Record No: RES 31611    Version: Council Bill No:
Type: Resolution (Res) Status: Adopted
Current Controlling Legislative Body City Clerk
On agenda: 10/5/2015
Ordinance No:
Title: A RESOLUTION relating to the State Route 520, Interstate 5 to Medina Bridge Replacement and High Occupancy Vehicle Project; recognizing the completion of a design refinements effort and a recommendations report for the west side portion of the project and recommending actions by the City of Seattle and State of Washington based on results of this effort.
Sponsors: Tom Rasmussen
Supporting documents: 1. Proposed Amendment, 2. Summary and Fiscal Note, 3. SR 520 Presentation, 4. Amendment 1 Rasmussen Design Commission (added 9/23/15), 5. Amendment 2 O'Brien Roanoke Bike Lane (added 9/23/15), 6. Amendment 3 O'Brien Portage Bay bike lanes (added 9/23/15), 7. Amendment 4 O'Brien Pedestrian Crossings (added 9/23/15), 8. Amendment 6 O'Brien PedBike Construction Access (added 9/23/15), 9. Amendment 7 Rasmussen WSDOT Peninsula (added 9/23/15), 10. Amendment 8 Rasmussen Public Comment (added 9/23/15), 11. July 19, 2011 WSDOT Peninsula Letter and Map (added 9/23/15)


RESOLUTION _________________



A RESOLUTION relating to the State Route 520, Interstate 5 to Medina Bridge Replacement and High Occupancy Vehicle Project; recognizing the completion of a design refinements effort and a recommendations report for the west side portion of the project and recommending actions by the City of Seattle and State of Washington based on results of this effort.


WHEREAS, the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) led the Seattle Design Process (Process) in collaboration with The City of Seattle (City) as intended by the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) executed by Ordinance 123733 in October 2011, consistent with the Preferred Alternative, baseline design features, and environmental footprint of the State Route 520, Interstate 5 to Medina Bridge Replacement and High Occupancy Vehicle Project (Project) as approved by the Federal Highway Administration's Record of Decision; and

WHEREAS, Resolution 31411, adopted in September 2012, identified the findings of the technical report entitled Establishment of Triggers, Second Montlake Bridge Workgroup (Triggers Report) and the recommendations of the City Council regarding the building of a second bascule bridge over the Montlake Cut; and

WHEREAS, the City Council cited certain findings of the Triggers Report in Section 1 of Resolution 31411 and requested and recommended certain actions in Section 2 of that Resolution as follows:

that current levels of service for bicycles and pedestrians approach, and at times exceed, thresholds defined by City policies included in the Seattle Comprehensive Plan (2005), Seattle Bicycle Master Plan (2007), and the Seattle Pedestrian Master Plan (2009), and therefore action within the next five years is appropriate to address the capacity limitation on the current bridge;

that the 2.5-mile corridor containing the Montlake Bridge is the source of transit delay but is not the critical factor in creating transit delay or increased travel time, and therefore the city requested that the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) work with King County Metro and WSDOT to identify and implement other transit improvements in the corridor and monitor the effects of those improvements;

that mainline operations on SR 520 are affected by the Montlake Bridge only when the bridge opens for traffic and queues form on the SR 520 off-ramps, though the bridge does not open during peak hours and therefore does not affect mainline operations at those times, so because a second bridge would open simultaneously for marine traffic, it would improve these conditions only marginally; and

that taking current bicycle, pedestrian, and transit performance and mainline operations into account, it is likely that a second Montlake bascule bridge would not deliver benefits that justify its cost and impact, and it was recommended to WSDOT and the State Legislature that a second Montlake bridge not be constructed within the foreseeable future;

WHEREAS, in October and November 2012, the State briefed the City Council on the Process, and the Council itself received public comments on the Process and the resulting design recommendations, and in December 2012, the State issued the Final Report on the Process; and

