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reminder - 2/9/05 general meeting - 7:30 Tudor Building

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  • K.L. Schubert
    I am extremely pleased to invite the community to attend the February 9th general meeting (7:30 p.m. in the Tudor Building at the community center) for the
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 8 5:04 PM
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      I am extremely pleased to invite the community to attend the February 9th
      general meeting (7:30 p.m. in the Tudor Building at the community center)
      for the first public presentation of an ALTERNATIVE PROPOSAL FOR THE SR 520
      SPAN OVER PORTAGE BAY AND MONTLAKE! Hopefully, all of you are aware that
      WSDOT plans on replacing the SR 520 floating bridge with a new floating
      bridge that will have either four or six lanes (more likely six!). The SR
      520 Project Team gave Power Point presentations at the November 2004 and
      January 2005 MCC general meetings, and for those of you who weren't able to
      make it, the news for Montlake residents and the region isn't so good. The
      span through Montlake will be nearly twice as wide as the current foot
      print, including 19 contiguous east-west lanes of highway and street traffic
      and seven contiguous lanes of north-south street traffic. There will be
      "sound walls" from eight to fourteen feet tall along the entire Montlake
      corridor. Notably, for our neighbors to the north in the University
      District and Laurelhurst, the Montlake bridge bottleneck will remain.
      Additionally, the Montlake corridor will be under construction for four
      years forcing commuters to use alternative routes, including
      already-at-capacity surface streets and I-90. Finally, assuming SR 520 is
      built as currently planned, there would be no connection to the light rail
      station at Husky Stadium. In short, the current plan is a disaster for
      Montlake and the region.

      Rather than just bemoan WSDOT's plans for Montlake, Rob Wilkinson, a
      Montlake resident and MCC board member, envisioned a different way for
      traffic to cross Portage Bay and Montlake. I believe that when you attend
      the February 9th community meeting and see his drawings for yourself, you
      will come to the conclusion I reached: Rob's vision is not just different,
      it's better - far better. Rob teamed up with Jonathan Dubman, Montlake's
      own traffic expert and the vice-president (and past president) of the MCC,
      to design a six-lane SUSPENSION BRIDGE that goes a long way in solving the
      transportation problems that the present SR 520 plans do not even address.
      Imagine a beautiful soaring signature bridge spanning from the I-5 exit high
      above Portage Bay and Montlake, traversing Foster Island and slowly
      descending to join the floating span east of Madison Park. Rob and Jonathan
      realized that the Montlake Bridge bottleneck and the connection to light
      rail could be solved in one design feature - a four-lane east and west bound
      exit and entrance at the southern portion of the Husky Stadium parking lot
      that connects over Foster Island to SR 520 via a second soaring bridge.
      They also have planned for an east bound entrance from and west bound exit
      to the arboretum (as presently exists).

      The benefits of a suspension or cable bridge for Montlake are obvious.
      Imagine reconnecting Shelby and Hamlin to the rest of Montlake! Imagine a
      greenbelt from the Montlake Playfields to Foster Island! Imagine a serene
      and scenic boulevard along the restored waterway that existed before the
      days of SR 520! Imagine how much more quiet Montlake would be when the
      highway is 100 to 120 feet overhead instead of at street level (at the
      January meeting, SR 520 project team members confirmed that even a 50-60
      foot road height of the planned span over Foster Island would dramatically
      reduce noise)!

      What makes Rob and Jonathan's plans even more likely to come to fruition is
      the benefits realized by others outside of Montlake. Our neighbors in North
      Capitol Hill and Portage Bay will have a beautiful bridge to look at (most
      will have an unobstructed view under it) rather than the current plans for a
      9 lane viaduct with 8 feet high sound walls! Think of the San Francisco
      residents who vie for a view of the Golden Gate Bridge and then think of the
      last time someone wanted to look at SR 520. A suspension bridge would also
      allow for the construction of an eastbound entrance at 10th Avenue by the
      proposed Roanoke Park lid, which could not be part of the present SR 520
      plans due to the grade of the Portage Bay viaduct. Our neighbors in the
      University District, Sand Point and Laurelhurst would no longer have to
      cross the Montlake Bridge (or wait for it to go back down) in order to get
      to SR 520. Instead, they would have a grade separated turn lane (i.e.,
      underground) with uninterrupted access to east and west bound SR 520!
      Finally, WSDOT could build the suspension bridge while SR 520 stays open!

      By now, hopefully you can see why I and everyone else who have heard about
      or seen the alternative proposal is so excited about this possibility. This
      is one community meeting that you will not want to miss! In fact,
      Councilmember Richard Conlin plans on attending to present his own thoughts
      about SR 520. I truly hope to see you there. Come early, we expect
      standing room only.

      P.S. Elections for the MCC board are in April with nominations due in March
      so if you're interested or know someone who is or should be, please contact
      me or any MCC board member to find out more!
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