Go Play on the Freeway

By Paul

Originally posted: Friday, September 22, 2006
Modfied: Saturday, September 30, 2006

For a few hours on a Saturday morning in June, the viaduct was closed to traffic and open for a "fun run".  Which was a good thing for me.  For several years I had wanting to walk along this waterfront freeway to enjoy it good views of the city, Elliott Bay and the Olympic Mountiains. 

Gregg and I got downtown very early and parked at the Pike Place Market which is at the north end of the viaduct.  We took a stroll the empty market before we took a bus trip down the Seahawk stadium, where the fun was officially starting.  I wasn't planning to run, I didn't have a sponsor, so I didn't feel compelled to pay $40 fee.  We walked up the on ramp and strolled along the freeway back up to the Pike Place Market. 

Gregg, who once was on a running team in the Army, was cheering on the runners as they came by.  I was happy just being there and taking pictures from a perspective normally seen while whizzing by at 50 miles per hour.  Knowing that I won't be living in Seattle for ever, it was very precious opportunity for me to have this chance to relish the heart my home town before I say good-bye.

So here are a bunch of pictures of this special morning. 

  
We are behind the fencing in the parking garage just north of the Pike Place Market.  It is about 7:00 AM.  The traffic has been detoured off of the old, worn out freeway.

  
Neither Gregg nor I enjoy coffee, but this is the site of the first Starbucks.  You might notice the logo has been modified since the place went big time.
This must be one of the most classic photos for a tourist in Seattle.  I guess I need it in my collection before I leave town.
The fund-raising piggy bank in front of the famous flying fish market.

  
Besides raising money with a piggy bank, back in the 1980's the market preservation society raised money by selling floor tiles.  They needed the cash and got a new floor to boot!  My cousin Sharon bought a tile for my mom and dad for Christmas.  Usually the market is so busy I get swept away in the crush of the crowd when I try to find their tile.  At 7:00 AM it isn't so crowded here.  So I got on the floor to document where the tile is (near row 635).  Thanks Sharon.

  
Walking up the 1st Avenue South on ramp.  We were walking toward the upper ramp which normally carries traffic northbound.  The one thing I like about this old freeway is it is welcoming.  Whenever I've been out of town for a while, I drive home this way instead of Interstate 5.  This route takes me through the guts of industrial Seattle and the rises me up to see the beautiful skyline, the waterfront -- the heart of old Seattle, and on a clear day a fantastic viiew of the Olympic Mountains.  (I don't think a tunnel would be so friendly and appealing.)
 
This was federal hiway 99 before the Interstates.  Now it is just state route 99.
The white building with the pointy top is the Smith Tower.  At one point (long before I was born) it was the tallest building west of the Mississippi.

 
On the street level is Alaskan Way.
Looking up towards Pioneer Square.

 See all the photos from this special day on this link.