Seattle and the State of Washington are going to have another of their periodic SR520 workgroup meetings tomorrow:

A team of representatives from the state, city of Seattle and transit agencies will meet again to discuss design refinements for the new State Route 520 at a workgroup meeting Aug. 19. The public and the media are welcome to attend…

Thursday, Aug. 19

Location: Puget Sound Regional Council Board Room, 1011 Western Ave., Suite 500, Seattle

Time: 3 – 5 p.m. technical presentation to the workgroup (includes public comment)

5 – 6:30 p.m. public information session

Several topics will be discussed, including:

  • Bicycle and pedestrian connections.
  • Traffic movements and operations.
  • Bus stop locations and connections.
  • Traffic calming and management in the Washington Park Arboretum.

The workgroup will accept public comments at the end of their meeting.

Recommendations come out October 1st. I’m most interested in there being transit or HOV lanes from the interchange to Husky Stadium, though much of our readership will be more fired up about the Montlake Flyer Stop.

35 Replies to “SR520 Meeting Tomorrow”

  1. Why couldn’t Sound Transit propose a second light-rail line across Lk. Washington so that there would be light-rail tracks on that brdige the day it opened? The line woulf start in Ballard and run through Freemont with a transfer to the Centl. Link at UW-Station before crossing on SR520 through Bellevue and terminating in Issaquah.

    Those bleepin’ politicians just screwed this city up. We need a light-rail network (like Vancouver and Portland’s system) right now.

    1. – No taxing authority

      – No preparation of public or elite opinion for this possibility

      – No study or planning of this alternative

    2. Also, it was not the politicians but the voters that screwed this city up when they voted down Forward Thrust in 1970. We would have had something like ST2 in 1985 and would probably have a ton more by now.

      1. What kind of system would Forward Thrust have built? Heavy rail? Where would it have gone?

      2. Forward Thrust would have been getting $$ from federal urban renewal funds. The CD station was part of a much larger plan that would have pretty much destroyed much of the CD as we know it, much as the Market’s future would have been drastically different with “urban renewal”.

        I too wish Forward Thrust had passed, but as a CD resident I’m grateful that particular station wasn’t built. Even knowing we’re getting left out of the rail transit loop for the foreseeable future.

      3. If that’s true, I don’t doubt that the C.D. dodged a bullet.

        But do you know what form the urban renewal was supposed to take? Most urban renewal of that era managed to obliterate so-called “blighted” high-density tenement areas in favor of high-rises — areas that would now be considered ideal city.

        Lower-density single-family slums like the C.D., on the other hand, tended to be left to rot Detroit-style, if only because there was no way they could conceive of rebuilding such a large area in a different way.

        If the “renewal” was just going to be for the area immediately around a station at 23rd & Union… well, look at 23rd & Union right now. There’s not much that would have been destroyed.

      4. Even the Forward Thrust plan included a station near the current South Bellevue P&R. Imagine that!

      5. That was back when “swamps” could be filled in to create something of higher value, like oh say a parking lot. ST is still stuck in the past.

    3. It’d be great, but while across the bridge itself it wouldn’t be all that expensive (if you’re already building a new bridge, I don’t think it’s that much extra to lay tracks and put in overhead wires), they would still have to find some money for the extra pontoons for the bridge to handle the weight. More importantly, the segment from the west end of the bridge to Ballard, while a great idea, would cost billions of dollars, and connecting it on the east end to East Link at Downtown Bellevue would also be in the hundreds of millions, if not over a billion, and the Issaquah extension would cost probably in the billions. So while I think it’s a good idea for a line, it will take a very long time before we can get enough taxing authority together to build it, and there are other extensions that should be built first (Everett, Tacoma, Westside, 405, etc)

  2. I’m most interested in there being transit or HOV lanes from the interchange to Husky Stadium, though much of our readership will be more fired up about the Montlake Flyer Stop.

    We need both. The HOV lanes are easy and cheap. Paint diamonds (3+) in the curb lane from 520 to the UW Montlake Lot entrance. The interchange could accommodate the Fly Stop, provide direct HOV access, be done for far less that the current alternatives and have a smaller footprint. As a bonus, you move more people per hour and reduce congestion at the Pacific Street triangle, the biggest boondoggle in the entire Montlake area.

    1. Thoughts?

      Neither ST or WSDOT have the budget to add fancy extras such as “lids” in today’s environment.

      My main concern at the new Montlake intersection is that there is grade-separated access from the campus to the light rail station. I think the land bridge option is unaffordable and the tunnel option would likely have safety concerns (unless it’s fully integrated with the mezzanine of the Link station). From a budget standpoint, it seems to me that the original ST plan is really the best.

  3. In previous threads much discussion ensued about route truncation – how, when, and why. I pointed out the difficult decision of truncating routes like the 101 or 150 at Link/Henderson St, while Oran (and I agree) that in the case of 520 to Seattle CBD routes probably pencil out in favor of truncation at Husky Stadium.
    Martin frames this discussion of the Montlake interchange as one or the other, while Bernie thinks both are possible.
    It seems to me the decision of what to do is based more upon what’s best for transit and riders alike, (to truncate or not), then design the interchange to best accommodate that decision. Of course it’s a chicken-egg thing once you enhance one over the other, but you get the idea.
    I think making it easy to get buses to U-Link for a faster overall trip to the CBD eliminates the need for flyer stops, while freeing up a ton of bus hours to balance future Metro budgets or add service elsewhere.

