The new SR-520 will serve as a barrier to people trying to walk and bike from the Montlake area and neighborhoods further south to the University of Washington and the new University Link station. As currently designed, the project will essentially destroy the walkshed and bikeshed south of the Montlake Bridge.
Over the summer, WSDOT has (in good faith) attempted to make tweaks to the plans to better incorporate walking and biking, but the plans still fall short of acceptable levels of service. Simply put, the new SR-520 will make things worse.
The solution: WSDOT and SDOT must work together to refine the plans (which are still actually in a fairly conceptual stage) before the legislature funds a multi-billion dollar budget that fails to connect people who walk and bike to places they need to be such as the UW, transit stations, schools, parks, workplaces, and other parts of the City.
The map below illustrates where Neighborhood Greenway groups forsee family-friendly biking and walking corridors in the near future. It is worth noting that, with the exception of the trans Lake Washington trail, the WSDOT project area currently acts as a barrier to interconnecting this system, and thereby preventing folks from getting to the UW and the University Link. If done properly, the project could operate as a world class hub interconnecting all users to where they need to go! Let’s look as these failings in further detail.