Montlake prepares for years of new 520 construction, life without market

WSDOT’s “artistic rendering of the transit hub on a planned SR 520 highway lid in Montlake.”

The Montlake Market won’t stand in the way of progress to complete the replacement of SR 520. The state has agreed to acquire the property for $16 million as it prepares for the start of construction on the “Montlake Project” to create an improved Montlake Boulevard interchange, a landscaped lid over SR 520, a bicycle and pedestrian “land bridge” east of the lid, and a three-lane West Approach Bridge South over Union Bay for eastbound traffic.

Thursday night, WSDOT will hold a pre-construction open house hosted by the SR 520 project’s contractor from 5:30 to 7:30 PM at at St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church. The meeting will cover the latest project designs, construction schedule, and management plan for limiting construction effects in Montlake.

But the fate of the market destined to make way for the project became much more clear with the $16 million deal. Continue reading

State Rep. Macri calls for WSDOT to keep Montlake Market open — for now

State Rep. Nicole Macri has responded to survey results that show some Montlake residents — and their supporters across Seattle — would do pretty much anything to save the Montlake Market from being torn down and eliminated during construction of new SR-520 improvements through the area.

Macri announced a new limitation on 520 construction spending in the House transportation budget that requires WSDOT to “work with the Montlake Market to keep it open through the year.” Continue reading

Should the state spend $20M more to save the Montlake Market?

Some Montlake neighbors are calling on the Washington State Department of Transportation to add some 45 days and $20 million of construction to a key SR-520 project in order to save the neighborhood’s grocery and quick stop market.

Thursday is the final day of an online survey process WSDOT is using to gauge public interest in three main possible scenarios — preserve the Montlake Market but close it during construction, preserve the market and allow the store to continue operating through construction, or tear it all down. You can take the WSDOT survey here through 5 PM Thursday. Continue reading

WSDOT to present Montlake Market ‘preservation options’

Washington Department of Transportation officials are holding a public meeting Wednesday to discuss its $455.3 million “520 Montlake Project” and community calls for solutions to save the much-loved Montlake Market.

CHS reported in October on the higher construction bid for the project to create an improved Montlake Boulevard interchange, a landscaped lid over SR 520, a bicycle and pedestrian “land bridge” east of the lid, and a three-lane West Approach Bridge South over Union Bay for eastbound traffic.

Construction is slated to start in early 2019 start and the work could wrap up as early as 2023. Continue reading

Seattle Parks ready to cut ribbon on new Interlaken staircase and bike runnel

Seattle has found it a major challenge to create much of its planned bike infrastructure but one important new feature for riders headed for Capitol Hill via Interlaken Blvd will be celebrated with a ribbon cutting Saturday.

The celebration for the newly completed Interlaken Park Path and Stair Upgrade will begin this Saturday at 9:30 AM (PDF) at the corner of Boyer and Howe. Continue reading

With $455.3M construction bid, 520 ‘Montlake Project’ set for 2019 start

The Washington Department of Transportation has selected the contractor and says construction is set to begin in early 2019 on its Montlake Project, the next phase in completing the replacement of SR 520.

WSDOT announced Wednesday that Graham Contracting Ltd. submitted the top proposal, a $455.3 million contract for construction of an improved Montlake Boulevard interchange, a landscaped lid over SR 520, a bicycle and pedestrian “land bridge” east of the lid, and a three-lane West Approach Bridge South over Union Bay for eastbound traffic. Continue reading

50 years ago, the Seattle Freeway Revolt kept the Central District from being ripped apart

Seattle ARCH (Activists Remembered, Celebrated, and Honored) has plans for a “Ramps to Nowhere” memorial (Image: Seattle ARCH)

(Image: Seattle ARCH)

Priscilla Arsove remembers sitting in her family’s living room as her father called hundreds of volunteers and city officials throughout the evening on their house’s single landline telephone to stop freeway projects that he saw as troubling throughout Seattle. Now, she’s working to maintain that legacy as the work of her father and hundreds of others celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.

