SR-520 Design will discourage walking and biking to the UW and University Link

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.

 
Figure 1. Current or planned family-friendly bicycle and pedestrian routes (PDF version: Montlake Hub’s Missing Connections).

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tl;dr – 5 Minutes to Support the Portage Bay Bridge Multi-Use Trail!

This is the difference between the width of a bridge with and without the bike and pedestrian trail that we support. This is to scale.

Yesterday, we posted a monster post that went over the WSDOT’s 520 Online Survey with a fine-tooth comb. We know that that is a lot to go through, so we are offering today the “too long, didn’t read (tl;dr)” version of what we posted yesterday.

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30 Seconds to Support a Portage Bay Trail!

 

If you only have 30 seconds to spare please ask WSDOT to do two things (feel free to copy and past, but the strongest comments are those that reflect your own personal views, experience, and values):

  1. Please study, design, and build a Portage Bay Bridge multi-use trail. This trail would be an enormous asset to people who walk, bike, and simply enjoy recreating on trails. It would interconnect our neighborhoods, better connect the UW area to Capitol Hill, and serve as a critical regional link.
  2. Redesign the Montlake lid area to incorporate bicycle and pedestrian needs from the ground up. This area serves as a hub for multimodal and regional connections and must be designed to seamlessly, safely, efficiently, and comfortably create paths for people of all ages and abilities to travel to and form home, work, school, and businesses.

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We need your help – SR520 Portage Bay Bridge Trail

Is this post a little too long? Check out the shorter, easier to read version here and here

WSDOT needs to hear from us by this Friday – October 5th – about their proposed design preferences for the new SR-520 bridge design (click here for more information on these design preferences). Currently the design does not include a multi-use trail on the Portage Bay Bridge. The trail comes all the way from Redmond and then dead ends in Montlake rather than continuing to Capitol Hill and beyond.

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