City Council preps 520 design response

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Image: City of Seattle

The Seattle City Council is set to formally respond to WSDOT’s Seattle Community Design Process for the 520 Replacement project at a committee meeting next Tuesday, January 22nd. This is Seattle’s big chance to tell the State what works well and what doesn’t work so well with the design so far. The Council is expected to discuss a resolution to be sent to the State, which WSDOT pledged to honor in its MOU with the city.

In advance of Tuesday’s meeting, the Council has posted a draft resolution on its 520 Special Committee website. Wonks can look at it over here — a quick summary of its recommendations for everyone else:

  • Build the Portage Bay Bridge Trail while minimizing width and visual impact.
  • Redesign the Montlake Lid with a “wider range of options” to improve pedestrian and bicycle connections.
  • Improve safety in the underbridge areas.
  • Create an interim “Lake to Land” Plan that doesn’t preclude good options for the Montlake Lid and with adequate mitigation for the neighborhood.

The resolution also states the City’s intention to appoint a “champion,” someone to coordinate the project across all city departments and to further involve the Seattle Design Commission. All positive steps forward.

This will be a big year for the 520 design. If WSDOT responds to the city in kind, the project could become a watershed of people-friendly infrastructure — supporting transit, walking and biking with the same fervor it supports driving a car. Or WSDOT could retreat into its long history of building highways and little else, just to get it done. If it does the later, it will be in the face of “overwhelming public support” for travel under the power of your own two feet — arguably the big culture change in Seattle urbanism since the turn of the century.

We shall see.

Seattle City Council Special Committee on SR 520 Project meeting — Tuesday, January 22, 2:30pm — City Hall — Agenda here.

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