Today, the Seattle City Council released an 87-page report, authored by consultants, on ways to mitigate the negative impacts of a 520 bridge replacement, which focuses on reducing the footprint of the freeway interchange in Montlake, increasing bicycle and pedestrian access around the interchange, and mitigating traffic through the arboretum.
I touched on the report summary earlier this week. I have yet to delve into this big one in detail—it's 87 pages, after all—but you can start reading it now (large .pdf). I'll have more to say about it next week.
The report outlines some options that are more viable than others. For instance, one design that's off the table would create a freeway exit from Montlake over to the future light-rail station at Husky Stadium. The state studied that option, but it exceeded the budget for the project overall. However, the more realistic options don't address the fundamental problems with the bridge—increasing vehicle capacity by 50 percent without accommodating dedicated transit lanes or light rail—but make minor tweaks.
"It’s not a game changer," says City Council Member Sally Clark. "It does what we said we would do: Stay on time and try to make it better."
Two options that the city council is reportedly examining seriously are represented in the diagrams below (that said, nothing in the report is binding). Here are the graphics:
Consultants from Nelson\Nygaard Consulting Associates will brief the council on Monday, April 5 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at City Hall in the City Council Chambers. The council will hold a public hearing at the same location on Thursday, April 8, beginning at 5:30 p.m.
In addition, Mayor Mike McGinn will release his own report on Tuesday that examines ways the bridge could include light rail. That should be interesting: None of the options the state studied have integrated light rail into the design. But such a design process now, many predict, would delay replacing the dilapidated span and require money the region doesn't have.