End of the line

With the ongoing turmoil on the waterfront and the viaduct, time was running out for Seattle’s top blues venue, and this week, the Highway 99 Blues Club made its sad but inevitable announcement. After getting a reprieve a few years ago, the situation is no longer tenable. I was excited about the tunnel plan in the early stages; tearing down the viaduct would join the waterfront to the rest of the city, making it accessible and upgrading the landscape. But an eight-lane highway springing up in its place is a virtual wall for pedestrians and cyclists, and no less dirty, loud and ugly than the viaduct. The only winners in the new scheme are downtown office and condo dwellers with enhanced views. And we lose a premier venue, one that’s had national acclaim for promoting and advancing the blues in the community. The Highway 99 Blues Club is irreplaceable. It will take several venues to bring in the flow, and Seattle will no longer have a unique blues hub.

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