The City Council is expected to pass a resolution during today’s 520 Committee meeting in response to WSDOT’s Seattle Community Design Process (SCDP). The SCDP outlined the State’s final design for the 520 Replacement through Seattle — and the public’s “overwhelming” desire for better walking and biking access throughout the plans. The City Council’s draft resolution reflects the public comments, and formally requests that WSDOT:
- 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.
Also on the agenda for today’s meeting is a discussion of the West Approach Bridge North (WABN). WSDOT is holding an open house Wednesday at St Demetrios Church (4:30-7:30pm) to publicly unveil the WABN design, which will connect the new floating bridge to Montlake Blvd with a new 3-lane freeway next to the existing West Approach. The WABS — West Approach Bridge South — is expected to replace the existing West Approach during a later phase, years down the road.
2:30pm: Here we go. Public comments up first…
2:40: Commenter asks that resolution refine language of “blending Roanoke Lid into hillside.”
2:42: Laurelhurst Community Club asks for a supplemental EIS on north-south traffic routes over 520. Asks for further noise mitigation for Madison Park residents.
2:45: Comments done. Committee chair Richard Conlin describing the resolution now. Describing language added to protect the Queen City Yacht Club during construction, strengthened language regarding bicycle and pedestrian connections — including “all ages and abilities.” Conlin nods to CM Bagshaw for this addition.
2:48: CM O’Brien is proposing amendments now. [...should be interesting since he's been quiet during this process lately.]
… better protections for the Queen City Yacht Club. New language against future phases of design not precluding improvement options in the future.
2:52: CM Rasmussen proposes adopting commenter’s suggestion of strengthened Roanoke Lid “blend into hillside” language. Conlin asks for it to be considered in front of next week’s Full Council vote.
2:53: CM Conlin thanks community members for input during the SCDP and City Council resolution in response. Resolution passes. [Portage Bay Bike Trail and "wider range of options" for the Montlake Lid are now law of the (city)land.]
2:55 Switching now to WABN presentation by WSDOT and City officials…. Conlin questions the “WABN” acronym, implying that it is ridiculous. [It is.]
Here’s the WABN plan:
3:00 WSDOT: WABN “does not preclude” light rail on 520, nor future options for the Montlake Lid.
3:09 WSDOT: WABN superstructure is “simple and clean.”
3:15 WSDOT: Explaining seismic ‘wiggling’ now…
3:17 WSDOT: New Lake Washington Blvd off-ramp will connect to and use the 24th Ave (ex-MOHAI) overpass. Includes a 16′ wide bike/ped path. [Good news!]
3:18 WSDOT: A new traffic signal will be added to Montlake Blvd northbound off-ramp. Says this will be better for pedestrians. [Huh.] Flyer stop to remain during WABN interim phase.
3:22 CM Bagshaw: What’s been done about “dark and dangerous” areas for pedestrians underneath the freeway? How will students walk to Montlake Elementary School?
WSDOT: “We have more work to do on that.”
3:24 CM Bagshaw: “Would you let your 8-year-old child walk in this area?”
3:32 CM O’Brien asks if Hamlin U-turn is still available to cars exiting at Montlake Blvd northbound. WSDOT: Yes.
3:39 Councilmembers grilling presenters on Hamlin U-turn. WSDOT: Always been a “problem child.” This solution will be temporary…. sort of.
3:45 WSDOT presenting mitigation projects funded with WABN’s $300 million federal loan…
… reconstructed wetlands on the WSDOT Peninsula and Union Bay Natural Area. Arboretum multi-use trail.
3:52 CM Conlin: “I’ll be there at St Demetrios to hear comments.”
3:55 CM O’Brien sticking up for neighborhood mitigation projects, lids, noise walls — asking what’s being done?
WSDOT: Long answer saying not much… funding that is. “Quiet pavement” experiment on 520 in Medina a few years ago was not successful. Other noise absorption strategies will be used (no walls though).
4:00 CM Conlin: When does funding for the next phase need to be secured for work to be seamless?
That’s it folks. For details on the WABN — to be built starting next year — check out WSDOT’s open house at St Demetrios Wednesday from 4:30-7:30. Check out the new bike lane on the ex-MOHAI ramp and new intersection on Montlake Blvd. Fun times!