The state has the funds to build it but the Seattle City Council won’t — yet — back a resolution supporting a second bascule bridge connecting through the transit chokepoint between Montlake and light rail at Husky Stadium.
Tuesday afternoon, the council’s planning and land use committee took up the resolution brought by interim City Council member Abel Pacheco representing the University District and District 4 but no vote was cast. Chair Mike O’Brien wouldn’t second the vote, saying he “adamantly” opposed the resolution and disagreed with Pacheco that adding the bridge would help address the city’s climate goals.
Pacheco’s resolution calls for the city to reverse a previous resolution against a second drawbridge as part of WSDOT’s 520 replacement project:
Proposed Resolution 31904 acknowledges that there have been some significant developments in the SR520 Corridor since the City last weighed in on the second Montlake bridge. These developments include the opening of the University of Washington light rail station in March 2016. The station averages over 10,000 weekday boardings, and it serves as a transfer hub for King County Metro and Sound Transit bus service. The proposed resolution also notes the opening of the SR 520 bicycle trail in December 2017, which connects the University of Washington to the regional bicycle network.
“Considering these changed conditions, the proposed resolution would replace the City’s previous policy recommending against WSDOT building the second Montlake bridge with a position supporting WSDOT’s development of a second Montlake bascule bridge,” the resolution reads. “The proposed resolution would make it City policy to support the second Montlake bascule bridge in order to increase capacity for transit and high-occupancy vehicles, pedestrians, and bicyclists across the Montlake Cut, while maintaining the existing number of general-purpose lanes.”
The Montlake Community Club opposes the project. “The second bridge will further congest Montlake Blvd. and ignores the historic nature of the Montlake area,” the group writes. The club also maintains the addition would alter the original bridge’s Olmsted design and “ignores how the (Montlake) bridge and the Montlake Cut together are a City of Seattle Designated Landmark.”
There is not yet a final public design for a second bridge. The rendering on this post is from a decade ago during early planning for the lengthy, multi-phase 520 project.
As part of the resolution, the council would call on WSDOT to “establish opportunities for community and stakeholder outreach and input” and “explore opportunities to advance the project’s schedule such that it coincides with other SR 520 construction phases and reduces the overall disruption in the corridor.”
With only a few months left with the current City Council, it’s not clear what might come next for any further City Hall push for the WSDOT-financed project.
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