Friday, July 8, 2016

LCC Says Impacts To Neighborhood Coming With "Rest Of The West" Bridge Segment" And No Real Traffic Improvements Following Recent WSDOT Informational Open House

The Laurelhurst Community Club (LCC) provided this summary of the WSDOT  open house held on June 28th, where WSDOT presented the design for the next phase of SR520 construction, to begin by 2018 lasting four to five years, from the Montlake Interchange, near Laurelhurst, to I-5, sometimes referred to as "rest of the West." 

The online open house is available through today, which provides an overview and design renderings for the Montlake area, as well as an opportunity to provide feedback at

(LCC) strongly urges Laurelhurst residents to participate in commenting on the new piece of SR520 to be located very near to the neighborhood. 

LCC also urges affected Laurelhurst neighbors to take a short survey to express  concerns. Neighbors can also submit comments directly to

LCC recently told the Laurelhurst Blog:
It appears that the  new plans include features that will affect traffic patterns around the Montlake Interchange, new bike paths, bus stops and offer a lid for crossing.  This huge bridge borders our shoreline, and to date  with the new bridge many new problems have been created (rather than offering any improved from the old one).
Here are some key issues that neighbors might want to explore and comment to WSDOT and this is just a very short list of possible questions for Laurelhurst neighbors to inspect via email with the "on-line" tour, or go in person: 
1. NOISE-Loud expansion joints-what will the WABN, and "the rest of the West" be using?  What other sound buffers, absorption materials will be used to reduce bridge noise? 
2. TOO MANY BRIGHT LIGHTS- Lighting on new bridge design should be lit AWAY from the outside of bridge, and face from the railing back to the inside of the new bridge, away from residences, and fish and wildlife. None should be colored, and all dim, and unobtrusive. 
3. DEMOLITION of old bridge-This process should be done on a land site which is encapsulated, away from residents, and not on in-water-open barges. Doing it on the Lake or Union or Portage Bay is not acceptable to prevent discharge of hazardous pollutants into the air and water. 
4. TRAFFIC -ask how the new HOV lanes will connect up through, and to I-5, if there will be more back ups on Montlake Blvd. 
5. Ask why there are so many bus lanes on top of the Montlake lid? 
6. Ask why waste taxpayer money on  building and maintaining an "outlook" at the Montlake Interchange? There is no view to enjoy-just fumes from below. 
7. Request that the new second bascule bridge be built with a transit lane to accommodate buses, and connect their lane from Montlake Blvd across that new bridge.

The LCC Transportation Board Member said that the entire WSDOT team was at the June Open House Meeting which was packed, mostly with neighbors who wanted to study the impacts in Montlake, North Capitol Hill and Roanoke /Portage Bay neighborhoods.

"We were shy of neighbors  from Laurelhurst," LCC said.

Key features of the Westside Plan include:
  • The new HOV lane completed to I-5.
  • Two lids-one that actually has buses on it at Montlake, and one over 10th Street/Delmar Drive further west, and larger.
  • A separated bike trail crossing on the east side of the Montlake lid

LCC said that the plan showed some new details, such as the new stormwater pond, various green buffers, a berm to shield Lake Washington Boulevard homes from the exit ramp, "but frankly, no real improvement in traffic flow from the north where it is already very congested."

Neighbors had many concerns, that incidentally WSDOT has not commented on yet, such as quieter bridge, low lighting as well as providing a local transportation improvement plan from local feeder streets.

"The new bridge segment will be a safer connection for bicyclists and pedestrians, but many more questions about the lids, maintenance remain to be settled," LCC said.

Here are some photos of the concept presented:

july 2 008.JPG
This picture of the new Montlake Interchange with lid on your left with bus lanes on it, looking south from Laurelhurst's approach. There is no real changes for access from the north-same old traffic. The photo shows specifically each house surrounding the project, also with the affected streets.

july 2 012.JPG
10th Ave/Delmar DR lid to connect to I-5

july 2 009.JPG
The wiggly line is the bike crossing trail easterly of the Montlake lid.

Big crowd, great questions at SR 520 Rest of the West open house

And here is WSDOT's summary of the Open House Meeting:

Banner Image

Big crowd, great questions at SR 520 Rest of West open house

We want to thank the approximately 300 people who attended our open house Tuesday in Montlake to learn about WSDOT’s construction plans for the next phase of improvements within the SR 520 corridor from I-5 to Lake Washington – the segment we call “the Rest of the West.” We’ve posted the meeting’s informational display boards online for those who couldn’t attend and want to know more about the highway work that’s ahead.
In addition, there’s still time to attend our virtual, online open house. Here you’ll not only find lots of information and conceptual design renderings about the Rest of the West, but you also can send us feedback on our plans. This online “meeting” will be open through July 8.
Information on WSDOT website
We received a lot of good questions and comments at last night’s open house at Saint Demetrios Hall. It’s clear that people want to know how their neighborhoods will be affected during all the upcoming construction, and what the end result will be when the work is done. A lot of information can be found in the SR 520: I-5 to Lake Washington section of our website, including on the project design page and in the published 2014-2015 West Side Design Refinements report
The Montlake Market
One frequently raised topic at the open house was the status of the Montlake Boulevard Market. We’re preparing a Q&A on this and other topics discussed during the open house. We’ll post the Q&A and send you a link in an upcoming email update, but meantime, here’s a brief bit of background on the market and SR 520 construction.
The market and adjacent 76 gas station lie directly along the south edge of the SR 520/Montlake Boulevard interchange. Following the Legislature’s 2015 approval of funding for the Rest of the West improvements, WSDOT furthered the project design and preconstruction planning. Through this effort, we determined that we’d need to acquire the property where the market and gas station are located. In early 2018, we’ll begin constructing an improved interchange and landscaped highway lid from Montlake Boulevard to 24th Avenue Northeast.
Why do we need to acquire the property?
  • WSDOT needs the property to build some of the project’s planned improvements, such as retaining walls and fill, sidewalks, connections to shared-use trails, and utility relocations and modifications.  We also will use the property for construction staging and traffic shifts.
  • We determined in the 2011 environmental impact statement that we’d have to close three of the four driveway accesses into the gas station. The gas station and market are business tenants on the property. The change in driveway access will affect the operations of both tenants.
  • We are in discussions with the property owner regarding WSDOT's purchase of the site and the operations of the businesses.
We know these businesses are important to many people in the Montlake area. We’ll keep the community updated as this process unfolds.
Construction project time line
A number of individuals at the open house wanted to know when we will start constructing our west side improvements, and when we will complete the work. The schedule for big construction projects can shift for a variety of reasons, but here is our current time line for the Rest of the West:
Phase 1
  • Montlake lid, West Approach Bridge South, land bridge over SR 520
  • Construction to begin by 2018
  • Estimated duration: 4-5 years
Phase 2
  • New Portage Bay Bridge with regional bike-pedestrian path, Roanoke lid, improved I-5 interchange, bike-pedestrian I-5 crossing 
  • Estimated to begin as early as: 2020
  • Estimated duration: 6 years
Phase 3
  • Second bascule (drawbridge) over Montlake Cut
  • Estimated to begin as early as: 2024
  • Estimated duration: 3 years

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