Originally written for and posted on the Central Seattle Greenways blog.
This Tuesday (January 22nd) at 2:30 PM in the Council Chamber, the 520 Committee of the Seattle City Council will hopefully pass a resolution that finally gives WSDOT and city staff the authority to begin to fix the pedestrian and bicycle design flaws in the current plans. Most importantly, the resolution calls for
- Fixing the Montlake mess and creating a hub of family friendly connections. It is necessary to completely rethink the design of the Montlake area to make it safe for people of all ages and abilities. The standard for success must be that Montlake children are able to walk and bike around their neighborhood to school, to friends’ houses, to the library, and for the sheer joy of being able to explore your neighborhood as a kid. It is likely that a new design would also make the project cheaper while providing more value for nearby residents and the city.
- Continuing the SR 520 Trail to Capitol Hill. The design moving forward must examine how a trail can be incorporated into the Portage Bay Bridge design. The utilitarian needs for quality bicycle and pedestrian access to Capitol Hill and beyond should be paramount. There are still a few residents in the immediate proximity of the bridge who desire it to be as narrow as possible even at the expense of the trail, but the vast majority of Seattle residents would like to see the bridge have as little a visual impact as possible, while still providing connections for everyone whether they drive, take transit, walk, or bike.
- Designating a 520 champion. This is a common sense idea that originates from the Seattle Design Commission which allows one person at the city to keep track of the complicated design process. Currently such a unified response is lacking.
This resolution, if passed, would be a huge step forward. Please don’t leave this to chance! Please show up at 2:20 to give a short (2 minutes or less) public comment in support of the resolution, or jot your city councilmembers a quick email letting them know they have your support:
By supporting these common sense improvements to the current design, you join the ranks of many other Seattlites seeking a fair deal out of the new SR 520. Let’s recap who supports making the design better for people who walk and bike:
- Over 97% of the residents who responded to WSDOT’s public comment survey.
- Montlake Community Club
- Capitol Hill Community Council
- Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce
- Montlake Small Business
- Madison Park Community Council
- Laurelhusrt Community Club
- Sustainable Capitol Hill
- Seattle Design Commission
- Seattle Bicycle Advisory Board
- Seattle Pedestrian Advisory Board
- The outgoing Montlake PTA president
- Seattle Neighborhood Greenways, Madison Park Greenways, Montlake Greenways, Central Seattle Greenways, Eastlake Greenways, and University Greenways
- Residents of Montlake, Portage Bay, Roanoke, University, First Hill, Eastlake, Madison Park, Laurelhurst, Capitol Hill, the Central District, and many other neighborhoods
- Seattle Bike Blog
- Cascade Bicycle Club
Thank you for your help in making sure that the new SR 520 reconnects our neighborhoods to each other, our kids to their schools, and creates a Seattle that we can all enjoy getting around regardless of our means of transportation!