway 99, cut over to Fremont, headed north to Holman road, then back to following 99. What is now Interstate 5 would have been called the Central Freeway, and the R.H. Thomson freeway would have run through the Arboretum (!), intersected 520 (the off ramps that still exist), tunneled under the ship canal, and then run up 25th Ave NE, Ravenna Ave and then Lake City Way out to Bothell. An east-west connector between the Northwest Freeway and the Thomson would have run along N. 110th Street (Northgate Way). If you click the blown up section, at Roosevelt Way, the crosstown freeway would have turned southeast and traveled down Thornton Creek to connect with the R. H. Thomson Freeway at NE 98th Street.
It’s unimaginable now to think how our city (and our neighborhood) would been impacted by all these freeways. We would have been no better than Los Angeles. Fortunately, public protests at putting a freeway through the Arboretum in 1969 led to a vote in 1972 that canceled the projects forever.

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One Response to The Seattle That Wasn't: Freeways Through Victory Heights

  1. Ruth Williams says:

    Good thing there were people who took a stand on behalf of neighborhoods and open space when it mattered! And a new generation is carrying on the work today. Besides the traffic, imagine the pollution!
    BTW, another Thornton Creek Park has been vandalized: Twin Ponds in Shoreline. Someone limbed 40 trees and hacked out 5′ wide trails near Meridian St.

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