The WSDOT Accountability Coalition recognizes the benefits of the SR 520 project and supports its successful completion. What we don’t support, however, is WSDOT’s attempts to shirk the public process and pave over our community. We are calling on our public leaders to re-think some of the negative impacts that will stem from WSDOT’s SR 520 duplicity:
ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW PROCESS
From taking the Montlake Blvd. Market to proposing to shift Montlake Blvd four separate times, substantial changes to this project have been made without public notice. With no schedule for permitting or environmental review for these changes known to the public, we are calling for an SEIS to fully consider how these changes will impact the public.
NIGHT TIME NOISE VARIANCE
Nearly 300 emails from impacted neighbors – and a letter undersigned by the Seattle delegation to the Washington State Legislature – have called on the City of Seattle to deny WSDOT’s nighttime noise variance request for the SR 520 Montlake phase. Approval of the variance would permit WSDOT to do nighttime construction work at levels nearly 3-times higher than the standard set by the World Health Organization (WSDOT is requesting levels up to 80dB) for five years.
In a 2016 study of 33 U.S. cities, only Seattle and Houston allow construction to continue as late as 10 p.m., on any day of the week. Threats to public health in these impacted communities are significant and well documented. On behalf of the nearly 10,000 impacted Seattle residents, we are asking SDCI to deny the request until further analysis is done, and limit the noise variance for no more than 6-months at a time, with no more than 12-hours of work per day, and no nighttime work.
A major community concern in the Rest of the West phase is the extremely loud noise generated from the Megeba made expansion joints near the bridge’s high rises. There was no reference found in the FEIS to expansion joint noise analysis. These impacts should be pre-tested by WSDOT and the manufacturer to produce better results from what occurred in the initial phases of construction. WSDOT should also be obligated to solve the existing noise from the installed expansion joints on the Floating Bridge. This same problem occurred during the Eastside construction phase, and after the urging of hundreds of eastside residents, Gov. Inslee intervened to have WSDOT request a study of quieter expansion joints to remedy those currently in place.
SR520 BRIDGE REPLACEMENT OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE
Mayor Durkan has expressed interest in creating an ‘SR520 Bridge Replacement Oversight Committee’ to address noise, surface street traffic, parking, land condemnation, and haul routes on an ongoing basis. The oversight committee would include SDOT, WSDOT, legislative representation including Congresswoman Jayapal’s office, the Mayor’s Office and neighborhood leadership. This would be a more inclusive and engaging approach compared to WSDOT’s broad ‘check the box’ and ‘go through the motions’ public outreach replete with ‘sticky notes’ for reactions to their various presentations. .
SUPPORTIVE COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT
Our neighborhoods have worked cooperatively with WSDOT and the City of Seattle on traffic calming measures, and a project to create a ‘Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design’ approach to the property under SR520 bridge from Delmar Dr. across Boyer Ave. to the water’s edge.