WHEREAS, Resolution 31427, adopted in February 2013, endorsed the general vision expressed in the Final Report, but requested in Section 3 of the resolution that the City and the State continue to develop and evaluate options in respect to the following issues and recommendations in the Final Report: Roanoke Area, Portage Bay Bridge, Montlake Area, and bicycle, pedestrian and multimodal connections generally; and

WHEREAS, the City recognizes the work completed through the 2014 SR 520 Design Refinements effort, which through practical design addresses the issues and recommendations identified in Sections 3, 4, and 5 of Resolution 31427;  NOW, THEREFORE,


Section 1. The City concurs with the recommendations included in the SR 520 West Side Final Concept Design Report:

A. Portage Bay Bridge

1. A box girder style bridge, as endorsed by the Seattle Design Commission, as a practical solution.

2. A 14-foot wide shared use path on the south side of the bridge with connections at the ends of the bridge to the bicycle and pedestrian network.

B. Montlake Area

1. Develop an urban trailhead and mobility hub on the western portion of the Montlake lid that includes transit, bicycle and pedestrian facilities, with safe connections and open space for community activity.

2. Create a lid on the eastern portion of the Montlake lid, a practical solution that emphasizes better connections between neighborhoods and for bicycles and pedestrians, provides more usable open space, reduces visibility of the SR 520 mainline structure, and improves safer bicycle and pedestrian undercrossings. The lid includes an approximately 70-foot wide “land bridge” (one permitting only non-motorized vehicles and pedestrians) that connects the Washington Arboretum north to the former Museum of History and Industry site.

3. Continue to integrate constructed wetland facilities into existing East Montlake Park and shoreline area.

C. Multimodal Connectivity

1. Provide a non-motorized path on the south side of the Portage Bay Bridge that completes the SR 520 Regional Shared Use Path (RSUP) from Eastside communities to Seattle and Interstate 5.  

2. Create a new and safe connection from 10th Avenue East and Delmar lid to the shared use path to Broadway and the Harvard Avenue East neighborhood greenway to downtown Seattle.

3. Design safe and architecturally-integrated at-grade and separated connections for bicycles and pedestrians to and from the shared use path on Portage Bay Bridge.

4. Straighten and widen the Bill Dawson Trail to improve safety and visibility with separation of cyclists and pedestrians.

5. Provide raised crosswalks or surface treatments at crossings and freeway ramp openings to improve wayfinding, enhance bicycle and pedestrian safety, provide vehicle traffic calming, and reinforce the Olmstead boulevard character.

6. Coordinate on a University of Washington-developed waterfront recreational trail to provide bicycle and pedestrian access along Portage Bay and the Montlake Cut with connections under Montlake Boulevard and Walla Walla Lane.

7. Shorten pedestrian crossings by narrowing lanes and freeway ramp openings consistent with National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) standards, narrowing turning radii to NACTO standards, and eliminating free vehicle movements with signalized intersections to enhance safety and traffic calming within the project area.

8. Improve pedestrian experience at the interchange over SR 520 mainline by widening the path on both sides of Montlake Boulevard and improving the portal edge on the west side of Montlake Boulevard with buffered plantings.

9. Continue refinement of proposed improvements to connections along the west side of Montlake Boulevard. If existing physical constraints change in the future, WSDOT and City of Seattle may pursue other opportunities to further improve conditions for pedestrians and cyclists.

10. Develop a safe, separated, and direct multi-use connection from the Portage Bay Bridge along the north side of East Roanoke Street to Montlake Boulevard.

11. Reconfigure the intersection at East Roanoke Street and East Montlake Place for improved legibility, traffic calming, and a safe and more direct connection between Montlake neighborhood greenways.

12. Provide signed intersections at East 24th Street and East Lake Washington Boulevard to enhance bicycle and pedestrian safety, provide vehicle traffic calming, and reinforce Olmstead boulevard character and neighborhood scale.

