Seattle Culture

Back Page: Freeway Backlash

Residents protest Seattle's car culture

By Rob Smith May 9, 2024

Seattle magazine_02_1969-16-9-2000x1125

This article originally appeared in the March/April 2024 issue of Seattle magazine.

The February 1969 issue of Seattle magazine is proof that thinking around urban development has changed.

With the enticing cover headline “The Freeway Invasion: Where will it end?” the centerpiece article examined a pronounced backlash against building more freeways.

The article mentioned several stalled projects, including State Route 522 (which connects Seattle to Kenmore, Bothell, Monroe, and Woodinville); the third Lake Washington Bridge (known as the Homer M. Hadley Memorial Bridge); and the Interstate-90 Interchange.

“The nationwide ‘freeway revolt’ has hit Seattle with a vengeance,” writes Ruth Wolf, who goes on to describe state Rep. Alfred Leland as “Mr. Freeway” for his “assiduous devotion to getting superhighways built.”

Today, of course, Seattle is gaining more bike lanes to help people navigate the city without a car, and Sound Transit is planning Link light rail services across the region, including from Ballard to Tacoma, Everett to West Seattle, and South Kirkland to Issaquah.

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