Today (Monday), WSDOT is holding a public session on the 520 Bridge design, and your input is needed.
The planned 520 Bridge replacement will include a biking and walking trail from Medina to Montlake as well as new paths in the planned Roanoke lid in North Capitol Hill. However, inexplicably, current designs do not include a bike trail on the short-but-vital segment between Montlake and Roanoke Park (and, therefore, Capitol Hill, Eastlake and routes downtown).
The sessions runs from 4:30 – 7:30 p.m. at St Demetrios Church in Montlake (2100 Boyer Ave E)
More from Central Seattle Greenways:
We need your help to ensure that the project links our communities together with high-quality and family-friendly pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure. If done poorly, this massive construction project could make it even more difficult for people ages 8-80 to get around on foot or on bike. Our largest ask of WSDOT is the continuation of the multi-use trail from Montlake to Roanoake. Building this trail will better connect all of the surrounding neighborhoods and the region.
We need YOUR help to make sure that WSDOT makes family-friendly pedestrian and bicycle improvements a priority.
The meeting will be held on July 16th between 4:30pm and 7:30pm at:
St. Demetrios Church
2100 Boyer Avenue East
Seattle, WA 98112
Located south of SR 520 in Montlake
I think the main argument against this trail proposal is that the existing bike route from Montlake to Roanoke Park (through Montlake Playfield, west on Lynn and up the hill on Delmar) is perfectly adequate — it’s pretty safe, very scenic and pleasant (surely much more pleasant than biking next to the freeway!), has few stops or turns, and the grade is no more difficult than a 520 trail would be.
I wouldn’t support using bike-specific funding for a 520 trail from Montlake to Roanoke Park (I’d be more interested in a trail that was truly complete — one that continued to SLU and downtown Seattle). I generally believe that we shouldn’t build roads anywhere without appropriate bike and pedestrian access, and that a trail along 520 would improve our regional bike network (it would be the beginning of a more direct route from the Eastside and Montlake to Cap Hill and downtown at least). So I’d support the trail if it was built with general highway funds. But there are so many more urgent needs all over the state that if a bike path on this bridge cost us just about any other bike or pedestrian project I wouldn’t support that.
Now that I think about it, there’s another budget priority issue: improvements on and around the Montlake Bridge are really important for connecting the 520 trail to UW and the BGT, and for improving transit speed and reliability in that area. All that is way more important than a trail to Roanoke Park, and since I’m pretty sure neither the Portage Bay Bridge rebuild nor the Montlake Bridge stuff are funded yet, there’s certainly a potential for funding conflict there.
Al, the Montlake Playfield/Delmar route is something like twice as long as a 520 trail would be. And some of the hills involved are significant, not to mention the fact that the trail to the Montlake Playfield is sub-par in width and sight lines AND few people even know it’s there. I like the route, and it’s a good option for getting to many other parts of town. But it’s not a reasonable alternative to a direct route to Roanoke Park. I’m not sure what the final grade of the Portage Bay bridge will be, but I’m sure it’s significantly less than some of the segments on the route you describe.
I agree that bike trails next to highways are not the absolute most enjoyable biking experiences, but this trail will be along the highway all the way across Lake Washington. What’s another mile or so?
As for cost, if they are going to completely rebuild the entire bridge structure, including a trail on the side will have practically no added cost. For a multi-billion (yes, billion, with a “B”) dollar transportation project, the cost will probably about equal to a rounding error…
Plus, if you really want to get into the economics of it, providing a non-driving option on the bridge can only help with maintenance costs over the life of the bridge, not to mention all the other cost savings associated with increased bike riding (public health, air quality, less local money spent on importing oil, and on and on…)
I don’t see this trail interfering with Montlake Bridge funding.
I just rode up Delmar the other day on my dinky singlespeed. It’s about as smooth as a climb could be. To get from the Portage Bay Bridge up to Roanoke Park you’d have to climb the same hill over about the same distance. The tough climb is from Roanoke Park up to Cap Hill, and there’s nothing to be done about that here. A trail would be an improvement because of its directness, but a pretty modest one. It only really goes to Cap Hill and it only goes halfway (everywhere else is downhill from there, and you wouldn’t climb all the way up to Roanoke Park just to drop down the other side of the hill), paralleling an existing route that’s already decent. In an ideal world it should be there, but I can’t honestly say I’d give it much priority.
I’d be a lot more interested in a trail like this if it continued across I-5 toward SLU and downtown Seattle. That would be more challenging, but it could also have a lot more impact, since existing routes into SLU and downtown are so lousy.
I absolutely agree that there needs to be a more usable route to SLU/downtown. Eastlake is just screaming for a protected bikeway. A good bike connection to Fairview Ave E would also be very useful. And either way, Fairview Ave N between Eastlake and SLU Park could easily have a two-way protected bikeway in the west travel lane (you know the little bridge where Brian crashed? Continue that protected lane all the way to SLU Park).
Another good connection would be on Boylston (seems like plenty of space there) and/or a comparable route just on the west side of I-5 (neighborhood greenway potential?) to connect to Lakeview and the I-5 Colonnade Park. Add desperately-needed bike facilities to Lakeview and you connect to the Melrose bike trail and the overpass to Eastlake near REI. The Melrose bike trail leads to the site of the proposed Melrose Promenade. That connects to Pike/Pine, which is in desperate need of an improved connection to downtown.
Sure, we have a lot of work to do. But imagine if we had a seamless, safe bike route like this from Medina to downtown. See map
This “seamless” route crosses I-5 3 times!
Maybe a bike path along the Portage Bay Bridge is what we should push for now because we won’t have an opportunity to do it for a long time. It seems like all our ambitions for east-west bike paths die at I-5, and I’d love to see us break through that. There’s a fine bike path coming west into/across Seattle along I-90 until I-5 turns it south. There could be a fine bike path coming west into/across Seattle along 520 until it ends at I-5.
I-5: bad road or the worst road?
Well, this is just a temporary bike route until the I-5 Express Lane bike trail is installed…
For what it’s worth I wrote to the email address at wadot to support the additional mile of bike lane. Not sure that it will matter all that much though. I disagree with Al on this one, riding to SLU it’s not that hard to go up and over this hill vs going around it. I’d prefer a safe route around it along the Ship canal, but it’s not to be.
Of course it’s explicable. It is the Washington State Department of Moving Automobiles, after all.