According to the Seattle Times, UW is continuing to push for a more expensive Rainer Vista extension plan that will connect the university to a cross walk on Montlake which leads to the Husky Stadium light rail station.
UW officials are pushing for what they consider to be a more elegant idea. The university calls it the Rainier Vista extension, which would add $12 million in cost.
Instead of a skybridge, transit riders would use a new crosswalk on Montlake Boulevard, aided by a new, midblock traffic signal. State traffic engineers warn that change could worsen traffic on Montlake.
Riders could reach the campus via a new “land bridge” to be built over Northeast Pacific Place. The bridge would help create a visual connection with the UW’s Drumheller Fountain.
The transit board likely will consider the issue in May, according to project director Ron Endlich. The UW proposal is estimated to cost $18.8 million, of which the UW, Sound Transit and the city each were to contribute $4 million. The transit agency also would contribute $6.8 million “in savings” by not building the skybridge.
The university since has tried to trim those costs. In recent drawings for bidders, the “land bridge” has been slimmed to 35 feet wide instead of a 100-foot-wide version that was shown at a public forum Dec. 2.
The Seattle Times has a busy graphic showing what the plan would look like here (.pdf).
We spoke briefly about a similar plan in early December and later analyzed that plan’s safety and directness. We concluded that a similar plan is a slightly more direct walk for pedestrians than Sound Transit’s current design, but we don’t have any analysis of the plan that UW is proposing today. My base reaction is that whatever reasonable request the university makes, it should be considered.