13. Create a non-motorized land bridge east of 24th Avenue East to allow for a north-south, barrier-free crossing connecting the Washington Park Arboretum, East Montlake Park, and access to transit.

14. Develop a new undercrossing under SR 520 at the Lake Washington shoreline, providing safe pedestrian and bicycle connections between East Montlake Park and the Arboretum.

                      Section 2. Consistent with Resolution 31411, the City continues to support the position that improvements made by a second Montlake bascule bridge are unlikely to yield the benefits that justify the cost and environmental impact of a bridge. The City supports additional bicycle and pedestrian capacity in the Montlake corridor and therefore requests that the State further study and evaluate options for a bicycle and pedestrian bridge across the Montlake Cut crossing based on the following:

A. It is a more cost-effective, practical solution to improve safety for bicycles and pedestrians over the Montlake Cut.

B. Given current and planned multimodal investments including the Washington State Department of Transportation SR 520 RSUP, the Sound Transit University Link Light Rail Station, and improvements to the Montlake Triangle area, a bicycle and pedestrian bridge structure is appropriate to meet the increased demand expected within the next five years and for the foreseeable future.

C. It is consistent with the City’s Bicycle Master Plan and its identification of an improved crossing of the Montlake Bridge as a catalyst project that improves a chokepoint in the bicycle network by closing network gaps and increasing safety by building bicycle facilities friendly to persons of all ages and abilities. 

D. It is consistent with the SR 520 project statement of purpose and need in the Record of Decision to improve mobility for people and goods within the SR 520 corridor, which includes Montlake Boulevard.

                     Section 3. In order to achieve benefits identified in Section 2, the City expects that the State utilize resources currently identified for a second Montlake bascule bridge for a non-motorized bridge and other improvements that enhance mobility for those traveling to, from, and through the SR 520 corridor and minimize impacts on affected neighborhoods. 

A. Transit Priority Enhancements

The extent of the transit improvements is from Boyer Avenue and 24th Avenue E to the south, extending to Montlake Boulevard and NE 45th Street and 15th Avenue NE and NE 45th Street to the north.  Examples of transit improvements may include transit only or business access and transit (BAT) lanes and signal improvements such as a queue jump within this area. The improvements are consistent with the SR 520 project purpose to improve mobility for people and goods within the SR 520 corridor from Seattle to Redmond, given that regional bus service relies on Montlake Boulevard to access the corridor and is consistent with the State’s “practical design” objectives. The improvements are consistent with the City’s Transit Master Plan, which identifies the Rainier Valley to University District corridor, including the Montlake Bridge, as a high priority for improvements to transit reliability and travel times.  The State and SDOT should further coordinate to define and implement these transit improvements.

B. Traffic Enhancements in the Montlake Boulevard and 23rd Avenue Corridors

The extent of the improvements is 23rd Avenue East and Madison Street to the south, extending to Montlake Boulevard and NE 45th Street and 15th Avenue NE and NE 45th Street to the north and west towards Roanoke Avenue and Harvard Avenue. Examples of improvements include traffic signal upgrades, bus stop improvements, travel time information, pedestrian safety enhancements, real-time traveler information, and cameras to monitor traffic levels and incidents in this area. These types of improvements provide a benefit to neighborhoods affected by project construction and should be coordinated with prior phases of the City’s 23rd Avenue Corridor project to ensure an integrated approach to the corridor. The State and SDOT should further coordinate to define and implement these traffic improvements.

C. Multimodal Network Enhancements

1. A bicycle and pedestrian bridge, at least 22 feet wide, crossing the Montlake Cut, as requested in Section 2 of this resolution.

2. Approaches for the bicycle and pedestrian bridge that are safe, functional and consistent with bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure north and south of the Montlake Cut crossing.

3. Completion of the bicycle connection provided by the State from the 10th and Delmar lid via Broadway to the proposed City greenway at Harvard Avenue East.

