Issues and ideas from WSDOT’s Roanoke Lid Community Design Meeting

Roanoke Lid with other park elements to scale. All images: WSDOT

WSDOT’s community design process has revealed a big difference between the Montlake and Roanoke Lids: people are actually excited for the latter. The Roanoke Lid’s lack of freeway ramps and uninterrupted space will likely make it a neighborhood asset — should it ever get built. Below are four of the latest issues and ideas WSDOT design consultants are considering. So grab a beer, have a look and vote your preference:

1. Terraced vs sloped surface. The terraced surface option creates flat areas for a soccer field and sport courts. The sloped surface creates an amphitheater like space that undulates down toward Delmar.

Terraced surface

Sloped surface


2. Views from the lid. Feedback from last month’s Portage Bay Bridge Architecture design meeting was supportive of both the box girder bridge type and the cable stay option. Here is a comparison of the views from the Roanoke Lid for each bridge type:

Box girder bridge across Portage Bay

Cable stay bridge across Portage Bay

The box girder bridge has no structure above the roadway (but requires more columns underneath) and allows for uninterrupted views of Portage Bay, UW and Lake Washington. A cable-stay bridge requires six towers rising above the Roanoke Lid, but its thin cables preserve some of the view beyond. This is a classic aesthetic choice: man or nature? Note: WSDOT does not intend to demolish the Cascade Mountains, despite not showing them in these drawings.


3. Usage under the freeway. WSDOT owns the space under the current path of 520. Seattle Preparatory School owns the steeply sloped property to the south. A possible land swap agreement could mutually benefit the both, by allowing Prep to park their school busses under the freeway and the public to have a trail and park to the immediate south in the open light. First the status quo “baseline” plan, then the “swapped” plan:

Baseline: Parking on Prep property; public use under the freeway

Land swap: Prep parking underneath, public use to the south (left)


4. Pedestrian crossing over I-5. WSDOT’s baseline design provides a new 30′ wide pedestrian and bike crossing over I-5 at Roanoke. A second option would build a separate 14′ wide ramp to the south for pedestrians and allow bicyclists to cross in bike lanes on the existing overpass.

New 30-foot wide pedestrian space

New 14-foot pedestrian crossing with bikes in the street


The next community design meeting in mid-July (details TBA) will address the much more challenging issues of the Montlake Lid. To prepare community feedback, the MCC has arranged for WSDOT’s current design drawings to be put on display next week. Details here.

4 thoughts on “Issues and ideas from WSDOT’s Roanoke Lid Community Design Meeting

  1. this is a great post! wish i could see how many responses there were in the “results” drop-downs…

  2. People should rethink there preferred selection of the shared use path on the 1-5 overpass. Forcing cyclists to cross a street to turn right, from Harvard onto the overpass for example, is just silly. It also forces what could be a dangerous interaction between fast moving bicycles and slow moving pedestrians or between cyclists traveling in opposite directions. I truly believe that well buffered bike lanes on the bridge itself are a more efficient and safer option for cyclists and pedestrians.

  3. Pingback: WSDOT to unveil new models and drawings at last 520 Community Design Meeting, Monday July 16th | montlaker

  4. Pingback: No deal: Talks end for Seattle Prep land swap near 520 Roanoke Lid | montlaker

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