Document 45: Seattle Roads

R. H. Thomson, Annual Report, City Engineer’s Office (1908): 18-19. Seattle Municipal Government, Engineering Department, Administration, Annual Reports, Seattle Municipal Archives (at Puget Sound Regional Archives, Washington State Archives), Control No. 2600-01, Box , pp. 5-7, 18-19.

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With the disappearance of hostile Indians and the advent of the street car, cities began to cove a much wider territory and to develop, as it were, sporadically, covering here a knoll and there a valley, as suited either to the taste of the inhabitants or their convenience, dependent more or less upon means of transportation… Recognizing the certainty of a widely distributed and unequally developed city here, the Local Improvement District method of performing work was adopted early in the life of Seattle, and had aided wondrously in its upbuilding and development and in giving of a metropolitan air to the entire community.

Work has progressed during the year upon the study of, and the physical work upon main arterial highways through the city. In a certain sense, the city is similar in the requirement to the human system, and just as a free circulation of blood is necessary to secure the development of each part of the body, so a free movement of traffic is necessary to develop each portion of the city. Work is now being carried on in the matter of regrades, and is, in fact, a work tending to enlarge insufficient arteries and to remove stoppage or blockades which heretofore existed in those arteries tending to prevent a free flow of the blood.

Our own city, for the most part, was built upon entirely different lines; and instead of the trails and roads being built first, the greater portion of the city was platted with but little regard as to whether the streets could ever be used or not, the main idea being, apparently, to sell the lots. As a great many plants were small in size and were never stake done the ground, many streets are located where they cannot be used, and others are not conforming with the whole, make it necessary that the real thoroughfares should be located with but little regard for the existing streets, the controlling purpose being to provide a channel for traffic leading in the property general directions, of ample width and the best possible grades, not exceeding 3%.

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