WSDOT has proposed a shorter, "smarter" lid to cover a portion of the west end of the new SR-520 corridor, cutting the 1400-foot long overpass from the agency's 2012 plan to 800 feet. Despite the decreased length, the plan unveiled in a Montlake neighborhood meeting on Thursday, September 11 includes regional and local bus stops — including a new home for the Montlake Freeway Transit Station — plus pedestrian and bicycle paths to make getting between Montlake, Capitol Hill and the U-District a little easier.
While WSDOT officials say that the new plan includes more usable green space with a negligible change to the noise dampening effects, some residents of the wealthy Montlake neighborhood are pretty sore over the lost lid-size.
KUOW hit up Thursday's neighborhood meeting, and caught up with a few residents that are less than happy about the change. One resident was concerned that WSDOT had "[taken] the lid off" because they "spent all the money on the Eastside" — not exactly true, considering the lid's still in the plan and WSDOT hasn't yet acquired the funds for the plan — and another mainly wants the bridge to be the "least visible possible."
Other concerns are less about attention or aesthetics, though. KUOW also spoke with Lionel Job of the Montlake Neighborhood Greenways Group, who said that the pedestrian and bicycle paths aren't quite there yet. "All the connections on foot and bicycle on the west side of Montlake Boulevard have been completely ignored," he told the station.
As mentioned above, no version of the plan has been funded yet, so what version of the lid actually comes true will depend a lot on what comes out on top during the next legislative session. However, construction of similar lids on the Eastside — at Evergreen Point Road and 92nd Ave Northeast — is currently underway.
· Montlake Residents To 520 Designers: Put A Lid On It [KUOW]
· SR 520 Bridge Program: Transit on the new SR 520 [WSDOT]
· WSDOT to Unveil "Short Lid" Plan for Montlake at September 11 Open House [Montlake.net]