Wednesday, November 18, 2009

SR-520: Second Montlake Bridge Endorsed

A State legislative workgroup yesterday moved the SR-520 bridge replacement project a step closer by endorsing a six-lane solution (including two HOV lanes) and a wider Montlake approach, which will result in the construction of a second Montalke drawbridge (as shown above) if the plan is ultimately approved by the full legislature.

Although the vote was 10-2 in favor of the plan, known as "Option A," it was two Seattle representatives on the committee, including our own Rep. Jamie Pederson, who were opposed, according to the Seattle Times.

The replacement of the Evergreen Point floating bridge was discussed at the most recent meeting of the Madison Park Community Council, held earlier this week. As a result of that discussion I have to retract my earlier comments about the probable lack of impact on Madison Park of the new bridge. Those who have been paying closer attention to the project than I tell me that the design of the new, much taller bridge will almost certainly create what one critic called "an Alaksan Way Viaduct" profile all the way across the Lake. Additionally, a proposed noise-deadening wall on part of the north side of the bridge (to protect the sensibilities of Laurelhurst residents, apparently) will intensify the noise levels in Madison Park, in the opinion of some.

So the plan is much more controversial in Madison Park than I had believed. Unfortunately (and probably purposefully) there are no artist's conceptions on the State Department of Transportation's website showing what the new bridge will look like in profile.

The SR-520 legislative workgroup is sponsoring a townhall meeting next week: 6 pm on November 24 at the Center for Urban Horticulture (3501 NE 41st Street). The DOT website claims that the meeting agenda and related materials are available here, but as of this morning no such information had been posted to the site. I guess we're supposed to check back later.

[Graphics courtesy of the State Department of Transportation.]

UPDATE: KPLU today posted a report on its website stating that there is a coalition of Montlake and Madison Park neighbors who intend to fight the State's "Option A" plan for SR-520 expansion, but quotes no one other than a resident of Montlake. I am unaware of a concerted effort of Madison Park residents to oppose the plan.


  1. It seems that option A would do away with any onramps from the arboretum to the 520 directing all local traffic to montlake. This seems pretty bad for folks living in Madison park and madrona.

    The DOT website mentions that the increase in local congestion could be aleviated by the addition of local onramps for lake Washington boulevard but I have seen no mention of this anywhere else.

  2. Speaker Frank Chopp is vehemently opposed. I'd say that represents a fairly powerful coalition of residents. I'm an eastside resident of the Bridle Trails neighborhood. 520 is convenient access to Seattle. However, I always try to use transit when going into downtown or the UW because parking is expensive and traffic is nerve racking. I'd vote for HOV/transit only at Montlake from 7AM to 7PM and elimination of the ramps from the arboretum. I'm curious how residents of the afflicted (and I mean afflicted, not affected) neighborhoods feel about that option.


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