Laurelhurst Community Club                                                     

Serving 2800 Households and Businesses in Seattle’s Laurelhurst Neighborhood



July 25, 2005



Members of the Seattle City Council

600 Fourth Avenue Floor 2

P.O. Box 34025

Seattle, Washington  98124-4025


RE:  Resolution 30777, SR 520 Guiding Principles


Dear Members of the Seattle City Council,


The Laurelhurst Community Club would like to go on record as supporting the recommendations and suggested amendments of the Northeast District Council (NEDC) regarding Resolution 30777.  We share the same concerns of the NEDC that the guidelines in the resolution have a premature bias toward the new Montlake alternative that has not had thorough traffic and environmental analysis.  We agree with the University of Washington that it is premature to identify the relocated interchange and signature fixed space as a guideline.  Because of the dissension by members of the Montlake community and the need for consensus on the issues, we recommend an alternative approach—put the resolution on hold and involve all impacted communities and the University in developing the guidelines—should you choose not to incorporate the NEDC suggested amendments in the current resolution.

             The NEDC recommendations are sound and followed a good process.  At its well-attended July meeting, member organization representatives discussed the SR 520 resolution and voted unanimously to support the position outlined in its July 19 letter.  The NEDC followed its usual thoughtful process in designating someone to write the letter in accordance with the direction of the group. 

 It is unfortunate that the Montlake representative or alternate did not attend the NEDC meeting and participate in the decision making.  It is also unfortunate that Montlake did not share its efforts in drafting the resolution with the district council and its member organizations.  The NEDC did hear a presentation on the Montlake “better bridge” option, but no support was ever solicited. 

             The Laurelhurst Community Club was dismayed by the actions of individuals from the Montlake community in criticizing the NEDC’s position.  In our view, all NEDC sought to do was keep SR 520 options open and adhere to the position of the 1997 resolution and earlier NEDC positions.  The NEDC co-chair Jim O’Halloran, known as a consensus-builder, did an excellent job running the July meeting.

             Why not put the resolution on hold?  It is premature to consider a resolution establishing guidelines for SR 520 replacement at this time, particularly guidelines that have the potential for influencing what will be the preferred alternative in the draft Environmental Impact Statement when no studies or analyses have been undertaken.

             Since there is no community consensus on SR 520 replacement issues, we recommend that you put the resolution on hold and involve all impacted communities and the University in developing one that works for the City and all of its neighborhoods.  This is the process that was employed in development of the 1997 resolution.  It was a good process and should serve as a model for future decision making on SR 520 replacement.  If you choose to move forward with the current resolution, the suggested amendments of the NEDC should be incorporated.

             Laurelhurst background on SR 520 issues:  The Laurelhurst Community Club has worked on SR 520 issues for over a decade.  Laurelhurst, along with representatives from many other impacted communities, participated in drafting the 1997 resolution adopted by the Council.  We were involved in the initial TransLake Washington Study Committee and have continued involvement in other SR 520 Replacement Project committees. 

             We hope you will consider our recommendations on Resolution 30777 and involve all impacted communities.  Please keep us informed as you move forward. 





Jeannie Hale, President                                     Jean Amick, Transportation Committee

3425 West Laurelhurst Drive NE                                  3008 E Laurelhurst Drive NE 

Seattle, Washington  98105                                          Seattle, Washington  98105

206-525-5135 / fax 206-525-9631                              206-525-7065