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Seattle Pedestrian Advisory Board

Past Minutes of the Board


October 10, 2001

Board members present: Suzanne Anderson, John Coney, Mark Gardner, Lester Goldstein, Michael Ingram, Drew Robinson, Mark Schultz, Charles R. Smith.

Board members absent: Pam Clark (excused).

Others present: Kristen Lohse Clark (Parametrix), Tom Crews, Megan Hoyt (SeaTran), Margaret McCauley, Les Rubstello (WSDOT)

The meeting was called to order at 6:05pm.

1. Trans-Lake Washington/SR 520

Kristen Lohse Clark of Parametrix and Les Rubstello of the Washington State Department of Transportation briefed the Board on the various options that are under consideration for the SR-520 corridor. In January, the Trans-Lake Washingon Project Executive Committee will select the alternatives that will be carried forward into environmental analysis. The Environmental Impact Statement will take approximately one year to complete.

The following points emerged in the course of the briefing or in response to Board member questions:

- Part of the Museum of History and Industry site may be used for an upgraded SR520 facility.

- The Eastlake and South Lake Union neighborhoods have expressed concern about a potential freeway tunnel entrance at Fairview and Mercer. A tunnel portal at this location is no longer a favored configuration.

- The westbound SR520 to southbound I-5 movement is proposed to be handled via a new flyover and a right-side merge. This would eliminate the left side merge that currently exists. Such a new flyover would not necessarily add new lanes or traffic volumes. Only if an eight-lane profile is selected for SR-520 would significant new traffic volumes necessarily be expected in the area of Fairview/Mercer.

- Sound Transit is considering the possibility of routing the Link light rail north route to the University District through the Montlake Area. The geology of the Montlake area is more favorable than that of other possible routes.

- There will likely be public meetings-probably in January 2002-regarding options for an improved transit flyer stop at Montlake that could be built as a component of the Trans-Lake project.

- The Trans-Lake Project team is looking at possible upgrades along streets leading to and across the SR520 corridor as well as at a trail route along the SR-520 corridor.

- In the Eastlake area, the project team is looking at ways to improve pedestrian and bicycle routes on road connections over the SR520 corridor.

- The project design will try to preserve the existing trail connection between the Montlake playfield and the NOAA facility.

- A trail connection between Roanoke and Montlake along a new Portage Bay viaduct is not favored. There is a safety concern that the downhill grade going eastbound would encourage bicyclists, in-line skaters, and others to travel too fast.

- If the project design includes lids, there will be many options for pedestrian and bicycle crossings of SR520.

- The Arboretum plans a new trail along the east side of Lake Washington Boulevard.

- Board members noted and the project team acknowledged the importance of good pedestrian and bicycle connections between Montlake/SR520 and the Burke-Gilman trail.

- Current options being considered for lids include a short lid (about 400') at 10th Street in the Roanoke area and a lid in the Montlake area between Montlake Boulevard and Park Drive.

- The Montlake bridge is designated an historic structure; this precludes widening or substantially altering features of it.

Mark Schultz noted that lids can have negative impacts in terms of their cost and that they do require a lot of resource inputs (concrete, steel). They are not necessarily a "green" feature. He noted that a lid at Montlake may offer more functional advantage to pedestrians and bicyclists than would a lid in the Roanoke area.

Margaret McCauley and Mark Schultz noted an opportunity for better connections to the Foster Island trail. Kristen said the project team is aware of this issue.

Les indicated that it is likely that 4-lane, 6-lane and 8-lane roadway profile alternatives will be carried forward for further analysis in the EIS process.

2. Seattle Budget

Megan Hoyt passed out materials showing proposed 2002-2007 budget (Capital Improvement Program) figures for projects and programs that relate to pedestrians. The overall City budget includes cutbacks in most departments. Megan suggested that in light of the overall budget situation, programs that fund pedestrian facilities probably fared pretty well.

The biggest change as it relates to pedestrian concerns is the proposal to zero out the Neighborhood Street Fund, starting in year 2003. This fund is a key way that Neighborhood Plan improvements are implemented.

The City funds pedestrian programs and improvements through several budget items. The materials handed out show increases in funds for some of the programs and decreases in funds for other programs. Some programs that fund pedestrian facility maintenance or construction also fund maintenance or reconstruction of roadways. Board members found it difficult to discern exactly how the total dollar amounts proposed in the budget documents would affect pedestrian projects and programs.

Board members expressed the hope that Peter Lagerwey could attend the November meeting and offer an overview and update on budget issues. Megan was uncertain whether the deadline for budget comments would fall before the next Board meeting on November 14.

In order to open the option of forwarding comment to the City Council before the next meeting, it was suggested that the Board adopt a motion expressing its concern about the proposed zeroing out of the Neighborhood Street Fund program.

Board member ______ advanced a motion "The Seattle Pedestrian Advisory Board is concerned about the proposed zeroing out of the Neighborhood Street Fund as of 2003." Board member ______ seconded the motion. The motion was passed on the unanimous vote of members present.

(--My notes on the motion are sketchy. If anyone recorded this information, please forward it to me. -M.I.)

3. Announcements

John Coney noted that there will be public meetings on the proposed Seattle monorail on October 16, 18 and 20. The meetings will be an opportunity to learn about proposed routes and station locations. Several members indicated an interest in attending.

Lester Goldstein mentioned that the National Center for Bicycling and Walking puts out a biweekly email newsletter. He will forward information to the Pedestrian Board email list.

4. Progress Report

The Board discussed the proposal to develop a progress report; the report would be an outline of the Board's actions and activities over the last year or two. There was general agreement that such a report would be useful. Lester Goldstein agreed to review minutes of past Board meetings to generate an initial outline. He will forward this outline to Board members.

5. Topics for Future Meetings

The Board discussed possible topics for future meetings. Suggestions included inviting speakers on the North Waterfront Access Study and the Seattle Street Use Permit process. Also suggested was the need to learn more about the City budget as it relates to pedestrian facilities and programs. Additional ideas included learning about the crosswalk inventory that the City is now undertaking and the University Area Transportation Study that is now in progress.

For the November meeting, it was agreed that we should invite a speaker on the North Waterfront Access Study, which is now nearing completion. It was also agreed that the Board should revisit the question of the Seattle Budget at the November meeting.

The Board agreed that it may be useful to hear about the crosswalk inventory project at the January meeting and about the Street Use Permit process at the February meeting.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:05 pm.

Minutes compiled by Michael Ingram.