Plans to replace the 520 Bridge are crawling along, and the state recently released concept images of the proposed floating bridge. Images show plans for the proposed walking and biking trail, which comes complete with “belvedere” resting and lookout points (as pictured above).
It still amazes me the state actually built a mega project like the 1963 floating bridge without any space for people to even walk across, let alone bike. How could that happen?
Anyway, history aside, plans for the somewhat sorta partially funded $4.65 billion mega project (it’s about $2.22 billion underfunded) do include a space for walking and biking across Lake Washington from Montlake to Medina.
However, the plans so far do not include extending the trail through to North Capitol Hill, where it could connect with popular bike routes to the University Bridge, Broadway, Interlaken Park and downtown. One of the poster boards for a late March open house described the section of 520 between Montlake and I-5 as a “parkway,” but the map does not include a walking and biking path. Funding for this section is still up in the air, though the legislature has funded environmental studies.
Building this connection would be a tremendous opportunity to not only actualize the new Lake Washington trail, but also to connect Montlake, Eastlake and North Capitol Hill. The hills from Montlake to Capitol Hill (and downtown) are among the steepest in the city, which is a significant barrier to people walking and biking between the neighborhoods. For the 520 Bridge to serve as an effective bicycle commuter facility from the Eastside to downtown Seattle — our region’s largest employment center — this connection is vital.
The state is holding a public meeting April 12, and biking and walking access is on the program for discussion. Details:
We’re continuing the SCDP process in April by hosting the first of four interactive public sessions to explore design refinements that support Puget Sound mobility and livable Seattle neighborhoods.
Join us for the first public session on April 12 when we will focus on:
- Shelby/Hamlin neighborhood and the canal reserve area
- East Montlake Park and the planned SR 520 stormwater facility
- Montlake shoreline under the planned SR 520
- East Lake Washington Boulevard
- Bicycle/pedestrian connections to regional and local activity centers
Time: Thursday, April 12, 4:30-7:30 p.m.
Short presentation at 5 and 6 p.m.
Place: Museum of History & Industry (MOHAI)
2700 24th Ave. East
Seattle, WA 98112
Located just north of SR 520 in Montlake.
Now, back to the concept images (notice how the images show tons of people walking and biking, yet only a handful of cars here or there…)
UPDATE: One thing I failed to mention is that the Roanoke Lid will connect Federal Ave to Roanoke Park. Federal is on the short list of good neighborhood greenway options on Capitol Hill, so this is an excellent opportunity to create a family-friendly biking and walking connection between the region’s biggest road project and the state’s most densely populated neighborhood.
Also, Cascade Bicycle Club posted similar thoughts on their blog. Here are their suggestions for designing the bridge right:
If you are able to attend the April 12 meeting (or subsequent workshops), here are a few points we think WSDOT should consider, if not prioritize, moving forward:
- Provide a multi-use trail along the Portage Bay Bridge, connecting from Montlake to Capitol Hill.
- Create strong connections through the 10th and Delmar project area, including dedicated bicycle and pedestrian facilities along E Roanoke St connecting over I-5, improvements to the intersections of Harvard Ave E & E Roanoke St and 10th Ave E & E Roanoke St, and connections across the proposed LID at 10th and Delmar – reconnecting Federal Ave E to E Roanoke St.
- Ensure 24th Ave E is designed to facilitate safe and efficient bicycle and pedestrian crossings and to reduce conflicts between users, particularly where the regional trail intersects with the Seattle street network. WSDOT is considering parking alternatives to serve East Montlake Park, one of which proposes a parking lot in East Montlake Park requiring an additional street and intersection at 24th Ave E. If parking is necessary, we would encourage you to advocate for parking to be placed underneath the SR 520 bridge.
- Provide dedicated bicycle connections along Shelby/Hamlin. A bi-directional bicycle facility is being explored for E Shelby St, providing connections to Montlake and to 24th Ave E and the SR 520 trail. Let WSDOT know if this is something you would like to see, or if you would prefer bicycle facilities on both Shelby and Hamlin (which are one-way streets).
- Create a safe and attractive Montlake Boulevard for all users, including bicyclists and pedestrians. With Montlake serving a significant number of pedestrian and bicycle trips, improvements are needed along Montlake providing safe crossings and dedicated facilities.
If you plan on attending, please RSVP here so we know how many bicycle supporters to expect. If you are unable to attend the April 12 meeting, please send your comments regarding non-motorized connections across the Westside SR 520 corridor to: [email protected]