We had a GREAT turnout for the Move Seattle levy “fix-it” tour on Sunday! About 50 participants showed up as we toured paths from Wallingford to the U-District, mostly people from Wallingford. Seattle City Council Transportation Committee representatives Jean Godden, Mike O’Brien, and Tom Rasmussen all attended, and news stations were there as well. For a wonky tour of neighborhood greenways and an I-5 bridge crossing that’s a great turnout!
While we were on the walk all three council members spoke in favor of improving Wallingford’s connection to the U-District, along with several community members. Tom Rasmussen, chair of the Seattle City Council transportation committee, said he would have SDOT draw up a response to our request. More on that as plans come into view!
Once again, nobody from the mayor’s office or SDOT leadership attended the walk, continuing their streak of not visiting Wallingford once for Move Seattle levy planning or feedback. My sense is that the mayor is having SDOT operate through an exclusively top-down process and simply doesn’t want any dialogue with little people at the neighborhood level. We might pull them off message.
We were blessed to have the presence of Brian Dougherty from SDOT on the walking tour. Brian seems to be the only guy in city government that everybody loves, but is a lower level transportation planner and not higher up in city government (unfortunately). Brian indicated that SDOT would favor beginning the process to build a bike and pedestrian bridge at 47th, although some neighborhood participants favored the more pedestrian-centric option of improving the NE 45th street bridge.
The good news is that we already have more traction and attention from Seattle City Council than we ever got from Scott Kubly at SDOT or the mayor’s office. It remains to be seen if city council’s attention translates into action, but at least there’s a dialogue and that’s a huge step forward.
One point that was made clear by multiple people at the walk that know more than me about the process is that there is only one reason Northgate is getting a bike and pedestrian connection to light rail and we aren’t: Northgate activists demanded it at the right time. I’m an engineer and I like to think of city government as rationally looking at safety data and traffic patterns and building networks according to cost / benefit analysis. On that basis, it’s really clear this very dangerous, congested, and obvious connection needs to be built. Unfortunately, city government priorities are really about greasing the squeaky wheel. Thanks to Wallingford for squeaking today!
Love the artwork POV of the mayor’s office, hahahahahaha! Is that a pterodactyl or flying monkey, lol… Also, just curious if anyone has any ideas on which idea would cost less: ped/bike bridge overpass or improving the 45th access for bikes and peds?
And after the several years long battle we experienced trying to get some help to reroute the street drunks via the Alcohol Impact Area b.s. (and then found out the hoops we’d been forced to jump through were never going to lead anywhere!), the fact that we keep getting ignored on this sensible project doesn’t surprise me at all. Good for Northgate, but I wish we could figure out the “right time” timetable, too.
All 5 District 4 City Council members took time out of other campaign activities to listen to the transportation needs and concerns about the shortcomings of the Move Seattle Levy in Wallingford.
Candidates running in District 4 in attendance: Tony Provine, Michael Maddux, Rob Johnson and Abel Pacheco.
Nazgûl, obviously, @Lisa. lol
As for your question about the cost of the options, I don’t know, but I think it is clear that for 45th and/or 50th to accommodate car traffic, buses, pedestrians and bikes the bridge will need to be widened, and the I-5 access improved/updated. One can’t just paint new lines on the road. I expect the cost would be similar to a new bridge at 47th.
There are details about what Wallyhood is proposing and photos and drawings and plans and lots of great info in this previous article:
Here’s an excerpt:
“Where can the money come from? Currently the 930 million dollar Move Seattle levy is 2/3rds road maintenance, with the remaining 1/3rd split between transportation alternatives, including money for transit. That money is all there is for non-motorized transportation development for the next decade, whereas transit has multiple levies already dedicated to it.”
Ed Murray’s inaccessibility to the general public is pretty shocking. Unless he’s jumping a popular bandwagon, you rarely see him. Hopefully improving bike and pedestrian infrastructure on 45th will become an irresistible movement.
Kudos to the councilmembers, present and future, who took time to show up yesterday. Mike O’Brien is everywhere!
*Transit* advocates have been advocating for a Northgate bridge to improve the walkshed there for years: http://seattletransitblog.com/2012/06/27/a-solution-for-northgate-is-within-reach/
There are studies completed. There were matching funds from Sound Transit and failed federal grant applications. You also have to realize that even if this levy includes funds for designing and building a bridge at 47th, when it comes in at a higher cost than budgeted, it simply won’t be built:
Or you might think you’re getting a Cadillac lid, and end up with a Chevy short lid:
Studies, designs, committed funds all matter.
The Northgate overpass is far more shovel-ready, and it’s not just because they had “good timing.” They’ve had persistent advocates for it for years at this point as well as tie-in with an existing capital project outside the Seattle city budget (like the Montlake lid above). It dates back to what was perhaps a pennywise-but-pound-foolish decision to use the I-5 right-of-way for North Link, resulting in what might be good locations for park-n-rides but crappy locations for walkable stations.
Speaking of things outside the city budget, it should bother everyone that this proposed band-aid on I-5 has zero funding from WSDOT, and will likely get little support. They really ought to build a better 45th St bridge… it’s WSDOT’s.
‘popular bandwagon’ is right. Mayor will be out there when it’s too little, too late – like the Shell Artic platform. Unless he was out in a kayak on the weekend, he could have made some effort for the money he no doubt wants to spend (albeit in other neighborhoods).
Amen to that!
I totally agree. We need a more accessible route to cross I5 than what is currently there. It is so dangerous to bike. By the way, anyone DTF?
Just in case anyone is really doing it – bicycling westbound on the 45th overpass – try going around to 50th. It’s a fairly level route up there. Take the sidewalk on the south side of the overpass, and take 5th down to 47th.
Westbound only. Eastbound, you’re going down hill, and if you have the nerve to bicycle through the University District, the 45th overpass is the least of your worries. I don’t know, where do people get off 45th, eastbound? Surely not riding all the way to the University. I’m guessing people tough it out down to Roosevelt, the earlier exit on 8th NE not being very attractive because the cross streets don’t cross Roosevelt. That stretch between 7th NE and Roosevelt must be about the hairiest part of the eastbound trip, though on the bright side the traffic is probably always so congested that bicycles can enter the flow. No idea, DTF.
Blah, blah, and more blah. Have you people no bike riding skills and common sense?
Your mother smells like a hamster!
SDOT is touting safety as a priority, with this “vision zero” campaign they are on, which they’ve used as an excuse to take away our parking in favor of bike lanes. Yet when it comes to the safety issues in the U-District the most dangerous areas for bike riders are not being addressed at all. Accidents abound on 45th, 50th, and all around UW, much of that in the crossing from Wallingford. University Ave. is the WORST street for accidents of all the streets in the U-District but nothing is proposed for this street. There are no plans for addressing these safety issues and they refuse to put the 47th Street bridge in the MOVE levy to address these safety issues. Vision zero? My ass! It’s all about money and politics – the politics being that they want to develop high rises around the transit stations bringing lots of money to developers. The Northgate bridge (bike and pedestrian only) is budgeted at $25 million dollars. Seriously? You can’t build 2 simple bridges for THAT amount of money? Is that because of the Unions doing their best to overprice the market at the expense of the taxpayers, which – coincidentally – is driving up the cost of housing? There’s a lot more going on at City Hall than just your safety.