Not much has changed in 90 years

My Mother and I visited the Museum of History and Industry last week, and it is a fascinating look back at Seattle through the years.  They currently have an exhibit called Now and Then, which showcases historical photos of Seattle next to the an image shot from essentially the same location today.

They showed classic images of the opening of the first floating bridge across Lake Washington.  Years later, it would become part of I-90.

Floating Bridge opening

What struck me most was the placard next to it.

Floating Bridge opening

The first line reads:

After 20 years of debate about whether to build it, and where and how, the first bridge across Lake Washington took 18 months to complete.

Twenty years.

Twenty years to make that simple decision.

The most frustrating thing about Seattle and probably what will keep Seattle from ever achieving its potential is its inability to make a decision and do anything in a timely manner. The Seattle characteristic that drove the city to discuss this bridge for 20 years in the past is the same reason why we don't have a significant rail system today. It's why we have 3 yes votes before having a no vote and scrapping the monorail.  It's why we're still arguing about how to get light rail to the east side and why we're still arguing about replacing our crumbling viaduct that was severely damaged in an earthquake 10 years ago.  The contracts are signed and we still may have another vote on it.

I guess it's reassuring to know that this is not a new phenomenon.  Seattle has never been able to make up it's mind about infrastructure in anything resembling a sensible time frame.

I guess this also means it's never going to get any better.

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