    1. The bus/Link interface at Husky Stadium is completely under-designed for that station to serve as a truncation point for Redmond/Kirkland to downtown Seattle service.

      The bus stops are along NE Pacific Street, in front of University Hospital. The Eastbound tranfer will require crossing both Pacific Street and Montlake Blvd. The University District is congested enough that buses cannot be very reliable. The bus then has to cross the open-able Montlake bridge before entering 520.

      If truncation of the routes were the plan, then the HOV ramps should bring buses to a stop in the Husky stadium lot requiring no street crossings to transfer. I think the new second bridge is planned to be on the east of the existing one, so it would be possible to have 2 dedicated bus lanes on the far east making a stop there and then configuring the Montlake/Pacific interchange such that buses continue onto Pacific St – however, I have not seen this in any such plans.

      If the existing design is used to truncate routes, it will make transit to downtown less attractive than the status quo today.

      1. I surely think that truncation of East side routes at U-Link is the current plan. Where the bus drops off, picks up, turns back, and lays-over, is not know by me, but surely someone has this all worked out by now in infinite detail, else why would Metro give up the flyer stops so easily?
        ST ridership models probably assume truncation to get to their projected boarding levels for that station as well.
        I suspect all this was agreed upon years ago, and this is just window dressing to discuss these issues.

  4. Martin, I feel spoken to…

    I do feel that retention of the Montlake Flyer stop is important for the functioning of the 520 corridor as a transit corridor – particularly during the off-peak periods:

    A simple, all-day, high-frequency system should have a transfer point at Montlake allowing transfers between Seattle-Redmond (545) and Seattle-Kirkland (255) service and CD-Greenlake (48) and Capitol Hill-UW-Wallingford (43) service at Montlake

    Transfers make the network work better and serve more people

    It isn’t the plan and can’t be done efficiently to have night and weekend service from Kirkland and Redmond to the U-District.

    So keep the Montlake Freeway station. The Montlake HOV improvements, while certainly desirable, only serve the peak period needs, and not the all-day needs, and both are needed.

    1. You’re not the only one, but yeah…

      I don’t dispute it’s a nice to have, but I really think that diversion of resources from downtown to the U-District, with a transfer to U-Link, will get the job done without a whole lot of cost. In my world, the 545 and 255 would become peak-only with the hours going to the 542 and something like the 540.

      However, stuff like a transit lane, sensibly placed stops at the HOV ramps to connect with the 48 and 43, and a good bus terminal at Husky Stadium are absolutely critical to this kind of thing working.

      1. Then the Link station should have been built adjacent to 520, not at Husky stadium – it could have still served Husky stadium.

        Anyway, none of the plans that I have seen for the Montlake/Pacific triangle area provide for a bus transfer facilit. They are currently doing a design charrette for that, and no one has made the bus transfer a priority. So, either the transit agencies are not considering such a truncation, or they are afraid to mention it.

        Such a truncation would work IF the transfer is efficient and there are adequate HOV lanes to make the service reliable. I haven’t seen evidence of either.

      2. That’s too far from the main campus, UW Medical Center and Husky Stadium.

        The current proposal does have HOV lanes from 520, across the Montlake bridges up to the Pacific intersection. The bus transfer arrangement and projected future service is nowhere to be seen.

      3. Given that the rebuilt 520 bridge is being promoted by its proponents as a BRT-corridor, it would be nice if more design and engineering resources, and construction money, were being applied toward its function for bus transit.

        In addition to being appalled at removal of the Flyer Stations, I don’t think the HOV lanes on 24th/Montlake have been well engineered. I think there will be four traffic lights (end of ramps, Shelby, Hamlin, and Pacific), left turns, and little thought to placement of bus stops. It just doesn’t seem the design and engineering is being done for it to function well at the Montlake interface.

        The Eastside piece and center bridge lanes seem fine.

        One more thing about truncation – they are building a ramp to the I-5 Express lanes from the HOV lane. That doesn’t sound like the plan is for truncation. (Of course the Express lane entrance to the downtown transit tunnel won’t be used when the tunnel converts to rail only.) Again, it doesn’t seem like anyone representing transit has thought enough about it. Maybe ST has their hands full and it is not a priority for them, and MT is worrying service cutbacks and considers this a regional (ST) issue…

      4. At the 520 workgroup meeting:

        It apppears that there will not be any HOV lanes on Montlake Blvd. the drawings show all GP lanes.

        There is a signalized crosssing on the HOV ramps a couple hundred feet east of Montlake.

        The existing souththbound bus stop on Montlake Blvd serving 43, 48 etc is moved south to Roanoke, so that connection is made worse. it also does not look like there are good pedestrians connections for that transfer.

      5. the signalized intersection on the off-ramp is not just for pedestrians. it will allow GP autos to turn across the HOV ramps to access Lake Wash Blvd by crossing the lid here.

    2. Do you really insist on having 520 bus routes split, with some heading to UW and some headed downtown? I assume the flyer stop exists to enable that.

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