Councilmember Richard Conlin
Councilmember Jan Drago
CONLIN: TOWARD A WORKABLE BRIDGE TO THE FUTURE
Council indicates that six-lane, transit-friendly, SR 520 bridge will be Seattle’s choice
SEATTLE – Today, the Council took an important step in the process of building a new State Route 520 bridge by narrowing Seattle’s preferred alternatives to two six-lane designs. Councilmember Richard Conlin says, “I’m very pleased that the Council and the Mayor are working together to make a decision on a design that can serve Seattle’s neighborhoods, the City’s environmental values, and regional mobility.”
At this afternoon’s Committee of the Whole SR 520, the Council indicated that it would advance either the base six-lane alternative or the Pacific Interchange six-lane alternative. Either version of the bridge would have four general-purpose lanes and two transit/HOV lanes. Councilmember Jan Drago, chair of the Transportation Committee, says, “The six-lane alternatives provide the only option for increased transit. That’s the only way to boost the number of people using the bridge without increasing the number of single-occupancy vehicles on our congested roads.”
The Council will continue to work with the Washington State Department of Transportation on resolving outstanding issues. The Council chose to keep the four-lane option as a backup if outstanding issues cannot be adequately addressed.
Councilmember Conlin noted that the six-lane alternatives have strong environmental benefits. “A new bridge will improve the water quality of Lake Washington, add bike lanes, and make better transit connections,” says Councilmember Conlin.
Both Councilmembers Conlin and Drago stressed the underlying safety issues. Councilmember Conlin says, “The 520 bridge is vulnerable to earthquakes, windstorms, and deterioration due to water damage.” Councilmember Drago adds, “Delay is the largest risk we face. It is not only dangerous, but it is also costly.”
The Council hopes to make a final decision on Seattle’s preferred alternative at its Full Council meeting on Monday, October 16, 2006. Seattle’s alternative will be sent on to the SR 520 Executive Committee, a regional advisory body that will make a recommendation of its own to Governor Christine Gregoire by the end of 2006. Both Councilmembers Conlin and Drago are members of the SR 520 Executive Committee.
Councilmember Conlin says, “Either six-lane design will do a great job of connecting Seattle and the Eastside. People from both sides of Lake Washington use the bridge equally to weave together the region. I’m proud of how our region’s leaders are working together to find consensus on a design that works for all of us.”