Yesterday, The Seattle Times reported that “the ramps to nowhere” are going away. The unofficial public swimming infrastructure is making way for a new Highway 520 floating bridge. That project has caught the attention of neighbors in Montlake, Madison Park, Laurelhurst, and Capitol Hill who have come together to ask for the replacement project to help reconnect their neighborhoods and “make it safe, comfortable, and convenient for everyone, from an 8-year-old child to his 80-year-old grandmother, to bike and walk” in their neighborhood.
The Cascade Bicycle Club reports overwhelming community support. Nearly 1,200 people wrote the Seattle City Council telling them to “get SR 520 right!” The groundswell has catalyzed a City Council resolution calling for the city to work with WSDOT to improve walking and biking connections in Montlake and to figure out how to build a shared use trail on the new Portage Bay Bridge.
Here is an image of the impact to the Portage Bay Bridge footprint if a few feet were added on each side for non-motorized options:
But wait, it gets better. Councilmember Conlin has introduced an amendment to help ensure the biking and walking improvements work for people of all ages and abilities. This means they’ll build protected bike lanes and neighborhood greenways instead of just slapping some paint on the road and calling it good.
For more information about this effort and how you can lend your voice to the call for new non-motorized connections between neighborhoods, check out the Cascade Bicycle Club or Central Seattle Greenways.
I have great summer memories of leaping off the Arboretum’s unfinished freeways. I always marveled at the seemingly limitless appetite of road builders. Let’s hope the city and state jump right into the work of planning other ways for us to get around, building a future of vibrant urbanism that’s less dependent on private automobile ownership and use.
Nate was born and raised at the intersection of Seattle’s Central District and Capitol Hill neighborhoods. He earned his BA in History from Western Washington University but it was a summer in New York City that sparked a passion for urban planning, livability, development and transportation issues. He volunteered with the Downtown Renaissance Network in Bellingham and Futurewise (back when it was still 1000 Friends of Washington) in Seattle. He has worked for Downtown Seattle’s Metropolitan Improvement District (MID), the Seattle Monorail Project and since 2004, as a consultant for housing and health care non-profits, mortgage and commercial real estate companies, hospitality and aviation brands as well as government and consumer technology businesses. He is a former member of the Uptown Alliance where he briefly served as the Co-Chair of the Transportation Committee (in reality, more of an understudy to D. John Coney). An employee of Great City Nate is also a former board member and one of the organizations earliest volunteers. He has also served on the executive committee of the Leschi Community Council. He is a cycle commuter, occasional bus rider and resident of Eastlake.