On Sunday September 23, a 50th anniversary celebration of their work will be held at the Central Area Senior Center.

Maynard Arsove was pushed to action by the construction of I-5 which effectively separated Capitol Hill and First Hill from downtown.

The “Freeway Revolt” began in 1960 when voters approved the Bay Freeway, which was set to be a link between I-5 and Seattle Center, and bonds to fund the R.H. Thomson Expressway, a 15-mile roadway that would have stretched from Duwamish to Bothell, thus setting in motion the creation of a transportation system that would have a greater freeway density than Los Angeles.

The R.H. Thomson Expressway would have destroyed up to 3,000 homes and displaced as many as 8,000 people. The Bay Freeway would have walled off South Lake Union from the rest of the city. These possibilities fostered a public outcry that resulted in a public outcry from affected residents which saw the citizens suing the city two years later. Widely-attended public hearings on the future of transportation in Seattle ensued before Citizens Against the RH Thomson (CARHT) and Citizens Against Freeways (CAF) formed in 1968.

“An arrogant disregard for the needs and the interests of the people that lived in the area,” Anna Rudd, a former anti-freeway activist, said of the city’s plan. Continue reading

Department of Ecology taking comment on Montlake ‘Circle K’ cleanup plan

The Washington Department of Ecology is taking public comment on the plan to clean up contaminated soil and groundwater below the site of a former Montlake gas station.

The Circle K cleanup plan would include a two-phase process starting in the summer of 2019 including “injections of oxygen-releasing chemicals to oxidize contaminated groundwater and “ground water and soil vapor extraction,” the announcement from the state reads. Continue reading

23rd Ave road diet continues with year-long south project ready to dig in, bus-only lane cut from Montlake plans

23rd Ave south of Jackson

The process to overhaul 23rd Ave from one end to the other between 520 and I-90 is preparing for the next stages as construction is prepared to begin next month in the southern stretch of the corridor while a big change is being made to the plans in the north.

Wednesday night, the Seattle Department of Transportation will hold a “pre-construction open house” for the southern Phase 2 of the 23rd Ave Vision Zero project:

Phase 2 construction will happen along 23rd Ave S between S Jackson St to Rainier Ave S. While we don’t yet know an exact start date, we anticipate Phase 2 construction beginning as soon as May 2018 and lasting approximately one year. We will share more details about the construction schedule and phasing once the contractor is on board.

Wednesday’s meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, April 18 from 6:30 to 8:30 PM at Thurgood Marshall Elementary School, 2401 S Irving.

This summer, SDOT will also dig in for a few weeks on slimming down the 24th Ave E end of the corridor through Montlake. But a big component of the plan has been dropped:

In another unfortunate setback for Vision Zero and the Move Seattle Levy, SDOT has elected to remove the dedicated bus lane planned for 24th Avenue to give more space to cars. 23rd/24th Avenue, home to the 43 and 48 routes and used by over 6,000 bus riders daily, is one of Seattle’s supposed “transit priority corridors” (a phrase that grows ever more meaningless), slated for RapidRide buses in 2024.

“The 2015 Transit Master Plan called for bus lanes from Thomas St. to Roanoke St., almost all the way to the Montlake bridge,” the Seattle Transit Blog reports. “As the plan has evolved, neighborhood opposition has increased and the bus lanes have been walked back, until this month, when they were scrapped entirely.” Continue reading

With plan to start construction later in 2018, WSDOT ready to talk ‘Rest of the West’ plans including new Montlake lid

A new Montlake lid and interchange… A new pedestrian and bicycle land bridge over SR 520… A new West Approach Bridge South to carry eastbound traffic from Montlake to the floating bridge… New transit/HOV ramps to and from the Montlake lid… WSDOT will visit Montlake Tuesday night for an open house before construction begins later this year on the first phase of the “Rest of the West” final portion of the 520 replacement project.

“SR 520 staff and partner agencies will be available during the open house to discuss what’s coming up and answer your questions,” WDOT promises. Continue reading