Monday, May 23, 2011

Important Neighborhood Meeting on SR 520 Bridge Wednesday At The Community Center

Approaching Montlake from the Arboretum, 520 will be as wide as 15 lanes, compared to today's 6 lanes

Colleen McAleer, Laurelhurst Community Club's Vice-President and Transportation Committee Chair,  sent us information about a very important special meeting LCC is holding on Wednesday, in conjunction with the Coalition for a Sustainable SR 520, to present a comprehensive look at WSDOT's "Preferred Alternative" for the new SR520 Bridge.

The meeting this Wednesday is from 7-8:30pm in the main floor activity room at the Laurelhurst Community Center.

The Coalition says on their website:

For more than four years, the Coalition for a Sustainable SR 520 has represented all of the communities who see, hear, and smell SR 520.

We support improvements to the 520 corridor. We are in favor of changing the corridor so that it is able to move more people and goods for the next sixty to one hundred years, without damaging the dense neighborhoods and irreplaceable natural open space which exist today.

Given the severe shortages of funds at the state, national, and city levels, we believe that the best solution is to use available funds now to fix safety problems on the existing 4-lane 520. We are in favor of tolls on 520, and believe that once tolls are established it may not be necessary to increase capacity for some years.. When funds are available in the future, we believe that adding two lanes for transit only will be the most successful solution for the next fifty years or more.

We believe that the current "preferred alternative" for SR 520 will fail to move people more efficiently. It will create so much local traffic that Seattle streets from Madison Park to the University District to downtown will be choked. It will remove an express lane on I-5, which will slow I-5 and further congest local streets. Although it may be quicker to get across Lake Washington on six lanes, the gain will be more than offset by the increased congestion in Seattle.

The solution for 520 must not destroy the area. The proposed "preferred alternative" would ruin much more of Union Bay, Portage Bay, the wetlands, and the nature paths of the area. It would reduce parkland. It would add noise and pollution. This is not an acceptable solution when better alternatives are available: fix the four lanes now, add two lanes for transit later.

The meeting will be a good opportunity to learn more in depth about the specific design and operations of the Washington Department of Transportation plan for the replacement of the SR520 bridge through LCC's educational interactive video and information.

The meeting is open to everyone in the neighborhood and those in particular from surrounding communities who use:
  • SR520 and/or I-90
  • I-5 express lanes
  • Montlake Boulevard and Seattle City streets from Madison Ave to NE 75th Street
  • Union or Portage Bays including boaters, rowers, swimmers and birders

Also for those citizens who are concererned about:
  • regional rransportation issues-transit, auto, bikes and pedestriane Union or Portage
  • the quality of the air and its particulates in Puget Sound
  • SR520 bridge noise
  • the lack of funding to complete the bridge, and requiring triple bonding and exceeding the existing the state debt ceiling

Colleen writes in an email to our staff:

We recently had an article in our LCC newsletter outlining problems with the design for the re-build of SR520. We are having an important meeting about more of the details on May 25th at the Laurelhurst Community to demonstrate how it will work, and its flaws and impacts on traffic in NE Seattle.

With all of the traffic congestion caused by Seattle Children's Hospital, it is very critical that we pressure city and state officials to provide greaeter mobility in NE Seattle to support this growth with a better design for Montlake Blvd and the 520 bridge.

Most folks do not know that this "preferred alternative" plan removes a northbound express lane on I-5, and also causes all vehicles to exit northbound off westbound 520 with residents of Broadmoor, Madison Park and Montlake.

Laurelhurst Community Club is asking that the public consider giving financial support to the legal fund along with five communities adjacent to  SR520 to work for a better solution.

The fundraising goal is $20,000, and "this is but a tiny fraction of the decrease in home values that will occur if this current bridge plan is built," the LCC information says. Adding that all advocacy work is volunteer, except for the legal counsel.

You can make a donation at the meeting or send a check to:
Friends of the SR520 Corridor
c/o MaryAnn Mundy
117 East Louisa St #205
Seattle, WA 98102

To learn more about the Coalition, the plan for SR520, why you should care, list of potential damages to nearby neighborhoods, historic areas and buildings, businesses that have to close, a list of representatives from other neighborhoods and groups, list of politicaions to contact and other information go here.

Or you can contact Colleen  at 206-525-0219 or by email at

No comments: