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INTRODUCING “MONTLAKE NEIGHBORS FOR A BETTER 520”

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  • Kristine Forbes
    INTRODUCING “MONTLAKE NEIGHBORS FOR A BETTER 520” You may be aware that some residents of Hamlin-Shelby Streets have been vociferously communicating our
    Message 1 of 4 , Sep 18, 2002
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      INTRODUCING “MONTLAKE NEIGHBORS FOR A BETTER 520”

      You may be aware that some residents of Hamlin-Shelby Streets have been
      vociferously communicating our concerns and requests to various officials
      during the Trans-Lake Washington Project (TLWP) planning process. In order
      to make our effort a tangible success, we have now legally incorporated
      under the name “Montlake Neighbors for a Better 520.” This group is not
      officially related to the MCC, though we hope our efforts are at least
      complementary. The newly incorporated group includes those who are most
      directly impacted by 520—the “520 abutters” on Hamlin and Shelby Streets and
      part of Lake Washington Boulevard.

      WE STAND UNITED!
      The core purpose of our organization is to:

      1. Ensure that any SR 520 expansion improves, or at least does not degrade,
      street traffic and congestion on surface streets, neighborhood interchanges
      and downtown Seattle

      2. Defend the rights of property owners and neighborhood residents most
      directly affected by construction through Montlake

      3. Protect the wildlife habitats as well as the unique natural and built
      environments threatened by over-expansion of the SR 520 corridor

      We’ve have communicated consistently and intelligently to the TLWP a
      platform that includes the following 2 key points:
      1) The completed freeway be no more than six lanes and is contained within
      the current right-of-way
      2) That there be no additional crossing of the Montlake Cut beyond the
      existing historic Montlake Bridge.

      OUR CHALLENGE
      The plans favored by the TLWP pose a severe threat to both natural and built
      environments. Additionally, the TLWP is on record as saying the plans they
      are supporting will not improve commute time across the lake, and will add
      more traffic to our city streets, despite the fact that those streets, such
      as Montlake Blvd, are at or above capacity. Their goal is simple and, we
      believe, shortsighted: to get more cars across the 520 bridge at peak times.

      DISTURBING NEWS
      We are particularly discouraged by the recent Executive Committee vote. We
      are stunned that after having strenuously objected to plans that include an
      80-foot intrusion to the north, the TLWP’s “preferred alternative”
      contemplates an even larger intrusion of almost 130 feet, which would take
      out houses on Hamlin Street and impact most others. Beyond that, the plan
      includes expanding the Montlake Bridge to six lanes, destroying houses on
      both sides of Montlake Boulevard. Even the alternate plan that the TLWP is
      including in the EIS to pacify us does not meet our key goal of remaining in
      the existing right-of-way. They call it “pretty close”—we call it “try
      again.”

      We expect, and will lobby intensively, for the project design team to
      continue to look for ways to narrow the project boundaries and reduce
      neighborhood encroachments, such as staggering the bus platforms or using
      construction bypasses.

      WE’RE ORGANIZED!
      Given the timing of the planned Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and the
      planned regional vote for funding next spring, we have a critical window of
      opportunity—between now and the end of December-- in which to make a
      significant impact on the scope and direction of the project. Our goal is to
      influence the TLWP to include in the EIS, along with their “Preferred
      Option,” an option that we (Montlake, Seattle, TLWP) can all support. To
      date we have taken the following actions:
      · We have hired the preeminent environmental lawyer in the city to ensure we
      consider all of the possible legal approaches and to advise us on strategy.
      · We are in the process of hiring a traffic engineer to ensure our approach
      is technically sound.
      · We are beginning a fundraising effort to pay for these services. The “520
      abutters” will be hearing from us; other Montlake residents who would like
      to support our efforts can send checks to treasurer Riley Loftin at 2117 E.
      Shelby St.
      · We plan to provide regular updates regarding our organization’s plans and
      progress primarily via the email list we are compiling, with occasional
      flyers and neighborhood meetings as well. In order to stay informed of
      ongoing developments, please send your email address to krisf@... to
      get on our email distribution list.
      · The next board meeting is October 9. Please let any of the officers or
      board members know if there are special concerns/questions you would like us
      to address.

      Sincerely,


      Mabry De Buys, co-chair, 329-9792, mabryd@...
      John Sage, co-chair, 324-2422, john@...
      Jerry Bosch, VP, 324-5729, jerome_bosch@...
      Susan Woods, Secretary, 323-0583, sbdowoods@...
      Riley Loftin, Treasurer, 324-1926, loftinfamily@...

      Doug Forbes, Board Member—Strategy, dougf@...
      Don Stark, Board Member—Advocacy, starkd@...
      Roger Van Oosten, Board Member--Public Relations,
      roger.vanoosten@...
      Marilyn Dunn--Board Member—Fundraising, mbd@...
      Flicker Salogga--Board Member--Research and Advisory, dfss@...
      Kristine Forbes—Board Member—Advisory, krisf@...
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