4. Completion of the connections from the 14-foot shared use path on the Portage Bay Bridge along East Roanoke Street from West Montlake Place to 22nd Avenue East, extending to 24th Avenue East.

5. Complete a connection such as a protected bike lane on Delmar Drive East and East Roanoke Street connecting the I-5 overpass trail to multi-use path on the Portage Bay Bridge.

                     Section 4. The City expects that during final design of the project, the State will continue to involve the Seattle Design Commission and community members as the State refines the project designs to incorporate the following components:

A. Use of high quality materials and landscaping consistent with the character of surrounding neighborhoods and incorporation of Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED) principles.  A landscape maintenance plan and agreement should be developed in coordination with the City of Seattle.

B. Maximization of safety, functionality and attractiveness of project intersections, pedestrian crossings, undercrossings, and pathways to allow for users of all ages and abilities. Examples of strategies may include, but are not limited to, pedestrian refuges and further widening of the portal edge on the west side of Montlake Boulevard to enhance pedestrian experience. Additional refinements to the current design should align with the City of Seattle Complete Streets policy, and include protected bike lanes providing direct access to and from the Montlake Bridge to East Roanoke Street.

C. A design solution for the Bill Dawson Trail supported by the City and community groups.  The City expects WSDOT to continue to work with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to resolve remaining issues and develop a revised design that provides safe and separated connections for bicycle and pedestrians on the Bill Dawson Trail north to the west side of Montlake Boulevard and east-west under Montlake Boulevard E. These connections should be designed with clear sight lines for all users, lighting for visibility and incorporate CPTED principles of natural surveillance. Expression of the City’s continued support is contingent on this revised design.

D. Enhanced design of the Portage Bay Bridge, consistent with Seattle Design Commission recommendations, that minimizes visual impacts with particular attention to the appropriate volume and scale of signage.

E. Demonstrate appropriate design sensitivity within the Montlake and Roanoke historical districts.

                      Section 5. The City expects that during construction of the project, the State Department of Transportation will consider improvements that minimize project impacts on the neighborhood and community for implementation first, before the remainder of the project is built.  This includes mobility improvements outlined in Section 3, items A and B.  The City also expects the State to minimize construction impacts by employing strategies that limit or contain construction noise and minimize the use of city streets as haul routes during construction.

                     Section 6. The City supports the State’s effort to incorporate practical design into remaining components of the SR 520 project. Recommendations included in the SR 520 West Side Final Concept Design Report reflect these efforts. However, the City expects that practical design elements be implemented that are not detrimental to those project components most crucial to the City and include a continued emphasis on quality materials.

                     Section 7. The City expects final phases of SR 520 not to be completed incrementally. Funding and construction of the remaining components should allow for the project to be completed in the shortest duration possible, with a focus on limiting impacts to neighborhoods and communities in the project area. The City expects WSDOT to develop a transportation and safety access plan that includes all modes including transit, vehicle, bicycle, and pedestrian access for all phases of SR 520 construction.

                     Section 8. The City anticipates that ownership of the wetland and upland areas south of Foster Island and SR 520 that will no longer be needed for right-of-way (also known as the “WSDOT peninsula”) will be conveyed to the City upon completion of the SR 520 project, consistent with a July 19, 2011 WSDOT letter to the Seattle Parks Department.

                     Section 9. The City will convey to WSDOT the public comments gathered at the September 16, 2015 public hearing convened by the City Council at University Christian Church. The City asks that the WSDOT design team consider the public’s comments during final design of the SR 520 project.



Adopted by the City Council the ____ day of ____________________, 2015, and signed by me in open session in authentication of its adoption this________ day

of ______________________, 2015.                                                                                                                                                   


                                                                                                                              President ___________of the City Council


The Mayor concurred the _____ day of _______________________, 2015.



                                                                                          Edward B. Murray, Mayor


                     Filed by me this ____ day of ________________________, 2015.



                                                               Monica Martinez Simmons, City Clerk