The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) is seeking public comments on its recently released SR 520 Westside Design Report, which includes recommendations related to bicycle and pedestrian connections throughout the Seattle-side of the SR 520 project.
Over the past year, WSDOT has been working with the public and stakeholders to refine key elements of the SR 520 corridor, and today at 10:30 a.m. in Council Chambers at City Hall, the Seattle City Council was briefed on the results of this process. Ultimately, the City Council will make recommendations to WSDOT specific to the proposed designs and connections.
With critical connections – like a bicycle and pedestrian trail along the Portage Bay Bridge – still up for discussion, we need your voices to ensure that the State and City move forward with designs for SR 520 and nearby neighborhoods that reflect a future where people of all ages and abilities can safely and efficiently travel by bike and foot.
Comments on the Draft Design Report will be accepted until Friday, Oct. 5. We strongly encourage you to take the time to submit comments by:
- Filling out the State’s online survey (read below for our recommendations on filling in the survey)
- Submitting an email with your comments to: SeattleCommunityDesign@wsdot.wa.gov
I’ve written about the SR 520 project and Cascade’s recommendations in the past (here and here); however, I thought it would be helpful to summarize our recommendations related to bicycle connectivity for purposes of filling out the State’s (rather intimidating) online public input survey, or to submit your public comments by e-mail.
Because we have a rather lengthy list of recommendations, we want to call attention to our primary recommendation at this point in the State’s process: ensuring that a 14-foot bicycle and pedestrian trail is integrated within the Portage Bay Bridge design. This connection is not currently in the Baseline Design and yet has the potential to serve thousands of people wanting to bicycle and walk to destinations across Seattle and the Eastside.
The survey is divided into the following focus areas: Roanoke Area, Portage Bay Bridge, Montlake Area, West Approach Bridge, and finally, Bicycle and Pedestrian Connections. We will focus on Roanoke Area, Portage Bay Bridge, Montlake Area, and Bicycle and Pedestrian Connections.
Roanoke Area: For the Roanoke Area, we have the following recommendations, many of which are identified in the survey:
- Provide a separated bicycle and pedestrian facility across I-5 with intuitive connections to Harvard Ave E, 10th Ave E, the 10th and Delmar lidded area, and ultimately a new Portage Bay Bridge Trail.
- Design key intersections along the Roanoke corridor to facilitate safe transitions for bicyclists and pedestrians, specifically 10th and Roanoke, Roanoke and Harvard Ave E, and Boylston and Roanoke St. Specific to the survey, we support the proposal to improve the “T” intersection design at 10th Ave E and Delmar Dr E.
- Provide bicycle and pedestrian shared-use trails across the 10th and Delmar Lid, including a non-motorized connection to Federal Ave E.
- Ensure seamless, comfortable and convenient connections between the new Portage Bay Bridge Trail, Delmar Dr E, Interlaken, the 10th and Delmar Lid, 10th Ave E, and the new bicycle connections along E Roanoke St.
- Upgrade existing bicycle corridors – such as Delmar Dr E – to provide a safe and comfortable experience for people bicycling.
Portage Bay Bridge: Our primary recommendation for the Portage Bay Bridge is to integrate a 14-foot bicycle and pedestrian trail with safe and convenient access at both ends. This is reflected in “Preference 8” in the online survey.
Montlake Area: Our primary recommendations for the Montlake Area, many of which are identified in the survey, include:
- Montlake Blvd E: Improve bicycle and pedestrian access on the east and west sides of Montlake Blvd E – specifically, evaluate the application of separated bicycle facilities to meet the existing and future demand for bicycling along this corridor.
- Canal Reserve: Lower the westbound off-ramps under 24th Ave E to improve the bicycle and pedestrian experience along 24th Ave E.
- East Montlake Park: Provide only bicycle and pedestrian access to East Montlake Park from 24th Avenue East.
- 24th Ave E: Include separated bicycle facilities (possibly bi-directional) along 24th Ave E to retain a high-quality bicycle connection across SR 520, providing access to the new SR 520 trail, the Montlake neighborhood, and points north of SR 520.
- Montlake Lid: promote bicycling across the Lid through connected trails, wayfinding, and state-of-the-art bicycle parking and amenities.
Bicycle and Pedestrian Connections: We’ve articulated our main recommendations above, but if you’re filling out the survey, we’d suggest reiterating the importance of (1) providing a 14-foot shared-use trail along the future Portage Bay Bridge and (2) designing all bicycle connections to meet future demand and encourage use by people of all ages and abilities.
We appreciate your continued involvement in this process! If you have any questions when filling out the survey or drafting public comments, please post a comment below.