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Council News Release

4/4/2007  10:00:00 AM
CONTACTS: Sara Nelson, Conlin Office, (206) 684-8805

Councilmember Richard Conlin
Councilmember Jan Drago
Council President Nick Licata
Councilmember Tom Rasmussen

Councilmembers want a new bridge that promotes livable neighborhoods, transit connectivity, and environmental health

SEATTLE Councilmember Richard Conlin, today, announced that the Council will take action on a resolution setting forth the Citys preferred design and mitigation elements for the State Route 520 Bridge replacement. We must move forward to replace this vital connection between Seattle and the Eastside, said Councilmember Conlin, chair of the Committee on the State Route 520 Bridge Replacement Project. A new 520 bridge must serve mobility, the environment, and Seattles neighborhoods.

The SR 520 Bridge was built in 1963 and must be replaced. The bridge is vulnerable to earthquakes, wind storms, and deterioration from the waves of Lake Washington. In the fall, the Council was working toward providing a recommendation to the Governor on a preferred alternative. Prior to completing that recommendation, on December 16, 2006, Governor Christine Gregoire released her findings declaring that a new 520 bridge will have four general purpose lanes and two lanes for transit and carpools. The State determines the preferred alternative, said Councilmember Conlin. Its now the Citys job to advocate for our neighborhoods and appropriate mitigations, partner with Eastside communities to ensure design excellence, and make certain the bridge supports Seattles long-range transit goals. Councilmember Jan Drago, chair of the Councils Transportation Committee, said, A new bridge should give transit priority and boost the number of people using the bridge without increasing congestion. Transit connectivity demands that the bridge link directly to the light rail station planned at the University of Washington.

The resolution recommends a variety of measures that are necessary to address in order to identify the specific preferred alternative. These include narrowing the corridor and minimizing the impact on the Arboretum and the environment. The new 520 bridge must also take into account Seattle neighborhoods quality of life by working to reduce noise and visual impacts. Council President Nick Licata said, Replacing the 520 bridge is an opportunity to improve our neighborhoods while still allowing for future growth.

While the new 520 bridge will create bike and pedestrian access across Lake Washington, the City wants a design that completely lids SR 520 in Montlake and creates a continuous greenbelt with trails from Portage Bay to the Arboretum. Councilmember Tom Rasmussen said, Replacing the 520 bridge is also an opportunity to significantly improve pedestrian and bicycle travel not only east and west across the lake but also north and south within the city.

Councilmember Richard Conlin is asking the Council to take action on this resolution at its Full Council meeting on Monday, April 16, 2007. Said Councilmember Conlin, The people and leaders on both sides of the lake agree: SR 520 can both connect us and enhance our livability.


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