Public comment: Seattle Neighborhood Greenways seek better walking and biking over 520

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Representatives from three local Neighborhood Greenways groups have published their public comment for the Seattle 520 Replacement Community Design Process. Readers are encouraged to consider their comments and join their advocacy efforts by copying and pasting some or all of the text and submitting it via email to: SeattleCommunityDesign@wsdot.wa.gov.

“Having the ability to be physically active, to freely move through the corridor in pleasing natural surroundings and to reconnect neighborhoods will contribute to a healthy community.” WSDOT SR520 Health Impact Assessment, page 23.

We are representatives of the grassroots neighborhood greenways groups that surround the SR520 project area. While there are many issues of pedestrian and bicycle safety in the new SR-520 project, this document discusses two major issues.

Request A: Improve Montlake connectivity

We urge WSDOT to redesign the North-South pedestrian and bicycle connections from the University of Washington and light rail station to Montlake and beyond. Of particular safety concern is the Montlake Bridge; the west side crossing of SR 520 over 7 lanes of traffic; and the lack of safe, direct, or comfortable connections to south of the project. As stated by the Seattle Design Commission, “we recommend WSDOT to re-examine choices to improve multimodal connectivity.”

Importance of this request:

“In both the Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plans, the Montlake Bridge [and by extension the crossing of SR 520] has been identified as a critical linkage in the non-motorized network with existing deficiencies” (Nelson/Nygaard 2012).

1) The west side of Montlake Blvd. pedestrian/bike LOS is currently failing and getting worse.
2) The east side of Montlake Blvd. pedestrian/bike LOS is poor and will get worse under current design due to the new Bus and Light Rail Stations.
3) Safe and direct pedestrian and bicycle connections to schools, libraries, parks, the UW, regional trails, and hospitals, are non-existent in the current plans and must be re- designed.
4) No safe and direct connection between North and South Montlake especially along the west side of Montlake Blvd.
5) This project area is a critical east-west and north-south junction for citywide and regional bicycle connectivity (as shown in Seattle’s BMP and PSRC’s Regional Bicycle Network).

Request B: Portage Bay Bridge multi-use lane

We urge WSDOT to carry out Portage Bay Bridge design preference #8, which is to “study safe, direct and comfortable bicycle and pedestrian connections from Montlake to downtown Seattle and north Capitol Hill, including a bicycle and pedestrian facility on the Portage Bay Bridge.”

Importance of this request:

This corridor has been deemed very important at the regional, citywide and local levels. Supporting this preference would have positive implications for the safety, health, economy, and environment of our communities and the city as a whole.

Thank you for your time and consideration,

Lionel Job, Montlake Greenways, lnljob@gmail.com
Gordon Padelford, Central Seattle Greenways, Gordon.Padelford@gmail.com Bob Edmiston, Seattle Neighborhood Greenways, lenswork64@gmail.com

WSDOT’s public comment period for the Seattle 520 Community Design Process ends Friday, October 5th. Submit this or other comments to: SeattleCommunityDesign@wsdot.wa.gov.