The Portage Bay bike lane along the future 520 replacement got a strong endorsement from the Seattle Design Commission, getting unanimous support as “an inherent part of the 520 project vision” of reconnecting neighborhoods.
WSDOT”s design team referred to the multi-use trail as a “community requested” feature but has yet to make it an official part of the project, claiming feedback from Roanoke/Portage Bay homeowners who object to widening the bridge and thus blocking views. The design team has already taken unusual steps toward limiting the width of the Portage Bay bridge. Lanes have been reduced to 10′ wide (from 11′ standard) with 8′ shoulders (from 10′ standard), resulting in a 45mph speed limit through the corridor. Feedback received during the Community Design Process favored the added width of the bike lane over a median planting strip of greenery.
The Design Commission responded with a request to not let the loud voices of a few overrule broader, if not quieter, support for a bicycle/pedestrian facility with city and regional benefits. This is the one aspect of the 520 replacement that clearly reconnects neighborhoods. As for other “reconnecting” aspects of the Seattle-side design, the commission was less-than-satisfied and requested further work be done.