We need as many people as possible to be at the meeting this Tuesday, 9/24 at 12:00 noon at City Hall. The Seattle City Council is expected to vote on the poorly designed and unnecessary second Montlake bridge. Email Mayor Durkan (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Dist. 3 CM Kshama Sawant (Kshama.Sawant@seattle.gov ) today. The second bridge will further congest Montlake Blvd. and ignores the historic nature of the Montlake area. The second bridge WSDOT proposes takes away from the Olmsted design and ignores how the (Montlake) bridge and the Montlake Cut together are a City of Seattle Designated Landmark (ID #107995),. The historic Montlake bridge was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1982, as well as the Washington Heritage Register. Tell the Mayor and CM Sawant to just say NO to the second Montlake Bridge.
Seattle City Councilmember Abel Pacheco introduced resolution 31904 on Sept. 9, which is currently under consideration by the city’s Planning, Land Use and Zoning Committee. The resolution makes recommendations for the future configuration of a second Montlake bascule bridge. The bridge was included in WSDOT’s 2011 Record of Decision and funded in the 2015 Connecting Washington transportation legislation. The city’s new resolution would supersede previous city resolutions and states in part that “…the City supports the development of a second Montlake bascule bridge to increase capacity for transit and high-occupancy vehicles, pedestrians, and bicyclists across the Montlake Cut, while maintaining the existing number of general-purpose lanes.”
For additional details, you can read the city’s draft resolution, or watch a video of Council discussion at a Sept. 11 committee meeting. The discussion about the second bascule bridge begins at 1:06:10 in the video. The committee will discuss and possibly vote on the resolution at its meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 24 at noon. The agenda is posted if you are interested in participating.
Lynne Jones says
I commute through the bridge every day with my two children in my box bike. My bike is large, but it serves me as my all-around transportation – it’s still a lot smaller than a car and only about the same width as a double stroller. I would love to be separated from pedestrians, on a separate bike path. I try to be very polite going through the bridge – I do ring my bell to alert pedestrians, I travel slowly, and I wait until there is no opposing direction traffic (bike or pedestrian) to pass the bridge supports. However, even now, and certainly with the increases in bike and pedestrian traffic that are likely (I hope!) over the next few years – there is not enough room for everyone to be safe and comfortable on the bridge sidewalks as they are currently. To encourage more people to get out of their cars, we need safer bike and pedestrian infrastructure, and the infrastructure has to be practical to use. A 15mph limit on a bike path is reasonable, but 5mph is not.
One of the options on the 520 project website (https://www.wsdot.wa.gov/sites/default/files/2015/01/15/SR520-Report-Chapter3WestSideFinalConceptDesign042014.pdf, page #24) suggests that another possible option other than a second bridge might be:
“Widening the west side to 10 feet and the east side of the street to
a 14-foot-wide cycle track and an 8-foot-wide sidewalk to separate
cyclists and pedestrians.” While I would LOVE a second bridge with a 20+ foot wide multi-modal space dedicated to bikers and pedestrians, this seems like it could be a good alternative as well.
I thought the original idea for the second bridge was to enhance the lid with a pedestrian/bike only bridge. I also don’t think the bridge is what is holding up traffic – it is 2 lanes just like the roads leading to it. It’s the bad design of the freeway interchange. $ Should go to promoting transit (and re establishing bus connection to SLU)
John O’Neil says
And my last post before I retire:
There are are three issues that solidify the fact that we do not need a second Montlake Bridge: Urban planning and design, Bike/ped safety and traffic. The three are directly related to each other.
To spend p$60, $80 maybe $120 million, your choices need to be based on the facts. The previous Resolutions were based on fact. The proposed Resolution is not.
To quote others, “Nelson/Nygaard, a transportation planning firm studying this issue, stated that a second bridge might have such little effect on traffic, that it would be a waste of money. There are far more cost-effective options should be tried first. (summarized at https://www.seattlepi.com/local/transportation/article/Consultant-Don-t-build-a-second-Montlake-Bridge-3854667.php#item-85307-tbla-2). Among the modest and cost-effective improvements to ease traffic for both cars and transit that should be tried first including queue jumps — lanes that enable buses to bypass traffic at intersections – and automatic green lights for buses that run through the corridor. And that was from 2012. With the opening of the University District and Roosevelt light rail stations, it is possible that some of the automobile traffic across the Montlake Bridge will decrease in the coming years.”
We don’t know the positive affects will be with the Express Lane Flyover from 520. And what will self-driving cars do to traffic in the future?
No one has addressed the fact that the WSDOT design forces west side pedestrian and bikers to stay on the west side of the bridge. So basically 1/3 (maybe more) of the pedestrian and bikers will never get to use the second bridge unless they want to cross Montlake at Shelby and grow old waiting for the light to change. Or go through six lights to cross Montlake at Lake Washington Blvd.
As someone who rode across the bridge twice yesterday, we really don’t need the second bridge.
Please send a no vote to email@example.com, and in particular firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, and others.
John O’Neil says
The Seattle City Council provided a comment letter to WSDOT on the SDEIS that included one comment specific to the second Montlake Bridge which reads, in part:
“… Phase the decision on construction of the proposed second bascule bridge at Montlake Boulevard and test measures that may eliminate the need for construction. Require that the bridge be designed to provide priority for transit, pedestrian, and bicycle traffic if it is constructed.
We continue to have reservations about the potential construction of a second bascule bridge across the Montlake Cut at Montlake Boulevard. Building a parallel bascule bridge at Montlake will likely necessitate the removal of two residential properties and further divide the Shelby-Hamlin neighborhood, which is already bisected by a 4-lane Montlake Boulevard that is traveled by more than 50,000 vehicles each day….”
John O’Neil says
Another portion of the 2012 PI story concerning the Seattle City Council position that created the original Resolutions:
“But many residents hate the idea of a second bridge, and the City Council is wary, because it would require demolishing two homes and alter views of the current bridge, which is a historical landmark.”
“After reviewing the technical details in the report, I’ ve determined that it’s unlikely a second bridge would deliver the benefits that would justify its costs and impacts on the neighborhood,” Councilmember Richard Conlin said during a meeting of the special committee on the 520 project.
Conlin said he would direct council staff to prepare a resolution recommending the state hold off on a second bridge.
Payne said he’d recommend re-investing money for the second drawbridge into other parts of the project.
“”The bottom line is putting a second bridge in today would have a very low benefit for transit in terms of solving the transit reliability issues that occur in that corridor,” said Tim Payne, who heads Seattle’s office of Nelson/Nygaard Consulting Associates
John O’Neil says
Incremental changes to the physical areas around the bridge can make a huge difference in enhancing safety and the feeling of being safe for bikers and pedestrians:
1. Fix the sidewalks and curb cuts at each end of the Bridge at Shelby – a friend fell at a crack in the sidewalk in front of the Surgery Pavilion, not at the bridge
2. Improve the lighting
3. Improve the crossing lights to be staggered like so many other places in the City
4. Redo the surface of the sidewalk and stripe it
5. Better signage and directional signage
But to make these changes, WSDOT and SDOT must do their job. I personally, do not know how to motivate WSDOT and SDOT to do their job.
There are common sense ideas as well:
A. Pedestrians have the right of way
B. Everyone, stay to the right
C. Think like there are always kids and strollers on the sidewalk
D. Wear a helmet
E. Wear bright clothes
F. Take off your headset and ear buds when crossing the bridge – when you can’t hear, you make it unsafe for others
G. Be very careful when taking pictures
H. Use your bell or voice when passing – let them know how many are in your group
I. Ride single file
J. Bike teams should stagger their starts so that no more than 7 people are on the bridge at the same time
K. Do not ride your bike 1 hour before and for 1 hour after a Husky game
L. Some of the e-bikes are massive – slow down to reduce the fear of others. When you panic, you move in the wrong direction.
M. 5 MPH should be the maximum speed – this includes bikes, electric scooters and the like and should be posted
N. Periodic safety patrols with fines for those who exceed 5 MPH
O. In a polite way, it might be good for some to take bike training classes
All the facts, thoughts and details won’t matter if you don’t send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, and in particular email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, and others. You need to send your email by tonight. Otherwise, be careful what you wish for.
The lack of details is huge. If nothing else, the vote should be delayed. Until all the details are on the table, no one can pass judgment. We just need to fix what we can fix right now.
Lucy Burkland says
I am not a biker, but I can appreciate the fact that pedestrian/bike space is too limited. That being said, I’m also not a fan of a second bridge.
Do we know what the plans look like? Could they add walkway space to the existing bridge?
John O’Neil says
I am going to post a couple thoughts as shorter pieces to keep the discussion going:
From the PI in 2012:
“… Nelson/Nygaard, a transportation planning firm, said Monday that a second bridge might have such little effect on traffic that it would be a waste of money, and that more cost-effective options should be tried first.
“The bottom line is putting a second bridge in today would have a very low benefit for transit in terms of solving the transit reliability issues that occur in that corridor,” said Tim Payne, who heads Seattle’s office of Nelson/Nygaard Consulting Associates.”
Can you share a link to the actual proposal?
Jean Amick says
The present one is too narrow for peddling and cyclists. It is unsafe.
Jean Amicj says
Meant unsafe for pedestrians and bikes
HANS KEHL says
As a very frequent user pedestrian and bike user of the Bridge with my 8 year old daughter, safety is also a paramount concern of mine. However, there are many, many solutions to the safety concerns around the current Bridge that *don’t* involve the expense, disruption, and additional congestion of an additional Bridge whilst preserving the historic and iconic nature of our current Bridge.
Elizabeth Sandvig -Spafford says
The Montlake bridge is the last bit of charm in Montlake . It was not designed to be a freeway. If you want extra roadway make it by 25th next to the University property which when it rains has many giant puddles and needs to be redone. The back up happens well away from the bridge. Seattle is becoming an ugly city just to hurry everyone to no where. The loss of the regular route of the 43 bus means many us drive more than we used to, because the 48 does not go to pill hill, nor even Capitol Hill. Leave the bridge alone.